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Grad student happy hour, Pittsburgh, early Nov -- help!

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Hi, all. I'm putting together a grad student/early career people happy hour for conference in early Nov. I need a place -- bar, pub, tapas place, we're flexible -- that is

-near the Omni William Penn hotel in downtown Pittsburgh (within a 10 min walk)
-could accommodate 25-40 people coming in for a few drinks
-is not a sports bar (there is supposed to be a game that weekend) or exceedingly loud
-preferably nonsmoking (?)

My personal preferences -- I'm organizing, after all! -- are for a place with terrific beers, an interesting wine list, and food that goes beyond the chicken wing. Thanks for any leads!

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  1. Tonic Bar and Grill, at Liberty and Wm Penn Place. But check in advance if it's not over budget for grad students.

    Also, the Church Brew Works, while a bit farther than walking distance, is very entertaining for tourists.

    1. Not walking distance, but Penn Brewery has a great downstairs space. Good German food and Penn Brewery beers. I don't know what arrangements they would be willing to make with you, but it is surely worth a 'phone call.

      1. Try Sonoma Grille on Penn Ave. If you are staying in the Omni, check out their ad in the Landmarks hotel book (it's in each of the rooms). I'm not for certain, but I think they cater to private parties. They also have great wine and food --- in that order ;). Here's the website that gives some restaurant listings:

        1. Hello! For a great bar I would try "Firehouse Lounge," who are always very accomodating with large crowds, especially for happy hour. (Ask for Alana, she does the PR and organizing.) They have a large selection of beers, excellent wine list, and amazing food (lots of tapas great for sharing). They are located in the Strip District, which may be a bit too far for a walk, but is definitely a short drive. The nice thing is that they have free parking in their lot.

          For a place (although a bit smaller and not a very interesting wine list) would be "Sharp Edge" in Bloomfield. This would not be walking distance, but it definitely has a GREAT list of Belgian beers. The food doesn't necessarily go beyond the "chicken wing" either.

          1. You might try calling Harris Grill in Shadyside. They have some space they can reserve for private parties, great drinks, and interesting, above-average "bar food." It's not close to downtown but there are plenty of public transit options in that area.

            1. I went to a CMU happy hour at Six Penn (at the corner of Sixth and Penn natch!) and it was very well done. They had reserved the entire top floor, and there were good beers on draft and good appetizers, and I'm pretty sure the whole place is non-smoking.

              Another fun place might be Seviche, on Penn - Latin-American cocktails and seviche. Or Olive or Twist on Sixth - great martinis and appetizers, though unfortunately not non-smoking last time I was there.

              2 Replies
              1. re: addiegirl

                i second seviche, olive or twist, tonic and sixpenn. agree that sharp edge would be great...although i dont know if they have private parties?

                1. re: yammers

                  I have seen private parties at the Sharp Edge in Friendship, they put them in that little area to your right as you come in the door, where the jukebox is. Not a bad deal, since the entire place is non-smoking now. It's not very convenient to downtown though.