Photo by Denise Greenway.

Having a drink at The Tavern is more than a social outing, it’s an educational experience.

Located on the ground floor of The Pennsylvania Market, a two-story, upscale food hall at 108 19th St. in the Strip District, the new spot is where cocktail innovation and tradition intersect. The Tavern’s grand opening is Feb. 28 from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. and will feature live music, games and raffles.

Proprietor Anthony DiCio wanted to create a neighborhood joint like the kind steelworkers would frequent after a long shift at the mill and relax with buddies over a shot and a beer.

Photo by Denise Greenway.

Bar manager Denise Greenway serves modern takes on classic drinks (like a boilermaker made with a barrel-aged brew and local whiskey) and can give you a history lesson on the cocktail’s origins.

“We want beer enthusiasts to appreciate spirits and vice versa,” she says. “We have these beautiful classic cocktails that have lasted hundreds of years. We’re trying to get back to those roots.”

The Tavern, located in a space once occupied by East End Brewing Co.’s taproom, only sells Pennsylvania-made beer, wine, spirits and mixers. Even the signage and art on the walls were created in the commonwealth. The space boasts 60 seats, 12 rotating taps and a large selection of bottles and cans. A vendor station will be set up outside for growler fills and other to-go beer offerings.

Different Keystone State breweries will be highlighted on draft, in bottles and as ingredients in beer cocktails. To start, Straub Brewery in St. Marys, Pa., is the marquee beer-maker. During the grand opening celebration, guests can enter a raffle to win a weekend getaway to St. Marys and a private tour of the brewery, which opened in 1872.

The pub menu features selections from PA Market’s five independent eateries, all located on the second floor. There’s everything from charcuterie and pizza to sandwiches, fresh pasta and a café serving De Fer coffee and house-made pastries. Visit the Wine Library to peruse an extensive wine list that includes more than 70 boutique selections from around the world.

Photo by Denise Greenway.

Customers can sit at The Tavern and order a meal or venture upstairs or out into the courtyard, all with a drink in hand. Exploring the 12,000-square-foot historic structure, which offers seating for 468, is part of the fun.

“Our vision for The PA Market is to create a really comfortable experience with great food and great drink where people can gather with their friends,” DiCio says. “Each area of the market has a different focus.”

The Tavern will continue to evolve in terms of products and entertainment. Happy hour will run on weekdays from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday evenings will feature Buzzworthy Trivia and on Sundays, the spotlight will be on Kegs and Eggs and “Bloody Beers,” a hop-centric spin on a traditional Bloody Mary.

“It’s not a static experience,” DiCio says.

Kristy Locklin

Kristy Locklin is a North Hills-based writer. When she's not busy reporting, she enjoys watching horror movies and exploring Pittsburgh's craft beer scene.