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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Biergarten - Hotel Monaco


Prost
You pay for a nice view, but I have to say that the view at the Biergarten is fantastic. Although the space is very small, it provides an entirely unique view of downtown Pittsburgh. Because our city has so much open space around the edges, most roof top views provide you with the feeling that you are isolated. Biergarten is situated right in the heart of the city so the view actually creates the facade that you are in some type of booming metropolis rather than the 62nd largest city by population in the United States.

Now when I say you pay for it, I mean it. The cheapest beers at Biergarten will cost you around $7 or $8. And don't think you can get off easy ordering a Miller Lite, because there isn't much of a discount. Considering the ABV of many of the German beers, you are better off going with a Spaten Optimator or Paulner Hefewiezen in order to optimize your buck. Also, don't count on happy hour discounts as none exist.

Salad
This cucumber salad with onions and pickled eggs came with a delicious tangy vinegar dressing. It was the perfect dish to stimulate my desire for thick German beer. Also, it was appropriately priced at $5. If you want to sit down and eat at Biergarten, be sure to arrive early. We were the first ones on the roof when it opened and every seat was probably filled within 15 minutes. The cost to reserve a table is exorbitant. I believe they wanted roughly $1000 to reserve a table for 12. OUTRAGEOUS! I could probably buy a liquor license in Homstead for that price.


Sauerbraten

The large tables at Biergarten are shared, similar to what you see at any German beer hall. Some fat hog sat down next to me and ordered the sauerbraten and proceeded to send it back two times because the meat was too fatty. I'm guessing that she was not familiar with brisket. This sauerbraten dish consisted of vinegared beef brisket, mashed potatoes and sauerkraut. I thought it was fantastic. Although fatty (as brisket should be) the meat was extremely tender. The portion was awfully small for the $14 price point, but I've already explained that you will be paying dearly for the wonderful view. 


Currywurst

This is my friend Eric. Eric ordered the Currywurst and smoked mussels. I believe he had a pretty nice evening until he got stuck in one of the Hotel Monaco elevators on his way out of Biergarten and was stranded for almost an hour. (The elevator situation is not ideal.) I have scarcely seen him since and I'm pretty sure he blames me for his misfortune.

Overall, Biergarten is a must visit. Arrive early and enjoy a glass of wine at no charge in the Hotel Monaco lobby from 5-6. This will help defray your beer expenses later in the evening.


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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Hough's - Sweetwater Brewing Night





Special thanks to guest correspondents, Simon and David! 

Sweetwater put on a great show on Wednesday at Hough's. There were over 40 people in attendance and they had some fantastic snacks including pulled pork tacos and some delicious seared ahi tuna. Phil from Sweetwater told us that they are planning on expanding this year to the Pittsburgh region from their home town of Hotlanta.



Sweetwater beers are unfiltered  so you can expect to see more draft offerings as opposed to bottles. The pilsner was the crowd favorite but we expect that the 420 ale with its hoppy flavors will have a great following as well. Look for their blueberry beer to launch soon!

I can't wait to see what Sweetwater has in store for us in the coming months.


Monday, May 25, 2015

Mitchell's Bar and Restaurant

Cheez
SO I have some great things to say about Mitchell's. First of all Matt Mitchell is the man. The restaurant has been in his family for four generations and he brings an exciting new energy to the space. Secondly, the specials are pretty great for a downtown bar. During happy hour on Thursday you can enjoy half off the appetizer menu, bar trivia and $3 craft bottles. Considering that some of the craft bottles were in the range of 9% ABV, we all got a little toasty. (Bell's Two Hearted, some nice Belgium's and a number of IPAs.)

Mitchell's menu has a number of  standard bar offerings. Nothing was flashy, but everything was well prepared. I really enjoyed my hand-breaded friend cheese. Also, Mitchell's placed free food all over the bar throughout the evening including soft pretzels, onion rings and fried zucchini. Overall Mitchell's is a top-rate bar for a cheap downtown happy hour. Although it is possibly not well suited for the cosmo-drinking Sex in the City crowd, it is certainly my type of joint.

