May 12, 2014

15 of the Best Bars and Clubs in Cleveland, As Determined By You

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Cleveland has more single people than just about any city in America, which means a lot of us are looking for love, or simply someone to put down their phone for a second and actually talk to us. And sometimes not even that much. The Barley House, readers say, is ground zero for meeting that special companion. You really can't go wrong by sidling up to the bar and starting with some liquid courage. And the music ain't bad either. You can talk about that and bob along. The West Sixth hot spot draws gaggles of girls and guys, all basically wanting the same thing, and it's easier to do these things in crowds. Someone knows someone who can introduce you, and dinner's right there at the ready if you get paired off. If not, there's probably a DJ set or a bottle service table to keep things moving until everything becomes hazy enough where you somehow appear charming.
1261 West Sixth St., 216-623-1700, barleyhousecleveland.com.
Photo via Facebook
Cleveland has more single people than just about any city in America, which means a lot of us are looking for love, or simply someone to put down their phone for a second and actually talk to us. And sometimes not even that much. The Barley House, readers say, is ground zero for meeting that special companion. You really can't go wrong by sidling up to the bar and starting with some liquid courage. And the music ain't bad either. You can talk about that and bob along. The West Sixth hot spot draws gaggles of girls and guys, all basically wanting the same thing, and it's easier to do these things in crowds. Someone knows someone who can introduce you, and dinner's right there at the ready if you get paired off. If not, there's probably a DJ set or a bottle service table to keep things moving until everything becomes hazy enough where you somehow appear charming.

1261 West Sixth St., 216-623-1700, barleyhousecleveland.com.

There always seems to be somewhere new to go these days — some new joint that has popped up in the latest, trendiest neighborhood. But readers hold a soft spot in their heart for Liquid, which has been a nightlife mecca for 19 years. Brent Lewanski, who also owns Westpark Station, McCarthy's in the Flats and Avenue Taphouse, is more than an entertainer — he's a West Sixth ambassador and has fought to keep the Warehouse District safe and fun for everyone. "West Sixth Street has had its ups and downs," he told us last summer, "but there are so many positive things happening in Cleveland that are based around that area. I think the street represents the city in many ways." We couldn't agree more. Liquid packs 'em in with the hottest DJs and best dance music around, and once the friendly staff is done taking care of you, they take care of their own on Sundays. SIN night is that chance for the city's bartenders and waiters to finally enjoy their weekend, and Liquid's Sunday evening deals give them a chance to enjoy the scenery from the other side of the bar. Stop by for one of the DJ sets, comedy on Mondays, or Taco Thursdays (yes, Taco Thursdays).
1212 West Sixth St., 216-479-7717, liquidcleveland.com.
Photo via Facebook
There always seems to be somewhere new to go these days — some new joint that has popped up in the latest, trendiest neighborhood. But readers hold a soft spot in their heart for Liquid, which has been a nightlife mecca for 19 years. Brent Lewanski, who also owns Westpark Station, McCarthy's in the Flats and Avenue Taphouse, is more than an entertainer — he's a West Sixth ambassador and has fought to keep the Warehouse District safe and fun for everyone. "West Sixth Street has had its ups and downs," he told us last summer, "but there are so many positive things happening in Cleveland that are based around that area. I think the street represents the city in many ways." We couldn't agree more. Liquid packs 'em in with the hottest DJs and best dance music around, and once the friendly staff is done taking care of you, they take care of their own on Sundays. SIN night is that chance for the city's bartenders and waiters to finally enjoy their weekend, and Liquid's Sunday evening deals give them a chance to enjoy the scenery from the other side of the bar. Stop by for one of the DJ sets, comedy on Mondays, or Taco Thursdays (yes, Taco Thursdays).

