November 25, 2015

21 Underrated Cleveland Bars You Should Have Tried By Now

We're all privy to our favorite watering holes but there are definitely some gems that get brushed under the rug. Lucky for us, the winter season means there are plenty of reasons to go out and get a little tipsy. Here's a list of a few underrated bars to explore.

We're all privy to our favorite watering holes but there are definitely some gems that get brushed under the rug. Lucky for us, the winter season means there are plenty of reasons to go out and get a little tipsy. Here's a list of a few underrated bars to explore.

By Brandon Koziol

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The Harbor Inn - 1219 Main Ave. 
The Harbor Inn has been opened since 1895, and it isn't going anywhere, thank goodness. If that isn't enough reason to visit, the beer is cheap and there's a bowling machine and pick-a-prize claw game. (Photo via Jim F., Yelp)
The Harbor Inn - 1219 Main Ave.

The Harbor Inn has been opened since 1895, and it isn't going anywhere, thank goodness. If that isn't enough reason to visit, the beer is cheap and there's a bowling machine and pick-a-prize claw game. (Photo via Jim F., Yelp)

Smedley's Bar & Grill - 17004 Lorain Ave. 
This place can be summed up pretty easily: beers, bikers and burgers. Smedley's Bar & Grill is a place to get your drink and eat on with specials including clam, steak and lobster. It's also a huge music venue, hosting all types of acts from country to covers bands. Plus, as the owner says, "Everybody goes home safe, and that's what this bar is about." (Photo via the Cleveland Scene Archives)
Smedley's Bar & Grill - 17004 Lorain Ave.

This place can be summed up pretty easily: beers, bikers and burgers. Smedley's Bar & Grill is a place to get your drink and eat on with specials including clam, steak and lobster. It's also a huge music venue, hosting all types of acts from country to covers bands. Plus, as the owner says, "Everybody goes home safe, and that's what this bar is about." (Photo via the Cleveland Scene Archives)

Brother's Lounge - 11609 Detroit Ave. 
Bluesy yet upbeat, Brother's Lounge is a three-in-one type of deal with a neighborhood pub, wine bar and music hall. Week after week, there's always someone on the stage whether it's a local or national performer. (Photo via cheif_thunderwater, Instagram)
Brother's Lounge - 11609 Detroit Ave.

Bluesy yet upbeat, Brother's Lounge is a three-in-one type of deal with a neighborhood pub, wine bar and music hall. Week after week, there's always someone on the stage whether it's a local or national performer. (Photo via cheif_thunderwater, Instagram)

V.I.P. Inn - 4107 Rocky River Dr. 
Self-titled as a "local watering hole" on Facebook, this inn gives off the farthest thing from the very important person kind of vibe. That's all. (Photo via the Cleveland Scene Archives)
V.I.P. Inn - 4107 Rocky River Dr.

Self-titled as a "local watering hole" on Facebook, this inn gives off the farthest thing from the very important person kind of vibe. That's all. (Photo via the Cleveland Scene Archives)

McNamara's - 8611 Lake Ave. 
McNamara's is one of those "beyond-the-fray" joints that make you feel cozy and welcome like the best dives should. It's not too dirty, not too clean. Ever since former firefighter Gary McNamara bought the spot in 1998 from the former Gleason's pub, it's been a secret headquarters for low-cost brews. (Photo via kd_miller, Instagram, caption by Scene Staff)
McNamara's - 8611 Lake Ave.

McNamara's is one of those "beyond-the-fray" joints that make you feel cozy and welcome like the best dives should. It's not too dirty, not too clean. Ever since former firefighter Gary McNamara bought the spot in 1998 from the former Gleason's pub, it's been a secret headquarters for low-cost brews. (Photo via kd_miller, Instagram, caption by Scene Staff)

Clark Bar - 1201 Clark Ave. 
A place where everyone really does know everyone; it's deemed the "best-kept secret in the neighborhood." As for the first timers, everyone is quick to welcome you into the clique. Plus the kitchen is open for a perfect hangover breakfast. (Photo via the Cleveland Scene Archives)
Clark Bar - 1201 Clark Ave.

A place where everyone really does know everyone; it's deemed the "best-kept secret in the neighborhood." As for the first timers, everyone is quick to welcome you into the clique. Plus the kitchen is open for a perfect hangover breakfast. (Photo via the Cleveland Scene Archives)

Jerman's Cafe - 3840 St. Clair Ave. 
With a good selection of domestic and imported beers, this bar is a cheap alternative to the regular frequented spots. It has more than 100 years of history behind it, possibly making it the oldest bar in Cleveland, and the owners are all about creating a friendly atmosphere. (Photo via the Cleveland Scene Archives)
Jerman's Cafe - 3840 St. Clair Ave.

With a good selection of domestic and imported beers, this bar is a cheap alternative to the regular frequented spots. It has more than 100 years of history behind it, possibly making it the oldest bar in Cleveland, and the owners are all about creating a friendly atmosphere. (Photo via the Cleveland Scene Archives)

Sachsenheim Hall - 7001 Denison Ave. 
Beer in boots and cheap cheeseburgers. Yes, Sachsenheim Hall serves its delectable German nectar in boots. As for the food, it's the farthest thing from bar food with specialty items like stuffed cabbage, chicken paprikash and smoked pork chops. (Photo via Greg D., Yelp)
Sachsenheim Hall - 7001 Denison Ave.

Beer in boots and cheap cheeseburgers. Yes, Sachsenheim Hall serves its delectable German nectar in boots. As for the food, it's the farthest thing from bar food with specialty items like stuffed cabbage, chicken paprikash and smoked pork chops. (Photo via Greg D., Yelp)

Duck Island Club - 2102 Freeman Ave. 
Duck In, duck out, duck island," as the faithful motto states. What started as a speakeasy during prohibition still remains a hush, hush secret today. As noted by this picture, the place basically looks like a house. (Photo via the Cleveland Scene Archive)
Duck Island Club - 2102 Freeman Ave.

Duck In, duck out, duck island," as the faithful motto states. What started as a speakeasy during prohibition still remains a hush, hush secret today. As noted by this picture, the place basically looks like a house. (Photo via the Cleveland Scene Archive)

S S & W Boardwalk - 16011 Waterloo Rd. 
"The beer and AC are colder than my ex's heart," a Yelp user wrote. We're not on board with the AC now but the cold beer is always nice. It's the typical bar scene  including a jukebox, dart board and pool table, mixing it up a bit with a Boardwalk Bomb (a cream soda) and a root beer schnapps. (Photo via the Cleveland Scene Archive)
S S & W Boardwalk - 16011 Waterloo Rd.

"The beer and AC are colder than my ex's heart," a Yelp user wrote. We're not on board with the AC now but the cold beer is always nice. It's the typical bar scene including a jukebox, dart board and pool table, mixing it up a bit with a Boardwalk Bomb (a cream soda) and a root beer schnapps. (Photo via the Cleveland Scene Archive)