Nightlife

Location
Pittsburgh, PA
Undergrads
17,256
Tuition (in-state)
$26,280 ($16,590)
Admission Difficulty
Average
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Reviews

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4 College Junior

Nightlife: I live right by Walnut st. which has a pretty good night life on the weekends. Lots of great bars that have a fun and safe atmosphere.

4 College Freshman

Nightlife: People party different days of the week, depending upon how they feel. Also, those who are at least 21 can do an "Oakland bar crawl," which is when people go from one bar to another along Forbes Ave. If you feel unsafe going home, you can go use SafeRider, which is a transportation service to take you home. Also, for those under 21, you can go to off-campus parties or frat houses to drink alcohol if you want to.

4 College Freshman

Nightlife: Plenty of bars on the southside.

4 College Freshman

Nightlife: (UNDER 21) If you aren't in Greek life, getting into parties can be tough for a guy. Joining clubs and actually meeting people on your floor helps. There are always dozens of house parties in South O and several frat parties on any given weekend, the trouble is knowing where. For girls party hopping is common, frats usually welcome somewhat attractive females regardless of if they're in a sorority or not. Additionally, there are on campus bars which are easy enough to get into with a fake. The school is in Pittsburgh so our nightlife is better than most schools. Your Pitt ID will get you on any bus for free so getting downtown and to other schools is very easy.

5 College Freshman

Nightlife: As a freshman, your options (from worst to best) include: dorm drinking, wandering Oakland for house parties or open 'frat' parties, getting invited to house parties, Fraternity parties (assuming you're Greek or get invited).... Above 21 (or with a decent fake) there are a lot of great bars and clubs around Pittsburgh to go to.

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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 34th
    Best Drink Prices
  • 50th
    Biggest Party Schools
  • 1322nd
    Tamest Party Scenes

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Courtney Vock
Hometown
Pittsburgh, PA
Major
Creative Non-Fiction Writing
View all previous student authors

There are plenty of things going on in Pittsburgh any given night. Generally, as long as you're willing to seek out activities, you won't be at a loss. There are a number of bars close to campus that are popular with Pitt students, and even more up the street in Shadyside that are usually frequented by CMU and grad students. Many students choose to stick around Oakland for the convenience and the drink specials. Parties run rampant around campus on weekends between South Oakland and CMU house parties and frat events at both schools. Guys will have a hard time getting into frats unless they know someone, but girls shouldn't have any trouble. House parties on the other hand are open to everyone. But guys, be ready to pay at any frat or house party you go to, girls are usually free.

The city's nightlife shouldn't exhaust itself before the school year does. If you're willing to hop a bus or take a cab, the clubs of the Strip District, the North Shore, and Station Square are all great potential evenings. The bars in the South Side also offer limitless possibilities and varieties. Overall, there is still a lot to do and find around Pitt, no matter how old you are—as long as you're willing to look around and be creative.
 

Facts & Statistics

Primary Areas with Nightlife
  • Oakland
  • Shadyside
  • South Side
  • Station Square
  • The Strip
Student Favorites
  • Hemingway's Café
  • Mad Mex
  • Matrix
  • Peter's Pub
Other Places to Check Out
  • Bar 11
  • Bar Louie
  • Bootlegger's
  • Casey's
  • Club Café
  • Club Havana
  • Doc's
  • Gene's Place
  • Jack's
  • Jekyll And Hyde's
  • Mario's
  • Smokin' Joe's
  • Tiki Lounge
  • Touch
  • Town Tavern
  • Uncle Jimmy's
  • William Penn Tavern
  • The World
Local Specialties
Iron City and I.C. Light:
Favorite Drinking Games
  • Beer pong
  • Card games
  • Flip Cup
  • Power Hour
Useful Resources for Nightlife
  • www.barsmart.com
  • www.pghcitypaper.com
  • www.pghnightlife.com
Closing Time
1:40 a.m.-2 a.m.
Cheapest Place to Get a Drink
Hemingway's Cafe
Did You Know?
  • Telefact, a student-run campus group, sponsors and staffs a hotline that students can call for information during the week. By calling (412) 624-FACT between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays, you can talk to a student operator who will answer questions about local events, movie times, bus schedules, and much more! For more information on this great service, check out: www.pitt.edu/~telefact.
  • As an attempt to connect Pitt students to Pittsburgh's art scene, the school offers a student-only program called Pitt Arts, in which the University buys tickets for plays, visiting speakers, art exhibits, dance performances, musicals, or other cool events in the Pittsburgh area, as well as those traveling events passing though the city, and offers them to students either for free, or at very low cost. Tickets are divied out on a first-come, first-serve basis, so as soon as a student hears about a coming attraction, they need to check out Pitt Art's Web site at www.pitt.edu/~pittarts to reserve their spots.

