Monday, July 8, 2013

Top 50 Al Fresco Dining Spots in Cleveland

Among a lot of other incredibly awesome things to do during summertime in Cleveland, there is also the chance for both you and me to enjoy wonderful, leisurely, outdoor dining at many fabulous restaurants throughout town.

In fact, Plain Dealer reporter extraordinaire, John Petkovic, recently culled a pretty impressive list of what he considers to be the top 50 spots for al fresco dining in our fine city. I happen to agree with him 100%.

May I share them with you?

(All photo and caption credits: The Plain Dealer)

Barking Spider, 11310 Juniper Road, Cleveland, 216-421-2863,
Even when the world is crazy and angry, this patio is a village of good vibes. Low key, laid back and a flashback to the 1960s vibe that ruled when this part of town was a hippie bastion.

Hoopple's, 1930 Columbus Road, Cleveland, 216-575-0483,
Located on a bluff overlooking the Cuyahoga River, this blue-collar joint offers a great view of the skyline and an even better feel for old-school Cleveland. Check out the bridges from the spacious patio!

La Strada, 2050 E 4th Street, Cleveland, 216-861-3663,
Yes, it's named after the Fellini film, Italian for "the road." Yet there is nothing sweeter than sitting at this stylish cafe in the summer and watching others travel that road known as East Fourth.

La Dolce Vita, 12112 Mayfield Road, Cleveland, 216-721-8155,
The landscape is perfect here -- a great sidewalk cafe where you play voyeur over a cappuccino. The patio behind the restaurant is snazzy and manicured

West Park Panini's, 17209 Lorain Avenue, Cleveland, 216-938-8930,
It's a sports pub, stocked with countless TVs. But look out back -- it's a tiki bar, with a thatched hut that sets this place apart in Kamm's Corners.

Momocho, 1835 Fulton Road, Cleveland, 216-694-2122,
Ah, you can't beat sipping away a summer day with a blood-orange margarita on this Ohio City patio. Well, actually you can. The guava margarita is even better. The neighborhood vibe and that big Day of the Dead mural are pretty good too.

The South Side, 2207 W 11th St Cleveland, 216-937-2288,
The patio is open year-round. It features two sides, indoor/outdoor, along with a stone fireplace, comfy seats and tables that put plastic picnic fare to shame.

Reddstone, 1261 West 76th St., Cleveland, 216-651-6969,
This laid-back leafy patio feels like a park. Except that parks don't serve $5 burgers and 25-cent tacos -- Wednesdays and Thursdays, respectively. The secluded getaway also rolls out a vibe that's laid-back yet party-hearty.

Spice, 5800 Detroit Avenue, Cleveland, 216-961-9637,
This locale has been so many things, everything from a mac&cheese spot to modern taqueria. The one constant has been the patio -- a secluded getaway from the street and the city. Spice has one-upped previous tenants, adding colorful flowers to go with a list of drinks and small plates that make you want to get all lazy on a sunny afternoon.

Sunset Grille, 2800 Whiskey Island, Cleveland, 216-631-1800,
Nothing spectacular about this place. It isn't snazzy, chic or trendy. Ah, but the sun is more brilliant than glitzy decor or 40 taps of craft beer. Especially when the sun sets over the lake and you're kicking it on a picnic table.

Trattoria Roman Garden, 12207 Mayfield Road, Cleveland, 216-421-2700,
We come for the gnocchi and the eggplant. Trattoria also serves a stellar Manhattan. But more than that, we come to pasta time on this Little Italy patio -- an easy-going, enclosed patio far from the traffic of Mayfield Road.

Town Hall, 1909 West 25th Street, Cleveland, 216-344-9400,
  The newest addition to West 25th always seems to be packed, with the patio crawling with partyers. They come for the mod, clubby look. They come for the cocktails. And, yes, they come to see what the buzz is all about.

Vosh, 1414 Riverside Drive, Lakewood, 216-767-5202,
Vosh and its sister location Georgetown share a patio that looks like something you might find in a park. Not just any park -- a place like Central Park. Except that you're in Lakewood, amid the brick walls and tall trees and feeling that summer is endless.

South East Gears & Cheers, 23333 Aurora Road, Bedford Heights, 440-232-0029,
Where do you start at this biker-themed superstore of patios? There's the cool bar with the garage-doors and retro decor. A grill on the patio. A Tuesday bike night. A Thursday car cruise. And live bands.

Stone Mad, 1306 West 65th St., Cleveland, 216-281-6500
The enchanted cobblestone drive came from Scranton Road. But Stone Mad looks and feels like a pub in Ireland. The patio's plain ol' maddening -- constructed out of stone tables, meticulous masonry and that fireplace.

Sterle's, 1401 East 55th St., Cleveland, 216-881-4181,
Life is sehr gut in a Biergarten --€” far from work and surrounded by beer. Sterle's patio does that trick well. It also serves live music and grilled meats, made right on the patio.

