The James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy is located at the corner of James and Foreland Streets on Pittsburgh’s North Shore.
To start with, the beer menu has a nice blend of Ales, IPAs, Belgians, Stouts, Wheats, Ciders, and some Domestics. In the spirit of a Speakeasy, the drink menu offers vintage choices like a Side Car, Brandy Alexander, Gin Rickey, as well as staples such as Old Fashioneds and Sazeracs, and unique drinks to James Street such as the Smoked Jazz, made with cognac and scotch. The food menu offers a variety of small plates, wings, burgers, salads, and entrees. Broadly speaking, the menu overall offers classic nods towards Pittsburgh. The city loves Mac and Cheese, and James Street has a Build Your Own Mac option. If you’re hungry, definitely try the Mac and Cheese with some of the unique add ons. I get mine with chili, tomatoes, and spinach. Another menu item that stands out are the James Street burgers. There is also an option here to build your own burger, but there are two choices on the menu that I recommend. The Big South burger has Pimento cheese, bacon pepper jam, and fried green tomatoes. It is a unique mix of flavors. And in a nod to the city, there is the Yinz Gotta Try This Burger, which has perogies, cheddar, and coleslaw on a pretzel bun. From the entree options, I recommend the Cajun Shrimp and Grits or the homemade Meatloaf Devonshire over broccoli, smashed redskin potatoes, with a whiskey cheddar sauce. Both are hearty and delicious.
On the several occasions that I have visited the James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy, the service has been consistently terrific. The greeters, bartenders, servers, and runners have all been efficient, well organized, and friendly. If there is a wait for a table, just saunter up to the bar and order a pre dinner drink.
The James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy provides a warm nostalgic ambiance. The decor upstairs is a shrine to some of the great performers who have visited. Depending on where one sits, the feel of the entire venue is different. If you’re in the booths by the bar, you have an elevated view of the whole upstairs portion of the restaurant. The main dining room is open and there is plenty of space between the tables where diners are not on top of each other. Downstairs, in the speakeasy section of the venue, there is a small stage and small bar. The intimate setting, with the lighting and decor, provides for a very sentimental, nostalgic setting. It is a must visit!
Everything about the James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy is nostalgic nod to a different time, but also an homage to our great city of Pittsburgh. I recommend embracing the speakeasy ambiance by starting with the Side Car or Gin Rickey, have a great dinner, then go downstairs and listen to some great live jazz. I easily give the James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy an overall rating and recommendation of:
“Absolutely Must Visit!”