Club ListingsWhat's This?

The Matrix

The Matrix combines four different rooms into one nightclub. Club Liquid plays Miami-style trance, Club Exit plays New York-style house, Club Goddess plays top 40 music and old-school hip hop, and Club Velvet plays Latin music that is slightly old. The Matrix gets very packed, but it is fun because you can switch your dance music depending on your mood. They have a dress code, and their biggest night is Thursday.

1 Station Square Unit E7

Station Square

(412) 261-2220

Elixir Ultra Lounge

1500 E. Carson St.

South Side

(412) 481-1811

www.elixirpgh.com

Zen Social Club

125 W. Station Square Dr.

Station Square

(412) 528-4847

www.zensocialclub.com

Saddle Ridge

Located near the Matrix in Station Square, Saddle Ridge is a country club featuring line-dancing bartenders, mediocre drink specials, and a mechanical bull. Though there is little mainstream music played at Saddle Ridge, many country-music lovers and even non-country music lovers drop by to give the Boot Scoot Boogie a shot, at least once. There is no dress code, but Saddle Ridge is the only place in Pittsburgh you're bound to spot hundreds of cowboy hats and plaid shirts intermingled with flashy club wear.

4 Station Square Dr. E,

Station Square

(412) 434-6858

www.saddleridgepittsburgh.com

Bar Room

7 Station Square Dr.

Station Square

(412) 434-8100

barroompittsburgh.com

Altar Bar

1620 Penn Ave.

Strip District

(412) 283-2877

www.myspace.com/altarbar

Dolce

2829 E. Carson St.

South Side

(412) 586-7422

www.thedolcelounge.com

Diesel

Diesel is a great club in the South Side that offers a variety of VIP services such as bottle service, a lounge area, VIP seating, and Elite VIP seating. The club also offers the only cryogenics systems in Pittsburgh and regularly holds live concerts during the week.

1601 E. Carson St.

South Side

(412) 431-8800

www.dieselpgh.com

Bar ListingsWhat's This?

Pittsburgh Café

Pittsburgh Cafe isn't new to Oakland but with a remodeling, the bar is seeing a new surge in popularity. The bar features both a loft and a second floor, and offers outdoor seating. Pittsburgh Café has a huge bottle beer selection that is always changing but if you prefer draft beer, there are only two on tap. The bar also features an impressive food menu of sandwiches and salads, and hosts local bands.

226 Meyran Ave., Oakland

(412) 687-3331

www.pittsburghcafe.com

Peter's Pub

Located not more than a block or so from main campus, like Hemingway's, this bar is a place to relax and drink with friends, but by the time the nightly special is over, the dance floor is packed with drunkenly dancing students. Sometimes, Peter's is also known to host a local band behind their second-floor bar.

116 Oakland Ave.

Oakland

(412) 681-7465

Shady Grove

This Shadyside hotspot is known for its trendy New York-style décor, and a busy (and often loud) atmosphere. Many students come here for beer specials, as well as frozen margaritas and daiquiris. Right upstairs is the site of the Walnut Grill, a nice spot to dine with friends before drinking the night away.

