If there is a bar that totally identifies with and even cherishes the fact it is a full blown college hang out, it is Hemingway's located at 3911 Forbes Avenue in Oakland. Its central location on the Pitt Campus draws a very young crowd looking to have a good time without traveling too far.
Though Hemingway's has some great specials (daily $1 beers, all day long) and a stellar beer selection, the set-up of this bar reduces its appeal. It is narrow to begin with and coupled with an awkward raised seating area spanning the middle complicates patron mobility. On a busy night it often takes five minutes to walk from the front to the back of the bar. Hemingway's has a pool table and dart board located in the back, but they are squeezed into a room entirely too small often making a game of billiards an unpleasant experience.
One aspect Hemingway's really has going for it is its staff. The same bartenders have been working here for as long as I can remember and they are good at what they do. Fast and efficient, even when the bar is at full capacity, they never short you on liquor in your mix drinks. Hemingway's also employs a number of wait staff to take food and drink orders and are a convenient option on packed nights.
The food here is not bad, and come between 9 and 11 and entrees are half off. Options from wraps, to burgers, to pasta dishes highlight the menu.
The decor at Hemingway's is unique. Thousands of framed pictures of drunk college bar-goers cover every wall; a fitting choice for a college bar. It never gets old laughing at all the drunkards pictured here.
In conclusion, I think this bar is most suited for the newly turned 21 crowd. When you get a littler older, especially after graduation from college, the patronage here seems a bit juvenile. That being said, if you're looking for a cheap night out and some decent bar food for a great price then stop by Hemingway's.
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