Before bacon-infused this and artisanal bitter that and the revolution of the modern cocktail, the Velvet Tango Room was slinging incomparably good classic cocktails with little distinction and no ballyhoo. That changed, of course, as the VTR became the best-known secret in Cleveland — one with a set of rules for decorum issued by owner Paulius Nasvytis, which he instituted in 1996 after buying the building for just $35,000. When Duck Island blows up in the coming years, remember who set up shop there first.
2095 Columbus Rd., 216-241-8869, velvettangoroom.com.
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