9. Cleveland, OH
One of the most fascinating revival stories in the post-recession Rust Belt, Cleveland’s bringing some serious thunder to the national drink scene. So much so, in fact, that it’d be surprising if the city was absent from the top of most “best beer city” lists in five years or less. The Ohio City neighborhood alone is expanding with such fermented fury that it could trounce many cities, with the Great Lakes brewery occupying a whole block, and spots like Nano Brew and Market Garden filling out a small stretch of city populated with breweries, speakeasies, and even high-end cocktails courtesy of joints like Crop. More inventive breweries are popping up, too, like Indigo Imp, cooking up small batches with an open-fermentation system, and the newish Bottlehouse busting out small-batch beers and mead.
The Velvet Tango Room makes some of the best high-end cocktail in the country, but if it’s a dive you’re looking for, there’s one on every corner (we’re partial to Duck Island, Sachsenheim, and the Rowley). On any given night in Cleveland, you’re able to saunter into any drinking experience you want, whether it’s a packed club of hipsters or just a row of grizzled old men sipping tallboys. That these things coexist is nothing special. That they thrive together — and off of each other— makes Cleveland not just a great drinking city, but a destination city for true boozers looking to dive in.
Major Players: Bar Cento, Happy Dog, Greenhouse Tavern, Tremont Tap House, Great Lakes Brewing, Market Garden
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