The Forge, Lawrenceville’s newest nightspot, is a blast furnace of cocktail creativity.
Located at 3345 Penn Ave., in the former Alida’s Woodfire Cucina space, the sleek, inviting lounge is dedicated to serving specialty beverages and small, sharable plates. You won’t find a television here. This place is made for people who want to sit and socialize.
It’s closed Tuesday and Sunday but operates 5 p.m. to midnight every other day.
Alon Goldblum and his family completely revamped the interior, transforming it into a colorful and cozy environment with comfortable chairs and couches, low tables and intimate lighting where singles, couples and groups can unwind. Accents throughout the room give it a distinct Moroccan vibe.
The u-shaped, copper-top bar boasts 16 taps (12 of them local brews) and a large assortment of Pennsylvania-made wines and spirits.
Paying homage to Pittsburgh is important to Goldblum, whose family moved to the city from Israel in 1998. They ran Sababa Middle Eastern Grill in Squirrel Hill before focusing on catering. The Forge is Goldblum’s dream, which came to fruition when the doors opened on Dec. 27.
The business currently has 12 signature drinks on the menu created by Goldblum and bar manager Kassandra Scribner, formerly of NOLA on the Square. There are lighter, more herbal libations such as Jack’s Garden, a mix of Wilds Gin, St. Germaine, lemon, rosemary and pomegranate. Guests also can warm up with a twist on a classic like the Yael in Manhattan made with Liberty Pole Bourbon, Dolin and cherry.
Each month The Forge will feature a new charity cocktail, with a portion of the proceeds going to a local organization. Humane Animal Rescue is January’s recipient.
The Forge also has a small but delicious selection of eats including pizzas and flatbreads (cooked in the wood-fired oven), cheese plates, a charcuterie board and Mediterranean tapas.
The Rainbow is a beautiful assortment of fresh, house-made hummus, baba ghanoush, Israeli salad, Labaneh, grape leaves, Spanish eggplant, carrot salad and cauliflower salad. Stuffed mushrooms are packed with dates, ground beef and onions and topped with a creamy mushroom au jus.
From the bar to the kitchen, Goldblum wants to incorporate as many local products as possible. He also wants to bring in performers from the area.
“My general goal is to give Pittsburgh something it’s lacking: a classic cocktail lounge where everyone is welcome to come and enjoy the warm environment,” Goldblum says. “The Steel City was built by the forge. Here, everything is hand-forged by us and made from scratch.”