The holidays are all about gifts and dodging questions about your ex from your Grandma — it’s also about your friends and family being back in Pittsburgh for a long weekend. If they’ve been gone for a while, they haven’t experienced all of the amazing new places the city has to offer. So over the break, it is your job to remind them how fun everything is right now.  Here are nine places that have opened within the past year (ish) that are built to impress for out of towners in for the weekend.

Miracle on Liberty 
If you love holiday cocktails, then this is a miracle.  Popping up in the former Dream Cream space (539 Liberty Ave) this month long cocktail pop-up started in NYC and is now cropping up in temporary spaces across the country.  The explosion of holiday decoration (think Bob’s Garage) is being steered by the talented Spencer Warren & company and no doubt will be packed every night of its month-long presence.  So make sure to make plans to get there between Nov 25-Dec 24 before its gone.

Ace Hotel
Now only does the Ace have one of the best restaurants in Pittsburgh (
Whitfield), they also have one of the coolest bar scenes in the city. Their drink menu is expertly curated with a mix of craft cocktails, great wine selection and solid local (and cheap) beers. If all that libation works up an appetite, order up some pierogies and duck fat kettle corn to soak it up. 

Make it nice, or make it twice… #amiright #macchiato #scone #breakfast #coffee #coffeelovers #pgh #burgh #shadyside #timeforadda

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Adda Coffee
Pittsburgh has always done coffee well (Espresso a Mano, Constellation, Commonplace Coffee) but Adda is still a welcome addition to Shadyside. Their decor is light and airy and the perfect place to post up and hear what’s been going on in your friends lives since you’ve seen them last.

Gilded Age. #tiki #?

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Hidden Harbor
You’ll feel like you stepped out of Pittsburgh and into Honolulu at this tiki-themed bar in Squirrel Hill. Tiki bars can sometimes be tacky but Hidden Harbor does it in a very fun, cheeky way. We’re big fans of their glassware as well — especially their pineapple and fish shaped mugs.  With a new cocktail and drink menu out, it is also an excuse for you to see what good stuff they have been working on.

There’s only ten restaurants a year that make Bon Appetit’s Best New Restaurants list — and Morcilla was ranked number four. It’s a challenge not ordering everything on the menu when there’s only two or three of you but when you have the whole crew together again — you can go a little H.A.M. (pun intended).  A warning, make reservations now if you want a table but the bar is usually not as packed for a small group to squeeze in.

It’s raining tomorrow. Plan accordingly.

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Row House Cinema
The holidays are a perfect time to see a movie — it’s a great excuse to get out of the house (and avoid Aunt Carol) without putting up too much effort. Skip the big chain movie theater and instead bring your friends to this locally-run single-screen cinema in Lawrenceville. You can a local brew to take inside with you — and  head downstairs to Bierport to for another beer afterward.

you had us at foie gras. double down | fried chicken | trenton pork roll | foie terrine | pepper jack | truffle aioli

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Pork and Beans
With the closing of Union Pig & Chicken (tear), Pittsburgh didn’t miss a beat with re upping our barbeque quota. And the team behind hotspots like Tako and Butcher has done it again.  The meat is spot on and has us thinking about their beer can chicken with piri piri all day. We’re also huge fans of their craft 40s list (served complete with brown paper bag) and their trashy Southern-inspired cocktails.

Above Round Corner Cantina sits a new Japanese restaurant — Umami. This is one of the best places in the city to bring a group of friends so you can try multiple small plates. The menu is pretty extensive — there’s the obvious sushi but also ramen and a sampling of Japanese street foods. This is still somewhat of a hidden gem, so getting reservations isn’t too tricky — yet. They also do late night ramen which is a huge upgrade on the normal greasy slice post-bar scene.

The Goldmark
Some nights you’re just in the mood to dance. Those nights, head to The Goldmark in Lawrenceville. This relatively new bar has the best music of any bar we’ve found in the neighborhood. This place feels a little more elevated than other “dance-y” bars in the city and we like it for the college-bar drink prices without the feeling-like-college atmosphere.