Bars & Clubs

Best Bar




Writers have written that bars in Brooklyn, New York spend hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to create a vibe as authentic and original as Happy Dog's, which seems to possess it with no effort at all. No longer exclusively a hipster enclave in Gordon Square, the hot dog joint with a great beer selection and lots of indie music has expanded its programming and become — according to voters — the best bar in town. The five-dollar dogs with endless toppings are legendary. This year, a portion of their sales aided the West Side Market vendors after the fire there in January. There's great local bands and out-of-town rockers who play several nights a week, not to mention regular visits by the Cleveland Orchestra, literary events coordinated by Ohio City Writers, panel discussions, and one hell of a jukebox. 5801 Detroit Ave., 216-651-9474,  

Best Rock Club



If the hearty sounds of rock 'n' roll are your thang, then the Beachland is the one place in town that consistently offers your prescription. Dig the venue's online calendar and you'll see just what kinda medicine they're pulling. Other venues cater either to overly niche crowds (witchcore house punk? pineapple upside-down ska funk?) or to LiveNation-sterilized generalities. But the fact that it can accommodate two sets of shows each night broadens the venue's horizons. Cleveland is a town of authenticity and you'll find no better representation than the Beachland's attitude. 15711 Waterloo Rd., 216-383-1124,

Best Jazz Club


For ten years in a row, Downbeat magazine has voted this Cleveland Heights restaurant and club one of the best jazz clubs in the country and it certainly lives up to the rep on a regular basis. Booked by locally based Jim Wadsworth Productions, the club regularly brings major jazz and world beat acts to town. And it hosts local talent regularly as well. On occasion, singer-songwriters such as Carrie Rodriguez and J.J. Cale will play the club, too. 12387 Cedar Rd., Cleveland Heights, 216-795-0550,


Best Blues Club

Brothers Lounge

Sidle up to the bar and order yourself a dashing Manhattan as the band starts tuning up. The music hall here at Brothers Lounge is the place to catch Cleveland's best blues. The Bad Boys of Blues, featuring Cleveland's own Michael Bay, Michael Barrick and Jim Wall, host a jam night on Thursdays that is to die for. (The fact that it's "ladies night" only sweetens the deal for blues-starved husbands and boyfriends and, of course, roving packs of Buddy Guy-lovin' chicks). In summary, however, the venue is ideal for everything from Mississippi Delta blues to contemporary electric swagger in E minor. 11609 Detroit Ave.,