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The Best New Bar in Pittsburgh, Bottlerocket, Approaching Two Years of Creating Community in the Allentown Neighborhood

Bar, comedy club, and performance venue Bottlerocket Social Hall will be two years old this May- and what a incredible two years they have been for the business located at 1226 Arlington Ave just two blocks from E Warrington Ave in Allentown. Bottlerocket was crowned the Best New Bar in Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh City Papers 2023 Best Of PGH reader's poll.

Owner Chris Copen wanted to create a space that he felt Pittsburgh didn't have before, where a wide variety of people can come and form community for alternative comedy and performance. Over the past year and a half, Chris Copen and his team which includes manager Hannah Confer worked towards a venue that is accessible to a lot of people where they offer dance nights, live music, comedy shows, theme nights, and more.

What they found in the Allentown neighborhood was much more than anyone expected- a community eager to connect and build unforgettable experiences together. In many ways, Bottlerocket is the perfect revival for the space at 1226 Arlington Ave which used to be the Saint George Lyceum Social Club.

Bar and Office Manager Hannah Confer

"This bar was initially a social club so we wanted to preserve what the building represented for a lot of people in this community," explained Hannah. "Chris often says that the rest of it was just luck, but it has taken off in a way that we are really proud of."

Every manager, production assistant, and bartender at Bottlerocket Social Club has spent their time as employees putting everything into the space- and it shows. The team comes up with some of the most unique ideas in the city such as their recent Y2K New Years Eve party and a Fake Wedding Night which were both heavily attended.

"The more positive response we get, the more we want to buckle down and offer the best experience possible for our patrons and performers," explained Hannah. "When working with performers, if they are having a good time, the customers will have a better time and vice versa. Those relationships (with performers and patrons) are really important to us." Hannah has found more than just a job with Bottlerocket, they found friendship, community, something to be apart of for a long time. That same sense of belonging can be felt throughout the neighborhood, as Bottlerocket's presence has enhanced Allentown in many ways. In 2023 they held a County Fair, hosted performers and served drinks at the Allentown Night Market, and established their own Airbnb known as the Artist Loft for anyone looking to stay in the Pittsburgh area.

2024 will see even more innovation from the Bottlerocket team such as the Bottlerocket Sessions where patrons can be apart of live studio audio/video recordings for local (and less local) bands.

Follow them on everything and be sure to find your way over to Allentown to visit them in person:

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