The Spotted Owl | Nathan Dreimiller
Food & Drink

The Best Places to Drink in Cleveland Right Now

Updated On 12/11/2017 at 06:07PM EST
Hilton Cleveland Downtown

Bar 32

Downtown

Cleveland’s best spot for drinking with a view
Need to impress some out-of-town visitors? Take them to Bar 32. Named for the floor of the hotel it’s on, it’s pretty hard to beat this ritzy Hilton bar when it comes to panoramic views of the city. There are small plates to be had, like jumbo pretzels and a spinach/artichoke bread bowl, as well a drink menu that will appeal to cocktail snobs and the Fireball crowd alike -- just be prepared to pay a correspondingly lofty price for the privilege.
 

Butcher and the Brewer

East 4th

A wide and airy beer hall with great eats
Killer brews -- the Albino Stout is to die for -- high, spacious ceilings, and a really cool bathroom (seriously) make this East 4th establishment well worth braving the crowds. Go during the day for the old-school neighborhood butcher’s market, and then go again at happy hour for some of the best darn bar bites in the city.
 

Jason Shaffer

The Vault

Downtown

A subterranean Jazz Age wonderland
Housed beneath the old Ameritrust Building, this space was a nightclub until it was recently relaunched as a craft cocktail bar, and we think the change is for the better. The drinks menu pays homage to both Prohibition-era spirits and Cleveland institutions, and the decor -- built around a series of elaborate bank vault doors -- is unparalleled. 

Great Lakes Brewing Company

Ohio City

The city’s flagship craft brewery
Before West 25th was a premiere nightlife destination -- before most Americans had ever heard of craft beer -- the folks at Great Lakes Brewing Company were doing their thing. Now counted among the top 20 craft breweries in America, GLBC’s home base is still churning out amazing beers, including barrel-aged and smoked exclusives available only in the brewpub.
 

The Rowley Inn

The Rowley Inn

Tremont

Longtime neighborhood staple with unexpectedly great food
In a neighborhood teeming with new bars and restaurants, the Rowley Inn tends to sneak by unnoticed. This should not be the case: its humble interior oozes old-school Cleveland charm, and its Buffalo pierogi -- that is, pierogi slathered in a sauce of your choosing -- are our new favorite appetizer in the city. 

Terrestrial Brewing Company

Battery Park

Creative, new brewery with constantly rotating beer selections
Tucked away just north of Gordon Square in the posh Battery Park district, Terrestrial is a formidable addition to Cleveland’s already-impressive brewery scene. The brewers never make the exact same beer twice (though they will replicate a couple favorites, like the awesomely named Space Chimp wheat beer), so every visit can be a surprise.

The Speakeasy at Quintana's Barber & Dream Spa

The Speakeasy at Quintana's

Cedar Taylor (Cleveland Heights)

A hidden bar with a cozy, Prohibition-era feel
A secret room on the second floor of an old-time, manly barbershop, The Speakeasy boasts one of the best bourbon selections in Northeast Ohio. Its cozy, mahogany-tinted atmosphere is a hotspot for local politicians, historians, and anyone who enjoys a great cocktail. The bar’s innovative new Garden to Glass program means all the herbs and spices infusing your drink are grown by the bartenders themselves.

Flickr/Edsel Little

The Velvet Tango Room

Duck Island

The standard-bearer for cocktail lounge cool
Back in the days when Kahlua Mudslides were considered a fancy drink, Velvet Tango Room was blazing the trail in what would become a national cocktail revolution. After 21 years in business, it continues to provide utterly immersive atmosphere and quality cocktails. Although VTR remains open, it’s recently gone up for sale; anyone have $2.75 million we could borrow?

Happy Dog at the Euclid Tavern

Happy Dog

Gordon Square

Hot dogs, tater tots, and a whole lot of craft beer
Now that tater tots are a proven way to meet people, maybe Happy Dog will become an even more popular spot among Clevelanders (though that’s hard to imagine). Here, you’ll find an excellent draft list, stand-up comedy, both classical and modern music, live storytelling events, and pinball. The offerings are almost as diverse as the toppings you can put on your hot dogs, which include chunky peanut butter, Greek feta cheese, and SpaghettiOs.

Parnell's Pub

Cedar Fairmount (Cleveland Heights)

An old-time pub in newer, brighter digs
Cleveland’s favorite Irish bar (it’s owned by an actual Irishman) has moved down the road to a bigger, brighter location in the Cedar Fairmount district. Parnell’s new location adds a thousand square feet and mixes new-bar flair with old-school, County Meath charm. It's still the best place in town to catch a soccer game or throw back a pint of Guinness. 

