The Aperitivo Club Showcases Italian Flavor Downtown

If you've frequented Market Square in recent years, you may be familiar with the Wine Bar at Market Street Grocery. This little hangout spot tucked away in the back of the small grocery store offered an assortment of Italian wines in a relaxing ambiance.

In 2024, the Wine Bar underwent a rebranding and expansion to become The Aperitivo Club. While still offering a stellar selection of wines, this one added on an impressive collection of cocktails featuring Italian amaro, spirits, and more, small bites, and more!

Naturally, we had to check out the cocktail side of this bar shortly after opening.

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Pizza Bari Halal Review – A Hidden Uzbek Menu Downtown

If you've ever spent some time walking around the Cultural District, you may have seen Pizza Bari and thought of it as just another pizza shop downtown.

But go inside and you will discover that this unassuming shop also has a not-so-secret Uzbek menu full of delicious cuisine to try. So on your next trip, look past the pizza and try some wonderful central Asian cuisine!

But be warned- the portions here are quite large, so go with a group and eat family style if you can.

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E.T.A. Review – Japanese Whisky and Cocktails Downtown

We love a themed cocktail bar, and when it is run by the team behind The Warren, even better.

E.T.A is a Japanese whisky and cocktail bar that opened in The Warren's back room in early 2024. The space was where the former wine shop was located and has been a bar we've been waiting to check out for quite some time. In fact, it wasn't until our friend Alex Eats Too Much stumbled upon this one on opening week that we even found it was close to opening at all. 

Naturally, we visited right away.

Whether you are visiting for whisky, a highball, one of their inventive house cocktails, or even a modest food menu, there really is a lot to enjoy about E.T.A.!

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Barcelona Wine Bar Review – Spanish Tapas and Wine Downtown

Barcelona Wine Bar is a new addition to the downtown Pittsburgh drinking and dining scene offering small plates and a huge selection of wine by the glass. Although it's a national chain, we absolutely love the concept of Barcelona Wine Bar- snacking our way through a meal and sampling Spanish and South American wines is our idea of a great night out.

Occupying the former Sharp Edge space on Penn Ave., Barcelona Wine Bar has completed a stunning reservation of the space; the decor suggests the kind of high end wine bar you might find in a much larger city. A long bar with sleek pendant lights runs the length of the space, with large, comfy booths beside the bar, and an adjacent room offers a larger dining space with tables.

Both the food and wine menus here are pretty extensive- it took us a while to take it all in and make decisions, as we truly wanted to order some of everything!

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Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show – Spring or Fall?

Ever since buying a house, we've been inundated with projects left and right. At times, it is really hard to know where to even begin as our list of improvements seems never ending.

So we've been heading to the Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show at the convention center for their spring and fall shows to get ideas.

These events are quite massive and feature hundreds upon hundreds of local vendors covering everything from general contract work to gutter sales and everything in between.

While we'll be the first to admit that the spring show is the one to be at, if you are looking to get ideas for a future home improvement project, this one may need to be on your radar!

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Sippin’ Santa Brings a Christmas Tiki Pop-up Experience

Christmas popup bars are a dime a dozen these days, and we almost always treat new concepts with a bit of suspicion.

But when we heard the international charity pop-up, Miracle Bar, was launching a second concept, we were interested. When we heard that it would be called Sippin' Santa and was going to be tiki themed, we were in.

Naturally, we went to this one as quickly as we could after it open for the season. With tiki classics, unique house creations with tropical themes, and profits going to charity, this certainly makes for a different kind of pop-up bar that we hope will return in future seasons!

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Ritual House Review – Not Quite What We Expected

Ritual House is an upscale modern American restaurant in the Union Trust building in downtown Pittsburgh. On our recent visit for dinner, we had excellent service, although we were a bit let down by the food and drinks.

We thought the menu descriptions of the food and drinks didn't align with what we thought we were ordering, namely in terms of the flavors and presentation. Overall, the proteins in the dishes we ordered were cooked well, but we just thought the flavors had a recurring theme of being far too sweet.

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Space Bar Review – Exploring the Cosmos with a Cocktail

Pittsburgh really is becoming a space city, and the molecular mixology cocktail bar, Space Bar, will help everyone explore the universe- with tasty libation in hand.

Located right in the heart of Market Square (aptly referred to as the holodeck when onboard), the cocktail lounge is the resident bar of the SS Oasis ship which travels distant worlds and services locals of the various systems visited with tasty cocktails- some familiar, some simply other-worldly.

We were fortunate enough to visit this one during its soft open in fall 2023, and share some early thoughts of what you can expect in this one!

Disclaimer: We are friends with the owners of Space Bar, provided consulting during start-up, and attended a preview event at opening. We have also purchased the cocktails discussed below outside of these instances. As always, all opinions are our own.

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Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Review – Central Location

When it comes to hotels in the Cultural District in Pittsburgh, it is hard to beat the Courtyard Marriott Downtown.

Part of this is because the hotel is right in the middle of the Penn Avenue business district, but the other part is simply that the hotel is within just a few blocks of the theaters, the convention center, Market Square, and so much more.

But the real perk of this hotel is that if you are lucky, you may also find a room rate that doesn't break the bank. A reasonable price with a location to match? That is a winner- even if this hotel doesn't stray too far from the mold of the chain.

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How to Get the Most Out of Light Up Night in Pittsburgh

In Pittsburgh, the start of the holiday season is not ambiguous.

It is not after Halloween when department stores put out Christmas decorations (or do they do it before now?). It is not the day after Thanksgiving that many traditionally observe. It is also not the first snow sighting, December 1st, the fall time change, or any other arbitrary benchmark.

This one particular instance should not be up for debate, as the start of the Christmas season in Pittsburgh is Light Up Night- the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

In this guide, we want to share some of our favorite tips on how to get the most out of what is perhaps our favorite annual event in Pittsburgh!

Note: Prior to 2021, Light Up Night took place on the Friday before Thanksgiving. Starting that year, Light Up Night became a weekend affair with most of the true Light Up Night festivities taking place on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

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