Cleveland’s Best Nightlife
Best Place to Drink with Fido: Scattered beneath a cluster of old-growth trees, the picnic tables at Barking Spider Tavern (11310 Juniper Rd., 216/421-2863, www.barkingspidertavern.com, Mon.–Sat. 2 p.m.–1 a.m., Sun. 1 p.m.–midnight) fill up fast on warm summer nights. Many people come with their well-behaved pooches to enjoy pitchers of beer and live acoustic music emanating from an old carriage house.
Sweetest Jukebox: Thanks to Internet jukeboxes, bar patrons have access to nearly limitless music catalogues. If that is progress, why do so many rock fans swoon over the vintage Rock-Ola at Beachland Ballroom? (15711 Waterloo Rd., 216/383-1124, www.beachlandballroom.com, Vary depending on show.) Because it’s loaded with 80 hand-picked vinyl 45s — one of the most beautiful things a rock-and-roller will ever see.
Best Place to Drink on a Chilly Night: Prosperity Social Club (1109 Starkweather Ave., 216/937-1938, www.prosperitysocialclub.com, Mon.–Sat. 4 p.m.–2:30 a.m., Sun. 4–10 p.m.) is always a welcoming place to enjoy a cocktail. But thanks to a freestanding wood-burning stove that fills the room with warmth, fragrance, and cheer, wintertime might be the best time of all.
All-time Best Bar Game: While we have nothing against pool, darts, or pinball, isn’t it time for a change of pace? Folks looking for the new game in town visit Stone Mad Irish Pub (1306 W. 65th St., 216/281-6500, Daily 11 a.m.–2:30 a.m.), where a full-size sunken bocce court keeps them pleasantly amused all year long. (Runner-up: the Cornhole boxes at Around the Corner Saloon.)
Best Underground Wine Bar: Located 15 feet below Coventry Road, La Cave du Vin (2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., 216/932-6411, www.lacaveduvin.com, Mon.–Sat. 5 p.m.–2 a.m., Sun. 7 p.m.–2 a.m.) is a grotto-like wine bar with a spectacular 500-bottle list. If wine isn’t your bag, select from nearly 200 beers in the self-serve display coolers.
Most Picturesque Sidewalk Patio: By definition, sidewalk patios are situated alongside streets, and as such are exposed to noise, dust, and unwelcome finger gestures. Market Avenue Wine Bar (2521 Market Ave., 216/696-9463, www.marketavewinebar.com, Sun.–Fri. 4 p.m.–1 a.m., Sat. 2 p.m.–1 a.m.) is located on Market Avenue, a short tree-lined cobblestone lane that sees very little auto traffic. Views here are of people, dogs, and a tony urban bistro.
City’s Finest Cocktail: The Ramos Gin Fizz, as constructed by the pros at Velvet Tango Room (2095 Columbus St., 216/241-8869, www.velvettangoroom.com, Mon.–Fri. 4:30 p.m.–1 a.m., Sat. 6 p.m.–1 a.m.), tastes like clouds and sunshine. Built gram by gram on a chemist’s scale to ensure consistency, the drink contains small-batch gin, orange blossom water, fresh cream, and egg whites. Shake it all together and you get the most delicious taste ever.
Funniest Seat in the House: Nick Kostis is a brilliant judge of up-and-coming comedic talent, and his club, Hilarities 4th Street Theater (2035 E. 4th St., 216/736-4242, www.pickwickandfrolic.com, Showtimes Tues.–Thurs. 8 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 7:30 and 10:15 p.m., Sun. 7:30 p.m.), is the place to catch them. This upscale 425-seat comedy club attracts the very best touring comics, and the theater is as nice as they come.
© Douglas Trattner from Moon Cleveland, 1st Edition