Pittsburghers seem to like re-purposing old buildings and giving them new concepts and new lives. Maybe that's why The Abbey on Butler Street, a funeral home turned restaurant, seems to fit right in. Not only is this a restaurant, it's also got an impressive bar as well as a cafe, all under the same roof. We recently ate at the restaurant and had a decent experience, but if we returned, we would consider going back for small plates and drinks instead of a full on meal.
The Ambiance at The Abbey on Butler is Unique
The ambiance of the building is quite impressive- with high ceilings, large chandeliers that give off a yellow glow, and lots of interior walls with window panes, the whole place gives off a vibe that is part British pub and part church.
The cafe space is cozy and serves Commonplace Coffee as well as pastries and sandwiches; it also hosts live music. The bar is long and beautiful, with plenty of high tables surrounding it as well. On our recent visit we ate in the back restaurant portion, which isn't as cool looking as the bar.
The draft list here is long and full of good craft beers like Sierra Nevada, Green Flash, Full Pint, and New Belgium, just to name a few. There are a handful of local beers like Hop Farm, Rivertown, and Grist House, but local isn't necessarily the focus of the whole menu. The bottle list is decent, too, and so is the cocktail list. Basically, we had a tough time deciding what to drink. Luckily our waiter helped us narrow it down and recommended his favorite winter ale, which we ended up liking.
Decent Pub Fare With Unique Appetizers
Entrees are hardy pub fare and include the likes of fried chicken, meatballs, fish and chips, and shepherd's pie. We decided on the Back Yard Burger and the Butler's Chicken. The beer-battered coating on the chicken was a bit lackluster, but the accompanying spicy agave sauce was spot on. The mashed potatoes served with the chicken were creamy and well seasoned.
The burger was topped with a special sauce, gouda cheese, tomato, and onion. The meat was actually cooked how I ordered it- medium- which is a rarity in Pittsburgh. I was impressed. The melty cheese and the special sauce made this a juicy burger that oozed all over my plate. Yum. A pasta salad accompanied the burger which was light for being mayo-based and had a good crunch from a bunch of green peppers.
All in all, the service and food were fine here, but nothing outstanding. We kind of regret not also checking out the appetizers an the cocktails. The appetizer menu has temptations like Scotch duck eggs (yes- Scotch eggs, made with duck eggs) and pub curry chips. While the classic cocktails on the menu sound just fine, the Abbey's own creations sound delicious- like the “Nitro Coffee” made with Commonplace coffee, vodka, Averna, Grand Marnier, and bitters. If we were to come back, it would be for appetizers, cocktails, and the ambiance.
The Abbey on Butler Street is located at 4635 Butler Street.
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