Shooters on the Water, 1148 Main St., in Cleveland's Flats, 216-861-6900,
The Flats never died -- the action just moved to Shooters, which boasts a patio where you watch the lake, the river and downtown. And, just as nice, you can party like it's 1989.

Johnny's Bar 3164 Fulton Road, Cleveland 216-281-0055,
This quaint bar also rolls out a patio with a meticulous garden in the back that looks like something you'd find on an estate, not in the middle of the city.

Gamekeeper's Taverne 87 West Street, Chagrin Falls 440-247-7744,
Gamekeepers has long been a favorite patio hang out. But that didn't stop the eatery from upgrading the patio yet again this year. Let's see: brick, stone, a fireplace to go with trees, lights and a spacious yet cozy vibe.

DNA Level C, 618 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, 216-298-9009,
You can dance if you want to. This is a dance club, after all. But the rooftop patio offers a shot of the downtown skyline that makes you feel as though you are partying in a postcard -- especially when DNA hosts its Sunset Sundays soirees.

Brew Co. Parma, 5513 Pearl Road, Parma, 440-882-3365
Wasting away again in Parmaritaville? Well, this is the place to do it -- and not just because the newly opened spot rolls out 20 local brews. The sprawling patio rolls out a cabana-style bar -- to go with large-screen TVs and DJ, Bike, Truck and Ladies Nights.

Twist, 11633 Clifton Blvd., Cleveland, 216-221-2333,
It's a high-energy gay club and a laid-back corner bar. But Twist also boasts a patio that spills life out onto the sidewalk of Clifton Boulevard and back into the club, thanks to large garage doors that open up in the summer.

Zanzibar, 13114 Shaker Square, Cleveland, 216-752-1035,
The newly opened Zanzibar location, in the old Sarava spot, has well-manicured bushes, cushy seating, tables you can eat at or just lounge around. But more than that, it lets you kick back and watch the places and faces of Shaker Square.

Houlihan's Westlake, 25651 Detroit Road, Westlake, 440-808-9090,
Houlihan's in Westlake rolls out a massive yet secluded patio with an outside bar, tables, trees, an outdoor kitchen, lights and enough people to make it feel like a quaint little town.

Taqueria Junction, 8154 Columbia Road, Olmsted Falls, 440-793-6700,
Pull up to this old-timey outpost located in Grant Pacific Junction, that collection of shops and eateries housed in refurbished buildings dating back to the 1880s. The TJ rustles up a quaint view of it all, along with some retro deals -- $3 Margarita Wednesdays and $3 Sangria Thursdays.

Felice's Urban Cafe 12502 Larchmere Blvd., Cleveland, 216-791-0918;
This Mediterranean-tinged restaurant with a homey vibe and sophisticated menu is located in a restored turn-of-the-century home. Ah, but check out the refurbished barn out back. It features a bar with art on the walls and cafe seating -- and a menu of small plates and drinks.

Velvet Dog, 1280 West Sixth St., Cleveland, 216-664-1116,
The mood at this Warehouse District club is always party-hearty. The exotic decor and spectacular view of downtown from this rooftop patio are even better. The lights, the sights -- life is a party.

Washington Place Bistro & Inn, 2203 Cornell Road, Cleveland, 216-791-6500;
  Check out the old rooftops of Little Italy and the towers visible over these walls. Even the traces of modernity -- the mod decor -- are balanced by the old brick and classic flower arrangements.

Flying Fig, 2523 Market Ave Cleveland, 216-241-4243,
It's so close to West 25th and yet so peaceful sitting here on the sidewalk of Market Avenue at the Fig -- a serene sister to the brew-haha of West 25th.

Treehouse, 820 College Ave Cleveland, 216-696-2505,
The big toucan mural on the wall says "Lovely day for a Guinness." Gotta believe him, judging by the crowds that pack and drink on the patio. It's leafy and lively, not to mention a regular stop for locals and bike hounds.

D'Vine, 836 W. St. Clair Ave., Cleveland, 216-241-8463,
Sip wine and watch the beautiful people, even the not-so beautiful people. You'll see both walking past D'Vine, which pairs a fine wine list to go with the finest sidewalk seating in the Warehouse District. At times, it's like Paris. Other times, like "Jersey Shore." Entertaining either way.

Academy Tavern, 12800 Larchmere Blvd, Cleveland, 216-229-1171
Amid the antique shops of Larchmere sits this old gem of a bar -- open since 1939, with a vintage vibe. Walk out the door and you're somewhere else: A leafy green hideaway with vines on the walls, a stony fountain and a place in the shade, far from the city.

Bar Louie, 1352 West Sixth Street, Cleveland, 216-452-5500,
Since when does a patio seem like an all-out bar? Since you ordered a drink at this sidewalk spot, which wraps around West Sixth and St. Clair and features a full bar, ample seating and a great view of the Warehouse District.

