The Commoner at Biergarten, Downtown.

As I’m sure you all know, Pittsburgh boasts one of the most beautiful skylines in the country. Downtown is filled with an eclectic mix of weathered brick buildings and shiny steel towers which, when coupled with the surrounding bridges and rivers, makes for an iconic image of our fair city. And though there are many ways to enjoy the views, one of the best involves giant pretzels, Belgian beer and supersized Jenga.

Rather than admiring the skyline from afar, the new Biergarten puts you right in the heart of it. On a ninth floor rooftop at the trendy Hotel Monaco, visitors are surrounded by Downtown’s grandeur but far from the noisy streets below. Since its opening on May 15th, the Biergarten has quickly become one of Downtown’s most desirable places to grab a drink.

Though the chic rooftop patio may not feel like a traditional German biergarten, the menu certainly fits. The draft and bottle lists focus on European beer, a welcome departure from many of Pittsburgh’s craft beer bars. The menu is interesting and varied, and includes a few beer-based cocktails for summer sipping. Though the prices are a bit high, the atmosphere is well worth a few extra bucks.

As for food, the small menu is divided into “Meat” and “Not Meat,” and the offerings would be right at home in a Munich beer hall: currywurst, soft pretzels, pickles and more are sold from street food-style carts. And in case you’re worried that this hip hotel takes itself too seriously, patio games (including scaled-up versions of Jenga and Connect Four) are on hand to relive some childhood fun.

For now, the hours at the Biergarten are limited and subject to weather, so you would do well to call ahead before trekking Downtown. But on a clear evening in the middle of summer, it’s hard to think of a better place to be.

In other news…

It’s Negroni Week! Bars all around the world, including more than fifty in Pittsburgh, are celebrating the classic Italian cocktail and donating a portion of the proceeds to a charity of their choice.

This Wednesday, Phipps Conservatory will launch Farmers at Phipps, a weekly farmers’ market that will take place every Wednesday afternoon until the last week of October.

On June 20th, Lawrenceville’s Row House Cinema and Atlas Bottleworks are celebrating their one-year anniversary, which includes the grand opening of their basement tap room (which is already open and is a cozy spot to get a great draft).

After closing for renovations and expansion for nearly two months, the Strip’s beloved meat mecca Gaucho Parrilla Argentina is back.

Drew Cranisky is a writer, bartender and recent graduate of Chatham University's Food Studies program. He enjoys cats, pinball and fancy burgers.