Sharon, Pennsylvania is a town born from the womb of the steel industry. While steel work has dwindled over the years in the area, many area residents still are employed at a mill or factory like Sharon Tube or Winner Steel. Because of Sharon’s “blue-collar” roots, there is a predominance of working man’s bars scattered through the area. These great come-as-you-are places are great for stimulating conversation about politics or the exchange of a funny joke. Most patrons know everyone on a first name basis, but are quick to welcome newcomers just the same. Most people drink beer or the occasional shot of hard liquor, and if they get hungry, the establishments serve some of the best food in Western Pennsylvania.
Quaker Steak and Lube, 101 Chestnut St., Sharon, PA 16146, (724) 981-WING (9464)
Quaker Steak and Lube is probably the most famous bar and restaurant in Sharon, Pennsylvania. It originally was a gas station that was converted to a steak restaurant, but it’s the Lube’s chicken wings that have since made the place famous. In fact, the originally restaurant in Sharon has now franchised into 20+ locations. The Lube offers the widest variety of beers and liquors in the Shenango Valley and if you are a mixed drink fan, their frozen daiquiris, garnished with a fresh-cut rose, are second-to-none. The best part of Quaker Steak and Lube is the dÃ?Â©cor. It has Corvettes, motorcycles, and other “motor-junkie” items hanging from the ceiling. In the summer, the Lube’s parking lot is host to weekly car and motorcycle shows that are a blast. If you are ever in Sharon, it is definitely a place you don’t want to miss. Since the Lube is open 365 days a year (yes, you can even get wings on Christmas Day), it is the perfect place to party anytime.
Billy’s Black and Gold, 514 Sharpsville Ave., Sharon, PA 16146, (724) 981-2030
Billy’s Black and Gold is the ultimate bar for fans of Pittsburg professional sports teams. The bar is wallpapered with various Pittsburgh sports memorabilia. The actual bar itself is cleverly shaped like a triangle to represent the Pittsburg “triangle” where the three rivers come together (hence the old Three Rivers Stadium). While this is the perfect place to come anytime, it’s definitely the best place to watch the big game on one of their numerous televisions. Menu-wise, Billy’s is a great lunch stop for many of the nearby factories. (Winner Steel is just across the street.) Similarly, its close proximity to the industrial area makes it a popular stop after a hard day at work for a cold beer and dinner.
Phoenix Restaurant and Lounge, 100 W. State St., Sharon, PA 16146, (724) 346-6553
The Phoenix’s Lounge was redone close to 10 years ago if my memory serves me correctly but still looks as impeccable as it did from day one. Most night patrons don’t notice the lounge dÃ?Â©cor though, because they keep it pretty dark in there for the most part. Oftentimes, this bar isn’t as busy as the Lube or Billy’s on a Saturday night and has a “quieter” crowd, so it’s the perfect place to hide-out when you want to be alone. Plus, if you get hungry, the restaurant has some of the best food in town for the price (I highly recommend the club sandwich.) If the restaurant is too busy or has nothing that looks appetizing to you, the Phoenix is in walking distance to Coney Island, McDonald’s, and Donna’s Diner.
Side Pocket CafÃ?Â©, 109 E. Silver St., Sharon, PA 16146, (724) 346-6553
I saved the Side Pocket for last because, not only is it my favorite joint in all of Sharon, but it is the one I can say the most about. It’s not a huge place, but I’ve seen it accommodate 100 people on a weekend before. The name, Side Pocket, is naturally a pool reference. The bar is home to quite a few tables that are all kept in impeccable condition by the owners. It’s not hard to find a person to play with you, even when it’s not busy. However, most games are friendly and the hustlers stay away, but the pool leagues are extremely competitive and fun to watch. There’s a huge host of regulars that come into the bar often, but like most bars in Sharon, newcomers mean new topics of conversation and are welcomed. The best time to visit the bar is from about 5pm to 8pm on a Friday during their Happy Hour. Drinks are deeply discounted and all the hardworking people are there making the most out of their paychecks. Plus, Friday the kitchen makes “Smitty’s Fish”, named for recipe of a patron that frequents the bar every chance he gets. The recipe is just as yummy as “Smitty” himself is colorful. However, if fish is not to your liking, the bar runs food specials every day and none of it has ever disappointed.