1212 West Sixth St., 216-479-7717, liquidcleveland.com.

The epicenter of the Cleveland social scene these days can be found on West 25th Street in one of its newest additions. In less than a year, Townhall has quickly become the place to see and be seen around town, whether you're a twentysomething hipster or middle-aged professional. Thanks to the urban cafe's sophisticated drink menu and other-wordly atmosphere (it's hard not to feel like you're in Miami, not Cleveland), the massive melting pot of Cleveland drinkers has become a staple on the socialite's weekend to-do list. You simply must go there, say the readers, and they're packing the place every night. With a decadent array of cocktails (we like the Amethyst- Ciroc peach or Oyo stone fruit, plus beets, pineapple, lemongrass and honey), an expansive craft beer selection and a list of whiskeys that'll make you swoon, you may just find yourself kicking it on Townhall's lovely outdoor patio 'til tomorrow's brunch service, which, by the way, is top notch.
1909 West 25th St., 216-344-9400, townhallohiocity.com.
Photo via Facebook
The epicenter of the Cleveland social scene these days can be found on West 25th Street in one of its newest additions. In less than a year, Townhall has quickly become the place to see and be seen around town, whether you're a twentysomething hipster or middle-aged professional. Thanks to the urban cafe's sophisticated drink menu and other-wordly atmosphere (it's hard not to feel like you're in Miami, not Cleveland), the massive melting pot of Cleveland drinkers has become a staple on the socialite's weekend to-do list. You simply must go there, say the readers, and they're packing the place every night. With a decadent array of cocktails (we like the Amethyst- Ciroc peach or Oyo stone fruit, plus beets, pineapple, lemongrass and honey), an expansive craft beer selection and a list of whiskeys that'll make you swoon, you may just find yourself kicking it on Townhall's lovely outdoor patio 'til tomorrow's brunch service, which, by the way, is top notch.

1909 West 25th St., 216-344-9400, townhallohiocity.com.

Cleveland is a shot and a beer town and the Harbor Inn has been slinging those for over a hundred years — it's the oldest continuously operating bar in Cleveland, don't you know. Four decades ago, Wally Pisorn bought the place and, well, didn't do much to change it. The Harbor is still a melting pot that pulls from every demographic in the city. From the few remaining dock workers who pull up a barstool when you're having breakfast to the twentysomething crowd that comes pouring in before concerts or games, Wally's World is our world. In a city known for its affordable booze, the Harbor Inn is comparatively cheap, which basically means drinking is essentially free. It's a Bar's Bar. Plus, where else will you find a pick-a-prize machine in Cleveland?
1219 Main Ave., 216-241-3232.
Photo via Cleveland Scene Archives
Cleveland is a shot and a beer town and the Harbor Inn has been slinging those for over a hundred years — it's the oldest continuously operating bar in Cleveland, don't you know. Four decades ago, Wally Pisorn bought the place and, well, didn't do much to change it. The Harbor is still a melting pot that pulls from every demographic in the city. From the few remaining dock workers who pull up a barstool when you're having breakfast to the twentysomething crowd that comes pouring in before concerts or games, Wally's World is our world. In a city known for its affordable booze, the Harbor Inn is comparatively cheap, which basically means drinking is essentially free. It's a Bar's Bar. Plus, where else will you find a pick-a-prize machine in Cleveland?

1219 Main Ave., 216-241-3232.

Bounce has been the LGBT mainstay outlet of adventure and partying for years now, and folks keep coming back because no one does it better. From Top 40 dance hits and pulsing strobe lights to leather, mesh and any other fetish you can dream of, Bounce is welcoming and encouraging. The weekend drag shows are just one of the popular reasons people flock to the Detroit Avenue club, but the comfy sofas lining the lounge and the raised dance floor mean there's something for you here, whether you're on the market for a pal or a straight hanging out with friends for the night. Bounce attracts everyone — everyone — and that's just about the best compliment a bar of any kind can hope to receive.
2814 Detroit Ave., 216-357-2997, bouncecleveland.com.
Photo via Facebook
Bounce has been the LGBT mainstay outlet of adventure and partying for years now, and folks keep coming back because no one does it better. From Top 40 dance hits and pulsing strobe lights to leather, mesh and any other fetish you can dream of, Bounce is welcoming and encouraging. The weekend drag shows are just one of the popular reasons people flock to the Detroit Avenue club, but the comfy sofas lining the lounge and the raised dance floor mean there's something for you here, whether you're on the market for a pal or a straight hanging out with friends for the night. Bounce attracts everyone — everyone — and that's just about the best compliment a bar of any kind can hope to receive.

