Smokin' Joe's

Smokin' Joe'sSmokin' Joe's
Smokin' Joe'sSmokin' Joe's
Bar, Eatery, Beer-to-go

2001 E Carson St
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 15203-1901
United States

(412) 431-6757 | map
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Photo of cratez
Reviewed by cratez from Canada (ON)

4.59/5  rDev +12.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75
What I had: Over the course of two visits - Ballast Point Sculpin IPA, Smuttynose Wheat Wine, Oskar Blues Deviant Dale’s India Pale Ale, and Terrapin Side Project Phlux Capacitor on tap, hot wings, white wine for the Mrs.

What I liked: fun down-to-earth vibe, equal parts beer nerd haven and divey sports bar, insane variety of draughts, fast service, samplers available, plenty of seating even when busy, great spot all around.

What I disliked: At one point I had to go to the bar to get my beer (waitress disappeared?), but aside from this misstep we enjoyed our time here.

Would I go back? Yes.

Overall Rating: 92
Jan 29, 2020
Rated: 4.21 by heddar33 from Pennsylvania

Jun 06, 2017
Rated: 4.95 by dacord421 from Pennsylvania

Dec 07, 2016
Rated: 3.28 by JArt from Pennsylvania

Jul 22, 2015
Rated: 4.18 by DanU from Pennsylvania

Mar 03, 2015
Rated: 3.71 by evan35 from North Carolina

Jan 21, 2015
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Rated by misternebbie from Pennsylvania

2.73/5  rDev -33.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 2.25 | service: 1 | selection: 5 | food: 1.5
small, service is average at best good selection of beer, below average bar food,
I go in the afternoon, not my cup of tea later in the evening
Dec 28, 2014
Rated: 4.25 by TallNerdGuy from Pennsylvania

Nov 23, 2014
Rated: 4 by kbuzz from North Carolina

Nov 06, 2014
Rated: 4 by McMatt7 from Pennsylvania

Oct 15, 2014
Rated: 4 by robgage from Pennsylvania

Oct 12, 2014
Rated: 3.75 by greg4579 from Pennsylvania

Sep 12, 2014
Rated: 4.5 by cwcolby74 from Indiana

Aug 20, 2014
Rated: 4 by DrBier from Pennsylvania

Aug 06, 2014
Rated: 4.75 by SWPA_Brew from Pennsylvania

Aug 06, 2014
Rated: 4 by rolltide from Pennsylvania

Jul 14, 2014
Rated: 4.25 by SmellsofMahagony from Texas

Jun 20, 2014
Rated: 3.75 by mattreitz49 from Florida

May 10, 2014
Rated: 4.5 by ramrod666 from Pennsylvania

May 01, 2014
Rated: 4.25 by bristoljohn from Pennsylvania

Mar 06, 2014
Rated: 4 by PittBeerGirl from Ohio

Dec 16, 2013
Rated: 3.75 by stakem from Pennsylvania

Oct 17, 2013
Rated: 4 by ejimhof from Pennsylvania

Oct 09, 2013
Photo of basickness
Reviewed by basickness from Pennsylvania

3.21/5  rDev -21.5%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 1 | selection: 4.75 | food: 2.75
the service has sucked everytime i went, but they have a great selection on tap and in bottles. worth a shot if youre on carson. def not a super party atmosphere, but good enough to keep entertained. ive had a the food a few times and its TYPICAL bar food, do not plan to be impressed.
May 10, 2013
Photo of Kwak
Reviewed by Kwak from New Jersey

4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4
Stopped in hear after hitting the tiki lounge and was very impressed.
we walked in and it was tight in front of the door but opened up in the back so we found seats at the bar.

the selection was awesome great bottle list great taps to many to list.
the service was good they handed me a book with the beer list and knew everything on it and were able to steer me away from some of the crap.

the food was good all we got was wings the burger and fries but was good bar food.
good beer good food good service would go back anytime
Jan 27, 2012
Photo of John_M
Reviewed by John_M from Washington

4.43/5  rDev +8.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3
After my stop at Fathead's, I thought I'd poke my head into Smokin Joe's before calling it a night (it's just a a couple blocks down the street).

The first thing that struck me about Joe's is just how small the place is. As you walk in, there's a sizeable long bar on your immediate right, with a few tables and chairs far in the back, down a narrow hallway. There's also a couple of table and chairs up front by the bar area as well, but still... 40 or 50 people in this place would completely fill it up. Otherwise, there are a few flat screen TV's over the bar area, and the usual bar brick a brack throughout. Atmosphere is very informal and laid back, and I found this to be a very comfortable place to hang out with a beer or three.

