Food & Drink

The 11 Best Bars for Winter Drinking in Cleveland

Published On 01/06/2016 Published On 01/06/2016
Peter Sampson

The Pomeroy Pub


Tucked in the basement below the ever-so-fancy Pomeroy House is Pomeroy Pub, a bar and eatery that’s perfect for casual winter evenings. Snuggle into one of the pub’s inviting booths to enjoy a wide selection of beer, wine, cocktails, and pub fare, including one seriously delicious burger.

Velvet Tango Room


With warm lighting, intimate rooms, and rich wood furniture, something about this inviting establishment just screams winter. Cozy up to the bar, and choose from a long list of exceptionally well-crafted cocktails, like the Tango Manhattan, made with house-made red wine reduction, VTR bitters, and Maker's Mark.  

Courtesy of La Cave

La Cave du Vin


Hidden below the hustle and bustle along the main drag of Coventry is La Cave du Vin, an ambient basement wine bar that features an equally impressive beer list. A nice selection of cheese, olives, and bread allows patrons to settle in for a long night of wintertime relaxation.

Courtesy of Porco/Sam Twarek

Porco Lounge & Tiki Room

Ohio City

OK, so we’ve been incredibly lucky with the weather so far this season (knock on wood), but we all need the occasional break from Cleveland’s harsh winter conditions. Luckily, Porco offers the perfect escape. Step into the bar’s sunny lounge to enjoy tropical cocktails that will transport you to a Polynesian getaway with each refreshing sip.

Glidden House

University Circle

You don’t have to be an overnight guest at this charmingly historic hotel to enjoy the crackling fireplace on one of the big, comfy couches with a drink in hand in its Palette Lounge. Glidden House is only steps away from many of University Circle’s cultural attractions, including Severance Hall and the Museum of Art, making it the perfect place to set the stage for one classy-ass evening.

Courtesy of Prosperity/Jesse Kramer

Prosperity Social Club


Over-the-top Christmas decorations make Prosperity a go-to destination during the holidays, but it's the restaurant and bar’s wood-burning fireplace, snug interior, and hearty wintertime fare, such as loaded potato pierogies and Hungarian stuffed cabbage, which keeps patrons coming back all season long.

Griffin Cider House


Of course Griffin’s ciders are delicious, but it’s the bar’s stellar hot winter warmers, including Wassail and Smoking Bishop, that landed them a coveted spot on this wintertime list. Pair your beverage with a nice selection of hearty English snacks, including Scotch eggs and sausage rolls, for a warm you from the inside-out kind of evening.

Courtesy of Bourbon Street/John Kuntz

Bourbon Street Barrel Room


The lively atmosphere in this dazzling New Orleans-style bar and restaurant is enough to thaw the frostbite from your joints during the cold winter months. Thirsty customers can choose from a long menu of wine and craft beers from around the world, as well as classic New Orleans cocktails, such as a sazerac or hurricane.

Great Lakes Brewing Co

Ohio City

There’s nothing quite like sipping a cool beer on Great Lakes’ expansive patio during the summer months, but the brewery and restaurant’s warm, jovial interior lends itself perfectly to winter as well. Choose from a wide variety of signature brews, including Burning River pale ale, Commodore Perry IPA, and everyone’s wintertime favorite: GLBC’s ultra-potent, 7.5% ABV Christmas ale.

Flickr/Yelp Inc.

Hofbrauhaus Cleveland


Giant liter mugs of classic Bavarian beers (brewed on-site!) and stick-to-your-ribs German food such as breaded pork schnitzel and cheesy spaetzle make this sprawling bier hall an ideal spot to add that extra layer of wintertime padding. As the night goes on, don’t be surprised to see patrons jumping on the benches to partake in a shot ski (a ski lined with shots) and dance entertainingly to Hofbrauhaus’ live music.

Market Avenue Wine Bar

Ohio City

With dim lighting, brick walls, and flickering candlelight, wintertime is the best time to enjoy the atmosphere in this Ohio City stalwart. Customers can enjoy a selection from Market Avenue’s impressive wine list while nibbling on a variety of hors d'oeuvres and desserts featuring ingredients from the nearby Westside Market, including crunchy bruschetta and gooey baked brie.

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1. Don's Pomeroy House 13664 Pearl Rd, Strongsville, OH 44136

A gorgeous gem of a house sitting smack in the middle of suburbia, stepping into the Pomeroy House feels like stepping back into a much fancier time. Although the patio and pub are apt for less formal occasions, the true star of the restaurant is the main dining room of this 18th century house. From filet mignon to Champagne surf and turf, New York strip to Texas sirloin, you really can’t go wrong by ordering any steak at this longstanding locale. Not in the mood for steak? We recommend ordering some of their seafood entrees or picking from their Pub & Patio menu.