2814 Detroit Ave., 216-357-2997, bouncecleveland.com.

A local poet and musician who moved to the San Francisco Bay Area a few years back, Daniel Gray-Kontar wanted to start up a monthly hip-hop night after he returned to Cleveland in 2013. In the '00s, the Rhythm Room was the go-to place for rap and hip-hop acts. But it hasn't been open for years. So Gray-Kontar approached the folks at Touch Supper Club, one of the best places in town to hear cutting edge electronic dance music, and launched Sanctuary Cleveland, a showcase for local and national hip-hop acts. It takes place the first Saturday of every month and locals Gray-Kontar, Kinetik, Red-I and Eso regularly spin downstairs while veteran local DJ Mike Filly provides the "soundscape" for the first floor. Touch is also home to I Got 5 On It, the popular old school hip-hop night that is the best excuse not involving a wedding to get on the dance floor.
2710 Lorain Ave., 216-631-5200, touchohiocity.com.
Photo via Facebook
A local poet and musician who moved to the San Francisco Bay Area a few years back, Daniel Gray-Kontar wanted to start up a monthly hip-hop night after he returned to Cleveland in 2013. In the '00s, the Rhythm Room was the go-to place for rap and hip-hop acts. But it hasn't been open for years. So Gray-Kontar approached the folks at Touch Supper Club, one of the best places in town to hear cutting edge electronic dance music, and launched Sanctuary Cleveland, a showcase for local and national hip-hop acts. It takes place the first Saturday of every month and locals Gray-Kontar, Kinetik, Red-I and Eso regularly spin downstairs while veteran local DJ Mike Filly provides the "soundscape" for the first floor. Touch is also home to I Got 5 On It, the popular old school hip-hop night that is the best excuse not involving a wedding to get on the dance floor.

2710 Lorain Ave., 216-631-5200, touchohiocity.com.

With a steady cast of gorgeous dancers and a long list of temporary attractions — they've hosted porn star Emily Austin and "world famous" Chelsea Charms (the proud owner of "the world's biggest augmented breasts") so far in April — Scene readers chose Christie's as the best place to go for naked women and alcohol. The club in the Flats boasts it's "the finest east of the Mississippi River," highlighting their "VIP Champagne Suites" with fireplaces, plasma TVs, karaoke and XBox systems (because people love playing video games at strip clubs). For the gentleman who desires a little female company, for the bachelor party sect and for the out-of-towners who can't stand one more night in an empty, lonely hotel room, Christie's is the high-class strip joint that'll make you feel at home (and other things.)
1180 Main Ave., 216-574-6222, christiescabaret.com.
Photo via scottsdalenights, Instagram
With a steady cast of gorgeous dancers and a long list of temporary attractions — they've hosted porn star Emily Austin and "world famous" Chelsea Charms (the proud owner of "the world's biggest augmented breasts") so far in April — Scene readers chose Christie's as the best place to go for naked women and alcohol. The club in the Flats boasts it's "the finest east of the Mississippi River," highlighting their "VIP Champagne Suites" with fireplaces, plasma TVs, karaoke and XBox systems (because people love playing video games at strip clubs). For the gentleman who desires a little female company, for the bachelor party sect and for the out-of-towners who can't stand one more night in an empty, lonely hotel room, Christie's is the high-class strip joint that'll make you feel at home (and other things.)

