Pittsburgh Dining » On The Rocks

Squirrel Hill's Manor Theater opens new bar in lobby

For cocktail development, the theater turned to Heather Perkins, bar manager at Spoon

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Fancy sipping some of famed director Francis Ford Coppola's chardonnay, or drinking a "Golden Globe," while watching the latest buzz-worthy film? At Squirrel Hill's Manor Theater, you can now have a drink while watching a movie ... with a choice of 10 beers, six wines and eight specialty cocktails.

During the Murray Avenue theater's recent renovation, owner Richard Stern and his daughter Alexa collaborated on adding a full-service bar to the lobby. "It's a growing trend across the country," says Richard Stern. 

Certain logistical concerns had to be addressed. Stern's primary concern was underage drinking, so he instituted a "one drink at a time" policy designed to make sure that those of legal age weren't sneaking liquor to underage friends.

Broken glass was another worry, which is why Stern decided to forgo bottled beer. But as he points out, "There is a lot of good craft beer in cans these days." And at the Manor, patrons can purchase cans of Brooklyn Summer Ale, 21st Amendment B.I.B. IPA and Dale's Pale Ale, along with such standbys as Yuengling and Miller Lite. Beer prices range from $3.50-7.50 for beer; glasses of wine — which include "Red-Carpet Reds" and "Casablanca Whites" — run between $7 and $10, while cocktails are priced between $7 and $11. 

For the cocktail development, Stern turned to Heather Perkins, bar manager at Spoon (another Stern enterprise). All the cocktails are named for classic films; "The names came first, and we built the cocktails around them," Perkins says.

For example, "Some Like It Hot," is a fiery blend of Jim Beam, Fireball whiskey, ginger beer and cherry. The "Cool Hand Cuke," meanwhile, is a mix of Beefeater gin, muddled cucumber and soda. The latter, says bar manager Rico Patterson, has quickly become an especially popular summer cocktail. 

And as you might expect, audience response to the bar itself has been positive.

 "When I tell people that they can take drinks into the theater," says Patterson, "they light up like a Christmas tree."

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