Picture a dive bar in your head. Now give it a performance space. Swap the Yeungling and Bud Light on the bar for beer from the likes of Draai Laag (now known as Strange Roots) or Full Pint. Oh, and picture the kitchen giving up the traditional burger and fries for Sicilian pizza.
Got it? Good.
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This is Spirit, the multi-floor bar, performing arts venue, and Pittsburgh pizza shop located just off the main drag of Lawrenceville in an old Moose lodge, and it is exactly like what you're envisioning.
Spirit Pittsburgh is All About Events, and Local Beer
For those who like live performances, Spirit is the place for you. But you have to have a varied interest here as the performances can range from live music to live wrestling depending on the night (cover charge applies).
During our visit we decided not to check out one of the live performances, but instead ventured out to enjoy Spirit's happy hour and try a selection of local Pittsburgh beer from their rather eclectic menu. Happy hour is from 5 to 8pm on Tuesdays through Friday and all beers are half off. As an added bonus, if you order a full pizza from the food menu, you also receive a salad and garlic knots for free too!
Slice Island Serves Up a Very Unique Pizza
Now, we would be happy to just have a good bar in Pittsburgh that serves up local beer with happy hour specials, but Spirit goes one step further with Slice Island pizza serving their food menu.
The name of the game here is Sicilian style pizza- massive rectangular pies served up with thick, focaccia style crust.
You can build your own, or opt for one of their rotating, specialty pizzas which have more unusual toppings like the meat pizza (with a red pepper parmesan sauce, mozzarella, pork meatballs, and roasted corn) or the veg (topped with a whey spread, strawberries, pickled jalapenos, and pea shoots) which we sampled during our visit.
They're very weird, but this is one of those instances where the toppings oddly work. I never thought I'd say that strawberries, pickled jalapenos, and pea shoots would come together for a good pizza topping, but after trying only just a slice I was a little sad we did not order a whole pie of it.
Apart from the toppings, the slices themselves have a thick, crunchy crust that is oddly reminiscent of something you may have had from your childhood (which could be good or bad), while being addictive at the same time. I can safely say that my first piece I was not thrilled with, but by the time we worked our way through, the pizza really began to grow on me and suddenly I was six slices deep.
I suspect that Slice Island is one of those places where the regular pizzas are going to be more appetizing for the masses, especially with their style choice, so I'd only recommend jumping to the specials if you're really adventurous. That being said, we're really glad we did and were quite surprised with the final product.
Overall, Spirit is one of those places that may not be on your radar, but if you have that certain kind of interest in beer, pizza, or performances (or all three at once), this is one that you should definitely consider.
Spirit PGH is located at 242 51st Street in Lawrenceville.