Cleveland’s Most Iconic Bars

By Mario McKellop

With its many top-shelf breweries, bars, pubs and taverns, it’s clear to both long-time residents and visitors that Cleveland is a great place to get a drink. America’s Comeback City’s thriving and diverse bar scene is as much a part of the city as the Rock Hall or FirstEnergy Stadium. Whether a person’s tastes tend toward elegant bars, classic pubs or spirited sports bars, the city’s has something for everyone. Here are Cleveland’s five most iconic bars.

13200 Madison Ave.
Lakewood, OH 44107
(216) 521-3280

The oldest bowling alley in the state, Mahall’s practically radiates with authenticity. A great place for birthday parties or a night out with friends, this bar has a relaxed and warm atmosphere that has made it a local favorite since 1924. It also features some of the best bar food in the city, with its delicious fried chicken being highly recommended. Mahall’s is also one of the Cleveland’s best music venues, regularly hosting great indie acts like Heavenly Creatures, As Time Fades and Juliana Hatfield.

Related: Best Rainy Day Bars in Cleveland

Great Lakes Brewing Company
2516 Market Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 771-4404

Since opening in 1988, Great Lakes Brewing Company has become an indelible part of Northeast Ohio’s landscape. The brewery produces some of the finest beers in the Midwest and its brewpub, the first in the state, is one of the best bars in the city. Its best quality is that it allows beer aficionados to see how  Great Lakes creates their fantastic brews in person. Afterward, they can grab a glass of Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, Eliot Ness Amber Lager and Mysterious Ways Doppelbock straight from the source.

Related: Best Bars for a Ladies Night out in Cleveland

The Clevelander
834 Huron Road East
Cleveland, OH 44115
(216) 771-3723

Billed as the city’s favorite sports bar, the Clevelander is a go-to destination for locals on game day. The bar and grill’s core appeal is obvious the moment you walk in the door. It’s 14 high definition TVs, delicious and eclectic food and drinks menu and lively ambiance make it a great place to celebrate an amazing win or mourn a heartbreaking loss. And, being situated near both Progressive Field and Quicken Loans Arena makes it a great place to grab a quality meal before the start of play. 

Related: Best Sports Bars in Cleveland

Johnny’s Little Bar
614 Frankfort Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 861-2166

Johnny’s Little Bar is an intimate and casual tavern that serves as an excellent setting for a night out on the town with friends and family. It’s the kind of cozy, out of the way eatery that tourists don’t know about the resident’s love. Featuring some delectable Italian cuisine and an extensive beer list, the restaurant has become renowned for its fantastic lunch and dinner menu. In particular, its half-pound burgers are known to be among the very best in the state.

Velvet Tango Room
2095 Columbus Road
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 241-8869

When it comes to iconic bars, New York City has the White House tavern, Los Angeles has the Whiskey a Go Go and Cleveland has the Velvet Tango Room. A refined and elegant venue, this bar is distinguished by its stupendous premium cocktails and vintage Art Deco decor. And as it features live jazz music nightly, is indisputably one of the city’s most romantic nightspots. It’s a perfect place to go for both first dates and 10th-anniversary celebrations.

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