Pittsburgh might not be filled with the trendy clubs of Queer as Folk, or the post-modern strip bars of Flashdance, (both of which featured storylines set in Pittsburgh), but there’s still plenty to do in this steel town on a Saturday night.
Modern and cosmopolitan, Pittsburgh pulses with 21st-century energy. From the first wave of Scottish-Irish immigration in the mid-18th century, Pittsburgh has made a tradition of welcoming newcomers. The gay community is thriving, too, drawing guys from three surrounding states. In 2012, National Geographic's Traveler magazine called Pittsburgh one of the best worldwide travel destinations, citing "a natural setting that rivals Lisbon and San Francisco, a wealth of fine art and architecture, and a quirky sense of humor."
Wealthy businessmen, the likes of Carnegie and Mellon, helped to create rich art and cultural institutions such as the Pittsburgh Opera and the Pittsburgh Ballet. The Cultural District is home to these, and many theater productions at venues including the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts, the City Theatre, the Pittsburg Musical Theater, and the Pittsburg Public Theatre. Music and dance-based performances of "ninja-like intensity" may be seen at Attack Theatre, in the Strip District.
Other cultural institutions include Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts, home to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and the Carnegie Museums, including the Museum of Art, the Museum of Natural History, and the Andy Warhol Museum.
Pittsburgh Filmmakers nurtures all forms of visual art, and screens a wide variety of classic, indie and foreign films at 3 art-house cinemas in downtown Pittsburgh.
Greater Pittsburgh International Airport, is 14 miles west of downtown. The Port Authority bus number 28X, the Airport Flyer, costs $2.75 for a trip into Downtown via the West Busway, also serving Oakland. Bus drivers accept exact change only. If a tranfer from Downtown is required, you must buy that ($1 extra) at the same time. Limos, taxi cabs and vans can also whisk you downtown - see the airport website for more info.
The city has Amtrak intercity rail service at Pennsylvania Station (aka Union Station) at the Grant and Liberty Avenue/ 11th St intersection. Major lines lead to Philadelphia and Washington DC, with connections to Eastern Seaboard cities north and south; and to Cleveland, with connections north into Canada, or west-bound through Chicago.
The Great Allegheny Passage cuts through Allegheny Mountain country to join with the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath in the Potomac Valley. Together they create a continuous bike and running trail, 325 miles long, between Pittsburgh and Washington DC.
Pittsburgh has a small but efficient light rail suburban transit system, (“The T” Blue and Red lines), with a "Free Fare Zone" between the six northern/ Downtown station; also an impressive network of buses to get you around town, both operated by the Port Authority. They also operate the Monongahela Incline funicular railway on Mount Washington. The Duquesne Incline, first opened to the public in May, 1877, is operated separately, but accepts Port Authority passes.
The center of the city is compact and walkable, and there are over 20 miles of traffic-free bicycle paths along all three rivers. Pittsburgh Bike Share offers 500 bikes from 50 stations throughout the city, using the Nextbike group systems. See Golden Triangle for bike rentals at their downtown location, 600 First Avenue (under the First Avenue “T” station), from mid-March through mid-October.
Downtown is to the east of Point State Park, where the Allegheny River and Monongahela River converge to become the Ohio River. The area between the rivers, known as the Golden Triangle, is where many of the LGBT clubs have traditionally been located, on or near Liberty Avenue - including the local bathhouse. More clubs are located further to the northeast in the Strip District and the Lawrenceville neighborhood.
Eastward from Downtown, the Oakland and Shadyside sections are home to the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, Carnegie Museum and Library, and other educational and cultural institutions. Gay clubs are among the area's many cafes, restaurants, bars and small shops. Backdraft in Baldwin on the south side, is one notable exception.
Media & Resources
The Burgh Bears social group has bar nights, pizza and bowling events, outings and special annual weekend get-togethers, for bears and friends, but welcoming to everyone, 21 and over.
RCC, the Renaissance City Choir of Pittsburgh is western Pennsylvania’s LGBTQA choral group with men's and women's choirs, and concerts at East Liberty Presbyterian Church.
The Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival takes place over ten days in early June, each year in downtown Pittsburgh, with music, film, and other performing and visual arts presentations.
The PGH Equality Center (210 Grant St), provides community services, and hosts events such as bingo and dances. Their library contains over 10,000 books, CDs, DVDs and videos.
For general listings, the local alternative weekly Pittsburgh City Paper has arts and restaurant reviews and events. A former PCP editor is attempting to kickstart a new independent pro-LGBT alternative-media company, the Pittsburgh Current.
The City of Pittsburgh official website, and Visit Pittsburgh are two more travel and information resources. The "PG", the largest regional daily, a traditionally liberal newspaper, got a new conservative chief editor in 2018. Many readers have been distressed by their recent firing of an editorial cartoonist of 25 years, for works critical of Donald Trump. The PublicSource is a non-profit website with local news.
For a city map with locations and website links to businesses of interest, entertainment venues and museums, see our gay Pittsburgh map & listings pages. For some photos from around town see our gallery, and the events tab lists some upcoming things to do and see. To list your event click here.