5500 Walnut St.

Shadyside

(412) 697-0909

Pittsburgh Deli Company (PDC, The Deli)

Located right off of Walnut Street, this eclectic restaurant and bar offers half-price food after 10 p.m., and hosts popular local music acts such as This Band is Called the You, School of Athens, and Idiosympathy. Nestled in yuppy Shadyside, the Deli is the closest thing to a hipster bar that Walnut Street can speak of.

728 Copeland St.

Shadyside

(412) 682-3354

www.pghdeli.com

Panther Hollow Inn

This is mostly a CMU hangout, but it's right up the street from Pitt. Weekday nights at PHI are packed because of the $4 pitcher deal during happy hour.

4611 Forbes Ave.

North Oakland

(412) 682-0588

Garage Door Saloon

Garage Door Saloon, or GDoor as it's called, is located in the middle of south Oakland. The bar has big garage door windows that are opened when the weather is warm but is a popular bar, no matter the weather. The bar features daily drink and pitcher specials and serves typical bar food like wings and sandwiches.

223 Atwood St., Oakland

(412) 621-4842

Boomerang's

Usually filled with the spill-over from Hemingways because it is located next door, Boomerang's offers $1 Yuengling's everyday, and something Hemingways does not have-a dance floor.

3909 Forbes Ave.

Oakland

(412) 578-8491

Mad Mex

The place to go for giant margaritas and Mexican food. Thanks to popular student specials and happy hours, the place is usually packed with both Pitt and Carnegie Mellon kids. On Fridays, many students come here to start their weekend at 4 p.m., when margaritas and beers are half off (until 6 p.m.). Things get even more packed later in the evening. From 9 p.m.-11 p.m., giant margaritas are $6; after 11 p.m., all food is half off.

370 Atwood St.

South Oakland

(412) 681-5656

www.madmex.com

Hemingway's Café

Hemingway's has become an obsession with the University of Pittsburgh students. Every single night of the week, this joint is packed, with barely enough room to squeeze up to the bar for a drink. Friends meet and eat here multiple times a week, and the bartenders know their most frequent clientele by name. With nightly dollar-drink specials, a pool table, and a juke box, it's exactly what a college bar should be.

3911 Forbes Ave.

South Oakland

(412) 621-4100

What to Do if You're Not 21What's This?

There are usually house parties going on in South Oakland over the weekends, and oftentimes, a Pitt or CMU frat is hosting some sort of event. There is always bowling, movies, and shopping open to students; Oakland, South Side, Squirrel Hill, and Shadyside boast their own small cultural districts, complete with coffee shops like Shadyside/East Liberty's Quiet Storm and South Side's Beehive, and tons of restaurants that are popular. Schenley Park is right near campus, with a lot of outdoor area for walking, biking, or just hanging out.

Student Polls

What's the best way to get to the popular nightlife spots?    Based on 123 responses

  • 1% There are no good options.
  • 4% Use a designated driver.
  • 18% School-provided shuttles/buses.
  • 41% Public transportation.
  • 2% Taxis.
  • 34% Walk.

Rate the off-campus bar and club scene on the following topics    Based on 122 responses

Very poor
Excellent
  • Convenience to get to
  • Cover charges
  • Distance from campus
  • Drink prices
  • Fun
  • Variety/number of options

What is the party scene like on campus?    Based on 123 responses

  • 3% Parties? What parties?
  • 1% Good parties are few and far between.
  • 33% Some decent frat/house parties, weekends only.
  • 59% Lots of options Wednesday-Saturday.
  • 4% Tons of raging parties almost any night of the week.

Where can you find the best parties?    Based on 15 responses

  • 36% Friends houses
  • 32% I do not go to parties at campus.
  • 18% Frat houses
  • 9% South Oakland
  • 5% Frat parties (by invite)

What is the biggest party event of the year?    Based on 9 responses

  • 78% Homecoming Fireworks and Laser Show
  • 11% 500 weekend for Greeks
  • 11% Syllabus week

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