East End Brewery
Scott Smith of East End Brewing looking happy in his new taproom in the Strip.

There’s no place on Earth quite like the Strip District. To stroll down Penn Avenue is to float through a dizzying jumble of sights, sounds and smells, to see people from all walks of life eating and shopping and embracing something utterly, uniquely Pittsburgh. It’s magical, yes—and also overwhelming. Wouldn’t it be lovely to get off the main drag for a moment and find a haven for cold, local beer?

Today that dream becomes reality with the opening of East End Brewing’s new Strip District taproom. A longtime vendor at the Pittsburgh Public Market, East End briefly left the Strip when the market closed in February. But you can’t keep a good beer down. Friday, June 24th will be the first official day for the snazzy new East End Brewery Taproom at 102 19th Street.

East End Brewery Taproom
East End Brewery Taproom. Photo by TH Carlisle

Owner Scott Smith found his new home (a satellite location of their Larimer brewpub) in the new Pennsylvania Market, a long brick building between Penn and Smallman. Though the space has a checkered past (it formerly housed several nightclubs that were plagued by violence), the building is completely transformed from its days as a thumping late-night hangout. The Pennsylvania Market houses multiple individual retail spaces and boasts a large courtyard that will host food vendors and artists. Several murals are in progress, depicting scenes from the neighborhood’s early days.

Several former Public Market vendors moved to the new building. Along with East End Brewing, the Pennsylvania Market is home to oil and vinegar shop The Olive Tap and Jonathan Moran Woodworks, which sells a variety of handcrafted furniture and specialty items.

East End Brewing Strip District taproom

With its brick arches, shining marble bartop and pendant lights shaped like hop cones, East End Brewery Taproom is a warm, welcoming respite from the chaos of the Strip. Though the space is a far cry from their home base across town, the beer offerings are similar. Twelve taps pour an array of staples and seasonals, available in flights, pints and growlers. Though the taproom won’t serve food (“I like to make beer, not grilled cheese,” quips Smith), guests are welcome to bring their own. And with a location in the center of the city’s best food neighborhood, a great meal shouldn’t be hard to find.

The taproom opens to the public tomorrow at 11 a.m. For now, the space will be open Thursday through Sunday, though Smith may add more hours based on demand. Head to East End’s website for full hours and tap list.

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