As for the beer list, this place completely blows fatheads out of the water. They advertise 60 beers on tap (I think there were a few less today), and then there are over 200 beers in bottle as well. Interestingly, despite the heavy emphasis on good craft beer on draft and bottle, Joe's also had miller lite and bud lite on tap (the bartender said they had just removed the bud lite tap handle, but it was still on the menu). I was a bit surprised, as they also had both beers in bottle format, and in my experience, macro drinkers could generally care less whether there swill is in bottle, can or on draft. In any event, the selection here is otherwise just outstanding, with a much more varied and diverse selection than what I had over at Fatheads.

As for service, I thought it was pretty good. My bartender (Mike) was quick and knowledgeable, and was able to handle a good size Saturday night crowd with practiced ease. I was also impressed by his handling of the crowd, which generally seemed to consist of many college age patrons, some of them very much the worse for wear. When a couple of attractive, extremely drunk young women came in for a round of cherry bombs, he very politely advised them that he couldn't serve them. Naturally, the women were not pleased with this response (though clearly the last thing they needed was any more alcohol), but the bartender maintained a polite and professional attitude throughout, despite the threats and verbal abuse from the young women.

Prices were some of the more reasonable I came across in Pittsburgh. It seemed to me that on average they were in the $4.50 a pint range, and that included tax (most of the other places I visited would tack on tax to the listed pint price).

I liked this place a lot and wouldn't hesitate to stop by again any time I'm in town.

Note: This is a great place, but the service can be a bit lacking when it comes to updating the beer list. Always be sure to ask if there are any changes or update to the beer list; there are usually a number of selections that are incorrect. Last time I was there the list indicated they had hopslam (it had blown several days earlier), and the list and "new beer" chalk board made no mention of the Nugget Nectar they had recently tapped. It's not enough to make me go elsewhere (the beer selection is always excellent), but it can be annoying.

Have had several food items, all of which were completely forgetable and unremarkable. I ordered the wings last time I was there, as I couldn't recall what they were like. After I got them, it was pretty clear why I couldn't recall what they were like. Not awful, but nothing distinctive or remarkable either. Hopefully I'll remember not to order them again next time I want to order food (I normally get food at Piper's Pub across the street, and suggest anyone else planning to order lunch or dinner do the same.)
Jul 03, 2011
Photo of irishevans
Reviewed by irishevans from California

4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5
Been here under two types of circumstances. late night on a weekend, and afternoon mid-week. I'll review according to the latter, as that's typically when beer geeks go out to be beer geeks.

A- feels a little divey, but in a very comfortable way, like a real steel city bar ought to. people are cool, mind their business generally and if they do chime in on a conversation it's usually beer related, and nobody was drinking crap. [this is in contrast to the weekend evenings, when it's the usual E.Carson Street Crowd, and when I was there on such a night a group of about four yuppie types dressed in button-up collared shirts looking like they should have been in line at a velvet rope club about to be rejected by the doorman, came in ordered Bud Lights and started the adolescent posturing one would expect from a kid on his 21st birthday, but these guys had to be late 20's early 30's, boasting that they were Jets fans not Steelers, then asked me if I was a jets fan too. my responce was that they needed to go back to the hotel bar before they got hurt, they didn't listen, and while waiting for a cab to go back to my folks I did see them get their asses rocked by some other fellow Yinzers, that they were starting with in somkin' joe's]

Quality of what they have is stellar. lots of good brews and tons of Local stuff (props for supporting the local beer scene unlike the main competitor Fat Heads, which has no business being in the burgh at all). other than that, lots of reigional beers, and tons of good stuff from the country, continent, and world over.

Srvice was great Both trips. the bartenders know enough of what they are talking about when it comes to beer to help out even the most novice of palates find something from the world of craft, and they are super friendly too, even if they are swamped with E.Carson weekend tourists (as I call them).

Selection is likely the best in the Burgh. 60+ (more like close to 70) taps, and a LONG bottle list. Also like I said before, examples from each of Pittsburgh's breweries/brewpubs, and lots of PA beer on top of that, while still having a ton form the country/world over.

Didn't eat here.

prices aren't bad, they take little advantage of location for pricing.

I like the place, but if I want to sit and enjoy a beer here afternoon, if I'm out with a herd of friends for the infamous E.Carson Pub Crawl, I'll still want to take a longer stop than usual here and quickly have a pint or two of some GOOD beer.

