Located behind Bird on the Run, you can now visit Commerce Bar speakeasy for an intimate – but approachable – night out. Here’s our preview.
Editor’s Note: Commerce Bar officially opens to the general public on Thu, Nov 21. The owners ask that parties be kept to 5 or fewer as they work through the first few weeks of launch. Commerce Bar is first come, first served.
From the team behind Muddy Waters Oyster Bar, Kahuna Poke and Juice Bar and Bird on the Run comes a bar concept located…in an alley?
Like any modern take on the American speakeasy, Commerce Bar plans to present itself as a quiet, subtle take on an evening out for drinks.
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We are very excited to open our doors next month, the construction is finally done, @mindfulhospitalitygroup is putting the final touches on the drink menu and we will be ready to provide you the highest quality cocktails in Pittsburgh in the beginning of November. That is of course, if you can find us… 📸by @tom.oconnor #imbibe #drinks #pittsburghbars #speakeasy #hiddenbar #pittsburgh #pittsburghpa #pittsburgheats #eatpgh #pghfood #412 #eastliberty #burgh #pitt #pittsburghfoodie #pittsburghlove #lovepgh
What is a speakeasy?
The actual term ‘speakeasy’ derives from the era of prohibition (1920 to 1933). Illicit, bootleg drinking clubs serving loose forms of cocktails and spirits popped up around the United States to skirt the strict alcohol laws. Attending a speakeasy, however, meant you knew where to go – and when. They weren’t well-marked and speakeasy owners were selective about whom they spoke to about their operations.
In more modern terms, retro-style bars that refer to themselves as a speakeasy hearken back to an era when they were more prominent. A speakeasy will often feature an element of live music, such as jazz, and maintain an obscure, muted entryway for guests.
Know Before You Go: Commerce Bar
Although Commerce Bar doesn’t plan to officially open til the weekend of November 22nd, here are a few things to know before you go.
According to managing partner Diana Kucenic, there will be seating for ~35 people, which includes bar seating.
To enter Commerce Bar, walk around the building that houses Bird on the Run and keep walking along Baum Blvd, past Lorelei. Turn into the alley near ACE Lock like you’re heading to the Goodwill drop-off point. At this point, you’re technically on Commerce Street (which continues around the corner toward the AAA Building). Look for a park bench and a plaque near a door with no signage. Knock on the door; a host will greet you.
Commerce Bar has no storefront, no address and is located directly behind Bird on the Run; but you cannot access it FROM Bird on the Run (guests are not permitted to walk through the restaurant’s kitchen).
Speaking of food, guests at Commerce Bar will be able order fried chicken and small plates from Bird on the Run. They can also order oysters from Muddy Waters Oyster Bar, which is next door.
Drinks / Vibe at Commerce Bar
Per Kucenic, the space is intimate with a warm and cozy feel. A better fit for a date or smaller groups, Commerce Bar will have servers handling table side cocktail service, along with a pair of bartenders for folks seated at the bar.
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It takes a special kind of person to love being a part of restaurant/bar opening – we’re definitely those kind of people. Today we celebrated passing @commercebarpgh’s health inspection with our first staff training compliments of our good friend, @atrain919 from @veritywines! Follow along the @commercebarpgh Instagram page for updates on our grand opening #countdowntillcommerce 🥂 • • • #bemindful #cocktails #pghcocktails #bartender #pghbartender #bartenderlife #drinks #drinkpgh #pghdrinks
Speaking of drinks, the team at Mindful Hospitality Group is putting the finishing touches on Commerce Bar’s drink menu. Expect to see 16 or 17 cocktail options (which will include all the classics with varying levels of ABV) along with 6 beers and ~7 wines, which include sparkling and rose. Cinderlands Beer Co plans to supply their popular pilsner, Tracks Again.
Upon launching, Commerce Bar plans to be open Thursday night thru Saturday night (6pm to 2am) and Sunday night (6pm to ~midnight).
Our recommendation: head to Commerce Bar for that after-dinner drink. It’s a late night spot, great for date nights and showcasing Pittsburgh’s lowkey spots to a friend visiting from out of town. Keep an eye on their Instagram for updates and sneak peeks, including teasers from their thoughtfully curated drink menu.