When the A Bar + Kitchen opens next week downtown, it will be the fourth or fifth restaurant to make a go of the odd alleyway space near the intersection of East 9th and Euclid. In very recent years, the location – technically in the City Club Building, but with an alley entrance on East 8th Street – has been home to such short-lived eateries as TB's Restaurant and Bar, Black Dog Kitchen, and Machu Picchu.
A Bar and Kitchen (850 Euclid Ave., 216-644-8954, abarcle.com) is described by management as an American gastropub, but a quick glance at the just-released menu reveals a more conservative but wide-ranging catalog of options.
“We chose the gastropub concept because it doesn’t tie us into one thing,” says owner Clarence Wilson. “We’ll be doing traditional American foods, but we’ll also blast off in different directions.”
Bar snacks – priced $7 to $11 – range from fried pork rinds and housemade tater tots with cheese, to breaded and fried zucchini sticks and calamari tossed with hot peppers. Almost a dozen sharable plates ($6 to $12) include grilled wings, chicken and pork skewers, house-cured salmon, Scotch eggs made with homemade chorizo sausage, and three types of mac and cheese.
In the soup-and-salad category, diners will find chili and paprikash, Caesar and steak, respectively. Sandwiches, which come a la carte, include a 14-dollar pastrami-topped burger served on a pretzel bun, a fresh-ground lamb burger ($13), and a vegetarian-friendly portabella and grilled onion sammy ($9).
A half-dozen main courses hit all the major categories, with steak, chicken, salmon, pork and shrimp all finding their way into dishes priced $13 to $18 and up (market).
A Bar has a dozen craft drafts plus many more in the bottle, including those from Bear Republic, Green Flash, Victory, Lagunitas, Bell’s, Dogfish, Fat Heads, Brew Kettle and Great Lakes. Wine and craft cocktails will flow equally as freely here.
As for the quirky location, Wilson is confident that there’s enough energy and momentum downtown to overcome that historic obstacle.
“With the boom in downtown Cleveland, things have really changed,” he says. “There are more people living downtown now than there have been in years. People are on waiting lists for apartments.”
And while the name seems plainer than cottage cheese-topped cucumbers, Wilson says there’s a story behind it.
“We’re the A Bar because we are in an alley, but also because we’re bringing back the “A” in Cleaveland.”
Look for the restaurant to open Monday, January 12.