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Can't Get Into These Bars & Restaurants? Try Going During A Penguins Playoff Game

Dave J. Bruce Photography
via Station
Though Station, in Bloomfield, typically slows down during the hockey playoff games, you can still munch on their crispy chili wings while catching the game on their TVs.

The Penguins just need four more wins before we're in the Stanley Cup finals ... AGAIN. 

A lot of us are super stoked -- and some of us don't really care (I know, I know).

But even if you don't care about watching the Pens play, there is another benefit to an extended hockey season, especially if you're a bit of a foodie: checking out one of the city's popular bars and restaurants that are usually hard to get into.  

There's a long list to choose from, especially since the Steel City was named Top Food City by Zagat in recent years

We called around and confirmed with all of the restaurants below that they tend to see smaller crowds during Penguins playoff games. The always packed, Gaucho, for example? If you can handle missing Crosby, you'll have just a five-minute wait.

So, if you're not interested in elbowing your way through a sea of black-and-gold jerseys at the sports bar, consider hunkering down in one of these spots once the puck drops. 


3519 Butler Street

Known For: Spanish tapas and charcuterie

Order: Beef tartare and a Gran Paseo (a bourbon-based cocktail)

Bonus: Nominated for a James Beard award in 2016 

Credit Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA
90.5 WESA
Chicken liver mousse with brown butter crumbs and sourdough makes a tasty treat at Station's bar.


4744 Liberty Avenue

Known For: Modern American with a twist

Order: Crispy chili chicken wings and popcorn panna cotta

Bonus: The bar does have TVs, if you *do* want to watch the game

Credit Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA
90.5 WESA
An old fashioned at Butterjoint, though the bar also features a rotating list of craft beers.


214 North Craig Street

Known For: A robust selection of craft beers and hamburgers ground in-house

Order: The burgers or their fresh made pieogis

Bonus: You can start with drinks at Butterjoint and grab dinner at their sister restaurant, Legume, next door

The Vandal

4306 Butler Street 

Known For: "Hyper-seasonal" veggie dishes 

Order: The salmon with celery root risotto and parsnip puree 

Bonus: It's BYOB

Credit Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA
90.5 WESA
Sip on one of Hidden Harbor's tropical and festive cocktails while everyone else is out watching the game.

Hidden Harbor

1708 Shady Avenue 

Known For: Festive tiki-style drinks and tropical treats

Order: Ahi tuna poke and Curse of Pele (made with navy-strength rum)

Bonus: Hop next door to their sister bar, Independent Brewing Company, for beers after

Credit Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA
90.5 WESA
Gaucho, in the Strip District, can often have a long line to order. During Penguins games, though, it's only about a 5-minute wait.


1601 Penn Avenue

Known For: Wood-fired food with an "Argentine flare"

Order: The rib eye topped with their fresh chimichurri

Bonus: BYOB with no corkage fee  

Sarah Kovash previously worked as a web producer for KDKA-TV, as a freelance journalist for the Valley News Dispatch covering local government throughout the Alle-Kiski Valley and at NPR station KPBS in San Diego.