Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bar Reviews: Mario's East Side Saloon

Every Pittsburgher is well aware of the classic South Side bar Mario's.  Mario's South Side Saloon is one of the first bars that you go to when you turn 21 and where you take out-of-towners to capture the Pittsburgh bar scene.  Yes, it is overcrowded and loud, but it is a Pittsburgh staple that one must visit.  To capitalize on the popularity and success, Mario's ownership opened a second location in the Shadyside area in August of 2011.  Mario's East Side Saloon moved into the old building that housed Doc's Place for many years on Walnut St., a prime location for bar goers. 

I finally got around to visiting the bar and was shocked at the transformation from Doc's to Mario's.  Mario's tried replicating the South Side bar with the sports themed stained glass windows, brown paneled walls, and stained wooden booths.  It is even a bit dark and dingy inside like the Carson St. bar.  TVs adorn the bar area which made for an almost perfect viewing of the Penguin game that was on the night of my visit.  A shuffle board table and team trivia are also new features of the bar along with updated menus and daily drink specials.  One complaint I had of Doc's was the bar being placed in the center of the main floor which caused much congestion during peak hours when trying to navigate to another area of the establishment.  Mario's resolved this problem by moving the bar against the side wall allowing for a wider passage without constantly excusing yourself and bumping into people.  The outdoor deck has been remodeled making for a nice night outdoors in the summer months.  Doc's place always had very high drink prices (think $13 pitchers of Yuengling), I found Mario's to be about average for Shadyside.  I unfortunately did not sample the food, for reviews click here.   

I always enjoyed going to Doc's for the outdoor deck and atmosphere and I was shocked to see Doc's boarded up when I passed by last summer so I was pleased to see a new bar take its place.  I recommend making a trip to Mario's East Side Saloon.  It is a good option for watching a sporting event which Shadyside desperately needed.


  1. The remodeled deck is nice, especially with the TVs they put in. I also like how they enclosed it for the winter, so you can enjoy the deck during the winter months.

    The movement of the bar to the wall was almost a necessity, much better location.

    Also, I have tried the food. It's just the same as any other bar food, which makes it much better than the food Doc's used to offer.

    The one thing I do not like at all is the addition of the shuffle board. It took away a whole section of prime seating - basically 4 booths in all. The shuffleboard really cant be enjoyed by that many people at a time, and it takes up a lot of physical space, so I think it was a really dumb addition.

    Overall, the place is much better than Doc's. All of the years I lived in Shadyside we didnt even go that much because of the high prices, bad food, and lack of specials. Since Mario's has taken over, I have been there at least 4 or 5 times, and I dont even live there anymore. It's worth a visit.

    4 out of 6 Irons

  2. Agree about the shuffle board, although the night I went there weren't many people there so seating and congestion were not a problem. One of my pet peeves about bars is when there is a pool table or in this case shuffle board that takes up valuable loafing space and two people must inconvience everyone else