By Mark Horning

After a fascinating 1-15 record last season (barely avoiding a massive “perfect season” parade by disgruntled fans) the Cleveland Browns are back. With some creative trades, acquisitions and high draft picks the team is eager to prove themselves this year. While thousands of fans will hike into First Energy Stadium and brave the unpredictable Lake Erie weather, even more of those loyal to the orange and brown will seek out their favorite watering hole where they can watch the games in relative comfort with food and drink within arm’s reach. Listed below are some of the better known gathering places for the greatest fans in the NFL.

Fat Heads Brewery & Saloon
24581 Lorain Road
North Olmsted, OH
(440) 801-1001

First, the food… Fat Heads offers 13 flavors of wings in two varieties (Classic and Smokehouse), 21 “munchie” items, seven salads with a choice of 11 dressings, 18 sandwiches (known as “Headwiches”), 14 varieties of hamburgers, seven chicken  sandwiches as well as subs, burritos, wraps and melts not to mention the 11 varieties of pizzas. At any one time there are anywhere from 14 to 22 fresh crafted beers on tap that are produced on site. Large TV screens are scattered through the various areas so you can keep track of the game while eating and drinking to your heart’s’ content. Hours are Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (kitchen closes earlier on each day).

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Flat Iron Café
1114 Center St.
Cleveland, OH
(216) 6966-6968

With over 100 years of continuous operation, this Cleveland landmark is easily the oldest Irish pub in the Flats. One unique feature is their shuttle service that transports fans from the café to all the major sport and concert events in downtown Cleveland. It is also a great place to tailgate. The menu offers time tested delights from pub fare to full dinners including a dessert item “The Guinness Float” (Guinness Ice Cream topped off with stout). Fridays offer live music. Open at 11 a.m. seven days a week with closing times Sundays 8 p.m., Mondays 9 p.m., Tuesday through Thursdays 11 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays midnight.

Paninis Bar And Grill
840 Huron Road
Cleveland, OH
(2216) 522-0707

With nine area locations (Downtown, Brunswick, Chagrin Falls, Cleveland Heights, Euclid, Willoughby, Westlake, Strongsville and Mayfield), this “Home of the Overstuffed Sandwich” is a great place to catch a Cleveland Browns game (or for that matter any Cleveland sports team). A full service bar and over fifty menu items as well as pizza makes this a great place to eat, drink and cheer. Check the website for hours.

Winking Lizard
8811 Huron Road
Cleveland, OH
(216) 589-0313

This is the bar that people flock to whether the Cleveland Browns are at home or on the road. Their extensive menu speaks for itself as well as their collection of craft beers. With over 30 screens in the place it is a challenge not to watch the game since every seat is in full view of the on-field action. Hours are Monday hrough Thursday from 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. Open:11 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Grindstone Tap House
826 Front St.
Berea, OH
(440) 234-3455

Formerly known as Scoundrels, there is plenty of room to move about during the game and plenty of screens to watch the game on. Their brick oven pizza has got to be tried to be believed as the rest of their full service menu. This is a great neighborhood bar that you immediately feel at home in. The kitchen is open many of the bar’s hours to ensure you can have a great meal with the game.

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