Wine and cheese are one of those classic, beloved pairings that just can’t be beaten. What’s more satisfying than a good glass of pinot noir and some brie, or maybe some chardonnay and some English cheddar?
You can absolutely make a full meal out of wine and cheese (as I have plenty of times), or you can start or end an excellent night with a bit of rich, savory luxury at the bar. Best of all, the art of wine and cheese is so adaptable; you can always enjoy your favorites or a selection of the classics, or you can be challenged with something a little funkier.
Whether you’re looking for an aperitivo to enjoy before your meal or a delicious last bite before heading home, some of Pittsburgh’s best bars and restaurants offer an excellent selection of wines and cheeses to enjoy on your next night out. Here are a few of our favorites:
Sure, picking a French-style bistro for its wine and cheese seems a bit on the nose, but hear me out: Poulet Bleu’s cheese plate is an expertly curated selection of cheeses and accompaniments that can serve as a first course, a dessert course, or even a standalone snack.
Poulet Bleu’s wine menu is also impressive, with more than two dozen selections available by the glass and even more by the bottle, if you’ve got a friend or two you can share it with, and why not? It is a holiday, after all!
The Pennsylvania Market is a wine lover’s dream, boasting four bars with local selections and seasonal cocktails, but for wine specifically, the wine library can’t be beaten. Though their selection of wines changes weekly, expect to see over 150 varieties of wine available by the glass or bottle — or even in a flight.
As far as cheese goes, it won’t come as a surprise that a food vendor named Charcuterie will have what you’re looking for. Its menu features two unique boards: one Spanish and one Italian, and both are available in either small or large. (Pro tip: bring a friend so you don’t have to choose!)
Whether you have a sweet tooth or you’re looking for an after-dinner treat that’s a little stronger than a simple dessert, Allegheny Wine Mixer is the perfect last stop for your next night out. Featuring a curated wine list and a special selection of dessert wines, you can find the perfect digestif to enjoy after a delicious meal.
Still hungry? You can also build your own board from a selection of cheese and meats accompanied by bread and nuts for a snack as large or small as you want it — and yes, cheese can definitely be a dessert!
You may be more familiar with the colorful, creative cocktails that the talented bartenders at Bridges & Bourbon are known for crafting, but they also have an impressive selection of wines available by the glass or bottle: whites, reds, rosés, and even sparkling and port wines if you’re feeling extra fancy.
The charcuterie selection at Bridges & Bourbon features two seasonal cheese selections alongside some meats and accompaniments, but if you’re looking for something substantial and still plenty cheesy, try the sourdough grilled cheese with brie, balsamic fig jam, and caramelized onions — which is basically just an amazing charcuterie board in the form of a sandwich, no?
Let’s be real… some of us wine lovers may know what we personally like to sip, but we’re not exactly sommeliers yet. No worries, of course! But if you’re looking to expand your knowledge and try some more unique bottles you won’t easily find in the state stores, you have to check out 23rd and Vine. As a boutique wine shop and bar, 23rd and Vine prioritizes small, independent vineyards and sells both bottles to go and glasses to enjoy in their charming shop and patio space.
23rd and Vine also carries a selection of local grocery goods and a small yet expertly curated menu that features charcuterie snacking boards, which of course pair beautifully with their wines. Pro tip: stop in for a happy hour to take advantage of special deals on their boards and wine by the glass.
Tucked away at the southern tip of Lawrenceville, The Forge is a cozy lounge with an emphasis on craft cocktails and Mediterranean small plates. If you’re looking for a tapas-style night out with plenty of tasty small bites to try and share, the Forge has you covered, but don’t overlook their boards! Cheese lovers of all kinds will enjoy either the countryside cheeseboard packed with classic favorites or their vegan cheese board, featuring lemon ricotta made locally by Chantal’s.
While you can’t go wrong with a house or classic cocktail (or even something made custom for you by one of the Forge’s expert bartenders), their wine list has something for everyone — reds, whites, rosés, and sparkling wines available by the glass or bottle.This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.