D's is one of the original craft beer bars in Pittsburgh, and still one of my favorites.
I remember well, not long ago when D's was still that tiny wedge of a place, having to squeeze between the last seat at the bar and the coolers to get back to the beer cave - which once occupied the space of the current kitchen.
And, I remember saying to my wife at that time, "You know, if they made this place twice as big, it would still be just as crowded!"
The expansion/remodel that took place several years ago has more than doubled the size, as well as created a fun, laid-back place to drink from a myriad list of fine beers - both bottled and on tap.
I enjoy the mural on the wall that depicts celebrities (local and international, from movies & music to sports, as well as politics and history, spanning many generations) all drinking at a sort of Oktoberfest-like bierhalle & festival!
There is other custom interior woodwork and decor that add to the unique atmosphere of D's - likenesses of hops vines and cones adorning the walls, and ale-sipping Trappist monks who peer out of the crown molding keeping watch over the daily revelries.
Yet it does, indeed, tend to get just as crowded as ever, especially on the weekends.
The hot dogs are the standard on the menu, and the variety of toppings seem to offer something for everyone.
The burgers, wings, pizzas, salads & sandwiches - a selection which has also expanded since the remodel - all have gourmet toppings and iterations as diverse as the beers they serve.
And, the 1919 Draft Root Beer makes this a PERFECT place for craft beer junkies-turned-parents to take the kiddies for dinner!!
The beer cave is a wonderful place to wander around, mix & match a six-pack, and ponder where you'd put your bed if you could move into that little room.
If you're choosing some bottles to go, you can get a great variety of beers in your carrier.
But, you need to realize that you're paying a premium to get that variety and selection.
Such a collection of six will run in the neighborhood of $20-$25.
So, why do I offer only an "8" rating for a place that I love so much?
For me, it simply comes down to service.
As I mentioned, it always seems to be busy at D's.
I've often sat for 5-10 minutes, after arriving, without a server even coming to take a drink order.
Although the staff is usually friendly, and is typically knowledgeable enough about the beer to talk about it, it seems that they're too busy to care that your glass is empty.
If you're there with no more than one other person, and there's space at the bar, jump on it!
I've always gotten better service when sitting there.
My theory is that the "seat yourself" arrangements, and the fact that people can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours to have a few beers, contribute to an extremely difficult dining room to manage for a wait staff.
In my opinion, that's an issue that management should address and try to fix.
In short: The beer selection, tasty pub grub, and fun atmosphere always keep me going back to D's.
The frequency of my visits would likely increase if the service issues were better.