DJs may be a staple of nightlife and most music these days may be digital, but jukeboxes can still be found in some of Pittsburgh’s bars–and in some cases, a bar’s jukebox is among patrons’ favorite things. Don’t like DJs? Want to play DJ yourself for a little while for a small fee and show off your own great taste in music? Try one of these bars, and don’t expect them all to be new and digital. Some bars are still rocking jukes loaded with CDs to choose from.
3117 Brereton St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Located in Pittsburgh’s Polish Hill, Gooski’s is a well-liked dive with a jukebox that’s almost as popular as the bar itself–instead of the newer, more modern digital jukeboxes typical in bars these days, Gooski’s still rocks a jukebox with CDs to choose from and is often praised for its 100 CD selection of punk and alternative music. Pop in a dollar to get three songs, seven for $2, or 21 for $5. While you’re there, play some pool or ping-pong and enjoy food and drinks, including homemade pierogis, at pretty cheap prices. Just make sure you take cash.
19 S. 27th St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
Whether you’re looking for breakfast in the morning or a drink and meal at any point through the rest of the day, try hidden South Side favorite Nadine’s. The family-owned bar and restaurant has been open since 2001 and sports a more modern digital jukebox, meaning almost any song you can think of is at your disposal. Nadine’s is also a great spot to watch a game with its crowd of regulars, and they’ve been featured on the show “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.”
1117 E. Carson St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
Named on of the city’s best bars in 2014, Jack’s sports a diverse crowd–including occasional appearances from Steeler Ben Roethlisberger–and cheap drinks. Venture to the back room and you’ll find bar staples like darts and pool tables, as well as one of the bar’s two jukeboxes, featuring a good bit of rock music. Jack’s also still allows smoking inside, in case you’re either looking for that or looking to avoid it.
The Modern Cafe
862 Western Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15233
If you’re looking for a jukebox on the North Side, The Modern Cafe is the place to go. Their menu offers typical bar fare like onion rings or wings, and their alcohol selection is pretty extensive, too — they offer over 90 beers, as well as a wide variety of liquor to suit all your needs for shots or mixed drinks. As for the jukebox, you won’t find it stocked with CDs–at the Modern Cafe, it’s a newer, digital jukebox connected to the internet, giving you access to just about anything you want to play.
6425 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
A relatively newer establishment-it opened in 2013 — Social is housed in Bakery Square and focuses on, well, socializing. So maybe it’s no surprise that they feature a jukebox, allowing patrons to share their own musical tastes with everyone. Social also offers plenty of food, including vegetarian dishes.
Janelle Sheetz is a 20-something closed-captioner by day, writer by night, just outside of Pittsburgh. She also regularly contributes to AXS.com and Examiner.com, and her writing has also been featured on The Billfold and Neutrons Protons.