Burger Model
Can Rashan has Cheezburger?


Mitchell's Restaurant, Bar and Banquet Center on Urbanspoon

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Howl at the Moon

WOLF WOLF

Howl! Not only is it a fantastic poem by some beatnik, but now it is also a piano bar downtown. Howl was kind enough to invite our entire group to check out their place for their soft opening in April. It was really a great space and we also loved the staff!



Expect to see some talented artists perform! My neighbor Annie was among the many vocalists and pianists featured throughout the night. Most of the music was modern rock with a few classics tossed in for good measure. I've heard that the place has been swamped the last few weekends, so you might consider a reservation.

Food Model Riesa
On the night of their opening Howl offered us a wide variaty of tasty treats such as chicken skewers, egg rolls, fried mac and cheese, crab stuffed mushrooms and all sorts of other standard party foods. It is not clear from their website if they regularly offer food or if this was a one-time special offering.



Here's a bucket of drinks! In addition to a full bar, Howl has all sorts of crazy cocktails that are perfect for girls in their early twenties or extravagant moms out for a night on the town. (I enjoyed trying the bucket drink, but I just can't drink the sugary stuff anymore because I have the gout.)




Howl at the Moon on Urbanspoon

Archie's

Wingz
Let me tell you something, Archie's has stepped up their wing game. The last time I tried wings at Archie's I was not entirely impressed. I thought the wings were pretty average.

However, upon my last visit I am thrilled to report that the wings were arguably some of the best in the Southside. Some of the flavors I enjoyed included spicy thai, spicy parmesan, cajun, hot and spicy ranch. All were fried to perfection and perfectly sauced!

Archie's real selling point is that you can enjoy 35 cent wings Monday through Thursday. (They jack up the cost on the weekends for all the tourists.) I believe this is what they call a lost leader. Boss man Archy gets you in the door with cheap wings and profits on your need for alcohol. Because, let's be honest, you can't eat chicken wings and not have a beer.


 Archies on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

MUSIC TO MY BEERS!

COORS
GUYS!

This is your final reminder to enter for the Music to my Beers Coors Light competition to win a season pass to every concert at Stage AE through October 1. All you have to do is Tweet, Instragram or post on Facebook using hashtag #MusicToMyBeers along with your favorite summer song. Mine is absolutely Me and Julio Down by the School Yard by Paul Simon. You can also enter at http://musictomybeerspgh.com/

Also, if you win, you have to take me to at least one concert.

HAPPY SUMMER


Thursday, April 16, 2015

William Penn Tavern


Wade is an amazing food model.
The William Penn Tavern is a staple of Shadyside debauchery.  Unlike many of the larger and more corporate Shadyside establishments, the William Penn is more of a neighborhood bar. The staff is friendly, helpful and often extremely busy. (Good luck getting a drink on a crowded night.)

The William Penn is known for their chicken wings. I have no problem calling them the best wings in Shadyside, as it is actually quite difficult to think of another serious contender in such an upscale anti-chicken-wing neighborhood.

The go to William Penn Tavern wing sauce is one of those everything sauce varieties they call, "kitchen sink." Kitchen sink sauce tastes of garlic, celery salt and onion powder. There are probably lots of other ingredients as well, but they were hard to discern. The sauce has just the right amount of kick and the wings are almost perfectly crispy every time.

Thursday happens to be taco night and these tacos were worth exactly what I paid for them. (Maybe a little bit more.) They reminded me of the tacos my mother made in the 1980's from the Ortega kit. Cold tortillas, salty meat, iceberg lettuce, mild cheddar and some limp tomatoes. Not great, but absolutely worth $1.25..

TACO NIGHT


William Penn Tavern on Urbanspoon