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Sharp Edge Beer Emporium

Not Rated.
Sharp Edge Beer EmporiumSharp Edge Beer Emporium
BA SCORE
97
world-class

50 Ratings
Ratings: 50
Reviews: 42
rAvg: 4.4
pDev: 7.27%
Taps: 70
Bottles: 180
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

302 S Saint Clair St
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 15206-3712
United States
phone: (412) 661-3537

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @se_beeremporium

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 50 | Reviews: 42 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of McMatt7
5/5  rDev +13.6%

best one

McMatt7, Oct 15, 2014
Photo of pheophytin
4.96/5  rDev +12.7%

pheophytin, Aug 19, 2014
Photo of BigRizz62
4.64/5  rDev +5.5%

BigRizz62, Aug 19, 2014
Photo of Rhleocp
4.5/5  rDev +2.3%

Rhleocp, Aug 08, 2014
Photo of rolltide
4.5/5  rDev +2.3%

rolltide, Jul 14, 2014
Photo of ramrod666
5/5  rDev +13.6%

ramrod666, May 01, 2014
Photo of shadyside
4.75/5  rDev +8%

shadyside, Feb 26, 2014
Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.96/5  rDev -10%

The wife and I walked to Sharp Edge after dinner at nearby Spoon. Divey and definitely unassuming from the outside, as some reviewers have pointed out. Sharp Edge reminds me of the working-class bars of Baltimore or Philadelphia. Only this one has got 70 taps!

Inside, the joint is nothing to write home about. Looks like an old diner or family restaurant, homey and comfortable but not very bar-oriented. The crowd is local all the way, and very much into sports. I feel a bit out of place here... but it is cozy, and the bartender is nice.

On draft: Dark Horse Fore, New Holland Ichabod, Sierra Flipside, Terrapin Pumpkin, Uinta Bristlecone, Bells, Coronado, Helltown, Shawnee, Weyerbacher... lots of Pittsburgh brews as well, and 20 Belgians, at high prices. I settled for a Brooklyn Chocolate.

The bottle menu is lacking, but they do have an amazing collection of Hardy's vintages (1986 anyone?)

All draft beers are available for take-out as growlers, but some will cost you an arm, a leg and your monthly mortgage payment.

Sharp Edge is a nice beer bar in a cool neighborhood, but I don't feel compelled to go back.

DoubleSimcoe, Dec 15, 2013
Photo of dbauer78
4.5/5  rDev +2.3%

dbauer78, Oct 15, 2013
Photo of ejimhof
3.25/5  rDev -26.1%

ejimhof, Oct 09, 2013
Photo of RblWthACoz
3.95/5  rDev -10.2%

This should be a must-visit for anyone new to town, or visiting. There certainly are enough taps to keep you entertained for numerous visits. Recently there has seemed to be a stronger focus of American craft as the love for Belgian ales seems to have calmed down. Of all the times I have visited, I have never really had anything besides "decent, yeah" service. Food is typical bar grub and nothing that I find too interesting (pizzas, etc).

RblWthACoz, Jan 03, 2013
Photo of John_M
4.16/5  rDev -5.5%

What struck me most about the emporium is its neighborhood location, and how small and unassuming it appears on the outside. However, once you go inside you realize the place is good size, even with all the current remodeling (in addition to the modest size dining area up front, there looked to be a sizeable dining area in the back as well). The vibe is very relaxed and low key, and the "in the back" bar area a very nice place to hang out with a beer. As was fairly typical in Pittsburgh, there were several flat screen TV's over the bar, turned to the Pirate game (naturally).

The selection here tends to focus on Belgians, both in bottles and on draft. Over all, I think they had around 42 or 43 beers on draft, with a couple of tap handles for cask as well (no cask on this day though). In addition to the roughly 20 or so Belgians, there were several beers from Great Britain and Germany, as well as roughly a dozen or so domestic crafts. Macros were available I believe, but only in bottle. The selection was definitly pretty solid, and I appreciated the option of getting 4 sample size Belgians (4 or 5 ounce pours) for $15.

As others have noted, prices were undenialy high (though one thing I thought interesting was that they'd fill a growler of anything here - some of the Belgians were in the $35 to $45 range). Aside from the Belgians in the $9 to $10 a glass range, pints of craft beer were in the $5.75 range (before tax I believe), and the stein of Ayinger weisse I got was $7.50 I beleive. I don't know how serious they are about this, but I believe they had SA triple bock available for $300 a bottle (either 94 or 95), as well as some Thomas Hardy vintages that were similarly priced (depending upon how far back the vintage).

