Andy Kryza
Andy Kryza
The Greenhouse Tavern
Momocho
Andy Kryza
Flickr/Infowidget
Seti's
Spice Kitchen & Bar
Steve's Lunch
Sokolowski's University Inn
B Spot
Melt Bar & Grilled
This Is Cleveland
Duck Island
This is Cleveland
Andy Kryza
Flickr/Edsel Little
Yelp/Holly M.
Society Lounge
Sachsenheim Hall
Prosperity Social Club
Andy Kryza
Andy Kryza
Andy Kryza
Andy Kryza
Nano Brew
Andy Kryza
Andy Kryza
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1. Bar Cento 1948 W 25th St, Cleveland, OH 44113 (Ohio City)

There’s nothing quite like the classic pizza & beer combo, which makes Bar Cento shine in Ohio City, Cleveland’s unofficial brewery district. Its open kitchen turns out delicious house-made charcuterie and upscale Italian fare, including specialty pizzas. But BC is more than a restaurant, serving as an entryway into the rowdy Bier Markt and its endless taps and a hidden speakeasy shelling out craft cocktails.

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2. The Greenhouse Tavern 2038 E 4th St, Cleveland, OH 44115 (Downtown)

This downtown gastropub is a tails-to-trotters kind of place: from barbecue-roasted pig’s head to pan-fried pork chop saltimbocca, there’s a meat-forward bent to this market-driven menu. Helmed by James Beard award-winning chef Jonathon Sawyer, the vegan- and vegetarian-friendly options don’t disappoint (pro tip: get the yucca fries), and a full bar means an array of craft beers and seasonal libations for imbibing. If you can’t snag a table in the sleek, modern space (note the bicycles hung throughout and the lamps made from repurposed wheels), don’t worry: the outdoor patio makes for a perfectly delightful evening.

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3. Momocho 1835 Fulton Rd, Cleveland, OH 44113

Mexican food can be severely underrepresented in the Midwest, but Momocho -- under the carving knife of James Beard-nominated chef Eric Williams -- is not having any of that. His menu features both classic and off-kilter takes: guacamole comes traditional or loaded with fancy stuff like smoked salmon or white chocolate, taquitos pack carnitas and duck confit, and entrees range from pecan-crusted trout to tamales stuffed with lamb.

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4. Crop Bistro & Bar 2537 Lorain Ave, Cleveland, OH 44113

The place used to be a bank, rather than a monolithic restaurant with 17,000ft of floorspace, most of which is usually packed with people flocking to one of the city's most-acclaimed restaurants. But despite all the grandeur -- marble columns, restored murals, etc. -- the menu remains moderately priced, especially considering the open kitchen's popping out huge slabs of rib eye, smoked/roasted chicken & waffles, and colossal veal chops.

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5. Slyman's Restaurant 3106 Saint Clair Ave NE, Cleveland, OH 44114

Open since 1963, Slyman's is living proof that old-school New York-style delis exist -- and are doing more than fine -- beyond the confines of the Eastern seaboard. Salt-smacked corned beef is stacked 6in high on two slices of rye on a sandwich that would give the cats at Katz's pause, while hot brisket makes a similar tower, though we'd be lying if we didn't say it somehow becomes better when given the Reuben treatment. And yes, the pastrami would make a New Yorker's knees buckle.

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6. Seti's Polish Boys 3400 Woodland Ave., Cleveland, OH 44115

The Eastside's Seti's makes, perhaps, the city's best Polish Boy, a glorious mess of a mutant hot dog that packs a bun with a kielbasa, coleslaw, and fries, then dumps hot sauce all over the thing, and, in case all that other stuff loaded into a bun isn't ridiculous, this infamous truck will also pack that sucker with chili and cheese.

