Tavern 1947 – Shadyside Neighborhood
Saying that the 1947 Tavern is located in the gay section of Shadyside is like saying that Fallujah is located in the dangerous section of Iraq. Once a few years ago before we were married, my wife and I were strolling down Ellsworth Avenue after having dinner at the Elbow Room when she decided she wanted to have a drink at Spin Lounge. As soon as we crossed the threshold I quickly realized that this wasn’t my usual scene. DJ Tiesto house music was pumping loud and all of the other patrons were dudes in really tight shirts. I had no issue imbibing at the establishment but I thought it was an odd choice at the time for the girl I was dating to select. I thought maybe she planned it as a secret test to see if someone would recognize me as a regular patron*. Fortunately this scenario did not play out and we leisurely enjoyed a couple of rum and cokes before heading back out into Shadyside.
The aforementioned Elbow Room has since moved to Walnut Street and the 1947 Tavern has taken its place next to its sister restaurant Bites and Brews. Parking in Shadyside is always a prolonged endeavor and this Friday evening was no exception with it taking twenty minutes to finally find a spot four blocks away. After walking past some rockin’ house parties we arrived at the restaurant to find it pretty crowded but fortunately for my stomach we were seated right away.
At our servers suggestion I ordered a Carlsberg (5% ABV - Lager) draft. I’ve never had one before and it turned out to be quite good. My wife and I split two entrees – the French Dip and the Mac & Cheese – and both were excellent. The top sirloin on the French Dip was melt-in-your-mouth delicious and the accompanying baguette was firm enough to stand up to multiple dunkings into the au jus. The Mac & Cheese was good and creamy with a nice top layer of nearly-burnt cheddar. The only downside to our meal was the side of steak fries that came with the sandwich. I’m not sure if they weren’t cooked enough or this is how they’re meant to be, but the fries were too thick and tasted way too potatoe-ey. Hopefully they were just an unintentional bad batch. This bump in the road was more than overcome by the slice of the pecan pie we had for dessert. It was delicious, sweet but not too sweet, and it came accompanied with a scoop of Dave and Andy’s ice cream. It was a delectable ending to a highly enjoyable restaurant experience.
Final Call: The French Dip and Mac & Cheese are the 1947 Tavern’s specialties and both dishes are magnificent. The prices are some of the lowest around for similar gourmet bar food and there is a unique selection of specialty drinks, beers and bourbons. The 1947 Tavern also has a beer garden with outside seating which is an excellent spot to dine al fresco while enjoying a pretentious Belgium beer underneath the stars.
* Bartender: Whatcha up to, Norm?
Me: My ideal weight if I were eleven feet tall.