[again, all review points are based on the experience midweek in the afternoon]
Jan 20, 2011
Photo of therica
Reviewed by therica from Maryland

4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4
Smokin' Joes is incredible !!! A massive selection of great on-tap beers (65?) and also cool tshirts ha ha.

It's not as large or as deco-impressive as a place like FatHeads but on the other hand it's a bit more down to earth and it's less of a restaurant and more of a bar with some decent food.

There's a great digital jukebox that always seems to have something playing, or you can pay and select your own music which will eventually play. That's a plus over most of the other local venues which have pre-canned music playing or sports tv games running.

A definite place to visit, more than once.
Nov 21, 2010
Photo of jts2003
Reviewed by jts2003 from Pennsylvania

3.76/5  rDev -8.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2 | selection: 5
You can expect a good time if you get out of there before 10pm. It is a great place to start an evening with many beers on tap, and even more bottles. Many seasonal and local brews on hand ranging for all tastes. After 9 or 10, you cannot stand still in the same place, or sit, without being pushed and bumped. You will also lose quality of service very fast as the bartenders become overly busy and often become visually flustered. Also annoying when what seems to be the perfect beer for you at that moment has just had the keg kicked.
Sep 23, 2010
Photo of DoubleSimcoe
Reviewed by DoubleSimcoe from Pennsylvania

4.71/5  rDev +15.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5
We stumbled upon Smokin' on our way to Fat Head's. What a great find! 60 beers on tap, better selection than Fat Head's and cheaper too.

Great service, cool bartender- she was on top of everything, so nice! Didn't try food, but had a bunch of beers for less than twenty bucks. Great price! An enormous sampler of five beers is only $7.95.

They fill growlers too- will have to ask about that next time.

Their beer selection includes some rare offerings, their extensive menu is a delight to peruse. Atmosphere is nothing special, feels like an old neighborhood bar, a little run-down, but fine. Not crowded on a Saturday evening, nice.

will definitely stop again, every time we're in Pittsburgh!
Aug 29, 2010
Photo of IronCitySteve
Reviewed by IronCitySteve from Pennsylvania

4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3
A: Walking in, the front bar area is very tight and narrow. Lots of people congregating around the bar, which makes pasage to the back room tables or the upstairs a challenge at times. The bar is quite long with ample seating.

Q: Never had a problem with outdated bottles or beer that did not taste quite right on tap.

S: Never had a problem with any of the bartenders or waitresses, they are really nice and quite knowledgable about beer, the problem is, there are not enough of them, especially when it is late at night or during a Pens/Steelers game. So the service is good, just not enough of it...

S: There is a ton of bottled beers (200+) and beers on tap (at least 40) here. There is no shortage of varying style of beer. They do quite well keeping up with the seasonals as well.

F: Average bar food...nothing going to blow you out of the water here.

A great bar for beer quality and quantity. A must stop when on the Southside, beware of the crowds at night and during sporting events.
Aug 19, 2010
Photo of KAP1356
Reviewed by KAP1356 from Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5
This place always confuses me, but it truly is the best beer selection in Pittsburgh.

The atmosphere is that of any normal BMC type bar. Is it trying to be a sports bar? Is it trying to be a beer geek bar? Either way, you kind of the get the vibe of the former when you first walk in...then you see the regrigerators and the tap lines.

The quality is quite good here. They have some amazing and often times hard to find beers.

The selection, in my opinion, is the best in Pittsburgh. Not only do they have 60 DRAFT BEERS!!!!, but they have the best bottle selection of any place in Pittsburgh. Better yet, they're prices are extremely reasonable. They aren't marking up their bottles by any means which was quite refreshing.

The Service all depends on the bartender. They come across like they have the mindset that everyone is going to be another BMC drinker, until you order some Lost Abbey or inquire as to how fresh the Hop Stoopid is in the cooler. Then they become great.
Jul 16, 2010
Photo of portia99
Reviewed by portia99 from Massachusetts

4.63/5  rDev +13.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5
A - Layed back atmosphere..casual, a bit rustic and lived in for appearance. A large bar with manhy seats with ripped uphostery, about half a dozen tv's playing mostly sports related programs. Behind the bar are 4 or 5 bottle cooler filled completlely tih locals and high end craft beers. 60 taps and 1 cask beer of very high quality beers and a few rarities. A pool table and some seating spaces in the back...played a couple of games of pool...pretty quiet on a Monday night, mostly filled with locals. We fit in pretty easily though and traded friendly insults with the Buffalo Sabres fan bartender as we watched the Bruins send them packing to the off season.

