Pittsburgh has a unique nightlife scene with a high concentration of watering holes throughout its region that includes everything from modern lounges to some of the best bars with history in Pittsburgh. While it’s certainly fun to celebrate and relax at Pittsburgh’s hottest hangouts, its historic bars, with their rich and intriguing backstories, are among the city’s most intoxicating places to grab a drink. Some boast a haunting past while others celebrate the culture and distinctiveness of the city. Pull up a barstool and grab a drink at these historically significant Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania bars.
The Century Inn
2175 E. National Pike
Scenery Hill, PA 15360
You’ll need to venture just outside the downtown Pittsburgh area to find the historic Century Inn, a well-preserved and captivatingly charming bed-and-breakfast, restaurant and saloon. Many well-known visitors have made stops at this National Road lodge, including Henry Clay, Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, Chief Blackhawk and the Marquis de LaFayette. Since 1794, this gorgeous inn has evolved to now feature a welcoming tavern serving an extensive selection of beer, scotch, wine and spirits. Delicately conserved are unique memorabilia and displays from its earliest years, including an original flag from the Whiskey Rebellion, and1800’s-style carousel horse and two original benches from the inn. Century Inn is located in beautiful Scenery Hill, roughly an hour drive south of Pittsburgh, in Washington County.
Church Brew Works
3525 Liberty Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15201
Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood is now home to many of the city’s best bars and bustling nightlife activities, but more than 200 years ago, the area was just developing into an industrial-centered hotspot. By 1868, Lawrenceville has bloomed into a populated borough and countless churches began to be built throughout its streets by the Diocese of Pittsburgh to meet the needs of hundreds of Scottish and Irish Catholics who had moved into the community. Among these was St. John the Baptist Church, which current locals recognize as Church Brew Works brewpub, a Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundations landmark attraction. Swing by to sample its award-winning beers, indulge in its homemade dessert menu or satisfy your appetite for the city’s most delicious menu of sandwiches, salads, soups and starters. Celebrate a bit of history at Church Brew Works’ Liberty Avenue location.
Jean Bonnet Tavern
6048 Lincoln Highway
Bedford, PA 15522
The hauntingly historic Jean Bonnet Tavern is another tavern that is well worth the near two-hour drive to Bedford County. With a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, this charming inn and tavern is full of character and important chronicles of western Pennsylvania’s past. Among its historical significance is its role as a resting place for the region’s earliest travelers and settlers, a congregating point for farmers of the Whiskey Rebellion and a campout for President George Washington’s troops in 1794. Today, however, Jean Bonnet Tavern is known for much more, including extensive beer/wine list, tavern food and drink specials and its fascinating ghosts rumored by both guests and employees to haunt the bar area. Jean Bonnet Tavern is definitely worth a visit and its convenient location on Lincoln Highway in Bedford.
Clark Bar & Grill
D.L. Clark Building
503 Martindale St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Pittsburghers recognize Clark Bar & Grill as a longstanding establishment in the city for more than 20 years, but the building’s history goes all the way back to 1886 with Irish immigrant David Clark. Mr. Clark purchased the D.L. Clark Building, an impressive six-story factory, more than 75 years ago as an upgrade from the small home where he was manufacturing Pittsburgh’s iconic Clark Bar candy bar; however, it wasn’t until 1989 when the building was remodeled to include several offices and the current Clark Bar & Grill. Much like Mr. Clark’s sweet confection, the bar and restaurant combination quickly earned its place as a Pittsburgh institution, boasting some of the best happy hour specials, entrées and drinks in the city. Despite its rich history, the Clark Bar & Grill has continued to evolve and mature and now includes its new cigar lounge called The Cigar Bar. Clark Bar & Grill is situated in the D.L. Clark Building on Martindale Street on the city’s North Side.
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Jessica Wasik is a graduate of Robert Morris University with a degree in English Studies. She is also a contributing writer for AXS.com and Examiner.com. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.