99 Bottles is a bar, restaurant and bottle shop housed in a former Pizza Hut along Washington Avenue. While the outside of the restaurant seems like nothing special, the inside is full of 500 types of beer, including 30 on draft, growlers, and liquor options, as well.
I had visited 99 Bottles once before with co-workers for a happy hour and could tell instantly that this was a great spot for a relaxed drink and above average bar food. In addition to a dining room, 99 Bottles has a patio and outside bar. As it is positioned along a busy Carnegie roadway, things can get a little loud on the patio, but music is filtered outside to take away some of that traffic noise.
On the Fourth of July, Stemstar and I met up at 99 Bottles for lunch and a cold beer. I arrived a few minutes early and asked the bartender what options on draft could be defined as "summery." She immediately recommended DuClaw Brewing Company's Morgazm, a citrusy blonde ale offering a crisp taste and a smooth finish, with hints of grape fruit. Her recommendation was fantastic and Morgazm proved to be exactly what I was looking for in a beer. All of the staff members at 99 Bottles are friendly and eager to assist customers.
99 Bottles is self-seating, so I found a spot on the patio and enjoyed the sunny weather. Stemstar arrived soon after and we ventured back to the bar to order our meals, as is standard practice. 99 Bottles's menu is full of normal bar fare, including burgers, fried appetizers and wings; however, they also offer BBQ and a glorious little number called the Hibernator, a deep-fried grilled cheese sandwich filled with bacon and (wait for it) macaroni and cheese, instead of sliced cheese. I had this sandwich on my first visit to 99 Bottles and recommended it highly to Stemstar.
To start, we ordered fried provolone cheese wedges from the menu's munchies section. They were deliciously crispy and gooey, served with a side of marinara dipping sauce. I always think that fried cheese is the perfect way to begin any meal and this appetizer did not disappoint,
For our meals, Stemstar ordered the famed Hibernator with a side of 99 Bottles's awesomely seasoned French (shall we say Freedom) fries. Stemstar thoroughly enjoyed his carb coma sandwich, as I had a week prior, and had no issues polishing off his meal.
While I strongly considered revisiting the Hibernator, I decided that some Independence Day BBQ was in order and I decided upon the Smokehouse Fries. This dish consisted of 99 Bottles's deliciously seasoned fries covered in your choice of BBQ chicken, pork or brisket. I opted for the chicken and requested the spicy BBQ sauce smothered with cheddar cheese.
The basket of fries was more than enough and I took a large portion home with me for munching later. After our meals, Stemstar and I each purchased mix-and-match six packs from the expansive beer cooler inside the restaurant. I opted for several fruity and summery beers to enjoy the remainder of the holiday weekend.
Both Stemstar and I enjoyed our meals immensely and I know that I look forward to making 99 Bottles my go-to for a relaxed drink with friends or for random holiday meals, as with the Fourth of July. It was a day to celebrate the many perks of being American, like our freedom, our brotherhood as a country, and our repeal of the 18th Amendment. Go USA. Go beer.