What was once sort of an open secret around town has now become a full-on Cleveland landmark. The Velvet Tango Room remains the gold standard of martini joints in our city. Though, like all excellent holes in the wall, this one has started to blow up in recent years. There are some around town who even consider this place passe. It's donezo, they'll tell ya. Meh, popular trends in Cleveland are pretty boring; we'll stick with the solid fact that this place serves up dynamite drinks that are tough to beat anywhere else. And Paulius Nasvytis began all these trends back when he opened the club in 1996, so we'll stick with the original. The price points are often pretty brutal, particularly for alt-weekly writers aching for strong drink, but the ends justify the means tenfold. We'll take a round of perfect Manhattans, thank ye kindly; put it on the Plain Dealer's tab.
2095 Columbus Rd., 216-241-8869, velvettangoroom.com.
Staff Pick (Martini Bar): Velvet Tango Room
Staff Pick (Lounge): Society Lounge