Where's the best place to enjoy more than 101 European beers? Beneath a 6,000 square-foot tent in the great outdoors, of course. That's where the Great European Beer Festival brings some of the best brews from across the pond—with special attention paid to the hops-filled land of Belgium. Names like Piraat, Lindeman’s, Chimay, and Duvel greet festival attendees as they work their way through the tent, which also shelters Belgian cuisine, live musicians, and the tinier musicians that live inside their tubas.
Hosted by the Sharp Edge Beer Emporium, The Great European Beer Festival has been a tradition for nearly two decades. The festivities kick off with an "Ultimate Bier Dinner," during which chefs pair Belgian ales with equally Belgian cuisine, such as duck sausage and imported cheese. The festival then hosts multiple beer-drinking sessions over the course of two days.
Over 30 different flavors of tobacco waft through the air inside Heavenly Hookah Lounge, ranging from Caramel Apple to Gumball to Tiger's Blood. Friends can relax with single-hose through six-hose hookahs, which can also hold hydro tobacco and nicotine-free flavors.
The cooks at Harris Grill populate their menu with American classics. They've got a bacon cheeseburger by the name of I Can Has Bacon Cheezburgher and a dish of marinated chicken skewers dubbed Britney Spears. To complement seasonal entrees and keep patrons on their toes, the selection of draft beer rotates often.
Lot 17's extensive menu offers a wide variety of decadent bar fare to fill grumbling stomachs. Leap into an order of crunchy chicken nachos ($7), or dive into a seaworthy Mediterranean salad of tomatoes, red peppers, and Kalamata olives, topped with feta, fried calamari, and lump crabmeat ($10). Lot 17 also offers enticing wraps, sandwiches, and entrees, including the salmon BLT, a hoagie-roll-shaped horn of plenty stuffed with grilled salmon, dill mayo, bacon, lettuce, and tomato ($9). As for land-meat eats, the black and blue Cajun-seasoned burger arrives blackened and topped with bacon and bleu cheese ($8.50), while tender baby back ribs make like a surrealist comment on the fluidity of time and melt off the bone into a bed of fries and slaw ($13 for a half rack, $17 for a full rack).
Owner and chef Omar Mediouni imbues La Casa Tapas and Wine Bar's menu of traditional Spanish and Moroccan small plates and entrees with local ingredients and an appetite for culinary fusion that, according to Pittsburgh City Paper, "combines sophistication and comfort, authenticity and simplicity." Flagpole-addicted tongues warm up with a choice of 16 hot tapas, including the chorizo catalan's spicy sautéed sausage and spinach in a red-wine reduction ($10), and tomatoes, sweet pepper, and eggplant form the base of a duo of Moroccan dips ($8 each). Larger entrees ($16–$28) sneak garbanzo beans, chicken, lamb, and eggplant into piles of couscous or saffron paella rice like parents tucking Easter eggs into an egg carton.
Nestled within a brick house along a neighborhood street in Shadyside, La Casa Tapas and Wine Bar greets springtime by opening its patio to warm breezes and showers of cupid arrows. Inside, a hanging Spanish guitar, lanterns lit by candles, and the wide grin of a bright red hearth contribute to a cozy, eclectic spirit.
Beginning with traditional American flavors, Toast! kitchen & wine bar's chefs elevate those dishes to new heights and create refined versions of familiar favorites. Habanero-spiced cheddar adds a piquant kick to servings of shrimp and organic corn grits, and flatbreads feature hearty toppings such as roasted mushrooms, brie, and white truffle oil. True to its name, Toast! also curates a selection of international wines available in tasting portions, glasses, or full bottles so the whole table can enjoy reading the label aloud.
Crimson walls, dark wooden rafters, and suede banquettes contribute to the space's calming and lounge-like ambiance. That quiet, cozy atmosphere inspired CBS Pittsburgh to place the wine bar on its 2013 list of the Best Bars For A Blind Date In Pittsburgh. As if to encourage refined conversation, framed artwork surrounds the dining room, lit by sconces and pendant lamps dangling above the bar.