Barrio, 806 Literary Rd. Cleveland, 216-999-7714,
Raise a margarita and a taco to the good-time girl who lords over this Mexican-flavored Tremont spot. She's the flapper mural overlooking Barrio's chic but simple patio.

Don's Pomeroy House, 13664 Pearl Road, Strongsville, 440-572-1111,
The grove of thick old trees. The white-picket fence. The barrels and luscious plants amid the mid-19th century mansion. It might be in Strongsville, but the patio feels like a breezy day down south.

Edison's Pub, 2373 Professor Street, Cleveland, 216-522-0006,
Past the bar, popcorn machine, booths and pool table, there is a door. Walk through it and you will find yourself among friends, sipping beer at a picnic table amid the leafy, green vines and a vibe that rewards conversation.

Flannery's Pub, 323 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, 216-781-7782,
Yes, we know about the Irish pints here. But amid the sips and guzzles comes a moment of clarity: This stalwart has a killer sidewalk patio that is spacious, fun and never pretentious.

Flying Monkey, 819 Jefferson Avenue, Cleveland, 216-861-6659,
Just because it's named after those critters in "The Wizard of Oz" doesn't mean the fun-loving regulars are cowardly lions when it comes to getting down. The lively patio makes sure of that with live bands and party wizards.

Greenhouse Tavern, 2038 East Fourth Street, Cleveland, 216-443-0511,
Wow, look at all those people down there on the street -- the foodies, strollers, folks heading to a ball game. Yes, the world passes us by and it's all good from this rooftop patio.

The Harp, 4408 Detroit Ave., Cleveland, 216-939-0200,
The Harp reminds me of winter -- maybe it's the fireplace and rich polished woodwork, the whole cottage vibe. Then you walk out onto the patio, see Lake Eire, er, I mean, Erie and you realize it's summer and it's breezy and it's fun.

Hodges, 668 Euclid Ave Cleveland, 216-771-4000,
Yes, it has a snazzy, sprawling patio. But I'm still focused on this fantastic view of the skyline and downtown's vibrant future on a renovated Euclid Avenue.

Jekyll's Kitchen, 17 River St., Chagrin Falls, 440-893-0797,
It's like walking into a postcard -- a patio deck that overlooks the picturesque falls in Chagrin Falls. Jekyll's also serves one of the best Happy Hours in the area. Which means an inexpensive pizza, an affordable Mai Tai and a priceless view.

L'Albatros, 11401 Bellflower Road, Cleveland, 216-791-7880,
I could say the patio of this French eatery is reminiscent of something I once saw in South Beach. Except that the South Beach place was a lesser version of this spot -- a creative mix of stylish decor and leafy, organic charm.

Lopez on Lee, 2196 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights, 216-932-9000,
The Southwestern cuisine might be the big ticket. But the patio at this Mexican bar-restaurant is an all-out fiesta, especially when Lopez rolls out half-price margaritas 5-7 p.m. Sunday through Thursday.

Luxe, 6605 Detroit Ave., Cleveland, 216-920-0600,
This pad reminds me a little of some pad in South Beach. Except that you never feel like you're crashing someone else's party. It's welcoming and stylish without being pretentious.

Market Garden, 1947 W 25th Street, Cleveland, 216-621-4000,
Located next to the West Side Market, this patio brings together a love for Cleveland's past with a desire to make it happening again. There's the view of the market stands, the hustle and bustle and, whoa, all those Market Garden brews.

Moosehead Saloon, Dover Center Road, Cleveland, 440-871-7742,
A cozy, intimate nook where drinks and conversation go hand in hand? The Moosehead has that and more -- island vibes, lanterns, flowers and windows that have water streaming down from them that look like something out of some old movie.

Nighttown, 12387 Cedar Road, Cleveland Heights, 216-795-0550,
This Cleveland Heights club-bar-restaurant-institution might have a jazzy vibe. But it's pure picnic time on the patio -- spacious, quiet and mellow and just right for a pint.

Prosperity Social Club, 1109 Starkweather Avenue, Cleveland, 216-937-1938,
OK, it is a bar. But the patio feels like a backyard party, with retro decor and a vibe that is anything but exclusive. The social club welcomes all sorts, most of which are sociable in this back yard.

Stamper's Grill Pub, 21750 Lorain Road, Fairview Park, 440-333-7826,
The "Paddy-o" concept has been stripped away. But Stamper's still rolls out summer-y beers, bands and vibes -- not to mention an easy-going crowd that savors a night out with drinks in their hands as the music plays.


TikiKitty said...

I looked at the pictures before the location captions to see how many I could figure out! I'm happy to have enjoyed several of these outdoor dining establishments! *One to add: Beach Club Bistro in Euclid-- lovely patio!! :)

Anonymous said...

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