D’s SixPax & Dogs

By | May 18, 2006

D’s SixPax & Dogz
1118 S Braddock Ave
Regent Square, 15218
M-W: 11-11; Th-Sat: 11-Mid; Sun: 11-10

D’s used to be the secret hideout no one but the neighborhood and beer connoisseurs seemed to know about. You’d go, the bar would be packed, one of the two tables would be full, and you’d grab a beer, have a seat at the other table, and order a dog. Well, the secret must have gotten out because about a year ago D’s started being so packed you could barely get back to the Beer Cave! What happened? A combination of word-of-mouth and their propensity for making a good dog seemed to have exploded them into the consciousness of Pittsburgh. It was tough for a while, what with being so packed you could barely open the cooler door to grab a cold one, but then they apparently made enough money to expand! And what an expansion it is! D’s is the same old sweet combination of neighborhood bar, exotic beer heaven, and hot dog slinger as it ever was – only now they’ve got the right size britches.

Actually, I predict that eventually D’s will need new britches yet again. The D’s craze, I now realize, has only just begun. Go now and enjoy it while it lasts! I really think they could end up taking over the entire block. Become a mega-bar, have a Hot Dog theme park! Hop on the Weiner-Train to get to the new and improved Beer Cave where you float on Franziskaner in a beer barrel and grab your Hen’s Teeth along the way. It could happen. OK, so maybe this little fantasy of mine is never gonna happen, but I do think that the popularity of D’s is very much on the rise. There are still plenty of people at the Square Care peering across the street and wondering ‘what’s up with that place?’

Well, what’s up is that it’s only the best place to get your interesting beers Not only can you buy them as singles and drink them right there, but you can buy them in mix-and-match six packs to go! With over 800 selections, practically anything you see on the menu at the Sharp Edge can be bought in single bottles at D’s. You can bring your Lindemann’s Framboise home as a dessert drink! You could buy a wine-sized bottle of Delirium and have one bitchin’ good night! You might stop there on the way to a party and buy some interesting sounding chocolate stout – impress your friends! You could drink one new variety a day and still not get through them all. They have imports, micros, and craft brews. I’ve even seen them have Sprecher’s, an unpasteurized beer rarely found outside of Wisconsin and its neighboring states. Everything you can think of from Belgium, multiple brands and flavors of lambic, a selection of rauchbiers all made with different types of smoke….I could literally go on and on. But I don’t want to spoil your visit! I dare you to take the D’s challenge! Think of a beer you imagine they couldn’t possibly have, and go there to look for it. I bet they have it.

Another thing that is up with D’s is that it’s the best place in the city to sit down for a good hot dog. On a side note, the hot dog parlor is something I haven’t seen a lot of since moving to the ‘Burgh, but I think it plays an essential role in quick-food culture. Quick-food culture includes pizza joints, taquerias, food trucks, creperies (not found in the U.S. so much) and, of course, hot dog parlors. We all know that Pittsburgh has plenty of pizza, and while the other quick-food categories are a little rarer, I am proud to say that a version exists of each. Sometimes the Pittsburgh version of one of these categories can be a little disappointing (like, I wish there were ten times as many places to get a burrito), but D’s does not fail in its hot dog mission.

Quite honestly, I think the dogs started because they needed a way to skirt the crazy Pittsburgh Liquor Laws. These laws deem that only a distributor may sell beer to-go and only in cases, unless you are a bar with food, and then you can sell six-packs. That’s why you don’t see beer in grocery and convenience stores. It makes me mad as all hell. But there are some places you can go to: Kazansky’s, the Cage, that 7-11 in Friendship with the weird bar in back and the supremely strange regulars. There are others, but I love D’s especially. Compared to those other three above, D’s most assuredly makes the best food!

The dogs are just so good. They are the only place I’ve found around here that really does a Chicago Dog any justice. They even have that unnaturally green relish, the whole peppers, and the pickle spear. They also will give you a dog with any toppings you like, including chili, cheese, onions, marinara sauce, relish, mustard, ketchup, peppers, sauerkraut, and so on and so forth. They make a killer Veggie Dog too. It’s so good that I almost always get that instead of a real dog. With your hot dogs, make sure to get some fries, which are especially good here. They are the kind with the really crispity crust because they’ve been battered. Anyone with Battered Fry Syndrome will love them.

They also expanded their menu when they expanded their square footage. Now they serve a number of bigger sandwiches and baskets of fried shrimp, as well as new sides like cole slaw and pierogies. My favorite addition is the Corn Dog! I can’t believe I can get a Corn Dog on demand again! When I was growing up, there was this awesome mall food-court chain called ‘Corn Dog 7’. All they had was corn dogs. Corn Dog 7 was where I learned a lot of my life lessons, such as how to love mustard. Ever since they closed up shop in the 80’s, I’ve been without Corn Dogs except when I go to the carnival. Actually, Reed has been kind enough to make me corn dogs at home as well. They are always tasty, but they are a bit of a production. Now, I can get me a Corn Dog any old time I like, without having to coerce Reed into mussing up the kitchen!

So there you have it. D’s is really a simple place: Beer and Dogs. But they do it so well; you can’t help but love everything about it. It just occurred to me while writing this review that it is possible that the loss of Chiodo’s had something to do with the boom in business at D’s. You know, Chiodo’s was one of the first places to really start importing special beers, before there was a Sharp Edge or a D’s. For all of you who missed out on Chiodo’s, I am truly sorry. We are so very lucky to have a place like D’s. It’s not just a good bite and brew, it’s a neighborhood legacy still in the making.

Corn Dog
Chicago Dog
Veggie Dog

D’s is one of a handful of places in the Pittsburgh region to carry 1919 on tap. 1919 is a draft root beer made in New Ulm, MN, named after the first year of prohibition. 1919 is only made draft, and can’t be bottled or canned without changing the recipe. You could call it a ‘craft root beer’. I know it’s hard not to get a beer with your dog, but try ordering a 1919 some time.