Visit one of Pittsburgh’s latest and most local locales for food, libations, and jazz.

Con Alma opened just last June in Shadyside

Story Aaron H. Bible

February, 2020

Opened just last June on Ellsworth in Shadyside, Con Alma is nothing less than a continuation of the great Pittsburgh jazz tradition. This new restaurant and jazz bar is also an embodiment of the booming locavore trend—especially when it comes to consuming local music.

“The local movement…we’re doing that with a music genre, championing Pittsburgh jazz and its legacy exclusively. For it to exist on such a world-class level in a city of this size is really unique and special,” says John Shannon, music curator and co-owner of Con Alma.

Shannon says they almost exclusively book Pittsburgh-based jazz musicians: “Every night of the week, you can hear world-class jazz musicians because they live here.The scene here is really all about playing the music and serving family, or simply existing in a city that’s still livable. There’s really no other smaller city in America that has a jazz scene like this.”

Open seven nights a week starting in February, this new jazz bar is quickly becoming the “it” spot—and not just for the music.

Shannon says Con Alma, named for the 1954 jazz standard by Dizzy Gillespie, gets is cachet from the trifecta of its offerings: “It’s the sum of its parts—the music, food, and drink—that creates this other element, the atmosphere, throwing back to the days of an old Pittsburgh spot like the Hurricane or the Crawford Grill.”

Partner and chef Josh Ross, of the former Pirata downtown and Pan in Lawrenceville, has created a menu with nods to Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America. Meanwhile, partner Aimee Marshall heads up the beverage program, which features, not shockingly, Prohibition-style cocktails and drinks inspired by Old World Cuba.

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