House of Blues is the place to see megawatt artists on their way up (or down) the charts. The Music Hall holds more than 1,000, while the more intimate Cambridge Room hosts local bands and national acts still cultivating their following.
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.
Touch’s DJs spin the freshest cuts in town. They’ll also play stuff you’ve heard, but the DJs here pride themselves on the funk, soul, indie rock, and dance remixes that never hit the Top 40.
Clever cuisine, playful decor, and intimate surroundings make this "modern Mexican" eatery like nothing else in town. Don't come around looking for refried beans and rice; luscious lamb "adobo" and avocado-leaf-crusted tuna are more Momocho's style. Factor in the fruit-infused margaritas, chilada-style beers, and the smart array of tequilas, and even the fiercest bandito would happily pull up a chair.
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 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.
Channeling the spirit of a European wine bar, this funky little spot in Ohio City makes a tasty backdrop for a small but tempting menu of thin-crusted pizzas, house-cured meats, handmade pastas, and some of the best twice-fried, Belgian-style fries you'll ever find on a Cleveland tabletop. To go with, the annotated wine list offers 100 selections, while next door's Bier Markt provides dozens of imported brews.
Well-prepared fresh seafood is the specialty at this beautifully renovated space in the Warehouse District. Don't miss Blue Point chowder or the grouper over lobster-mashed potatoes.
Cobblestone roads lead to the best beers around. The tasting room provides a bird's-eye view of the shiny steel tanks and antique bar that Eliot Ness once bellied up to. The cellar bar is less bright, but even more atmospheric.
Casual, comfortable, and beautifully appointed, this Mexican bar and grill is an inexpensive stop for after-work unwinding or for grabbing a bite before downtown entertainment. While the food isn't always as interesting as the decor, it partners up perfectly with the vast tequila collection, featuring nearly 100 brands served straight up, in flights, or as part of 30 or so oversize cocktails.
If anyone is worried about the state of the economy, you would never know it by the festive crowd of well-dressed hipsters mixing it up inside Ohio's first Brazilian churrascaria. The house specialty is an endless parade of fresh-off-the-grill meats, carved tableside by a crew of peripatetic "gauchos." A meticulously maintained buffet offers salads and more, while elegant, a la carte desserts are worth saving room for.
At Aureole in New York, chef Dante Boccuzzi snagged Michelin stars two years running. Back home in Cleveland, he has taken over the former Lockkeepers and injected it with a more casual sensibility. Working as he has in Italy, France and Asia, Boccuzzi incorporates elements of these cuisines into boldly flavored dishes like Thai-style mussels, house-made cavatelli and pomegranate-glazed duck. Full bar and wine list.
Chef-owner Karen Small stocks her larder with simple, homegrown ingredients, then coaxes them into precise assemblages of soaring flavor at this hip, youthful, and energetic bistro in the heart of Ohio City. And as any trendinista will tell you, the Fig's happy hours are among the best in the city for unwinding on a budget.
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.
Imported from Buffalo, the Chocolate Bar is part nightclub, part restaurant. By day, the airy space bustles with lunchtime activity, with diners digging into affordable salads, sandwiches, and entrées. At night, ladies (and the men who love them) pair chocolate martinis with decadent desserts. While chocolate finds its way into all manner of menu items, it's wise to stick to those that come with whipped cream or alcohol.
Only in Cleveland could you find a functional bowling alley that doubles as an upscale restaurant and martini-friendly bar.
Chef-owner Rocco Whalen's well-appointed bistro is one of the best in town, with a seasonal menu of smart, contemporary fare, spiced up with Asian and Mediterranean accents.
This Irish bar in the heart of downtown features live music most weekends — primarily singer-songwriters and Irish acts. But it’s best known for having Guinness on tap and throwing one hell of a St. Paddy’s Day party.
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.
Like any good Fellini flick, this production is loaded with fantastic scenery. If that scenery is the journey, then the food must be the destination. Spanish, Moroccan, Turkish, Italian and Greek items combine in harmonious fashion. Think Italian wedding soup, wood-fired Turkish kebabs and Moroccan chicken and couscous. Enjoy the namesake film from a wrought-iron balcony as it is projected onto a large interior wall.
Sophisticated but fun-loving, beautiful but sassy, Michael and Liz Symon's Lola is the hottest spot in town, with a tightly crafted menu of contemporary American fare, rife with elegant and amusing touches. Depending on the season, offerings might include beef-cheek pierogies or smoked Berkshire pork. And leave room for dessert: Lola turns out some of the most creative sweets in town. Notable wine list.
An eye-opening experience for anyone who thinks Asian food is limited to lo mein in paper containers. This cuisine rambles between Cambodian home cooking and Vietnamese classics. The menu – heavy with descriptions and suggestions – reads like a textbook.
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.
Wood paneling, pierogies and perch in Tremont’s oldest ethnic family owned restaurant (since 1923), serving boilermakers before Prohibition. Black Angus beef, grilled trout, and baby back ribs flavor rooms heavy with Browns memorabilia.
Somehow, life seems simpler after a meal at Superior Pho. Maybe thats because the main attraction at this tiny Vietnamese restaurant is pho: big bowls of homemade beef-and-noodle soup, with basil, lime and other flavorful trimmings. Combo meals featuring small appetizers and rice are also available.
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