6 Killer College Hangouts in Pittsburgh

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Though Pittsburgh is a relatively small city compared to towns like NYC or LA, it is the home to over 15 colleges. In order to keep that many students happy, Pittsburgh boasts a ton of fun places for students to chill off campus. Though there are very active and specific nightlife scenes surrounding every college and university in the city, here are just six of the best college hangouts that Pittsburgh has to offer.

Games N’ At

Games N’ At is the ultimate hangout for vintage game nerds or anyone who has just wanted to relive their childhood. This huge arcade and game emporium contains tons of old fashioned arcade games for visits to enjoy. Among others, this great emporium includes Pool, Air Hockey, Duck Pin Bowling, Skee-Ball, Pinball, Donkey Kong, and Pacman. College Night on Fridays offers cheap admission price of $10 with the presentation of a College ID.

Did we forget to mention that Games N’ At is BYOB? It may not be a college bar, but it provides more entertainment with the same amount of drunk. You can even book one of the party rooms in the back if you want a little more exclusivity. So basically, what we’re saying is that most college hot spots can’t get much better than this. If you’re looking for a place that truly exemplifies the unique character of Pittsburgh, stop on over at this great hangout.

Hemingway’s Cafe

As one Yelp review puts it: “$7 shot pitchers, $5 pitchers of beer, and a half-off food menu can’t be beat.”. Hemingway’s Cafe has earned a reputation for being the natural habitat of UPitt party students. Most would agree that this is the hub of the University’s off-campus party scene. It’s packed on weekends during the school year, with a young scene that certainly on the loud side (without being too abrasive). There are definitely rowdier bars in the college night scene. The Wednesday Karaoke Nights and the weekend DJ’s are a huge hit.

The food here is exceptionally tasty bar fare, including tasty dishes like breaded chicken tenders, nachos, and various decadent burgers. Don’t fret, vegetarians. They also have a lovely veggie burger. Drinks are fairly priced and many food specials are offered throughout the week. All entrees are actually half off between 9pm-11pm (can’t get much better than that). If you’re looking for the perfect college dive bar, you’ve found the right place!


If you’re a lover of international beers, then the Hofbräuhaus is a must-see. If you’re looking for a slice of Deaustchland in the middle of Pennsylvania, then you’ve found the right place! This pub and restaurant is modeled after a German biergarten. But the German theme doesn’t just stop at the architecture. Even the waitstaff is dressed in traditional lederhosen and dirndls. They even have a live entertainment area for music and general merriment.

Of course, it’s not exclusively a hangout for college students, but part of its charm is the diverse crowd. Hofbräuhaus boasts an Oktoberfest-worthy beer selection with a side of excellent German-style food. Just don’t expect any light options. Whether you’re drinking in the traditional beer hall or the riverside patio, you can be sure to get caught up in the unique, boisterous atmosphere of the Hofbräuhaus.

Photo: Pittsburgh Magazine

Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Magazine

Primanti Brothers

The Primanti Brothers calls itself “a Pittsburgh Tradition,” and, honestly, this claim isn’t too far from the truth. This restaurant chain began as a little food cart in the Pittsburgh Strip District and has since spread throughout the city and even into Florida. It has also gained a reputation as one of Pittsburgh’s landmark restaurants and a fantastic college hangout.

Photo: Suitcase Scholar

Photo Credit: Suitcase Scholar

With it’s insanely delicious sandwiches, snacks, and great beer selection, it’s no wonder that this is a go-to for Pittsburgh college students. Primanti Brothers has a large menu with many different snacks to choose from, but its epic sandwiches are by far the most popular items on the menu. When you first see one of their sandwiches, you may have a difficult time believing that it’ll be able to fit in your mouth – but once you eat it, it will transport you to college foodie heaven.

PNC Park

The PNC Baseball Park is the top sports destination for college students outside of college sports. This Park is home to the beloved Pittsburgh Pirates, the city’s beloved baseball team. A trip to PNC Park for a baseball game is a favorite Summer activity for college students staying in the city after the school year wraps up. It’s also much more affordable than attending a Steeler’s game.

Photo: Yards of Summer

Photo Credit: Yards of Summer

Even if you end up with “bad seats,” you still get a fabulous view of the city and the Allegheny River. Though this is an ideal destination for sports lovers, the atmosphere of a baseball game is practically infectious. Even if you’re not really into the game, you can still enjoy the vibrant excitement of the crowd and sharing a great beer and ballpark hotdog with your buddies. If the landmarks of Pittsburgh are your thing, you can even stop by to view the famous Roberto Clemente statue that stands outside of PNC Park.

Sphinx Cafe Hookah Bar

The Sphinx Cafe is a chill college hangout for new and seasoned hookah smokers alike. Come off the streets of Pennsylvania and enter into this little piece of the Middle East right in Oakland. Sit down on one of the many cozy couches and cushions to enjoy one of the fine shishas. Hookahs were made for socializing, so bring a friend (or four). While you’re involved in a conversation about the latest exam or the pile of homework you have to finish this week, grab a cup of special Egpytian coffee to accompany the flavored tobacco.

Find that you’re loving Hookah, but don’t always want to go to the bar? No problem! The Sphinx Cafe actually sells hookahs, shisha tobacco, and other assorted supplies so you can bring a piece of one of your favorite Pittsburgh hotspots home with you. Overall, this . Of course, it’s always best to enjoy with moderation. This classy joint with a little Middle Eastern flair is the perfect place to retreat to amid the chaos of college life.

TAMPA, FL – JULY 12: Aniruddh Nayak, Yukti Ahuja and Anirudh Chaturvedi (L-R) relax together at the Habibi Cafe and Hookah bar in the Ybor City neighborhood on July 12, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. The neighborhood was founded in the 1880s by cigar manufacturers and was populated by thousands of immigrants, mainly from Spain, Cuba, and Italy. The area is expecting more business during the 2012 Republican National Convention being held at the Tampa Bay Times Forum building August 27-30. Republicans are expected to officially pick former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as their nominee to face President Barack Obama in the November general election. The city will play host 2,286 delegates and 2,125 alternate delegates from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five territories as well as scores of journalists, guests and protesters. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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Photo credit: Sphinx Care