Bar Buddies: Acacia

After a week of soul searching, I decided it still wasn’t too late for Ariel to face retribution for her vicious slight against me a few weeks back, so this week I headed off to Southside with my own replacement. He was in a fancy mood so we decided to go to Acacia, a prohibition themed bar on East Carson.

The location: The only issue with Southside is that the trip can be quite lengthy. The 54 will get you there from Craig in about 20 minutes, so it’s not the worst thing, but it’s not as easy as some of the places in Shadyside and Squirrel Hill if you live near campus. Aside from that, Southside is an ideal space for a bar, with everything you could possibly want in a one block radius. Post-bar grub is available ranging from pizza at the Pie Bar to cheesesteaks at the Groove. There are other bars to hop to if you want to switch up the vibe, and there are even necessities such as check cashing and tattoos nearby, should that come up.

The drinks: The drinks took a while, and I didn’t have a large enough sample to tell if this indicated that the bartenders were busy or that they were behind the bar working on their sublime mixology. I ordered a drink, the Nori by Nature, which I can only describe as an alcoholic sushi beverage. Basically, it was a mix of seaweed, finger, lime, and alcohol. It would take a real food critic who knows what words like “soporific” mean to break down the drink into words that convey such complex flavors. A mere occasional bar patron like myself can only offer that it was pretty dope … and surprisingly strong. My temporary bar buddy ordered La Revuelta, which seemed like a misnomer since there wasn’t anything quite as revolutionary as seaweed tincture, but it was a damned good drink in its own way. The drinks, unsurprisingly, are not cheap. A cocktail might run you all the way up to $15 after tax and tip, which is on the pricey side even for Southside.

The vibe: The speakeasy theme informs the décor. To enter Acacia, you walk in through boarded up windows and a covered door. This is sort of cool aesthetically, but it obscures the step down when exiting. Don’t be like me and trip on your way out. The interior is dimly lit even for a bar, especially since the streetlights can’t flood in. This gives the bar a bit of a secret and low-key feel to it that makes it a fun place to spend a couple hours.

This bar is not the place to take a bunch of people; there just isn’t a ton of space. There is a bar and several booths that provide some seating, but it’s more of a place to go hang out with a couple friends than a group. This is magnified by the fact that the bar is fairly quiet compared to others. This could just have been that night, but it was very easy to sit and have a conversation.

Lit or nah: I’m definitely going to go with lit. This certainly isn’t a regular jaunt. It’s too expensive for that. However, the series of novel ingredients in the drinks and the atmosphere that make it easy to hang out with a few friends makes this a fun centerpiece for a trip to Southside.