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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pizza Roma - Sewickley

I've been going to Pizza Roma for a very long time. Long enough that I recognize people at the bar, and they recognize me -  well enough to know that I am nothing but trouble. Pizza Roma is a dark, smokey, smelly rat-hole. It is the one bar in Sewickley that I am proud to call home. (If you want to go out in Sewickley, don't forget your pants with the little animals on them, a backwards hat and a popped collar.)

Drinks are remarkably cheap. The specials and crowd are even better: free pizza Wednesdays, $2 domestics on Fridays, $10 buckets, snarky bartenders and inscrutable patrons. If you've been to Roma's more than three times, you probably know everyone at the bar.

I really like Roma's food. The pizza is about as greasy as possible - DELICIOUS. The toppings are so heavy, the cheese is so plentiful and the crust is so thin that you can't even go with the New York style fold. Basically, you just need to jam the pizza in your face to the best of your individual ability. Overall the food is great - top-notch bar food with Pittsburgh style portions.

I have so many fond memories of Pizza Roma, I feel obliged to share just a few: a hostage situation in the women's restroom, police showing up to make arrests on multiple unrelated occasions, Raynie's falling asleep at the bar and waking up to pre-purchased rounds of shots from strangers, poop on the wall in the  restroom and lots of sad adult-style Sewickley romance.

Pizza Roma on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

LOCAL - Southside

Unlock Pittsburgh Wing Crew
I like writing positive reviews. They make everyone feel all warm and fuzzy, no feelings are hurt, hand shakes are readily extended and everyone smiles. Local did a great job providing us with a really nice happy hour. They graciously extended the time frame for drink and food specials. All draft beers for only $3 and this included the nicer drafts like the Great Divide Yeti. (Please note that you should not try to drink five Yetis in one sitting. At 9.50% ABV it will jazz you up like a sad clown. )

I was especially excited for happy hour at Local as the Unlock Pittsburgh wing crew showed up to partake in the fun. The end result was a disaster, a thick brown disaster.  There is one essential rule when serving chicken wings. DON'T SERVE ME UNDERCOOKED CHICKEN WINGS.  The wings at Local actually showed some potential due to a couple of decent flavors, in particular the garbage wings and the honey bbq. However, as you can tell from the picture below, the wings were extremely undercooked. This was remarkably disappointing considering that we ordered them extra crispy.

Diarrhea city, bro.
I hate to write a bad review of a happy hour that showed so much promise and a restaurant that is generally decent. (I like the pizza and the other appetizers have always been pretty good.) But I just can't allow such a disaster to go without remark.

If it was up to me Local would be forced to place an astrix on their menu that states: "WARNING, consuming undercooked poultry can greatly increase your chances of butt trauma."

Local Bar + Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 16, 2012

STANDARD - Washington D.C.

So occasionally I am so amazed by a menu offering that I simply cannot say no. Standard in Washington D.C. is this wonderful outdoor bar with a pleasant selection of German beers. While looking over the beer menu I noticed something amazing. An entire pig's head for only 18 dollars!! Although I had just eaten a large breakfast pizza, I simply couldn't resist.

Piggin' Out.
The most difficult part of dealing with this pig's head was determining how to eat the thing. The staff at Standard gave us very little instruction. The waiter simply said, "just flip it over and starting spooning it out." We ate most of the cheek meat which was succulent and wonderful, very fatty and similar to pork shoulder. Next I believe we ate part of the brain and some of the throat glands, I'm not really sure. I would describe that meat as a little more coarse in texture with a much richer flavor. We managed to garner the attention of the entire restaurant while trying to eat the thing, we even convinced some other patrons to order their own pig's head.

While the staff wasn't very helpful by way of instruction, they did wrap the rest of the head for my friend Nick Smyth to take home. I can't wait to hear how he used it. (Hopefully to scare an enemy by leaving it on his doorstep.)

 Standard on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 8, 2012

River City Inn - Downtown

River City Inn is one of those strange little downtown bars that is quite easy to overlook. It is situated in PPG place in an unassuming little facade - dark wood interior, smokey and quaint. Although they specialize in lunch, if you call ahead they can arrange for dinner time snacks.

The owner Ed was kind enough to provide us with this nice tray of sandwiches and some SHRIMP. The drinks are reasonably cheap, the food has no defining characteristics and the crowd is warm and friendly. Certain foods just aren't reviewable. These sandwiches and shrimp are such foods.

Here is where this blog post takes a dark turn. Before last week I'd never visited the River City Inn. I'd never heard of anyone visiting. I barely knew the place existed. From our visit I gleaned one good tale of despair that I think everyone must hear. This bar used to have a fat and jolly old bartender who had worked at the River City Inn for over twenty years. He used to throw parties for people in the service industry and was apparently a very fun and well-liked gentleman.

I guess one night he closed the bar down as usual and jumped in the river, never to be seen alive again. He must not have liked the shrimp.

River City Inn on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 1, 2012


I'm honestly at a loss of words as to how I can describe Perle. I'll make a run at it anyhow. Perle is trendy champagne night club - meets Jersey Shore -  meets fifty-something fuck-scene. The bar was loaded with older gentlemen escorted by much younger ladies, and everyone was dressed for prom. But not the prom you went to, prom from a movie where Usher, Justin Beiber and Lindsay Lohan are still in high school in their mid fifties. The in look for men was muscles, tinted sunglasses and graphic tee shirts. As for the ladies, plastic surgery is a must and dresses should be short enough to partially expose your lady parts.We just happened in on a night where there was a lingerie calendar signing, so maybe Perle isn't always so intense.

Regarding the food, I don't have a single complaint. I tried the ceviche, the bruschetta, Cuban sandwiches, shrimp salad and crepes. (There were lots of free samples out for everyone to enjoy.) All were top notch. From the ceviche, pictured above, it is evident that Perle is owned by the same individuals who run the restaurant Seviche in the cultural district. A wonderful array of flavors, well presented and delicately balanced - very similar to what you would get down the street at Seviche.The real specialty of Perle (other than debauchery and plastic surgery) seems to be the crepes. The menu has about ten different varieties and the banana dessert crepe pictured below was fantastic. We actually fought over the last few bites.

Here is my overall take on the bar. Good food, interesting decor and a great kitchen staff. For a place that claims to be a champagne bar, it seems unreasonable that their champagne taps don't work. If you are looking for a casual happy hour, this is not your place. If you are a regular at Diesel and the Southside, and you are starting to feel too old to go to Diesel, this is your place.

Perlé on Urbanspoon