The diverse crowds at Level 20 Sports Bar Restaurant seem to always keep it busy. Boasting big-screen TVs, an upscale menu, and a spacious atmosphere, patrons have plenty for which to come back. The lofted banquet provides an ideal viewing space for their plethora of widescreen TVs, and ensures baseball fans won’t miss any animated arguments between umpires and managers. Specials and events, such as the weekly saturday night karaoke, help regular patrons avoid routine fatigue, and Level 20’s banquet hall is ideal for hosting class reunions, birthday parties and family get-togethers.
The culinary craftsmen at Dukes Station II tame appetites with a menu of classic American fare. Populate mouth-caves with a crispy basket of shrimp ($4.95) or a helping of jalapeño poppers ($4.95) for a hotter beginning than a phoenix’s 21st rebirthday. A lineup of more than 30 phalange-fillers includes the cheeseburger ($5.95); a half-rack of ribs ($12.95) meets the Constitution-mandated requirement to pronounce something as “finger-licking good” in order to be able to vote. Landlubbing entrees such as spaghetti and meatballs ($7.25) alternate with seafaring treats such as luscious crab cakes ($9.95), and individually sized pizzas come festooned in traditional cheese toppings ($3.95) or with a zesty taco flair ($4.50). Miniature masticators can indulge in kids’ menu items or steal peppermints from a neighbor’s pocket.
The puff pros at Jernigan's, voted one of 2010's top 20 bars in Pittsburgh Magazine, open their walk-in humidor to smokers of all stripes, serving fine spirits and classy cuisine in an intimate atmosphere reminiscent of the collegial camaraderie of an Irish pub. Stogie devotees can chew on a classic Padron Anniversario, aged four years, or parse words with a Hemingway Series cigar filled with earthy flavors, a spicy finish, and terse stories of its youth spent hunting squirrels in rural Illinois.
Hookah Bookah wafts the gentle aromas of its tobacco arsenal, allowing patrons to customize their hookahs with various flavors, a number of bowls and hoses, and an appetizing menu of munchables. A single bowl ($9.95) can brim with one of 22 premium, flavored tobaccos, such as mango, jasmine, or honey ($1 for single flavor), or with a heaping of 1 of 14 exotic tobaccos from a list that includes banana split and pomegranate ($3 for single flavor). Lung-powered fog machines can arrive sporting up to three distinct hoses ($4), although Hookah Bookah's policies foster sanitary smoke-ring creation by mandating that no more than three guests may share a multihose hookah and only one person may use a single-hose hookah. Patrons can accessorize their mini-cloud generators with natural coals, ice in the base, or political bumper stickers for additional fees.
Villa Southside attracts diners and dancers alike with its two-floor layout, happy-hour specials on drinks and small plates, and minimalist décor. Chefs craft small-plate dioramas showing crisp fresh-cut fries searching for their reflections in malt vinegar ($4), Villa wings pursued by an angry mob of hot sauces ($8), and lightly breaded calamari ($10) dancing on the edge of a marinara volcano. An extensive drink list includes Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, Sam Adams' seasonal selection on draft, and eight wines by the glass. Specialty cocktails include the banana-cream-pie martini, which melds the abandon of drive-by pie-tossing with the elegance of a sippable dessert ($9–$14).