It’s simple, writes Esquire in its article on the Best Bars in America in 2017. “These are our favorite bars, new and not so much, which we’ve inducted into our growing Hall of Fame. Jeff Gordinier and Kevin Sintumuang are our lead barflies, drinking at dozens of places over the past year, with a lot of help from trusted friends.”
Their trusted friend in Pittsburgh turns out to be John Allison—the beloved John Allison from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette—who led them to two bars he especially enjoys.
The first is Gooski’s which John enjoys for the non-gentrification, a dive bar that makes its nut in volume, not markup, writes Esquire.
“The bartenders command the dark, smoky room with the no-nonsense authority of French bistro waiters, able to discern orders over the punk-rock jukebox playlist competing with whatever game is on TV. It’s plunked on a steep street in the echt-Pittsburgh neighborhood of Polish Hill, which will never appear gentrified even if it becomes so. ‘If you needed Yelp to find this place, you don’t belong here’ is among the passive-aggressive edicts chalked on the wall, but once you’re in, you belong. 3117 Brereton Street Pro tip: Try the pierogies.”
The next is Spirit—”John gets lost in the adult fun house”—a former Moose lodge in Lawrenceville.
“Spirit inhabits a former Moose lodge in Lawrenceville, Pittsburgh’s working-class neighborhood voted most likely to resemble Williamsburg, Brooklyn. But banish the notion of air-quotes irony permeating the multilevel venture: It welcomes all in the name of great pizza for carnivores and vegans alike, cold beer, quality cocktails, live music, local art, and something festive always percolating. 242 51st Street Pro tip: Head outside to the decommissioned school bus with a free jukebox full of local music and a petite bar.”
Read the entire list here.