People & Places

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Best Local Bartender



Shannon Smith, drizzling maple syrup into a martini glass at Light Bistro on Bridge Avenue, says the key ingredient to successful bartending is the ability to talk to people. "I'm throwing a party for everybody every night," says the Youngstown native. "It's giving people space when they want it, and inviting them into conversation when they need it." Smith is a cocktail experimentalist and craft-beer connoisseur. He learned his brews at Vintage Estate Wine & Beer in Boardman, and after getting his Masters in acting, doing the "cliché actor thing" in New York and Chicago, and—miraculously—serving as a butler for the Forbes family, he's now crafting unique drinks and peddling his personality gratis in Ohio City. He whips up something with Bulleit Bourbon, cognac, rum, Agostura bitters and simple syrup, smokes the whole thing and pours it into the maple-glazed glass. It tastes like camping and pancakes.

2801 Bridge Ave., 216-771-7130,

Best Place to Work

Cleveland Clinic

Sure, you can't smoke if you work there, but you shouldn't be smoking anyway. The Cleveland Clinic far outpaced other entries in this category because... well, it's the Clinic! It's a world-class institution right here in Cleveland that has a mindful eye on making it a worthy place for you to seek employment. They treat their people right because, after all, it's the first step in making sure the patients are treated right.

Best "Over-Exposed" Local Celebrity

Tim Misny

It'd be bad enough with the TV commercials, but that bald head and catchphrase come at Clevelanders through every other media, too. He's got a web reality show, he pops up with Mike Polk, he makes the radio rounds, he's friends with this guy and that guy and... yeah, he'll make you pay. We love him even though we can't escape him. And damn straight he'd be the first guy we call if we ever needed to sue someone, because while he might be annoying, you know he'll be on your side.

Best tourist attraction

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Ah, the Louvre of Lake Erie. The pinnacle of tourist attractions in Cleveland remains a unique nod to our city's rock 'n' spirit. But even for residents, the Rock Hall is a must-visit tower to musical legacies. Exhibits rotate regularly and there are always new lectures and programs being rolled out. The cavernous tribute to the legends of yesteryear makes for a great day trip for us all. Plus, the Rock Hall induction ceremonies and nominees always make for good bar debates. We can put the Rush madness to bed now (hopefully), and renew our anger over the oft-repeated KISS snub and the fact that New York is still working its puppet-string magic behind the scenes. Ah, well. It's still fun to spend a day. 1100 Rock and Roll Blvd., 216-781-7625,

Best New Attraction

Horseshoe Casino

The casino. It might be a divisive issue around town, but you can be sure as all slotty hell that it is a major draw. Bustling from morning to night and well beyond, the Horseshoe offers Clevelanders (and the entire region) world-class gaming right here in downtown. The renovation of the historic Higbee Building has new life emerging on Public Square at just the right time. 100 Public Square,


Best suburb


It's the suburb that most readily disavows the term "suburb." Lakewood, which combines the best elements of inner-ring amenities, historic architecture, lakeshore life and wet-your-whistle availabilities, is a terrific city. Known in some circles as the City of Houses and/or the City of Trees, Lakewood offers the best of both. Its homes are homing in on 100 years of mostly vibrancy (just pardon the slanting floors) and the city is taking great care to ensure another century of residential resiliency. As an overview, the city works hard to promote the best sides of residential and commercial life and the two often intermingle along Detroit Avenue's main corridor. If you haven't visited downtown Lakewood lately, do yourself a favor and check out what's brewing over there.

Best Park

Rocky River Reservation

Spanning six cities, this substantial, many-faceted gem in the Emerald Necklace has something for everyone. Whether you're steelhead fishing in the river, biking on the multipurpose trails, picnicking in the meadows, communing with red foxes and coyotes in the cottonwood copses, skipping shale slabs in the river, or sparking up a spliff on Indian burial grounds, you could, like many Clevelanders, spend years exploring the Metroparks' crown jewel and never tire of its wonders, including majestic shale cliffs and sandstone ledges, sycamore groves, and cascading waterfalls. The abundant navigation signs, information plaques, historic Frostville museum, and hands-on visitor center make it a family friendly day trip, while avid naturalists can plot more challenging hikes and wildlife-watching junkets. 216-635-3286,