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2. The Velvet Tango Room 2095 Columbus Rd, Cleveland, OH 44113

The Velvet Tango Room gets its speakeasy vibe from, well, being located in an actual former speakeasy (the bullet holes in the ceiling remain to this day). Located in an inconspicuous old house, complete with backyard garden, VTR is committed to classic (Old Fashioned, Tom Collins, Sidecar) and modern (Cleveland Rose, Widow's Kiss) cocktails, crafted with loving attention and served up on their own or as part of sampler flights. The name and drink menu alone are worthy to a 1940s film noir; better yet, the bar hosts a live jazz band every weeknight.

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3. Glidden House 1901 Ford Dr, Cleveland, OH 44106

Plush couches, a charming fireplace, and craft cocktails live in the Palette Lounge of this historic, century-old mansion that functions as a boutique hotel.

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4. La Cave du Vin 2785 Euclid Heights Blvd, Cleveland, OH

This moody, lower level bar is a great date spot. Their wine list is extensive and not that expensive, their food menu is delicious, and it would be hard not to impress and date that you bring here.

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5. Prosperity Social Club 1109 Starkweather Ave, Cleveland, OH 44113

This is a hipster oasis, and a damn fine one. That means a seasonally rotating selection of local and regional craft beers, $2 tallboys, live music, and craft cocktails, including a huge variety of martinis. Located in a 1938 ballroom, the place kind of looks like a house. You know you're in the right place when you see the bikes parked outside.

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6. Griffin Cider House 12401 Madison Ave, Lakewood, OH 44107

Griffin Cider House serves, you guessed it, an impressive collection of English cider on tap (the first pub of its kind in Cleveland), alongside local and imported draft beer. Every cider selection from this spot is made from locally grown apples and varies in flavor (cherry, lemon, ginger) and strength. Griffin boasts ten cider taps, three craft beer taps and a wide variety of gin. Its traditional English cider is matched by its traditional English pub vibe: Its exterior is reminiscent of a coat of arms and its dark interior is lined with framed mementos and televisions for the sole purpose of watching whatever sport is on, just as the Brits intended.

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7. Bourbon Street Barrel Room 2393 Professor Ave, Cleveland, OH 44113

This energetic, New Orleans-style bar/restaurant supplies rotating craft brews and Creole cuisine.

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8. Great Lakes Brewing Company 2516 Market Ave, Cleveland, OH 44113

Great Lakes Brewing Company is a microbrewery success story: what started out in 1986 as a tiny, experimental brewery in an industry hostile to anyone but macro-producers became, unto itself, an empire that has come to lord over the Ohio City suds scene. Set in the former Schlather Brewing Company space, GLBC shells out celebrated Midwestern beers like the Christmas Ale, which has earned a cultish holiday following, and the Eliot Ness, named for a Prohibition-era cop who frequented the pub that's now GLBC's taproom.

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9. Hofbräuhaus Cleveland 1550 Chester Ave, Cleveland, OH 44114

Mirrored after the centuries-old beer hall in Munich, Cleveland's Hofbräuhaus is a microbrewery that serves oversized liters of German beer and large portions of Bavarian cuisine in its 400-person capacity space. Having your stein delivered by the lederhosen-clad waitstaff is part of the Hofbräuhaus experience, as is indulging in shots of Jagermeister and watching the place transition from a jovial daytime drinking destination to a rowdy live music nightspot. No matter the time of day, copious amounts of the Hofbräu original lager, Bavarian sausages, and fresh-baked hot pretzels keep the energy flowing.

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10. Market Avenue Wine Bar 2521 Market Ave, Cleveland, OH 44113

Dim lighting and artful decor create the perfect atmosphere to enjoy upped appetizers and a variety of wine by the glass. If you are looking to impress a date, bring them here to enjoy an extensive wine list and a great dinner menu.

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11. Porco Lounge & Tiki Room 2527 W 25th St, Cleveland, OH 44113

Porco is not the gaudy tiki bar you're used to. The bar and back lounge may be adorned with bamboo, faux thatch and jungle prints, but the drinks here defy the sickeningly sweet tropical-drink stereotype. Bartenders decked out in Hawaiian shirts hand craft complex (and very strong) cocktails (Mai Thais, Singapore Slings, Zombies, Painkillers) with a variety of rums, fresh-squeezed fruit juices and house-made syrups. If tiki drinks aren't for you, there's always draft beer from Hawaii's Kona Brewing Co., pork charcuterie plates and panini sandwiches.