Q - Quality of beer available was excellent. At least 55 of the 60 taps were unusual and high end craft beers - Founders, East End, Stone, Terrapin, Sly Fox and many others. As a sampling, we had Founders Sappy Slappy, Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti, Oak Aged Wake & Bake, Lagunitas Wilco Tango Foxtrot, Brooklyln Cookie Jar Porter...pretty rare and interesting stuff on tap, for sure.

S - Service was very friendly, especially compared to other Pittsburgh beer bars we visited. Went thru 2 shifts of bartenders and all were very friendly and enjoyed some sports heckling with the out of towners...Beers were always poured with no delays...bartenders were definitely on top of thingsk and ready to serve.

S - Selection was amazing...I rarely go to bars and find so many high end offerings that I have not already had the chance to sample. We stayed for 5-6 hours and sampled many beers, all of which were new to me....a great thing for sure...especially considering the abilitlity to try a couple of true rarities in the beer world.

F - Food was of good quality. Sampled a Caesar salad, chicken wings, french onion soup, quesadillas and a pretzel...all were good, but none were truly outstanding. Definitely shouldn't be disappointed with the food here, but other places in the neighborhood seemed to be a notch above here.

V - We kept looking at the menu and couldn't believe how cheap items were. Sandwiches and appetizers in the $3-6 range...really cheap, especially for being in the city. Overall the prices are very good and the selection of food and beer make this a good destination for some brews and food when in Pittsburgh.
Apr 27, 2010
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Reviewed by garbercury from Pennsylvania

4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5
Probably the best "beer bar" in Pittsburgh.

A--Now that smoking is banned, this narrow and cramped bar is tolerable. However, it is still narrow and cramped. The good thing is the South Side is usually crowded with college age types who are in the mood for crap beer and jager bombs, so you can often get a seat at the bar and if that is the case, it is tough to leave.

Q--Beer is fresh and top notch. Only minus, a fairly big one, is they serve all beer in Pints, not good.

S--Bartenders are solid and very prompt.

S--Selection is a huge plus here. Often get some excellent rarities (had the Canadian Breakfast on tap) and sometimes tap aged kegs. Excellent bottle selection.

If you are in Pittsburgh, do fatheads for meal and a couple brews and then settle down for a few more at Smokin' Joes...nice!
Dec 02, 2009
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Reviewed by beerbyrd from South Carolina

4.64/5  rDev +13.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5
This place was my last stop on the Southside of Pittsburg. I wish it had been my first. Being from SC, I wish I could find a place even remotely close to this. I found some amazing brews. I picked up a mix six pack before I left. They had an amazing selection of Dogfish head, bells, and Founders. They even had KBS!!! It was a bit expensive, but in Pittsburg a bar is the only place to buy beer uless you go to a distributor and buy a case. I picked up a Dogfish Head Burton Baton, Indian Brown Ale, Palo Santo Marron, Bell's Special Double Cream Stout, Great Lakes Blackout Stout, and a Green Flash West Coast IPA. While there, I had a 90 minute IPA. Hats off to you guys. You will be my first stop on my next venture to PA.
Apr 22, 2009
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Reviewed by jeremy13586 from Pennsylvania

4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4
I just went to Smokin' Joe's for the first time a couple of weeks ago after living within a 6 block radius of it for the past three years and have been back four times since. The atmosphere is something that can best be described as simply "a bar". Dark, divey, and smokey with a pool table and some arcade games in the back. I tend to prefer this kind of atmosphere. It is becoming harder and harder to find a bar on East Carson that hasn't turned in to a club.

The place has an amazing draft and bottle selection, and I would go as far to say that it is better than the selection at Fatheads. The prices for bottles aren't that much more than you would find in a singles shop. The last time I was there I got a bottle of World Wide Stout for about $11 which I feel is a steal. Sometimes it will take a couple minutes for the bartender to get you your first drink, but if you're sitting up at the bar then they'll be quite attentive from there on out.

I didn't take a good look at the food menu, but it seems to be your standard bar-fare. On Thursdays they have a Yuengs and Wings special, a pitcher of Yueng and 40 wings for about $14 and the wings are pretty damn tasty.

Smoking is allowed in the establishment and it can get a bit overwhelming at the bar. There are tables that are away from the bar so if smoke bothers you, you won't have to be confined to one spot.
Jan 16, 2009
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Reviewed by sonicdescent from Pennsylvania

3.43/5  rDev -16.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 2.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2.5
Let me get this out of the way: Somkin Joe's is your typical South Side bar that just so happens to have an amazing selection. If that component was missing, there would be no reason to go here.

