Best Live-Music Venue: Easily the most intimate live music experience in the city, Club Café (56 S. 12th St., 412/431-4950, www.clubcafelive.com ) is the place to catch up-and-coming singer-songwriters just before they break into the mainstream. A host of jazz, blues, and folk legends perform regularly as well.
Best Dive Bar: Bearded hipsters and mulleted locals adore its cheap swill with equal fervor: It’s Gooski’s (3117 Brereton St., 412/681-1658), of course, Pittsburgh’s most authentic house of late-night debauchery.
Best Lounge: With four levels, two dance floors, a wine bar, and a sushi bar, it’s no wonder celebrities are often found drinking the night away at Dejavu Lounge (2106 Penn Ave., 412/434-1144), the most contemporary hot spot in the Strip District.
Best Installation Museum: Although most Pittsburghers couldn’t find it on a city map, the Mattress Factory (500 Sampsonia Way, 412/231-3169, www.mattress.org , $9 adult, $6 student, $7 senior) is known throughout the contemporary art world.
Best Fine Art Gallery: Probably the most important gallery in Pittsburgh, James Gallery (413 S. Main St., 412/922-9800, www.jamesgallery.net ) features sculpture, photography, fiber arts, and more. The artists themselves range from relatively unknown locals to international superstars.
Best Small Gallery: From bizarre installation art to photography to contemporary video, the exhibitions at Wood Street Galleries (601 Wood St., 412/471-5605, www.woodstreetgalleries.org ) consistently amaze.
Best Theater: Popularly known as Pittsburgh’s most forward-thinking theater, the South Side’s adventurous City Theatre (1300 Bingham St., 412/431-2489, www.citytheatrecompany.org ) stages new works, spoken word, and the occasional world premiere.
Best Art-House Cinema: Take a journey back to the Golden Age of cinema at Oaks Theater (310 Allegheny River Blvd., Oakmont, 412/828-6311, www.theoakstheater.com ), a recently restored art deco theater built in 1941.
Best Festival: With two full weeks of contemporary art, live music, crafts, dance performances, and more, the annual Three Rivers Arts Festival (412/281-8723, www.artsfestival.net ) is an absolute must-do summer experience.