Baby, It's Cool Outside

Seriously, it seems like just last week that we strolled across Market Square, sipping on a cool cola to beat the early fall heat. Now, here we are listening to the weather guy talk about frost warnings and shivering from temperatures chilly enough to make us toss a blanket on the bed. Well, that's Pittsburgh for you.

Still, even as the days and nights grow cold and autumn leaves turn to read and gold, we're here to suggest a few specialty beverages that will leave you with a warm feeling inside the next time you happen to find yourself in or near Market Square.  

First off, let's suggest a stop at Nicholas Coffee & Tea Co. as one of the best ways to start your day. Just let your nose follow that wonderful fresh roasted aroma across the Square to the building with topped of with a wonderful Chippendale facade. Inside, you'll find plenty perking, as the talented beanmeisters brew one of the best cups of morning Joe in town. Now you can go traditional with a tall mug of black java to go. Or you can order one of the custom concoctions with LOL names like Voodoo Daddy, Chocolate Banana Bread or the Fat Man in a Little Coat. No matter what you pick,  you're sure to walk out of Nicholas Coffee with a smile on your face. 

Maybe you won't find your 15 minutes of fame at the Fairmont Hotel's fab fab watering hole named after a certain Pittsburgher Carnegie Tech grad who exploded on the New York art scene with a giant "Pop." But what you will discover at "Andys" is the appropriately named "Andy Warhol." This Warhol blends exact measures of Hennesey, Benedictine and brandy, lillet —an oh so French aperitif wine — orange bitters and a twist of lemon to create a true masterpiece.  And for a bit of musical flavor, drop in for a drink any Wednesday through Saturday October evening for some cool Jazz at Andys, with local talents such as Etta Cox, Maureen Budaway and Fred Pugh on stage to add the perfect grace note.

Now Pittsburgh rightly takes a lot of pride in being a blue-collar, shot-and-a-beer type of town. So, we decided to visit the Square's own Bella Sera, which is Italian for "beautiful evening" any season of the year. Well, the imported and micro brews at this cozy hideaway certainly got our night off to a good start. Our first round started with a tasty Pietra Amber from Corsica, a tiny French governed island off the coast of Italy. This heady brew's dual lineage feels right at home here in the Steel City. On a more seasonal note, a zesty Screamin' Pumpkin spiced ale provided far more treat than trick. Best of all, you don't have to wait for Halloween to imbibe this bedeviling brew.

Maybe it's just us. But a margarita seems to be a perfect for any time of the year. Which is why we journeyed up a flight of stairs to Las Velas, the Square's numero uno Mexican cantina. Perched above the nearly completed Square, we slowly savored a strawberry 'rita and noshed on crispy nacho chips and muy picante salsa and watched the late afternoon Downtown desk set scurry across the terrazzo plaza below. Sure, it's getting colder outside. But there's always a nice warm indoor spot to be found for everyone in Market Square. 

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