Service was OK. My bartender was friendly and seemed pretty knowledgeable, though she was a bit distracted when some of her friends came in (fortuantely, there were other staff to help out while she was socializing). In any event, I thought this a pretty solid place, and probably a beer bar I would visit from time to time, at least if I was in the mood for Belgian beer. Pretty sure I'd go elsewhere for craft beer or imports.

John_M, Jul 05, 2011
Photo of bamadog
4.28/5  rDev -2.7%

Part of the 'Burgh Beer Tour 2011.

Atmosphere: It doesn't look like much from the outside, but when you get in it's a pretty clean and well-kept bar. Lots of beers on tap and in the bottle, and a pretty attentive waitstaff.

Quality: Nothing but good things to say about the quality -- TONS of imports (particularly Belgium) on tap; they also had a lot of bottles that they would open for you in there as well. The menu was also well-written and had a lot of attention to detail about styles and breweries. Also, they were very attentive to details and were sure to use proper glassware (see "selection").

Service: Our waitress was cool and attentive. She seemed to know the beers as well and I always appreciate that. She was quick, and able to break bad news with a smile on her face and make other recommendations (they had St. Bernardus ABT 12 on the menu but it was kicked), so I thought that was an admirable trait to have.

Selection: It was impressive. TONS of beer on tap as mentioned, and this place was recommended by my buddy who is a Delerium freak. They seem to specialize in imports, but know them as well, so they're not just selling them because they think they can. They used proper glassware from top to bottom -- my Augustijn came in a goblet, my friend's Framboise came in the tall flute, my buddy got a Delerium in a tulip... All good!

Food: Decent set of appetizers, and their buffalo sauce was certainly spicy (and I love me some hot food). It didn't seem like it was the main point of their business, so I don't think it got some of the focus that it could -- I would really expect a place like this to have some higher end food items to pair up with those higher end beer offerings. Part of me is glad that it didn't cost a ton because the beer was certainly expensive enough, but it seems that they could make a real dining experience with the quality of beers they have.

Value: Definitely on the higher side of things, but when you're serving the quality of beers they had on tap, you're going to pay more. A glass of the St. Bernardus (had it been there) would have been $12... eep! But again, the chance to have it on tap would be worth it every once in a great while.

bamadog, Jun 08, 2011
Photo of falloutsnow
4.47/5  rDev +1.6%

Every time I visit my friend in Pittsburgh, we make it a point to go here at least once. It's a fantastic tradition. Of special note is their happy hour, when you can get half-off Belgian drafts.

The interior is of an older establishment with booths, a bar, and tables scattered throughout. A few LCD TVs (on sports stations) that have the sound off. It's a comfortable feeling overall: there's no harsh lighting and it's quiet enough to carry on a good conversation, which is something I really value in a pub.

Quality is excellent. The taps are fresh and the bottles must do a fair turnaround as well.

Our servers have always been attentive, and while we've never asked for suggestions or help, I imagine we could get a decent tip from them.

Selection is awesome. This is the only place I know to get certain Belgians on tap, and the bar now has its own beer "Over the Edge," which is an enjoyably hoppy take on the Belgian trippel. Numerous micro drafts, too, and a variety of bottles from around the globe.

The food ranges from fries to pizza to expensive and fancy meatloaf. I've tried all, and all are well above average.

falloutsnow, Mar 30, 2011
Photo of IronCitySteve
4.4/5  rDev 0%

Stopped in several times of the years, finally took notes on the place....

A: It appears quite 'old and run down' as far as decor, but it is spacious, with a large bar to the left when you walk in. I personally enjoy this kind of setting.

Q: Have never had a bad bottle or pint.

Service: Never ever had a problem with the service. Servers are prompt and helpful and the bartenders are extremely knowledgable about the beers.

Selection: Lots and lots of Belgian Beers on tap, also some craft beers on tap. There is a ton of bottles that come from all over the globe. There is also a mystery beer....

F: Bar food! Tasty but nothing overly exceptional. But that is not saying it is bad, because it is not.

This is a wonderful place to kick back and relax!

IronCitySteve, Aug 19, 2010
Photo of akorsak
4.03/5  rDev -8.4%

Visited before the Pittsburgh BA Gathering at the Library with Glowczewski.

Atmosphere: The Sharp Edge runs perilously close the neighborhood bar territory, replete with a woefully outdated decor. A long bar, punctuated with multiple tap stations, stretches along the far wall. Tables are spread out around the rest of the restaurant. Our section had a few pinball-type games.

