When the Pirates play at PNC Park and the Steelers — or Taylor Swift — are at Acrisure Stadium, there’s an electric charge to the air and the delicious smell of hotdogs and fries.
But guess what? You don’t have to settle for just that.
Luckily, the North Shore is buzzing with fantastic eateries, steakhouses and breweries, just a leisurely walk from the sports action or Stage AE.
Here are five North Side and North Shore restaurants that aren’t just alternatives to traditional game day fare — they’re cool spots in their own way.
211 N. Shore Drive
McFadden’s is an Irish pub with a Pittsburgh soul. It’s a laidback spot to chill out with a few beers after an action-packed game. The pub stands shoulder-to-shoulder with PNC Park and is a short jaunt to Heinz Field, Stage AE and a few other North Shore restaurants, making it a convenient post-event destination. Feast on classic pub fare like giant pretzels, smash burgers and Philly cheesesteak egg rolls.
Oh, and they have wings, in all manner of flavors and heat, ranging from mild garlic parm to hell-raising Irish evil.
An assortment of beers is available, including staples like Guinness, Harp and Smithwick’s along with local favorites like Voodoo Brewing Co. and Penn Brewery.
The rear patio provides captivating vistas of Pittsburgh’s iconic skyline.
115 Federal St.
The tacos here are truly delectable, and the margaritas pack a potent punch. This casual and enjoyable spot is ideal for group hangouts.
The Yinzer Nachos are a must-try: a sharable platter of crispy tortilla chips generously topped with ground beef, velvety queso, jalapenos and an assortment of salsas.
From strawberry gazpacho to fried mushroom tacos, there are a variety of vegan-friendly options as well.
381 N. Shore Drive
The Foundry Table & Tap, an industrial chic gastropub, is perfect for creating a memorable date night. Following an exhilarating game or incredible concert, indulge in a hearty yet sophisticated meal. Think of your favorite comfort foods elevated to a more refined level.
The menu encompasses an assortment of beloved items, including Three Cheese Mac & Cheese skillets and Yukon Gold Pierogies.
Don’t overlook the selection of local craft beers to toast the teams’ accomplishments.
856 Western Ave.
A good 15-minute walk from the North Shore, Nicky’s is arguably one of the best Thai restaurants in town. This eatery is hot, literally and figuratively. For diners who crave international flavors, Nicky’s Thai Kitchen offers an exquisite escape to the streets of Bangkok.
Featuring a menu brimming with aromatic curries, fiery chili-basil stir-fries and slurp-worthy pad thai, the spice factor here is pronounced.
A word of caution: A spice level above 7 on the 1-10 scale is not for the faint of heart.
342 N. Shore Drive
There’s something about burgers that makes them a satisfactory meal for any time of day. Whether as a relaxed brunch, a spiffed-up dinner, or jubilations with friends, a well-crafted burger always hits the spot.
Burgatory offers a diverse menu including selections like Piggy Butter & Jelly, Cha-cha Chicken and Phat Patti’s Veggie.
Don’t overlook the accompaniments — the Truffled Gorgonzola Fries are a crispy, indulgent treat. Not a fan of lettuce? No worries. You can customize your burger to your liking.
Ready for dessert? Consider complementing your meal with one of the luxuriously thick milkshakes (vegan options available, too).