Porco Lounge & Tiki Room

Porco Lounge & Tiki Room

Ohio City

Colorful craft cocktails and Hawaiian shirts aplenty
Cleveland’s reigning king of the tiki cocktail is still going strong in its fourth year of existence. Now, equipped with a larger kitchen and a build-you-own meatballs concept, Ohio City’s tiki lounge has become an essential destination for late-night eating as well as drinking. Expect loud music, loud shirts, and some sweet-but-balanced drinks that will knock you on your ass.

Tina's Nite Club

Detroit Shoreway

The ultimate night-ending karaoke bar
We’re not quite sure if Tina’s, everyone’s favorite, shady-looking drinking establishment, is an actual dive bar, but we don’t care. Order your beers and shots at the cheap prices of the '70s and belt your heart out at Cleveland’s most fun and diverse karaoke destination.

Bonnie Flinner

Prosperity Social Club

Tremont

Old-world style meets new-century cool, plus piergois
Joel Lovell of Esquire wrote of this warmly hip Tremont bar: “If I lived in Cleveland, I would go here every day.” Those of us fortunate enough to inhabit the Land know Prosperity as a destination for amazing pierogis (order with cheese), a great beer selection, and old-school decor that is quintessentially Cleveland.

Mahall's

Lakewood

Bowling, fried chicken, and a host of cool events
Mahall’s has something for everyone. Bowling? Check. Stand-up comedy and live shows? Yep. Delicious, affordable farm-to-table fried chicken and a small but curated drink menu? You betcha. That’s why, for decades, Mahall’s has remained the embodiment of the cool Lakewood bar -- and why you need to add it to your night-out repertoire, stat.
 

the plum cafe and kitchen

The Plum Cafe & Kitchen

Ohio City

An inviting, cool-as-hell bar with top-notch food
The aesthetic of the Plum Cafe is both ultra-modern and inviting. The same could be said for its cocktail menu, a frequently shifting seasonal list nestled comfortably in the $7-$10 range. And now you can enjoy those drinks paired with dope dishes like the baked pimento grits during Saturday brunch.

LBM

Birdtown (Lakewood)

A Viking bar with killer decor and drinks
Yes, there is a viking-themed bar in Lakewood: There are swords hanging on the walls, and there is at least one bat skull in a jar. The drinks are hyper-seasonal, only cost $8-$10, and have names like Flannel Is the Color of My People and I Am the Sacrifice. In other words, get out there and drink like a Nordic legend. 
 

Sachsenheim Hall

Sachsenheim Hall

Stockyard

Lovable, '70s-style fern bar with amazing Taco Tuesdays
With its ferns, disco ball, and wood paneling straight from Grandma’s basement, Sachsenheim Hall looks like it’s frozen in the '70s. Lucky for you, the prices are too: You can get that Hofbrauhaus-style stein of German beer without paying that Hofbrauhaus-style bill. The draught beers and the food on Saturdays are all German, but don’t miss Tuesdays for some of the most innovative (chicken paprikash? ostrich??) and dirt-cheap tacos in town. 

Yuzu

Lakewood

Asian-influenced food and drink with wacky themed nights
Newcomer Yuzu might win the (participation) award for Most Millennial Bar in Greater Cleveland, thanks to cocktails with names like 3AM Snap Stories and Straight Outta Pinterest. More than that, though, this is a bar that provides an international-themed menu of comfort food and some of the wackiest, most inventive themed nights -- we’re talking Wine and Cheese Pong and something called Rage in a Nic Cage -- we’ve seen in our entire drinking careers. 

Keith Berr

Salt+ A Restaurant

West End (Lakewood)

Small plates & great drinks in a cozy, classy, brick-lined space
Salt is a grown-up person’s bar, in the best possible sense. Its cool interior and lauded, seasonally shifting small plates are accompanied by a cocktail menu with wonderfully unexpected pairings. Gin and pickle juice? Tequila and fernet? Resoundingly, yes. Rather than feeling gimmicky or one-note, the drinks’ careful composition makes for balanced, smooth sipping.

The Side Quest

Lakewood

A modern, wood-paneled bar that's board game- and cosplay-friendly
The best elements of America’s modern bar scene, from microbreweries to craft cocktails, are largely the work of nerds, so it’s only appropriate that CLE should have “a safe place for geeks and nerds.” Go to rent a board game, catch a cool themed costume, or enjoy a solid draft selection -- maybe just brush up on your Game of Thrones references first.