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7. Spice Kitchen+Bar 5800 Detroit Ave, Cleveland, OH 44102 (Ohio City)

The seasonal menu at Ohio City's Spice Kitchen + Bar may change nightly, but one thing remains constant: everything is sourced from both the restaurant's own farm in Cuyahoga Valley and local producers. Chef Ben Bebenroth's interest in local ingredients and farming is obvious in plates like mushroom beignets with goat cheese, grilled butternut squash with root vegetable puree, and polenta and chickpea fries. Even the cocktail menu reflects the harvest cycle with locally made apple cider spiked with whiskey. While most restaurants might be a bit pretentious in their emphasis on seasonal cooking, Spice stays grounded.

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8. Steve's Lunch 5004 Lorain Ave, Cleveland, OH 44102

Most cities would be lucky if their diners were half as amazing as the Detroit-Shoreway 'hood's Steve's Lunch, a 60-year institution that has seldom closed its doors since it opened them. With less than a dozen seats in the place (and tabletop jukeboxes for nostalgia), the joint's specialty is its amazing, skinless beef franks piled with dry chili (kind of like Detroit Coney-style), or its take on the classic Polish Boy.

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9. Sokolowski's University Inn 1201 University Rd, Cleveland, OH 44113

This Cleveland institution dishes up some seriously good Salisbury steak, as well as other meaty specials, accompanied by heaping portions of rotating sides, including not-to-be-missed pierogies. There’s a reason the line snakes out the door and around the corner on Friday and Saturday nights: sometimes a generous helping of comfort food simply can’t be beat. Sokolowski's has been serving up the best Polish and Eastern European cuisine in Cleveland since 1923, and we highly suggest checking out their award winning traditional menu.

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10. B Spot Burgers Horseshoe Casino Cleveland, Cleveland, OH 44113

Started by James Beard Award-winning Clevelander Michael Symon, this burgers and brats joints serves casual meals in a casual industrial-inspired space accented with dark wood booths and upright metal chairs. You can choose to top your burger with pulled pork, eggs, bologna, or pastrami... but no matter what meats, be sure to pair it up with a beer from the encyclopedic, all-encompassing menu.

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11. Melt Bar & Grilled 13463 Cedar Rd, Cleveland Hts, OH 44118

There are hundreds of people in the Cleve with Melt-inspired tattoos because this sandwich shop is seriously OG. You shouldn't feel the need to emblazon your arm with an illustration of a stuffed hoagie, however, to profess your Melt love. Serving up dozens of hulking variations of the classic sandwich packed with everything from pulled pork to steak, pierogies, fish, and lasagna, Melt sandwiches leave your brown bagged in the dust.

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12. West Side Market 1979 W 25th St, Cleveland, OH 44113

The indoor/outdoor market -- which looks like a cross between a train station and a Gotham City villain's hideout -- has, since 1840, served as an essential one-stop shopping place for chefs and home cooks, with dozens upon dozens of butchers, bakers, and produce-suppliers hawking their wares. It's also a place where you can graze some of Cleveland's best street-foods, from sausages to gyros, pretzels, pierogies, and more.

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13. Happy Dog 5801 Detroit Ave, Cleveland, OH 44102

What does bacon-topped mac & cheese and Fruit Loops cereal have in common? They're both placed on top of a hot dog together at Gordon Square's Happy Dog, where the American wiener takes center stage. They take toppings seriously, or maybe not so seriously, with specials like The Mobile Home-wrecker (white BBQ sauce, onions, bourbon-baked beans, fries and cheddar cheese). Intrepid (or sane) customers can choose to construct their own from an intimidating list of toppings, including kim chee pickles, "everything bagel" cream cheese and fried eggs. Veggie dogs are on offer, but that's kind of not the point. Tater tots and fries also come with an impressive array of sauce options, best washed down with any of the 20 beers on tap.

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14. The Tremont Tap House 2572 Scranton Rd, Cleveland, OH 44113

The Tap House is an oasis for craft-beer junkies with its 20+ taps, paired up with one of the best brunches in the city (we can forgive it for calling itself a "gastropub," because its food really is that good). The outdoor patio is a key destination for drinkers in need of some Vitamin D, while the friendly and knowledgeable bartenders will guide you through the extensive menu of drafts which include Ohio favorites and rare brews.

