This downtown Akron club books bands that never would have found the Rubber City a few years ago — say, Dinosaur Jr. and the Drive-By Truckers. Between the touring acts, original locals take the stage.
Part of a three-club complex (along with the staid Man's World in the back and leather-only Crossover in the basement), the woodsy Shed is home base for Cleveland's only gay country line-dance group. On Sundays, the evening starts with dance lessons for beginners.
Located on the West Bank of the Flats, the expansive McCarthy's Dowtown is, as you might expect, very green. Danceable bands and DJs entertain during the weekends; during the week, plasma screens assume that duty.
Nestled in the industrial Flats, Hoopples caters to clock-punchers who like their blues served steamy side up. The giant window behind the bar yields a sharp view of downtown.
Manja is a hip little martini of a bar, even with the addition of a foosball table. The jukebox -- heavy on ’80s and ’90s alternative -- is one of the best in town.
Weekends, the Mardi Gras Lounge and Grill returns to its roots, serving up live jazz and blues. The Bourbon Street beats make a great go-with for the club's spicy Creole cooking.
A red-orange-yellow decor and a steady flow of pop and top-40 keep a crowd of 20-somethings and college students chattering the Mars Bar; it’s quieter and darker in the rear lounge area.
Located in Akron's Merriman Valley, this expansive sports bar has five nine-foot pool tables, a dartboard, a friendly atmosphere and an equally sizable outdoor deck.
The size of a hockey rink, McCarthy's Avon Lake spot is equal parts Irish and Ohio sports bar.
With its Celtics pennants and Guinness drafts, McCarthy's is an Irish American refuge with a penchant for he-man shots -- among the largest on the West Side. They're the perfect complement to the club's boisterous rock and roll.
Mike McGinty and his sons have paid tribute to their ancestral homeland, a sparsely populated island off Ireland's northwestern coast. The pub's raised corner stage, complete with a gas fireplace, is a welcoming spot for the acoustic musicians who perform there weekly.
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