We gather at bars to mourn, to celebrate, to kill time, to find love, to talk, to meet friends, to partake in shared experiences, to watch games, to play games. The actual drinking part is on the list somewhere, but it's not really near the top you can drink anywhere, after all. We choose our favorite watering holes for what they offer: maybe it's selection, maybe it's expertise, maybe it's a friendly smile, maybe it's nostalgia. Really, though, it's for all of those reasons and more. A great bar feels like home and becomes a pal of sorts, the atmosphere being more than background noise, something that actually informs the experience and betters it.
Our essential bars, culled from many debates and more nights out than we can remember, represent Cleveland the people who go there, the people who run them, the reasons that make them stand out from the rest, the reasons that keep us coming back time after time.
Any list like this is subjective, of course. We probably left off some joint that you consider indispensable. That's part of the game, part of the great debate. But we do think it's an inclusive list, one that represents not only the kind of drinking town that Cleveland was but the one it's becoming. Take a gander and then drop us a line to let us know what you think we missed.
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