The service was prompt and friendly but not very beer oriented. All drafts are served in a pint glass and bottles are served in ...dun dun dun..bottles.

Atmosphere was relaxed, which was nice. Again otherwise, just a typical small bar.

Selection, as stated before, was pretty darn good, though it didn't seem to be well kept as some labels were hidden from view and kind of difficult to see what they had, though from what I was able to see, some of the more rare (not crazy rare mind you) beers were available. Tap selection was good also, with a claim to 60 on tap, including your usual macros as well as some regional and not so regional micros.

Food was very average. Passable. Had a cheese steak which was a little dry with the overly large size of the bun it is on, but I blame myself partly because I like my cheese steaks with only steak and cheese on them. Fries were similar to Primanti's style and good.

Value was reasonable. I was not shocked either way when the tab arrived.

Had Fathead's not been packed, I probably wouldn't have come in here, and unfortunately, if next time I'm in the area and Fathead's isn't available, I may just try the Double Wide Grill down the street.
Dec 22, 2008
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Reviewed by rbowser from New Hampshire

4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5
I hit smoking Joes late one week day night and stayed for two beers. This really is a nice, mid size, dive beer bar. It has a long bar, to your right as you enter, with a small corridor along the bar that opens up to a large back area with a pool table.

Had some decent music on and the place was warm and busy on a dreary and cold February night.

I would say they had about 50 taps and two large coolers full of bottles behind the bar. I had a Bell's Two Hearted Ale and their Kalamazoo stout (as I can't get Bells where I live).

The crowd was younger but friendly and the service was prompt. It is well worth a stop when you are in the South side.
Mar 01, 2008
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Reviewed by CrazyMacHarris99 from Pennsylvania

4.45/5  rDev +8.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4
This place is the one bar I always have to go to for last call. No matter where we go on the South Side we always end the night at Smokin' Joes. Thankfully, the state of Pennsylvania repealed the smoking ban in Allegheny County or this place would be called Joes. The beer selection is amazing here but it is also a full service bar with an amazing atmosphere. Old turn of the century bar in a long narrow corner building. There is ornate tin ceiling tiles that show off the belt driven fans. There are multiple b/w photos of Pittsburgh during the steel days mixed with beer posters, plaques, and mirrors as well as some new flat screen tvs. The newest addition is a board above the beer coolers that lists all the beer on tap which is now over 60. This helps you figure out what you want without having to get up and walk the length of the bar or wait for the busy bartender to list them all. The only problem is its squeezed up by the ceiling and is hard to see unless you're sitting in front of it. Seems like they are trying to one up Fatheads which is down the street.

Anyway, the beer on tap and in the coolers is amazing. They are always up on the seasonals that regularly come to the Burgh. They are always adding new beer but you can always find your favorite in the cooler. The taps seem to come and go so you can try new things but don't plan on going back on a regular basis and get the same thing.

The food is great but I haven't had much there. I can say they have great wings and great wing deals. Also, we usually go on the weekends after midnight so they aren't serving food.

Overall, this is a great place to visit every now and again to try some new beer and have a hell of a time on the South Side.
Feb 06, 2008
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Reviewed by letsgopens from Pennsylvania

4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5
Another of the several quality beer stops on the Southside of the Burgh. This place has a really impressive selection and that's kind of their claim to fame. Probably around 200 - 250 bottles and 40 - 50 taps. Some really hard to find stuff too. Besides the awesome selection the atmosphere is pretty cool as well. As you walk in to the dimly lit, longer shaped pub you're greeted by the huge bottle selection in a wall of coolers behind the bar. There is obviously an abundance of taps as well and some small tables on the left. The place opens up a bit in the back with more seating. I haven't spent much time on the first floor except to get beers though; I usually head upstairs. The upstairs is a bit more wide open with some larger tables and a secondary bar that opens mostly on the weekends. The upstairs also has some dart boards and other pub related memorabilia. The service is friendly and knowledgeable for the most part and I've never had an issue with the quality either. I haven't eaten anything there myself but friends of mine have and mentioned that the food was pretty good. In fact I'm not even sure what type of food they serve being that I am usually there on weekend evenings when the place is packed and no one is eating. I guess I'll have to check that out. This place's draw is their selection and I would head over there for that alone but the atmosphere is good and the prices aren't too bad. Also the place is usually bumping on the weekends so if you're not into that whole college party scene or you're just not in the mood, I'd avoid those times. Otherwise it’s certainly a great place to get some good brew.
Dec 29, 2007
Smokin' Joe's in Pittsburgh, PA
Place rating: 4.09 out of 5 with 54 ratings