With Halloween coming up around the corner, finding a great costume is on everyone’s mind. But once you find that special outfit, where are you going to go to show it all off? Here’s a compilation below of some great Pittsburgh bars that, throughout the years, have held fun costume contests on Halloween but also know how to throw a good party. Be sure to check ahead with these establishments before you get all decked out—but chances are, the party will be in full swing.
If you’re looking to dance the night away in your costume, bring your friends out to Whim (HalloWhim). With a capacity of over 16,000 square feet, state of the art lighting, and sound, there’s no better place for a Halloween-themed dance party. It has the largest dance floor in the city, and there’s plenty of drinks to go around with their six bars inside the club. Last year’s HalloWhim offered a number of different costume prizes, from overall top prize ($500), second place ($250), third ($100), most unique, sexiest and best group ($250 each). Look out for a balloon drop with prizes in it, ranging from cash, gift certificates, platinum cards and free bottle service. Dancing, great costumes and free cash—Halloween doesn’t get much better.
If you like your Halloween with a little bit of rock ‘n’ roll, then Altar Bar is one of the best. Formerly a church, Altar is much more than just your typical bar. In fact, its mission is to resurrect live music, and they’re doing just that in their 650 capacity venue. They’ve got a main floor with a full size stage, bar, runway and terrific sound system. Their upper balconies can hold about 150 people, offering the best view in the house for bar-hoppers looking to take in a great live show. And Halloween is no different. On Saturday, Oct. 29, there will be a Halloween Blowout, featuring a live performance by Buzz Poets and other special guests. Included in this Halloween bash will be a costume contest.
Hard Rock Cafe
Known for its rock ‘n’ roll flair and great music, the Hard Rock Café in Station Square has become an annual hotspot for Halloween partiers throughout the years. This year’s Halloween party is no exception. Forty Oz. to Freedom-Sublime Tribute Band will hit the stage, along with special guests Reel a Peel, Blaming Murphy and Dash City Skyline. The night doesn’t end there either—a Halloween costume contest is also planned for bar-goers to compete for the top prize. The place has a great atmosphere and is right in the heart of Station Square, a great location for Halloween night.
Jekyll and Hyde Bar
140 S. 18th St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
Hours: Mon to Thu, Sun – 12 p.m. to 12 a.m.; Fri to Sat – 12 p.m. to 4 a.m.
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It’s hard to refer to the word “bar” without South Side being mentioned in the same sentence. And it would be almost sacrilegious not to mention the Jekyll & Hyde Bar on Halloween, a bar which basically celebrates Halloween every day of the year. The drinks are Halloween-themed, and the bar is like stepping in a haunted house. This South Side destination offers a great Halloween party every year. Last year, costume contests went on all weekend, with cash prizes and goodies given away for the best costumes. So if you’re looking for a real deal Halloween experience, head on over to 18th Street for Jekyll & Hyde’s Halloween bash.
Carson City Saloon
If you’re a sports fanatic like most Pittsburghers, you’ve likely hung out at this bar plenty of times. They have tons of sports memorabilia and HD televisions that make watching the game a fun experience. And the fun continues every Halloween as well. Last year’s festivities included discounted drinks as well as a huge grand prize for best costume: $500 (not bad for the $20 you spent making your costume). They’ve even got a full menu, with soups, sandwiches, burgers and more. Of course they’ve got a great bar in a great location for bar-hoppers. Also, this place will likely be rocking on October 30—the New England Patriots are coming to town. So grab your Polamalu wig and a beer and enjoy the Halloween festivities at the Saloon (no guarantees you’ll win anything with that wig, though).
Christine Mouser is currently living in the Pittsburgh area, where she is an editorial intern for Pittsburgh Magazine. She is set to graduate from Penn State University this summer, with a degree in print journalism. She has written for HappyValley.com, Town&Gown magazine and Penn State’s Valley magazine.