Quality: Overall positive. Beer was good , as was the service. Per-glass prices were high.

Service: Our waitress Alex was by regularly for drinks, food amd water. On entering, despite being the empty, we needed to wait to be seated. Didn't seem necessary.

Selection: Excellent selection. Draught beers included Belgian, UK and American craft offerings. I went with the proprietary Over the Edge; it was okay. Bottled offerings were plentiful but equally expensive.

Food: Pub grub. My boneless wings were good.

Come for the beer but be prepared to pay higher prices for it.

akorsak, Mar 07, 2010
Photo of garbercury
4.33/5  rDev -1.6%

Well, its the Sharp Edge, legendary Belgian Beer Bar we are lucky enough to have in Pittsburgh. Several locations but this is the original.

A--Spacious with a large bar and plenty of seating. Old school feel to it.

Q--Beer is always fresh and of high quality.

S--Always treated well and promptly.

S--Selection is very good but maybe a tad overrated. Tends to be the same rotation of beers and rarely many surprises. Rarely any Saisons or Quads which I wish they would get more often. Usually a good selection of micros on draft and a very solid bottle list. Everything is expensive but hey, they cornered the market and you get what you pay for!

F--Excelllent. Great burgers and Pizza is solid. Chicken bites are fantastic. Have dinners available but always end up with sandwiches and aps

garbercury, Dec 02, 2009
Photo of OneDropSoup
4.25/5  rDev -3.4%

I have a long history with the Sharp Edge & feel I owe it a lot. This is the place that launched me into beer geekdom. They have a great draft list, yes with plenty of Belgian offerings & some craft standouts. The food is frequently very good, & there are some alternatives to the typical pub grub you find at good beer joints. The service is usually great. The place knows their beer & has been a beacon in the 'Burgh for beer geeks for many years. For this I applaud Sharp Edge.

Lately, though, it seems like each time I come back that relationship sours a little. A large part of this is due to the prices, which are head & shoulders above any other good beer establishment in the area (Orval for $10? Peche Mortel for $10? Hmmm...). Sharp Edge has a well-deserved reputation, but it seems like they exploit it for the scads of grad students & yuppies who come to experience the "creme de la creme" of what a good beer establishment should be. And as much as the place's history has earned it its reputation, these days there are plenty of places that offer what Sharp Edge has to offer without the price tag. I think they would be well-served to lose the hubris.

As you can tell, my history with Sharp Edge has left me with mixed feelings. I'll iterate that that I owe a lot to the place, but am disillusioned by what I perceive as complacency. The same thing seems to have happened to Brickskeller in D.C., an establishment that continues to thrive on its reputation despite real threats from pretty solid competition.

OneDropSoup, Oct 03, 2009
Photo of hustlesworth
4.46/5  rDev +1.4%

best selection of belgian beers i've seen in one place, hands down. all kinds of pink elephants and shit i've never even heard of. also what seemed like an endless number of taps, all belgian. DT, chimay, maredsous, draak, corsendonk, their website lists em all. some from bell's, great lakes, and dogfish as well. also a scotch ale made in belgium. unibroue, german stuff, a mystery beer that isn't labeled (i didn't tryi it) which was interesting. the bartender knew her stuff, too. as far as bottles they have even more than on tap with a full line of english, german, and american micros. again, they have a website with a list of everything. i heard the food was sub-par but i don't know cuz i didn't eat. only drink.

hustlesworth, May 04, 2009
Photo of steelcutoats
4.58/5  rDev +4.1%

The Sharp Edge is the place to be if you wanna really impress a new date or an old advesary that made claims of your lack of taste in the past. The beer selection is amazing, on both draft and bottles. You have the option to buy authentic glasses for the individual beer that you drink. If you do go, try the Belgian Burger, made with lamb and scalions, it is perfect with a glass of Gulden Drakk...don't even think about forgetting the Pom Frites...it would be a crime. I also wanna give major props to the Sharp Edge for the way they've handled the TOTALLY BOGUS drink tax in Allegheny Co...they actually split the tax with you so you don't screwed for the whole 10%...now thats classy!

steelcutoats, Jan 19, 2009
Photo of egy
4.55/5  rDev +3.4%

Whether I'm looking looking to impress a friend with a nice glass of beer or just wanting to grab a drink The Sharp Edge is always high on my list. They claim to be "the best Belgian beer bar in the USA" and I wouldn't argue. With over 20 different Belgian beers on tap and everyone I've ever ordered served not only in the correct kind of glass but served in the brands own glass it's hard to get any better. The bartender was extremely informative and more than willing to let me taste whatever I wanted. If you can get out there during happy hour definitely do, half off Belgian Drafts, I go and pay less for Belgian drafts than I do bottled micros at other bars.

