A bar we love

What shall we say about McNamara's, the gilded Irish dive bar on Lake Road and West 86th Street, on the raspy fringes of both the Cudell and Edgewater neighborhoods? Shall we call it the city's Best Blue-Collar Bar, as Scene did a few year's back in our annual Best Of Cleveland issue? Shall we admire its verdant, lovely patio, one that certainly didn't appear on Scene's "16 Patios You Have to Visit this Summer" but which is basically heaven, if you ask one of McNamara's three ecstatic Yelp reviewers. Shall we say that the dartboards are remarkably stable? Shall we say that the exterior is awfully pretty, given the condition of its residential neighbors? Shall we say that the beer is cheap? It really is. We could say any of those things, surely. 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 and westside castoffs with long, private nights before them. Perhaps what we'll mention about McNamara's is the unlikelihood — the miraculousness — that it's remained this under the radar.

8611 Lake Ave.

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