If you're mid-30s or older, stick to the South Side Works. Hofbrahaus, that Irish place whatever it's called. The South Side Works is where sort of non-college idiots go. If you're early 20s, mid 20s, the South Side will be great. Station Square may be an alternative option, as it's more of a young professional crowd. The South Side slums are your Duquesne/Pitt drunkards, it's rarely a good time.
Fatheads, Wingharts are both great food/beer places. Be warned they will be crowded. They are in the heart of the South Side.
For pre-game meals downtown that are within walking distance to the arena I suggest Easy Street in One Oxford Center, downtown. You can park at Macy's for $5, walk to Easy Street, eat, then take the Easy Street shuttle to Consol Energy Center. This is what I normally do.
There is always the Friday's attached to Consol Energy Center, I went there earlier this year and it was fine. Same menu and what not. Got in and out. Market Square is another option. You can take the "T" subway for free anywhere within city limits. Sometimes we go to Market Square, then hop on the "T" at Gateway Station, up to the arena.
Now that the Pens have Iginla, the city is going to be packed with bandwagoners, especially near the playoffs. Everyone's paying attention now.
Resources:http://winghartburgers.com/contact.htmlhttp://www.fatheadspittsburgh.com/http://www.southsideworks.com/http://www.easystreetpittsburgh.com/http://www.portauthority.org/paac/Sched ... anner.aspx
> Board at Gateway, get off at Wood Street for quick access to CEC