The Beer Market
By: Chris Wise
Ever feel disappointed with a bar’s beer selection—even those that proclaim themselves beer houses? Ever find yourself needing a place to grab a quick brew with friends before a Steelers or Pirates game? Ever want to see live music in an intimate yet spacious venue with nearly limitless food offerings with great beer to match?
A bar that combines all these qualities sounds too good to be true, but The Beer Market offers all this, and so much more. In 2011, The Beer Market was launched in the Greater Chicago by a group of restaurateurs and local businessmen, and was met with immediate success. So much success in fact, that there are now three Chicago locations, two in Cleveland, and now one in Pittsburgh, opened in May of 2013. The Beer Market has been so successful because unlike some other beer houses with a limited selection, The Beer Market offers over 550 choices of beer. With around 50 continually rotating taps on at all times, and 500 bottled offerings, The Beer Market’s beer list is truly impressive. In addition to rotating the taps constantly, The Beer Market has a seasonal fridge which serves guests beers based on the most current offerings. From Summer Shandy’s to Winter Stouts and Pumpkin beers in the fall, The Beer Market aims to always have the right beer to match the season outside. The Beer Market also has a wine list available for guests to satisfy more than simply beer drinkers. In addition to the nearly limitless choices of beer, guests also have a nearly limitless amount of food options.
The professionals at The Beer Market decided to focus on providing their customers great beer, and left the great food portion to other professionals. The Beer Market operates on a BYOF basis—allowing patrons to bring in food from other establishments, or order-in from local restaurants—which allows guests to bring in whatever food they chose to pair with their brews. Since The Beer Market in Pittsburgh is conveniently located at 110 Federal Street, directly across the street from PNC Park and well within walking distance from Heinz Field. Its location also boasts a number of food options right around the corner—including pizza, wings, sandwiches, and burgers.
Manager Tim Conti, who was instrumental in pushing for a location in Pittsburgh and a lifelong Steelers fan, explained that neighboring establishments have been very supportive. Giovanni’s Pizza, Jimmy John’s sandwich shop, BZ’s Bar and Grill, and Mullen’s Bar Grill have supplied Beer Market customers with a take-out menu offering, which has been very popular so far. And the choices don’t stop there; Atria’s Restaurant and Tavern at PNC is located across the street, The Warhol Café is around the block, and The Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse is two blocks away. This means whether you want a quick slice of pizza or sandwich to go with your beer you can or you want to sit down for a nice steak dinner, and then grab a few beers with friends afterwards, The Beer Market is perfect option for you.
. The Beer Market’s spacious location in the Boggs Building allows it to get jam packed with guests at a moment’s notice, yet not feel overcrowded. “During the summer, the bar would fill up before Pirates games with excited fans, with everyone impressed by our vast beer selection,” said Conti. Conti found that the most popular beers sold during Pirates and Steelers were locally brewed, including Helltown (Mt. Pleasant) and Full Pint (North Versailles), in addition to local classics such as Iron City. The Beer Market’s large open-seating area means it’s usually easy to find a place for you and all your friends to grab a seat. Also, if you know you want to have a small get together with friends at The Beer Market, they are more than willing to accommodate by blocking off sections for you and your party.
In addition to great beers and a food menu only limited to the imagination of the guest, The Beer Market offers live music most Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. According to Conti, they try to bring in a variety of acts including cover bands (everything from classic rock to popular 90’s tunes), original bands, singer-songwriters and blues bands. The Beer Market Pittsburgh’s Facebook page is the best way to keep up to date with their entertainment offerings. (www.facebook.com/TheBeerMarketPGH)
Live entertainment was important to the owners of The Beer Market because two of the major investors have spent most of their lives in the entertainment industry. Steve Burton and Bradford Anderson, actors on the television show General Hospital and the musical act Port Chuck (www.PortChuck.com), found themselves so attracted to the concept of The Beer Market they signed on to invest in the Chicago openings. Burton says “the fact that you can go to a cool neighborhood place like The Beer Market and try different specialty beers with friends and listen to great live music…it was a ‘no-brainer’ for me to become a partner.” Anderson echoes this, saying “The Beer Market is a blend of my favorite things: live music, a variety of menu options, and, well, beer…I’m proud to be a part of The Beer Market.” Burton is going to make an appearance at the Pittsburgh location on Saturday December 7th at 11:00am as part of the Nashville Nights event, as part of an acoustic set featuring fellow ex-General Hospital star Scott Reeves and singer-songwriter Emily Reeves.
Guests may think that a bar offering over 550 beers could be intimidating, but The Beer Market is doing their best to educate their customers to find the best beer for them. The Beer Market’s servers are all very knowledgeable on their selections, and their menu’s provide detailed descriptions about all their beers. In addition to this, The Beer Market offers “Beer Flights” which provide guests a sampling of beers, typically based on region or seasonal variety. You can even do an online database search through their “Beer University” of their menu to come up with your own sampling next visit. And they offer a beer club loyalty program to track which beers you’ve tried and reward you for the points you accumulate by trying different varieties, including prizes from $20 gift card to a catered party for you and your friends at The Beer Market with a $250 complimentary tab. Conti says they also offer a 25% discount on Sundays for Pittsburgh residents, Cornhole and Trivia on Tuesday nights, and a 25%discount for Beer Club members on Wednesday. Conti also said The Beer Market group has plans to open a new location in Rochester, NY, next spring, and are beginning to consider opening a second location in Pittsburgh, this time further out of the city. The Beer Market is also going to offer franchising opportunities next year for eager investors, which you can read about on their website.
So if you need to stop in for a few quick beers with friends before a Steeler’s or Pirates’ game; if you need a relaxing place to listen to live music with a wide variety of food options; or if you need a place to go where you could (almost) never run out of new beers to try, remember The Beer Market is the place for you.
The Beer Market is located in the Boggs Building at 110 Federal Street, Pittsburgh, PA, 15222, and open Monday-Thursday from 3:00pm to Midnight, Friday from 3:00pm to 1:00am, Saturday from noon to 2:00am, Sunday from noon to midnight with extended hours on game days. Phone number: (412)-322-2337