The foods not bad, the burgers I've not had the best experience with but the appetizers are all great. The bar is also very clean and well kept, this is enhanced due to the fact it's a non-smoking bar.

I've been there on a number of occasions and have only had good experiences. I would highly recommend giving it a try if you in the area.

egy, Jan 05, 2009
Photo of mlaroche
4.78/5  rDev +8.6%

My favorite restaurant. Solid selection of belgian draughts (about 20), then solid selection of other draughts, and a huge bottle list.

Half price / discount food after 10pm, including some of the best wings I've ever had and really awesome Mediterranean Nachos made with pita bread.

Great place to have a conversation, see some professors, and get some fantastic beers.

Their burgers and sandwiches can be underwhelming, but their appetizers and pizzas make up for it. Oh, and their mussels are good too.

Non beer people will still enjoy it.

mlaroche, Jul 09, 2008
Photo of Sebletitje
4.22/5  rDev -4.1%

My first food stop in Pittsburgh after some driving around on a cold December night of 2007.
Needless to say, the place was jammed pack and living up to its reputation.

As a Belgian, I was very impressed by the huge selection of Belgian beers they had on tap. I was interested in their menu which indicated Belgian specialties and was not disappointed.
I don't know if their chef was from Belgium, but for being so far away from home, the beer and the food made me feel a lot closer. The farmer's plate was delicious.

I found the atmosphere to be quite noisy, the service at the table was ok but not memorable.
A fairly decent establishement, I would have loved to go there again during the week and see a little less crowded.

Worth the stop if visitng Pittsburgh.

Sebletitje, May 06, 2008
Photo of BeerRay
4.2/5  rDev -4.5%

I visit Pittsburgh at least a few times a year, and I always try to stop by this place. They have a great selection of beer, and many Belgian beers. The beers can be a bit pricey, but I always try to stop by during their happy hour when all Belgian drafts are half price. I got a Leffe Brune for less than $3, which is an unheard price for me! The food is also excellent. I usually stop by with a friend of mine, and his wife is always happy if he brings home some food from here. It is also pretty cool that the owner was knighted by the Belgian government for brining in more Belgian beer than anyone else. I defiantly recommend checking it out is you are in town.

BeerRay, Apr 03, 2008
Photo of Mattysox
4.28/5  rDev -2.7%

Since moving to Pittsburgh two months ago, I've stopped by the Sharp Edge a half dozen times or so, most recently this past Sunday with my wife to celebrate her birthday and to watch the Patriots-Steelers game. My wife commented on how clean the bar and bathrooms were, and we love that's it's a rare non-smoking bar in Pittsburgh.

As for the selection- it's terrific. They usually have about 25-28 Belgians on tap, all served in appropriate glassware; there's about 30 more taps for domestic craft brews and some well-selected imports. There are two cask engines, and probably 250-300 more bottles in a wall of coolers behind the bar. All the beers are expertly poured and the staff on several occasions has seemed fairly knowledgeable about the products and the menus, both beer and food. My only gripe is that they seem to have trouble keeping the beer menu up-to-date, which is understandable considering how quickly they bring in new products.

On Sunday, in addition to the usually great selection, they also had over 50 winter/christmas seasonals in stock as well. All the usual suspects were there as well the full line of Ridgeway's "Elf" series. My wife enjoyed a Corsendonk Christmas Ale on tap and I had my first Sam Smith Winter Welcome of the season. As for food, I had the HopDevil Cheese soup, which was delicious, if a bit too thick, and my wife had a house salad. She then had the pita and dips appetizer, and especially liked their version of spinach and artichoke dip. I had the Belgian burger, a mix of beef and lamb w/ bacon and smoked gouda cheese, which I washed down with a Maredsous #8. It was delicious and accompanied by some great fries, as well. Sharp Edge is one place that finds good ways to incorporate beer into much of their cooking.

Overall, the Sharp Edge can be a bit pricey- for six beers, burger, salad, appetizer and soup, with tip, we spent about $95. But, depending on beer selection, you could easily spend more than that. However, the quality of selection, service and ambience makes the Sharp Edge a great splurge, if not an everyday pub.

Mattysox, Dec 11, 2007
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Sharp Edge Beer Emporium in Pittsburgh, PA
97 out of 100 based on 50 ratings.