Arbors B&B (745 Maginn St; 412-231-4643), gay-owned country farmhouse, fireside buffet breakfasts, Four Seasons sunroom with in-floor radiant heat, hot tub and adjacent deck; minutes drive from the city.
Hampton Inn & Suites (1247 Smallman St; 412-288-4350), 143 downtown guest rooms and suites, hot breakfast, 24-hour business center, fitness center and indoor swimming pool.
Inn On Mexican War Streets (604 W North St; 412- 231-6544), 8 rooms and suites in Victorian Era Boggs Mansion, located just across the Allegheny River from downtown; with movie library, room TVs, DVD players, expanded Continental breakfast, WiFi.
Omni William Penn Hotel (530 William Penn Pl; 412 281-7100), classic luxury, beauty and charm since 1916, with 596 rooms and all amenities; the Terrace Room award-winning cuisine, and Sunday brunch, plus the Tap Room sports bar.
Parador Inn (939 Western Ave; 412-231-4800), Caribbean-style B&B, 8 large rooms, fireplaces, full hot American breakfast, cable TV, gardens and living room; no-cost access to nearby YMCA cardiovascular and weight rooms, indoor track, basketball court and swimming pool.
Priory Hotel | Grand Hall Restaurant (614 Pressley St; 412 231-3338), 42-room boutique hotel in former monastery, modern features, courtyard garden, fitness and business centers, sitting room with fireplace, complimentary shuttles and WiFi; elegant banquet hall.
Bars & clubs: Downtown & Eastside
5801 Video Lounge & Cafe (5801 Ellsworth Ave), video lounge and café, bingo and poker nights, darts league, softball team; heated outdoor patio bar, WiFi. Food includes sandwiches, wraps, pizza, wings, nachos, salads, chips and dips.
Brewer's Hotel Bar (3315 Liberty Ave), gay dive bar, inexpensive drinks, pool tables, unassuming and casual mostly male crowd welcomes all.
Cruze Bar (1600 Smallman St), Strip District club, guest DJs, dancing, karaoke. Special events include comedy, game nights, drag contests and 18+ college nights. Set to CLOSE after Dec 31, 2018 NYE Party (previously expected to close in September).
Element (5744 Ellsworth Ave), video lounge bar/ cocktail lounge for a fashionable crowd; outdoor patio.
Images (965 Liberty Ave), open every night 365 days/year, go-go dancers, guest porn stars, karaoke, weekend DJs, live music, mostly men.
PTown (4740 Baum Blvd), gay bar open nightly except Monday, Friday and Saturday male strippers; "mix of straight, bi, bears, twinks, leather dudes," pool table, jukebox.
There Video Lounge (931 Liberty Ave), downtown after-work cocktail bar/ video lounge, mixed crowd, game nights, wet-underwear contests.
Tilden (941 Liberty Ave), popular alternative afterhours club membership dance club, open until 3am nightly above the 941 Saloon (whose owner insists "this is not a gay bar").
Bars & clubs: Lawrenceville
Cattivo (146 44th St), mixed neighborhood pub, restaurant service until 1am, karaoke, shows, dancing on weekends, popular with women. Fierce Queer Burlesque.
Bars & clubs: Southside
Backdraft Bar & Grille (3049 Churchview Ave, Baldwin), nightly food and drink specials, Internet Jukebox, DJ's, live bands, karaoke, gaming machines, pool tables, theme parties, mixed crowd, live bands, and TV sports events.
Bars & clubs: Out of town (off our map)
Link Club (91 Wendel Rd, Herminie, PA), nude male strippers, drag shows, karaoke, games and contests
Vice Versa (335 High St; Morgantown, WV), 18-plus dance club, mixed crowd, drag shows, karaoke, theme nights, underwear contests, male strippers, guest porn stars.
CLOSED: Donny's Place (1226 Herron Ave), Polish Hill men's dive; Real Luck Cafe (1519 Penn Ave), aka Luckies, dive bar, cheap drinks, naked male dancers, food, games; Remedy (5121 Butler St), Lawrenceville mixed bar/ food, cocktails, art exhibits, dancing.
Point Brugge Cafe (401 Hastings Ave), European-style bistro, neighborhood gathering place; lunch, dinner, Sunday brunch until 3pm.
UUBU6 (178-180 Pius St), unique building in South Side Slopes, eclectic and constantly changing food combinations, full meals, sandwiches, soups and salads.
CLOSED: Capri Pizzeria & Bar (6001 Penn Ave, E Liberty), specialty pizzas, pasta, calzones, dinners, soups/salads, gyros, hoagies, hot dogs, desserts, beer.
See the City Paper food+drink guide for easy-to-navigate listings of hundreds of Pittsburgh restaurants, of many ethnicities and price ranges.
Club Pittsburgh (1139 Penn Ave), 24-hour/ 7-day men's club, multi-level social areas, weekday lunch, video lounge, steam, whirlpool, sauna, tanning, gym, internet, roof deck smoking; naked Fridays, leather Sundays. Out of towners get non-memberhsip access to Daburghjacks jack-off and mutual masturbation club.
ER Room (5151 Butler St), surplus style, rubber and leather clothing, erotic toys and devices, jocks and bondage gear.