Pittsburgh is home to a network of educated and ambitious chefs who now routinely garner national accolades. The James Beard Foundation's restaurant and chef awards – the Oscars of the food world – recognized four venues among its 2015 semifinalists: the Butcher and the Rye, Bar Marco, Cure and the Big Burrito Group, which operates such uniquely styled restaurants as Eleven, Casbah, Umi, Soba, Kaya and Mad Mex.
National publications routinely discover the inventive food scene savvy Pittsburghers enjoy. Restaurants like NOLA, Sienna, Il Pizzaiolo and Winghart's Whiskey & Burger Bar have helped make Market Square a dining destination in recent years – alongside regional favorites like The Original Oyster Bar and Primanti Brothers. , The city benefits from the many family-run farms within an hour or less from the urban core and a 20-year-old local "slow-food" movement. But great eateries from the plain to the polished abound in dozens of neighborhoods, including the South Side, Lawrenceville, Regent Square, Highland Park, Mount Lebanon and Monroeville in Allegheny County, as well as across the other nine counties of the Pittsburgh region.
The South Side, Shadyside, Lawrenceville and increasingly downtown each have lively bar scenes. A robust live music scene spans such large venues as CONSOL Energy Center in Uptown, Stage AE on the North Shore and the outdoor First Niagara Pavilion in Burgettstown. There are dozens of great smaller venues for all kinds of live music as well, notably the South Side's Club Café and Rex Theatre; Millvale's Mr. Small's Funhouse; The Thunderbird in Lawrenceville; The Altar Bar and The 31st Street Pub in the Strip District; Moondog's blues club in Blawnox.
Pittsburgh was once a jazz mecca but many venues have closed in the past decade. You can still, however, catch live performances at such venues as Little E's, the Fairmont and Backstage Bar downtown, as well as James Street Gastropub & Speakeasy on the North Side. MCG Jazz, a program at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild's 350-seat music hall, brings high-profile jazz performers; tickets typically sell out in a flash. The JazzLive International series runs the first week in June in multiple indoor and outdoor venues around the Cultural District, Downtown.
There are many DJ-driven dance clubs that occasional also feature live musicians, including Diesel in the South Side; Static and Savoy in the Strip District; and Latitude 40 in Robinson. Latin rhythms dominate at Seviche and The Cabaret at Theater Square on Fridays, both downtown, while Los Sabrosos Dance Co. in Garfield hosts dance parties with mini-lessons on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Country music rules at the Buckhead Saloon at Station Square on Wednesday nights, The Rowdy Buck on the South Side and Bootsie's Bar in McKeesport. Popular with many LGBTQ folks are Spin and 5801 in Shadyside; Cruze in the Strip; 941 Saloon downtown; and Blue Moon and Cattiva (which also makes great pizza) in Lawrenceville.