It's summer in the city, and open-air dining and drinking are a big part of what makes the long days and warm nights so great. So plot a course for this excellent outdoor seating.
Around the Corner Saloon and Café
18616 Detroit Avenue, Lakewood
Big crowds, hot barmaids, and the saloon special (23-ounce tall boys) help make Around the Corner a great outdoor escape for college kids and young singles in Lakewood. "Come in hungry and thirsty, and just enjoy being outside on the patio," says owner Mickey Krivosh. "It will make you think you are on vacation." The brick patio seats about 100 and sports a nice wooden pull-up bar. Mix with locals, sing to Jimmy Buffett-style music, then show up for a tasty patio brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.
D'Vine Wine Bar
836 West St. Clair Avenue
A good sidewalk café should let you breathe in the city life -- and that's why the D'vine Wine Bar's outside seating is such a draw. There's space for 40 customers to sit near the street, order up tasty tapas and wine, and people-watch. This Warehouse District destination offers superb Mediterranean-style food and a great selection of drinks -- beer, martinis, pitchers of sangria, and a wide selection of wine flights (a tasting of four similar wines). If the street-seating is full, just wait for a table indoors at the restaurant.
Great Lakes Brewing Company
2516 Market Avenue
A hot summer day often calls for a cold mug of beer. In Ohio City, that means pulling up a chair on the curbside patio at Great Lakes Brewing Company. Enjoy the scenic view of Ohio City's art district and the historic West Side Market while chugging the city's best microbrews. Pets are welcome, and the complimentary bowl of water makes this patio an urban-dog destination.
4408 Detroit Avenue
The Harp's Irish outdoor courtyard is an outstanding spot to sip whiskey and munch on steak boxty. With the Cleveland cityscape and the Lake Erie shoreline as its backdrop, this brick patio is outfitted with intimate tables, colorful umbrellas, and plenty of pints of Guinness. Family and friends can enjoy the great views and tasty traditional Irish cuisine, as well as live music every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday night. "Our view is magnificent, and the lake is our neighbor," says manager Aimee Kenik. "And we like to take the umbrellas down before night, so patrons can enjoy the sunset."
23800 Detroit Road, Westlake
If your nighttime plans call for a classy outdoor destination, look no further than M. Bistro. Offering upscale yet casual open-air drinks and dining, this restaurant's renovated courtyard has an easy and sophisticated atmosphere. Lush landscaping, a great granite bar, and excellent Mediterranean-American cuisine keep the trendy and well-groomed clientele coming back. The courtyard even offers live jazz from 5 to 9 p.m. on Sundays. "The ambiance is relaxing and fun," says manager Nick Mariakis. "And we have a convenient location near I-90 and the Clague Road exit."
12387 Cedar Road, Cleveland Heights
A huge, 30-foot waterfall sets the mood at Nighttown's outdoor patio, and an elaborate convertible glass enclosure makes it a great alfresco escape for all seasons. Customers sit on comfortable French-mesh bistro chairs at granite tables; the terrace is large and seats about 130. The crowd can relax with good food, cold drinks, and excellent live jazz by local greats like Ahmad Jamal, Benny Green, and Bucky Pizzarelli.
Old Firehouse Winery
5499 Lake Road, Geneva-on-the-Lake
The Old Firehouse Winery is Lake Erie's best shoreline wine destination. Sitting right on the lake, the patio is expansive, seating about 350, with picnic areas, decks, and a party tent. You can drink away the day with 22 different wines or those infamous pitchers of "Pink Smash" -- a not-so-secret blend of cherry pop, 7-Up, cherry juice, and White Catawba wine. After enjoying the good grub and scenery, families can mosey over to the Erieview amusement park next door. Music is featured seven nights a week -- rock, polka, jazz, blues, and the occasional crooning of happy drunks.
Sergio's in University Circle
1903 Ford Drive
Sergio's serves up large slices of South America at its outdoor University Circle courtyard. The waiters deliver tasty tropical drinks -- caipirinhas, mojitos, and passion bubbles -- from the outdoor bar. Families sit at wrought-iron patio tables with colorful umbrellas, drinking guaraná (a Brazilian soft drink). Diners eat top-notch tropical cuisine, including fresh seafood, malaguetta pepper, linguica sausage, and amazing Brazilian beef tenderloin. And everyone leans back and listens to great Brazilian jazz from such local legends as Michael Manderen, the Oberlin conservatory guitarist. Just get there early! Patio seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.
1261 West 76th Street
Snickers' outdoor patio brings a little bit of New Orleans to the heart of Cleveland's Detroit Shoreway neighborhood. With its ivy-covered walls, cozy candle-lit tables, and drooping trees, this popular outdoor patio is a secluded haven from the grind of the daily workday. Visitors can dine on excellent American bistro cuisine (like the popular lobster-and-Asiago-stuffed fillet) while sampling 45 wines and a marvelous martini list. And if the weather gets cold, patrons can always escape indoors to the beautiful Victorian tavern with its big mahogany bar and cozy fireplace.
Stamper's Grill Pub
21750 Lorain Road, Fairview Park
Who's in the mood for an Irish sports bar with an outdoor Tiki patio? Stamper's Grill Pub has 'em both. It's one of the few places in town where you can put on a grass skirt, grab a Guinness, and watch the game outdoors. This Irish and American pub in Fairview Park caters to all ages, with live Irish music and 18 different TVs full of sports (five of them outside). The pub's outdoor tropical Paddy-O seats about 150 at roomy umbrella tables. Decked out in kitschy, Tiki-bar drag (plastic palm trees, parrots, and colorful tropical fish), the patio offers fine Irish beer, good American pub grub, and the latest baseball scores.
1280 West 6th Street
The Velvet Dog is taking its party to Cleveland's rooftops this summer. This popular West 6th Street nightclub serves up drinks, dance, and a fabulous city skyline view with the city's only rooftop patio. The crowd is gorgeous, well dressed, and single, and the party is grooving to Top 40 mix music. It's easily the coolest open-air pickup venue in town. "Dress well, and bring your A-game, because this place is laden with singles," says Tino Roncone, the Velvet Dog marketing manager.
The Winery at Wolf Creek
2637 S. Cleveland-Massillon Road, Norton
Wine, romance, and a view that goes on for miles -- the Winery at Wolf Creek is a fantastic rustic refuge for couples with a taste for wine. The outdoor deck is situated on 35 acres of magnificent wooded property near Akron, overlooking the vineyards and the Barberton Reservoir. Bring a picnic lunch (hardly any food is served on premise), camp out on the enormous hill running down to the lake, and sample a nice variety of whites, blushes, reds, and even apple wines. Feed each other strawberries, lie back on a blanket, and salute the sunset with a bottle of vino.
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