Ok let’s start with the basics. Before tracking down the best whiskey spots in Pittsburgh, it’s probably a good idea to have a decent understanding of what whiskey is. For those of you who have already grasped this topic, do proceed…for the fellow whiskey-virgins, let us take a brief moment to educate ourselves.
According to our good friends (joke) over at Men’s Journal, Whiskey is a liquor primarily made from distilled grains such as rye, corn, or barley, then aged in wooden barrels. One of the most well-known whiskeys is Bourbon. This spirit is made from 51% corn, stored in a new-charred oak barrel, and must be distilled at no more than 160 proof. Major high-maintenance. The important thing to remember is that all Bourbon is whiskey but not all whiskey is Bourbon. Congrats! Whiskey 101 is complete and now we can move on to the fun stuff. See below for best whiskey spots in Pittsburgh!
Bridges & Bourbon
Can we start with the decor? Plush cushions, marble slab countertops, leather couches, and gold trim accents are accompanied by a backlit bar stacked high with spirits. The atmosphere combined with the moody lighting makes for a relaxed evening with one of the house-made blends Bridges & Bourbon is so known for. One of their newest creations, Fan the Flame combines Suntory Toki Japanese whiskey with citrus flavors for a drink that delights the taste buds. Oh, and did we mention the it’s on fire?
With a prime location right near the Benedum Theater, Bridges & Bourbon is the perfect stop pre or post-show for a whiskey or creative cocktail. Also, check out their outdoor ‘domes’ for an unforgettable dining experience available for parties up to 8. Information can be found on their Instagram, but be sure to call ahead for reservations!
J Gough's Tavern
One of the oldest bars in Pittsburgh, J Gough’s Tavern has been around since 1794 and has been providing customers with a vast array of spirits, good food, and live music. Their expansive drink menu plus the whiskey barrel chairs leave no doubt in our mind, J Gough means business. Be sure to check out their novelties menu for house cocktails or try out their whiskey ice cream for a sweet treat that’s sure to send your taste buds FLYING. Mark your calendars for June 25th for the start of their live music and entertainment. Check their website for upcoming schedules and events!
Get Ready. This James Beard finalist also holds the title of most awarded craft whisky distillery in the U.S (and best name?) Wigle Whiskey is on a mission to provide the community with quality products through local ingredients and in-house processes. Offering bottled cocktails and whiskey varieties, their in-house label can be found in locations throughout PA and they ship nationwide. But of course the best place for tasting is at Wigle Whiskey itself! Stop in on Saturdays for tours and tastings and creative cocktail classes, but be sure to book early because they fill up quickly. For a weekday experience, visit their dining room and try the Lonzetta Sandwich! The options are endless.
Monday | 11:00am–7:00pm (Kitchen Closed)
Tuesday | 11:00am–7:00pm (Kitchen Closed)
Wednesday | 11:00am–9:00pm (Kitchen Opens @2:00pm)
Thursday | 11:00am–9:00pm
Friday | 11:00am–10:00pm
Saturday | 11:00am–10:00pm
Sunday | 11:00am–6:00pm (Kitchen closes @4:00pm)
Wallace's Whiskey and Kitchen
A local favorite, Wallace’s Whiskey and Kitchen blends home-cooking with a diverse drink menu and welcoming atmosphere! Live music on Tuesdays and Thursdays only adds to the charm of this prohibition era hotspot. Gather friends or coworkers and spend a night enjoying good entertainment and quality beverages! If you’re looking for something a bit more interactive, head chef Sergio Rivera also offers the occasional BYOB cooking class. Fresh homemade pasta? Yes please! The activity/entertainment schedule changes often so check out their facebook page to stay current on all the happenings.
With a website almost as nondescript as it’s front door, Acacia is a hidden gem within the Pittsburgh bar scene. This Southside speakeasy has gained popularity for it’s low key presence and awesome cocktail menu. And it is a VIBE. The front door opens into a cozy yet roomy space with dim lighting, a bustling bar, and tables packed with patrons and newcomers alike! The menu changes frequently, so you’re likely to have new options with each visit. Their current menu? The 7 Deadly Sins: Vanilla, cinnamon, maple bitters, and Wild Turkey 101-Gluttony has never tasted quite so good.