Best of Cleveland 2011: Arts & Entertainment

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Best Gay/Lesbian Sports Bar

Leather Stallion Saloon

The Leather Stallion has been a favorite of Cleveland's gay scene for more than 40 years. It hosts potluck dinners, throws weekly happy hours, and holds big bashes during the holidays. In fact, it looks an awful lot like your average working-class bar, except for all the leather-clad gay dudes inside.

2205 St. Clair Ave.; 216-589-8588;

Best Sports Bar

Winking Lizard

Look around inside any one of the popular Winking Lizards in the area and you'll notice there are ginormous TVs everywhere. In the corner. Near the bathrooms. There might even be one on your table. The Lizard also boasts one of the finest beer selections anywhere, which comes in handy when you want to celebrate your team's big win or, perhaps more likely, drown your sorrows after another crushing loss.

Various locations;

Best Gay/Lesbian Dance Club

Bounce Night Club

The dance floor isn't superhuge at this perennial favorite, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in energy. DJs always spin the hottest club tracks, and the floor is always packed. Bounce also hosts some of the city's best drag shows, just in case you want to sit back and let someone else move onstage.

2814 Detroit Ave.; 216-357-2997

Best Beer Selection

Buckeye Beer Engine

Don't plan on just taking a spot at the bar and pounding at the Beer Engine. The selection process here is a lot more detailed and time-consuming than at any other brewpub. That's because there are dozens of terrific beers, on tap and in bottles, to choose from. And there's a beer to suit every mood — from berry-flavored happy to thick-and-foamy grumpy.

15315 Madison Ave., Lakewood;


Best Wine Bar

La Cave du Vin

Whether you're looking for an Italian rose or an Australian moscato, there's a good chance you'll find it among the globetrotting varieties at this helpful wine bar and shop. Best of all, La Cave du Vin offers a smorgasbord of fancy cheese, antipasto, and olive apps to pair with your vino.

2785 Euclid Heights Blvd.,

Cleveland Heights; 216-932-6411;

Best Martini Bar

Kevin's Martini Bar

Located in the lower level of Pickwick & Frolic, Kevin's Martini Bar packs an old-school vibe — perfect for date night or hanging with your very own rat pack. Whether you like your drink shaken or stirred, the dozens of different 'tinis on the menu here are like little works of tasty art in long-stemmed glasses.

2035 East Fourth St.; 216-241-7425;

Best Club DJ


DJ Brad Petty books and spins at some of the city's best club nights, including regular gigs at the B Side Liquor Lounge. He leans toward hipster-approved indie rock (he recently released a cool Radiohead remix album), but he's also a master of downtempo and funk. No matter what genre he's working with, Misterbradleyp fuels it all with steady bpms that shake the floor.

Best Neighborhood Bar & Best Hipster Bar

Happy Dog

The Happy Dog didn't start out as a hipster bar. Back in the day, it was just a scrappy hot-dog joint that dared you to eat that jelly-bean-and-peanut-butter wiener you just ordered. But then came the PBRs. And then the indie-rock bands. And finally the hipsters. So now you can nosh on that fried-egg-garnished hot dog, down your PBR, and brag about that time you saw Pavement at the Euclid Tavern. Make just a few visits, and they'll remember you like family.

5801 Detroit Ave.; 216-651-9474;

Best Dive Bar

Parkview Nite Club

The Parkview has long been one of Cleveland's best bars — the kind of place you head to after work to down a few beers with your pals. There's nothing fancy here: The place smells like 80 years of history. The menu has been upgraded to include items you'd find at fancy eateries, but the unpretentious vibe seeps through from every nook and cranny.

1261 West 58th St.; 216-961-1341;

Best Biker Bar

Garage Bar

One of Cleveland's most popular bars actually has quite a few things going on. It's a neighborhood bar, it's a live-music bar popular with local musicians, and yes, it's a biker bar. In summer especially, you'll see dozens of motorcycles parked out front. And like most biker bars, it can get a little rowdy at times. But no other place in town combines the smell of leather, exhaust fumes, and cold beer quite like the Garage.

1859 West 25th St.; 216-696-7772;