Burgh Bar Review: Mineo's In Squirrell Hill
For years the fine folks here at the Keystone Statement have been begging me to contribute. Until now a variety of things have gotten in the way of this such as work, school, the blog not existing until last Friday, and a few other things I can’t recall. But I’m here now and after taking a quick look at the blog I knew what topic it was missing.
Now since this is largely a sports blog I wanted to keep that in mind. I decided that what this blog needed was an in depth look at the various watering holes where you can watch the Burgh’s champions play and also the Pirates. So after countless phone calls, emails, and regrettable text messages to the Keystone Statement Corporate Headquarters I got the go ahead to go out and explore what this city has to offer.
First on the list was a Friday night Pens game against a newly dangerous rival, the Columbus Bluejackets.
The venue: Mineo’s in Squirrel Hill.
When it comes to great pizza most people don’t think Pittsburgh. I’m admittedly biased but I truly believe that the Burgh boasts several pizzerias that could hold their own against any pie from New York or the tomato and cheese casseroles Chicago mistakenly calls pizza.
One of the local joints that finds itself comfortably atop almost Pittsburgher’s pizza list would be Mineo’s. The Squirrel Hill location (a second location is located in Mt. Lebanon) sits right on Murray ave. and is a staple of this unique neighborhood. They’ve consistently turned out great pies and other Italian favorites for several generations and about two years ago they expanded their operation to include a bar.
The main attraction remains the pizza. There’s a reason people literally order their pizza from all over the country. The homemade dough, the slightly spicy sauce, and an impressive amount of cheese makes for a memorable slice of pie. Mineo’s Bar offers the full menu including pizza by the slice which is my go-to option. The U shaped bar includes a rotating selection of taps and a long list of bottles. The beer selection isn’t anything too adventurous but you’ll find both your micro and macro brews plus a few imports. I’m told their wine list is decent but unless your surname is Lemieux you should not be drinking wine during a Pens game anyway. They feature a Penguins game special, 2.50 Labatt Blue bottles, which I believe is the standard beer special for hockey games everywhere according to pro sports bylaws.
The bar offers clear sight lines to their three large TVs, one for each wall. The audio is good too so you won’t miss any of the awkward Bob Errey comments. If you can’t find a seat at the bar there’s a few tabletops available but check with the wait staff before claiming one as they are often used for dinner service. Myself and the soon to be Mrs. Slodes found a seat at the bar and ordered right as the puck dropped. Two slices and a beer each. A pretty boring scoreless first period as far as the game is concerned but our order came out quick enough. If this were strictly a food review I’d spend about a hundred more words describing the pizza, but I’ll let a picture sell you on it.
Second period was a little more eventful as a forgetful Columbus D-man opened up the scoring. The Penguins soon countered with a goal coming from Rocket Richard contender Ian Cole a few minutes later. Tying goals are the kind of moments that can tell you a lot about a sports bar. The crowd on any given night can change the atmosphere dramatically and the crowd at Mineo’s on Friday seemed more interested in their pizza than hockey, an understandable scenario during the lulls of February hockey. Playoff hockey would likely garner a stronger reaction but we’re a few months away for that. Anyways, not much more excitement happened so fast forward through a scoreless third and three more beers and we were going to overtime. You can check the box score if you want but I’ll spoil the surprise and tell you Brandon Douchebinsky ended it overtime.
Overall Mineo’s bar is establishing itself as a great place to grab a bite and brew on any occasion. Two slices and a beer can be yours for less than $10 and you really can’t beat that. During a weekend dinner rush space is limited and with the bar sharing dinner service it could make it difficult if you are with a group. Good sight lines and a crowd that was a bit docile during the mid-season drag makes for an average viewing venue. My recommendations, if you’re looking for a delicious and affordable dinner while watching a period or two make the trip, but if it’s an important game and you’re with a group consider other options. I reserve the right to change this recommendation once I see how they handle playoff hockey.
I’m told that Pennsylvania State Blogging laws mandate a quick reference summary so here it is:
Overall Atmosphere: C
Total: Solid B
That’s it for now folks, hopefully the higher ups at the Keystone Statement Corporate Headquarters send me on more missions to drink and watch hockey. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it.