During daylight hours, this anchor of the Warehouse District party scene masquerades as a simple bar and restaurant. But on any weekend, the place becomes a holding pen for a unique cross section of clubbers, from gel-headed fratsters to hip-hoppers to suited execs.
The club's logo -- a porker in a tie -- says it all. Down and dirty, but still kind of chic, the large, open Pig caters to an older, rock-oriented crowd, with cover bands. Never a cover.
Saving students and staff from another semester of sloppy joes and shepherd's pie, this sharp bistro on the CSU campus looks, feels and tastes like an independent restaurant. Featuring locally sourced ingredients, the ambitious breakfast and lunch menus tempt both coeds and the community at large at weekday breakfasts and lunches. Attractive sheltered patio.
Noisy and fun-loving, this 100-seat restaurant is part of the Corner Alley complex, a high-energy hangout featuring 16 lanes of bowling and a fashionable martini bar. With cheese here, bacon there, and deep-fried goodness nearly everywhere, spa cuisine this is not. But thanks to zesty flavors and often-imaginative preparation, the offerings still beat the standard bowling-alley lineup by a long shot.
A devastating fire put Grumpy’s out of commission for two years, but owner Kathy Owad has resurrected the beloved Tremont café in a cozy new space. Serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, weekend brunch and late-night weekend dining, Grumpy’s pretty much has you covered morning, noon and night. Expect hearty plates of reasonably priced, stick-to-your-ribs comfort food served with cheerfulness.
The two-story guitar outside the Hard Rock is a beacon for music lovers, who pack the place every weekend to feast on mammoth burgers and music videos. The dining area is sometimes cleared for concerts, which typically feature rockers on the rise.
About as fancy as it gets at John Q's is a 16-ounce strip steak with a coating of cognac mustard and cracked black peppercorns. Other beef entrées porterhouse, filet mignon, rib steak, and prime rib are presented unadorned, all the better for you to enjoy their grilled flavor. The sprawling restaurant includes several romantic, curtained booths; ask for one when you make reservations.
Cops, lawyers, secretaries, hipsters, football fans, and neighborhood residents sooner or later, everyone ends up at Karls, for the good food, well-stocked bar, and unpretentious vibe. A one-pound corned-beef sandwich is the house specialty; other good bets include the Friday-night fish fry and the well-dressed Snuggery Burger.
Yup, it's a little bar all right: dim and a tad dingy. But that said, it's worth seeking out for its first-rate burgers, juicy ribs, freshly cut French fries, and a daily "comfort food" special like chicken Parmesan over penne pasta.
Part of an international group, Cleveland's Morton's does the expected fine job with slabs of beef. Steak choices include porterhouse, filet mignon, and New York strip; prime rib, lamb, chicken, and seafood also put in appearances. Atmosphere is comfortingly retro, with dim lighting, cozy banquettes, and Ol' Blue Eyes singing in the background.
When it comes to freshly made Middle Eastern foods, Nate's is great. Especially beloved for its thick, smooth hummus with a texture like whipped butter, Nate's also makes smoky baba ghannouj, crisp fried kibbeh, and tender, plump meat or spinach pies. If your tastes run to more traditional deli fare, try a king-sized corned-beef or pastrami sandwich. Service is casual and friendly, and the place has the feel of a neighborhood cornerstone.
A laid-back alternative to the Warehouse District's pricey haute spots, this nautically themed tavern specializes in fish, seafood, and plenty of beer, in bottles and on tap. One of downtown's best happy hours.
The ornamental leprechauns may be suspect, but the rest of the Old Angle is more Dublin than Dublin. Folk and blues musicians play solo by the fireplace hearth at the end of the bar.
Cleveland's version of a theater-district deli, this Playhouse Square staple has been entertaining arts lovers and downtown lunchers for more than 100 years, with a cast of soups, salads, steaks, chicken, and stacked-up sandwiches, many like the W.C. Fields and Fanny Brice named in honor of old-time stage stars. Dinner hours vary with the theaters' schedules; calling ahead is always a smart move.
A taste of Vegas in downtown Cleveland, this sprawling complex boasts four distinct vibes: pumping house music in the martini bar, national comedians in the Hilarities theater, an open kitchen and piled portions in the bright restaurant, and sequined performers in original revues at the cabaret.
Cozy and retro, this former workingman’s watering hole serves up food, booze, and a bowling machine along with the live music. You’ll find locals laying down everything from lounge and jazz to folk and bluegrass.
Veteran chef Brandt Evans' Public Square restaurant is a breath of fresh air for downtowners, with a spare decor, an urbane vibe, and rustically refined menus built from local, sustainable ingredients. A stickler for details, Evans pays equal attention to every element of a dish. He does, however, leave room for whimsy, as evidenced by the occasional odd ingredient and deconstructed arrangement. Full bar.
Giant deck, tremendous view of the mouth of the Cuyahoga, and warm-weather weekend parties that run all day and all night.
The South Side doesn’t quite overload all the senses, but it stimulates them with exposed brick walls, a winding granite bar, local artwork that changes monthly, and four big plasma screens equipped with surround sound. After the kitchen closes, an upscale-casual crowd gather in the bar.
A smartly appointed alternative to the food court that sits below, this handsome downtown restaurant serves a solid assortment of salads, sandwiches, seafood, and pasta, with speedy service designed to get you back to your desk, or into your theater seat, with time to spare.
Wilbert’s mixes local acts with touring artists trying to get a toehold in town. Blues, rock, folk, indie, reggae, and jam bands all mingle here, so you’re never quite sure what you’ll hear.
The triangular downtown Winking Lizard has 70 televisions, which display continuous sports, including games from all major satellite packages.
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