The Nauti Mermaid might just be the best bar in the Warehouse District that you always forget about. Nestled alongside Starbucks, a salon and China Sea on West Sixth Street, the Nauti maintains the sort of low-key vibe that runs contrary to the otherwise club atmosphere that dominates the street as the night wears on. Pop in and you'll find anyone from high-powered lawyers to service industry folk (Zack Reed used to be a big fan back when Zack Reed was, um, Zack Reed). The bargain-basement happy hour has made it a favorite among Scene staff and Tim Vaughn has made it your favorite. There really is nothing complicated about being a good bartender, when you think about it. Be friendly, be knowledgeable, be quick and heavy with a pour, be a caring ear when needed, be a good conversationalist when requested. But it takes a special breed to achieve all those goals effortlessly and happily. Tim Vaughn does all those things, and downtown drinkers come back time and time again to see his cheery face. Hell, he was even crowned the best downtown bartender by the Downtown Cleveland Residents Association, so his mantel is already filling up with awards. Time to make room for another one.
1378 West Sixth St., 216-771-6175,nautimermaid.com.
Staff Pick: Lorelei Bailey, Katz Club