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15. The Velvet Tango Room 2095 Columbus Rd, Cleveland, OH 44113 (Ohio City)

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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16. Rowley Inn 1104 Rowley Ave, Cleveland, OH 44178

The dive is located right by the Christmas Story house and is the kind of place where Ralphie's dad would fit in, drinking cheap beers and impossibly low-priced shots, playing the old-school bowling machine, or simply muttering to himself while perched on the stool... an activity preferred by the leathery regulars who have called it home for decades.

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17. Society Lounge 2063 East 4th Street, Cleveland, OH 44115 (Downtown)

A throwback to more gentlemanly times is found at Society Lounge on East 4th Street, a subterranean cocktail bar aiming to embody the bygone “cafe society” fantasy of journalist Lucius Beebe, a nod to fashionable socializers in New York, Paris and London. A mural of well-dressed bon vivants lines the walls, and a menu of 48 sips, from aperitifs and classics like an 1880s New York sour are joined by proprietary inventions like the Foreign Exchange (rye, stone fruit syrup, lemon, egg white and muddled absinthe-bruleed peaches). Patrons dressed-to-impress are soothed not only by the well-made drinks, but by the crooning sounding from live jazz musicians.

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18. Sachsenheim Hall 7001 Denison Ave, Cleveland, OH 44102

Beers come in liters (for $6), wings come by the pound, and every Tuesday the owner/chef -- who is affectionately known as Grumpy -- cooks up $1 tacos... which wouldn't be a big deal if they weren't scratch-made and didn't include fillings that range from Korean BBQ to bear. Outside, there's a humongous beer garden, and, of course, there's live music.

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19. 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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20. Great Lakes Brewing Company 2516 Market Ave, Cleveland, OH 44113 (Ohio City)

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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21. Indigo Imp Brewery 3615 Superior Ave E, Cleveland, OH 44114

There are microbreweries, and then there's Indigo Imp, a tiny spot where finding the tasting room is half the fun. The hidden gem is located in an unmarked room in a gigantic, antiquated warehouse, with extremely limited hours. But get in there, and you'll taste some of the most unique small-batch brews around: unpasteurized beers made using open fermentation, which basically means they're brewed in gigantic vats with no covering except the gigantic blanket of yeasty foam that bubbles to the top.

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22. Fat Head's Brewery 24581 Lorain Rd, Cleveland, OH 44070 (North Olmsted)

Fathead’s dominates the beer and wings game, and understandably so: over 25 award-winning beers are made on site, including the highly decorated Hop Juju Imperial IPA. If one of the 13 wing varieties doesn’t do it for you (and that’s unlikely), the Parma Sutra burger -- a majestic combination of cheddar, bacon, pierogi (yes, you heard us right), onions, and creamy horseradish sauce -- definitely will. The roomy space has a quintessential American brewery vibe, complete with exposed brick and an entire wall of framed awards, with pool tables and old school bowling machines to boot.

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23. The BottleHouse Brewing Company 2050 Lee Rd, Cleveland Heights, OH 44118

With bar games like trivia, pinball, and board games, this Cleveland Heights haunt pours nano-brewed beers, alongside a whole bunch of mead.

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24. Nano Brew Cleveland 1859 W 25th St, Cleveland, OH 44113

This Ohio City haunt boasts 24 taps and gets its name from their crazy one-barrel brewing process, which creates one-of-a-kind, pub-exclusive beers.

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25. Thirsty Dog Brewing Company 529 Grant St, Akron, OH 44311

Earning World Beer Cup and Great American Beer Fest accolades, this Akron brewery offers 20+ suds in their warehouse facility, with a tasting room right in the middle of the action.

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26. Hoppin' Frog Brewery 1680 E Waterloo Rd, Akron, OH 44306

Ranked among the top 20 breweries in the world, this Akron spot serves up amazing brews like B.O.R.I.S. The Crusher Oatmeal Russian Imperial Stout, and equally amazing bites, including steaks and tacos.

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