Friday, April 18, 2014

Bar #56 Spitfire Saloon

A longer time ago than I'm happy with I decided to write this blog. When it began, it wasn't simply about going to the great bars. Every Bar in Lakewood was about exploring all the opportunities and leaving my comfort zone. This week's bar was the epitome of this idea; though a favorite among some of more talkative Facebook commenters. The Spitfire Saloon is bar #56 and the #1 bar I wanted to visit when I began.
*Disclaimer: Spitfire Saloon isn't in Lakewood. Lakewood is on the other side of the street. After a good bit of debate on Facebook, it was decided that it would be included. This was because the readers wanted it to be and a new rule was created: if I can hit the bar with a snowball from Lakewood, then it's close enough to be on the list. Plus, what's more punk than being on the list of Ever Bar in Lakewood and not being part of Lakewood. It turns out, Lakewood is still part of the Spitfire Saloon anyway.
The Spitfire Saloon is a punk concert bar with a reputation, at least in the past of being high in levels of face stabbing and only a good place for punk fans to frequent. It later got a sign and rumors said that it was friendlier place. It's also now a favorite of the nerdy arts community. Yes, we have one of those.

After some confusion about how to schedule going to a kitchenless bar, we showed up full of Mexican food. The first thing you notice when entering the Spitfire is that it's very formidable against zombie attacks. Once you enter your eyes are drawn to a claw machine. It's your normal shirt machine except for one little difference. The claw has to drop 10 feet until it reaches the prizes. Normally, I'm not good at claw machines. Needing to look up to watch the claw and look down to see its destination reinforced the norm. Three dollars later I had no shirt.

I spent my next two bucks on a Fat Tire Beer by New Belgium. I found it disappointing, perhaps hot had temporarily changed my palate. It seemed to be clean but had a secondary taste that none of us could place. I came up with lame, if lame had a taste, this was it. It had a super dry finish as well. Fat Tire Beer was quite drinkable and had a great price for the evening, but I don't think it lived up to expectations.

My second beer was (picked by the bartender) Monk Blood by 21st Amendment. It had a dark reddish color, like it's name sake, and almost no head. The beer had a cherry mixed with other good stuff flavor. It didn't have much alcohol taste and was super drinkable. At 8.6% alcohol this may be the most dangerous beer I've ever drank. I'm not the biggest fan of cherryish beers but by the time you finish the first can, you want another 6 pack of em.

There are items to catch your eyes all over the bar. Between interesting stickers, TVs with the Indians game, a half dozen custom made arcade games built by the owner, two claw machines, an interesting selection of people and a dog. The bartender was friendly, talkative and helpful. He was able to accurately pick out a quality beer both with specifications and without.

There was a diverse selection of people in the bar. You had your old men, a higher percentage than normal amount of tattoos and dark rimmed glasses, and a woman that both got shot down by one of the guys watching baseball and brought in her own sushi. There was no face stabbing and everybody was having a good time. The bar was fairly busy on a Thursday evening.

The arcade games, 3 of which are built into the booth tables, were full of old school console games. I started on Solomon's Key. This is a puzzle game, where you can create and destroy blocks, shoot fireballs that you find, and then die in frustration. My Nintendo skills did not translate into the arcade controls raising my frustration levels and causing arm flailingness to occur. This may simply be a side effect of the Monks Blood. I then moved onto Super Mario Bros. I figured I'd get a ton of play out of a quarter. I figured wrong. I found myself incompetent at controlling my jumps and only made it to the 2nd board even with two extra lives. Saddened by my newly found abundance of fail I moved to a different booth with different games. I didn't write down the next game's name. It starts with a large ape lighting your tent and butt on fire. You then angrily attempt to climb a mountain to smite him while avoiding neon green monkeys and an endless assault of monkey testicles...
I used the bathroom in the basement. To get there involves going through a maze in the depths of hell. There were crazy red stripes, an anus symbol and somebody's organ on the floor. There was also an extra hallway that smelled of smoke.
The music at Spitfire Saloon is primarily punk. The shows are free. If you can't make it to see your favorite band, they also stream all their shows for free. The band is paid directly by the bar, which includes a tape of their set. If there's no band playing, the (Scene award winning) jukebox is free as well. The only restrictions are you have to be at least 21 years old and you can't throw up in the urinal.

They have a contraption that shoots beer bottles at a wall. I didn't see it but the awesomeness of its existence must be brought up. They were also, theoretically, the first bar on the planet with a half pipe in within.

“When we opened their was no bar that catered to people that thought, dressed and lived outside the norm. People would go to just whatever bar, even though the owners thought they where undesirables.” -Spitfire Punk

I love this bar. I feel biased writing about Spitfire Saloon at this point. It's got the basic makeup of the type of bar I'm looking for. It's excited about what it provides and to whom and builds community. It's a dive bar but has a fantastic selection of beer. If it doesn't have the beer you want, they'll have an alternative you'll like more. There's crazy arcade games all over the place. They have a scary basement bathroom, this is preferred over mediocre and disgusting bathrooms. They make their bands happy. This bar is not for everyone. But if you aren't happy with the other bars you've found, then you're probably looking for bar #56, Spitfire Saloon.

1539 W 117th St. Cleveland
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Facebook Friend Page <-Can you believe they were able to get this website?

Monday, March 31, 2014

Bar #55 Sidetrack Cafe Prologue

Due to everyone's lives becoming too busy and an avoidance to do the blog on the weekends I have only been puttering towards the final goal of having a beer at every bar in Lakewood and writing about it. Today, I write about a yesterday. It's fall 2005. I have a new 2006 Prius (that why I remember the year) and I am going with some friends to a bar I've never been to.  My memory may not be as accurate as I hope after almost a decade.  Bar #55 will be Sidetrack Cafe, but this is just its prologue to the official visit.

Sidetrack Cafe is known as a biker bar. Not in the flashy, neon fashion of the franchised versions out there or the biker bars seen on the Blah Blah Channel. Sidetrack Cafe is a place where people would sit down hot, stinking and tired after riding the backroads of America. They don't need a dozen specialized beers with spices, fancy names, and fancier price tags; if it was cold and beer, it was probably what they were looking for. A proper biker bar offers only what is needed to get the job done: beer, whiskey, seats and something that produces music. A real biker bar makes every other bar feel like a gimmick.

Sidetrack Cafe was split into three sections. The first section was your standard dive bar. Almost all the seating was along the bar itself and primarily warmed by men that have been riding motorcycles for most of the last half century. Classic rock was coming out of the jukebox and wouldn't stop for the rest of the evening. The bar was run by a pretty woman that had no problem keeping control her bar with just a smile and the ability to see problem coming.

The second room had some tables and chairs and centered on a large screen TV that remembered who shot JR. It had that slight lack in color that is seen in the old giant TVs that have been used a couple years too many. It may be too large to give up on, or might simply be too large to bother moving. My brain tells me everything in the room was a shade of brown.

The third room had plywood walls. There was a pool table taking up the majority of the space. That is everything in the room. The plywood didn't insulate as much as hoped, but we spent the evening in the room hoping the slight bit of shivering would work in our favor or that we'd stop feeling the cold after the next beer. At least we didn't have to worry about our beer getting warm.

Sidetrack Cafe gave me everything I wanted, beer, somewhere to sit and something to do. With all the amazing bars in Lakewood, it's easy to forget what really matters. Going to almost every bar in Lakewood has helped instill in me that it's not always about all the things a bar may offer, but all the things that I want from a bar on a specific evening. One evening I may want amazing food, and beer that tastes like a work of art. