With its thriving craft beer scene and a host of sports bars, Northeast Ohio isn’t necessarily the first place that comes to mind when searching for a quality cocktail. However, this is a misconception. The CLE is full of taverns, bars, and restaurants that serve fantastic mixed drinks. Here are the five best places to find excellent cocktails in Cleveland.
As The Velvet Tango Room bills itself as Cleveland’s premiere cocktail lounge, it obviously has no problem setting visitor expectations sky high. That said, cocktail connoisseurs are unlikely to be disappointed by its offerings. Bourbon lovers should try out The Rust Belt, a strong bourbon drink with a sweet undertone. And with a hankering for a truly unique flavor experience should try out the Cleveland Rose, which blends together tequila, gin and yellow chartreuse.
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Porco Lounge & Tiki Room is a great bar to visit during Cleveland’s long and brutal winters because it’s sunny island atmosphere. The Porco Lounge’s delectable cocktails, which are made with an array of fresh and exotic ingredients, are also excellent at providing a little warmth on a cold day. Visitors new to the Tiki scene will want to try a Mai Tai, Painkiller or Jet Pilot. Guests who know their tiki drinks and can hold their liquor should sample Tiki Bob’s Concussion. It’s a $25 cocktail that features nine ounces of alcohol, one-third of which being composed of 151 proof spirits.
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Locals searching for a dining and drinking experience need to visit Yuzu. The bar is modeled after a Japanese Izakaya, a type of casual gastropub. The venue offers skewered chicken dishes and mango and avocado rice bowls to eat. To drink, a selection of tasty cocktails with wonderfully unusual names. The Wolf of Wall Street, which features vanilla vodka, hazelnut, Irish cream and dollar bill syrup, is highly recommended. Drinkers with a penchant for the unusually should order the Browns Win the Super Bowl, a beastly concoction made with chicken blood, whiskey and pork bone broth.
One of the classiest bars in the city, The Spotted Owl has a set house rules that demanding meaningful in-person engagement, including no using Google to settle arguments. It also features an extensive cocktail list that features splendid handcrafted drinks for every palate. Those who enjoy the sweeter things in life should try the Whiskey Fix for the Painproof Man, which is made with boiled pineapple, bourbon, lime and bitter chocolate. Those who favor fire will be well served by the Flaming Plum Sazerac, a searing treat made with Japanese whiskey, plum wine, aged slivovitz and flamed absinthe.
The Black Pig’s big draw is Chef Michael Kowak’s sumptuous European-influenced cocking. While the restaurant’s heritage breed pork dishes are phenomenal, its cocktail menu is also exquisite. Its Blood and Sand, made with Laphroaig, Antica, cherry and spiced orange juice, has a delightful zing. And it’s Cold Shoulder, made with scotch, Angostura, Fernet and cold brew coffee, has a pleasurable bite.