Up Next
Food & Drink

The Best Places to Watch the FIFA World Cup in Cleveland

Published On 06/08/2018
N o matter how divided our nation might get, we at least have this in common: Every four years, we’ll enthusiastically convene in bars and struggle to remember the rules of soccer. Yes, it's time once again for the World Cup (played this time in Russia, of all places), running from June 14 through July 15. While Cleveland might not be a huge soccer town -- remember the Crunch, anyone? -- and the US team didn't actually make the cut this year, and the games will be airing during the morning/daylight hours, we’ll still gather to watch the world’s most popular sport in action (after the Cavs take the Finals, of course).
Whether you’re a casual viewer or a die-hard Crunch fan waiting on a revival, this guide will help you pick the best venues to consume a pint while yelling “Gooooooooal!” at the top of your lungs; we'll also be updating it with food/drink specials as they're announced. It will not help you understand how “offsides” works, though, so sorry about that.
Courtesy of Old Angle Tavern

The Old Angle Tavern

Ohio City

A real British feel & the most underrated kitchen in town
Considered Cleveland's go-to soccer bar, The Old Angle’s comfortably low lighting and mellow vibe nicely replicate the feel of a real UK pub. That chill goes right out the window when the World Cup comes around, though, and this place is sure to be a lively spot to catch the games. Be sure to enjoy an order of wings or a burger -- The Angle’s kitchen is among Cleveland’s hidden bar gems.

Parnell’s

Cedar Fairmount

Real Irish charm in new, improved digs
Since picking up and moving from its original Cedar Lee location, Parnell’s looks a lot more like a real Dublin tavern, and it has more space for revelers and hooligans. Though Ireland didn’t make the cut this year, you can still come here to enjoy a game and probably the best-poured pint of Guinness in the city -- in fact, you can probably root for any team here without fear of hooligan reprisals.

Hansa Brewery

Ohio City

Germany fans, weird wall art, great beer, and big TVs
With its charmingly dated decor and criminally underrated kitchen -- you will not believe how little has been written about that burger -- Hansa mostly lives in the shadow of its neighbor, Great Lakes Brewing Company. Pro tip: The smoked beer is an easy-drinking beverage for beer snobs and Bud drinkers alike. Germany is in the World Cup this year as well, so expect the bar to get going for those matches.

Merry Arts Pub & Grille

Downtown Lakewood

Lakewood’s oldest bar holds it down with tacos, and soccer
An Irish-ish pub with a specialty in making (what else?) tacos and quesadillas, Merry Arts is a Lakewood watering hole perfect for catching a match any time of day. Allegedly the oldest bar in the neighborhood, Merry Arts also boasts one of the area’s best patios and some nicely cheap domestic pitchers.

Becky's Bar

Becky's

Playhouse Square

A classic Cleveland neighborhood bar that unites all fans
With a wonderful mix of Cleveland State staff and in-the-know students, karaoke devotees, and devoted Cleveland barflies, Becky’s is a spacious, gloriously unpretentious establishment bringing Clevelanders from all walks of life together. The wings are super-cheap, and the TV screens, though not large, are numerous. You’re guaranteed to find at least a few hooligans at all times of the day.

PJ McIntyre's

West Park

Hooligans abound in a Kamm’s Corners watering hole
The Kamm’s Corners district in West Park is a very walkable enclave of hard-partying sports bars and Irish pubs. PJ McIntyre’s has the most over-the-top Irish decor of all them, and the rowdiness for World Cup games should rise to that occasion. The bar claims to be “the most authentic” Irish pub in Cleveland -- a bold claim indeed! -- but they do have a $2.50 Power Hour for Guiness and other Irish beers on Fridays, so we’ll give it to them.

Winking Lizard

Various locations

A world of beers to go along with your World Cup
At this ubiquitous Cleveland-area chain known for their beer selection -- up to a hundred varieties or more, depending on the location -- you can enjoy a beer from just about every country competing in the World Cup, and then some. There's no better time than the Cup to begin the Lizard’s famed Tour of Beers, which awards customers for trying 100 beers in one year.

The Jolly Scholar

The Jolly Scholar

University Circle

Student-run brewpub on campus with great drafts
A student-run bar not afraid to experiment with brewing, The Jolly Scholar is a campus-area bar that’s friendly to outsiders. With a relaxed vibe and way-better-than-average bar food, this is a near-ideal spot to catch a late morning or afternoon match. Bask in the humble vibe, start some chants with the college crowd, and enjoy the 24 beers on tap.

Flannery's

Flannery's

Gateway District

Irish soccer beer in Cleveland’s crowded East Fourth Corridor
The World Cup has always been huge at Flannery’s. Perhaps Cleveland’s busiest Irish-themed bar, Flannery’s sits right at the mouth of the foot traffic-heavy East Fourth Corridor. It’s an excellent stop-off before and after Cavs games, so World Cup watchers can catch matches between (fingers crossed) Finals games. In addition to the Cup games, you'll also get to enjoy occasional live music (Irish, of course), as well as one of the best Irish whiskey selections in the city.

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