The downtown Pittsburgh restaurant Harris Grill gets in on the holiday spirit and transforms their first floor bar space into a holiday pop-up known as Tinsel Town Cocktails.
While this one may not be over-the-top Christmas like nearby Miracle on Market, it does offer a laid back drinking experience during the holidays that downtown Pittsburgh could always use more of.
A Laid Back Holiday Bar in Pittsburgh
What do we mean by a laid back holiday bar, exactly?
Well, when it comes to holiday cheer Tinsel Town Cocktails looks like something you'd expect a Christmas bar to look like. It isn't crazy like Clark Griswold's house, but it is also decorated far more than a single string of lights and a sad tree in the corner like you'd find at other bars.
To give you an idea, the ceiling tiles are wrapped like presents, ornaments and Christmas lights are strung up throughout the bar, and other Christmas decorates are tastefully placed such that no matter where you look there is holiday spirit.
Going to some of the more out-there decorations, Tinsel Town Cocktails also has a Santa cutout for photo ops as well as a five-person ugly holiday sweater for when you are several drinks deep and absolutely need something to Instagram. (You can find a few photos of that here.)
These decorations work well at Tinsel Town Cocktails as it provides an ambiance that isn't in-your-face and matches the relatively laid back vibe we had from the modest crowd.
Spiked Drinks for the Holidays
When it comes to the drinks themselves, Tinsel Town Cocktails offered six holiday themed cocktails during our visit all priced at $8 each, as well as a small draft list ranging in price from $6 to $8 per beer.
Two cocktails offered holiday twists on the classics (the boulevardier and mojito), while the other four were spiked beverages like egg nog with bourbon, hot cocoa with flavored vodka, cider with spiced rum, and coffee with Crown Royal.
Naturally, we tried several.
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The boulevardi-sleigh was the most unusual due to the addition of seltzer water, which was highly unnecessary and watered the cocktail down. If you're expecting a liquor forward cocktail, this one is not it. Or at the very least, something was really off on our order as it mostly tasted like campari and seltzer water.
The rest, however, were much more straight forward to what you'd expect and, even better, were quite boozy.
The rosemary-lemon mojito was one of our favorites and had a good balance between the rosemary infused vodka and mint. This one was definitely heavy on the herbs over the lemon and had a few fresh cranberries and mint on top for a beautiful winter garnish.
We also tried the bourbon-pumpking egg nog and the peppermint vodka hot cocoa which is about what you'd expect for a spiked drink that is heavy on the alcohol. Fairly straight forward iterations, but worth the price for the heavy-handed shot.
Overall, Tinsel Town Cocktails is a holiday bar in downtown Pittsburgh that, to be quite honest, not too many people are aware exists. The cocktail menu isn't the most robust, but they offer stiff drinks at decent prices that is perfect for a visit on a cold December evening when you're looking for some holiday cheer.
Tinsel Town Cocktails is located on the first floor of Harris Grill in downtown Pittsburgh at 245 Fourth Avenue.
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