1180 Main Ave., 216-574-6222, christiescabaret.com.

Thursday nights at Brothers Lounge are when the Bad Boys of Blues take over, throwing down a mean set as the house band and then opening up the stage to musicians of all ilk until the wee hours of the morning. Simply put, this jam melts faces. And the rest of the week features top-tier music, as well. Other mainstays include Brent Kirby's awesome 10x3 events on Wednesday nights in the wine bar, Mojo Big Band and Velvet Voyage setting up on the venue's two stages on Monday nights, and a host of local blues titans throughout the weekend. The food is excellent too. And as guitarist Michael Bay is keen to remind you, the beer is cold. Have a whole bunch and tip your server well.
11609 Detroit Ave., 216-226-2767, brotherslounge.com.
Photo via Facebook
Thursday nights at Brothers Lounge are when the Bad Boys of Blues take over, throwing down a mean set as the house band and then opening up the stage to musicians of all ilk until the wee hours of the morning. Simply put, this jam melts faces. And the rest of the week features top-tier music, as well. Other mainstays include Brent Kirby's awesome 10x3 events on Wednesday nights in the wine bar, Mojo Big Band and Velvet Voyage setting up on the venue's two stages on Monday nights, and a host of local blues titans throughout the weekend. The food is excellent too. And as guitarist Michael Bay is keen to remind you, the beer is cold. Have a whole bunch and tip your server well.

11609 Detroit Ave., 216-226-2767, brotherslounge.com.

Happy Dog won these two categories last year, so it's no surprise the Detroit Shoreway concert club and restaurant takes top honors again this year. The place has a cool vintage look and its band-friendly approach (acts play for the door money) makes it an attractive venue for up-and-coming local and national indie rock bands. The club also hosts a monthly classical music jam night and a variety of lecture series with local intellects and writers. Last year, the Cleveland Orchestra launched a residency program that included performances at the Happy Dog and at other venues in the Gordon Square Arts District. Happy Dog owner Sean Watterson was the catalyst that helped make the event happen. The guy is clued in to the local music and arts scene and has the ability to bring together artists and intellectuals from a range of disciplines. And, of course, the $5 dogs with limitless toppings are scrumptious.
5801 Detroit Ave., 216-651-9474, happydogcleveland.com.
Photo via euga1899, Instagram
Happy Dog won these two categories last year, so it's no surprise the Detroit Shoreway concert club and restaurant takes top honors again this year. The place has a cool vintage look and its band-friendly approach (acts play for the door money) makes it an attractive venue for up-and-coming local and national indie rock bands. The club also hosts a monthly classical music jam night and a variety of lecture series with local intellects and writers. Last year, the Cleveland Orchestra launched a residency program that included performances at the Happy Dog and at other venues in the Gordon Square Arts District. Happy Dog owner Sean Watterson was the catalyst that helped make the event happen. The guy is clued in to the local music and arts scene and has the ability to bring together artists and intellectuals from a range of disciplines. And, of course, the $5 dogs with limitless toppings are scrumptious.

5801 Detroit Ave., 216-651-9474, happydogcleveland.com.

In terms of comedy clubs, no one really holds a candle to Pickwick & Frolic. Their prime location on East Fourth Street in the heart of one of downtown's hottest social districts is a serious leg up, but it's the consistently stellar programming — Jon Lovitz, Kevin Pollak and Dave Attell are all headlining at Hilarities in June alone — that makes this one of the best and most unique restaurants and comedy clubs in the city. With multiple theaters and bars on its kickass comedy campus, Pickwick is perfect for a date night or even a nightcap after a Cavs or Indians game — and you'll certainly need the laughs after the tragedies you're likely to endure witnessing Cleveland sports. Go for the laughs. Stay for the laughs. Then go again for the laughs.
2035 East Fourth St., 216-241-7425, pickwickandfrolic.com.
Photo via Facebook
In terms of comedy clubs, no one really holds a candle to Pickwick & Frolic. Their prime location on East Fourth Street in the heart of one of downtown's hottest social districts is a serious leg up, but it's the consistently stellar programming — Jon Lovitz, Kevin Pollak and Dave Attell are all headlining at Hilarities in June alone — that makes this one of the best and most unique restaurants and comedy clubs in the city. With multiple theaters and bars on its kickass comedy campus, Pickwick is perfect for a date night or even a nightcap after a Cavs or Indians game — and you'll certainly need the laughs after the tragedies you're likely to endure witnessing Cleveland sports. Go for the laughs. Stay for the laughs. Then go again for the laughs.

2035 East Fourth St., 216-241-7425, pickwickandfrolic.com.