Bar Buddies: Bakersfield

This week, I once again found myself downtown looking to spend my hard earned paycheck on two things: tacos and tequila. This led me to Bakersfield on Penn Ave. I know I'm going to spend most of this article talking about the drinks, but I have to mention the food at least once. The tacos are amazing, especially the baja shrimp ones featuring fried shrimp, guacamole, and red cabbage among other toppings. All the tacos feature house-made tortillas and are served on a single platter, and everyone is given plates to help grab their tacos. The queso is also amazing. It's basically a skillet of cheese and they give you the perfect cheese-to-chip ratio which is so important. Okay, now that I've gotten that out of the way, on to the good stuff.

The location: Located on Penn Ave., Bakersfield is in the middle of all the action downtown. This makes it a considerable ride away from campus, so it's not the place to just stop by on a night out, it's your destination for the night. It's also right next to Sienna Mercato and a few other bars if you find yourself wanting to hop around. Getting out of the Oakland, Shadyside, Squirrel Hill triangle makes me feel like I'm actually hanging out in Pittsburgh rather than the mini Carnegie Mellon bubble that covers campus and all the surrounding areas.

The drinks: I should actually just rename this section "the drink" for this week because there was only one drink that I had the entire night: margaritas. The margarita pitchers at this place are delicious. My personal favorites are their house mix and the pineapple margarita. They're so good that it's easy to forget that it's alcoholic so let me remind you: margaritas contain the devil's drink a.k.a. tequila. No matter how good they are, do not drink a whole glass super fast. I made the mistake so that you don't have to. Also, maybe don't order two pitchers.

The vibe: Like most restaurants in Pittsburgh, the space is rather small so you'll wait a while for a table, but it's definitely worth it. I recommend popping over to the rooftop bar in Sienna Mercato to have a drink and pass the time. Since the restaurant is so small, much of the seating is communal or are tables that are very close together so it can feel a bit like you're out to dinner with twenty of your closest friends. Bakersfield only plays country music which is a bit confusing because it makes it difficult to really pick up on a theme. I mostly just spent the whole night hoping that they would play different music, because I really wanted to sing and dance, but it never happened. Downstairs there's even more bar space in a place that feels a bit like a saloon which I guess makes sense with the country theme.

Lit or nah: It's definitely lit. The music is loud, the food and drinks are good, and the vibe is nice. Honestly any time I go out with my friends, it feels like we're the only people in the room and everyone else are just bystanders to our good time. But, having a place like Bakersfield with good drinks and better food definitely helps to facilitate our good time.