With the holidays behind us, it can be hard to see beyond the long stretch of harsh winter months that lie ahead. There’s hardly anything to keep us going besides the Cavs’ mid-season jaunts, and even then, there’s a long way to go before they kick into playoff mode, meaning get really good. Luckily, there are plenty of Cleveland bars to help you drink away the misery of our drab, grey winters. While these spots are worth a visit most anytime, their cozy characteristics truly shine this time of year. Here are 11 of the best places to grab a drink this winter.
The 11 Best Bars for Winter Drinking in Cleveland
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
1. Don's Pomeroy House13664 Pearl Rd, Strongsville
2. The Velvet Tango Room2095 Columbus Rd, Cleveland
3. Porco Lounge & Tiki Room2527 W 25th Street, Cleveland
4. Glidden House1901 Ford Dr, Cleveland
5. La Cave du Vin2785 Euclid Heights Blvd, Cleveland
6. Prosperity Social Club1109 Starkweather Ave, Cleveland
7. Griffin Cider House12401 Madison Ave, Lakewood
8. Bourbon Street Barrel Room2393 Professor Ave, Cleveland
9. Great Lakes Brewing Company2516 Market Ave, Cleveland
10. Hofbräuhaus Cleveland1550 Chester Ave, Cleveland
11. Market Avenue Wine Bar2521 Market Ave, Cleveland
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.
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.
This tropical oasis will become especially important to you once winter hits.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This energetic, New Orleans-style bar/restaurant supplies rotating craft brews and Creole cuisine.
Great Lakes is the stuff of microbrew lore: What started out as a tiny, experimental brewery in a land dominated by macrobrews became, unto itself, an empire that lords over a huge swath of Ohio City. Set up in the former Schlather Brewing Company (established in 1879) -- plus six other buildings -- GLBC shells out some of the Midwest's best beers, including the celebrated Christmas Ale and Eliot Ness, named for the Prohibition cop who spent his days at the pub that's now a speakeasy-style GLBC hideout.
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.
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.