Party on the Patio

So this past Friday, my local paper, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, published a patio list. There was a top 10 and 40 “also rans”.

From the top 10, I have to agree with Shooter’s. Back when the Flats were cool, I was here once a week. But the Flats haven’t been cool in 20 years. I haven’t been to any of the others, although I’ve been dying to try Stone Mad. None of the others are even on my radar, even after reading the article.

Of the other 40, Prosperity Social Club, The South Side, Town Hall Café, Treehouse, and Twist are completely great picks. But there are plenty of missed patios.

Here are no-brainers that were omitted:

  • Fatheads – Ok, granted, it’s not for mingling, there’s no external bar. But it is a patio of which I’m particularly fond. I spend a good deal of time on it. The food is great and the beers are better.
  • Panini’s in Westlake – This is a patio to write home about. This is a patio to which other patios aspire. It’s immense. The outside bar is immense. There are multiple sand volleyball courts. I LOVE this place. The only way it could be better is to serve craft beers and gastropub food, but that’s because those are MY things. It’s a solid bar with decent enough beer selections, Sam Adam’s summer ale, Blue Moon, Great Lakes Dortmunder, etc. And the food is good quality bar food. Panini’s is good at what it does.
  • Panini’s in Euclid – This is pretty close to my work so I’ve spent many a Friday evening playing cornhole and tossing back beers with my coworkers here. The patio is not even half the size of the one at Panini’s in Westlake, but that makes it no less enjoyable.
  • Market Restaurant and Bar – The patio here is excellent. Good food, good drinks. I’ve only been here once because it’s not in my normal traffic pattern, but I enjoyed it
  • Cleats in Westlake – This is another patio that’s not really set up for mingling as there’s no external bar. However, it’s a great spot to sit with good friends and enjoy a nice Cleveland night. The wings are excellent and the big named beers are reasonably priced.
  • Stampers – I used to think this place rather sucked. My dad likes it though and always chose this as a place to meet for dinner and drinks. Boy has my opinion changed over the last several years. First, they started adding more craft beers. Nice Belgian beers. Then they improved the menu. What were once average corner bar offerings are now excellent corner bar offerings (the tacos and fries are excellent) and there are some pretty excellent gastropub type items also. The outdoor bar is really nice, and covered in case of a bout of Cleveland weather. Now when I go here, on my own, I can even find beer selections I’ve never even heard of! One of my new favs.
  • Burntwood Tavern – Must be honest, I haven’t been here since it was the Pub. I went to stop in a few times, but between the prices, menu choices, and older clientele, I opted to try elsewhere. Regardless, that beautiful patio with the wrought iron cannot be undone.
  • Mulligan’s in Avon – Huge patio. They have live music inside. Food and beer are the normal bar selections but it’s all executed well.
  • Muldoon’s on 185 – I have been going here, not by my choice, for almost twenty years. I actually hated this place. The food was fried and fried again. But it’s a favorite of many locals. So, time and again, this is THE spot to go to for lunch. I wasn’t a fan, so I begged off for the last 7 or 8 years, until last week. So many improvements. The menu has improved so much; the beer selection has improved so much. The patio is lovely. You completely forget where you are. Now I will completely be attending work lunches at this great spot.
  • McNulty’s Bier Market – This patio is packed, the neighborhood Is alive, and the people watching is fantastic. The beer selections are excellent and the food is too.
  • Tremont Tavern – I’ve only been on this patio in December, for the Santa Shuffle. It’s amazing even then. And super crowded. I need to stop and sit here in the summer. It just has to be amazing.
  • Viva Fernando – It attracts a much older crowd, but it’s an undeniably nice patio. I’ve been here with my dad. There are often live bands here. And dancing. My dad loves to dance. If you want to dance to a live band with a mostly 50+ crowd, this, this is your patio.
  • Scotti’s – This has to be the most surprising, delightful patio in all of Cleveland. You go through this long, narrow, dated restaurant to this secluded, trellis-ed, patio. It’s a magical little place. Be warned, Scotti’s is cash only. But the calzones are huge and delicious.
  • Bistro 185th – Ok, so the patio is not much of a patio. And being right on 185, albeit behind a high privacy fence, traffic can be distractingly loud. But the food is soooo good. And the drinks. I ordered a blueberry mojito. The bartender went to the roof for fresh mint and muddled the blueberries by hand.
  • Harry Buffalo at Great Northern – I haven’t eaten here. I don’t know why. I adore the outdoor bar. Everytime I pass this, I say “I need to be on that patio”. But so many patios, so little money. Maybe that will be my next outing.
  • Brio at Crocker Park – I love to people watch here. Actually, most patios at Crocker Park are fabulous people-watching spots. And the outdoor bar specials during happy hour are yummy; I’ve had them all and can’t remember a bad pick.
  • Vieng’s at Crocker Park – This may be the only patio at Crocker Park without the people-watching bonus. The patio is large and off the sidewalk. There’s a beautiful outdoor fireplace. It’s a great romantic dinner spot.
  • Brew Garden – This place has been changed hands a lot, which is strange because the location is good, right in front of a Regal Cinema, and the patio is big and pretty. The outdoor bar is pretty big and there are lots of opportunities to socialize with people not in your party. I haven’t visited in the current incarnation because it’s out of my normal travel pattern, but when out that way, this is on the short list of places to stop.

When I went to Montreal about 7 years ago, one of my favorite things was that every place, even the littlest hole, had outdoor eating. And flowers. Just flowers everywhere. At the time, Cleveland just really didn’t have a ton of patios. And the ones that were here tended to be pretty utilitarian. Wow that has changed. It’s fantastic. And so much better than that hacky list in the paper would indicate.


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