Get ready to dive into two of Cleveland's most eagerly awaited watering holes: Stone Mad (1306 West 65th Street), a paean to painstaking craftsmanship in the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood, and Brothers Lounge (11609 Detroit Avenue, 216-470-1681), the no-expense-spared tavern and music hall near Detroit and West 117th. With extensive renovations happening on both vintage properties, the projects have evolved into long, slow labors of love.
If recent sneak peeks are any measure, the waits have been worth it. Take Brothers Lounge, Chris Riemenschneider and Rodger Riggs' transformation of a dingy bar into an 11,000-square-foot showpiece featuring a mahogany-paneled pub, intimate wine room, and state-of-the-art concert hall. Light jazz will be featured nightly in the wine room; Riemenschneider, himself a musician, hopes to book both local and national acts into the concert hall.
Chef interviews were still being conducted last week. But according to GM Giuseppe O'Connell, guests can expect a concise menu of moderately priced classics, including charcuterie platters, Friday-night fish fries, burgers and onion rings, and a signature steak, along with tempting wine and martini lists. They're aiming for an end-of-February opening.
Regarding Stone Mad, partners Pete Leneghan and Eileen Sammon's stunning pub, patio, and Irish-music venue, it's tough to know where to begin. The intricate ironwork? The exacting masonry? The handblown glass? There's not an inch of space or a piece of hardware in the three-year-old project that isn't a work of art.
Expect artful offerings from the kitchen too, under the direction of longtime executive chef Mike Fadel. Fadel says the 60-seat dining room will be home to a "meat-and-potatoes" menu of 12-ounce, hand-formed burgers; a fresh-daily fish; brisket; steak; and rotisserie turkey, carved to order in the open kitchen. In summer, freshly baked pizzas will emerge from the patio's charcoal-fired oven. Nothing on the menu is deep-fried, and nothing will top the $20 mark.
Expect Stone Mad to open in time for St. Paddy's Day.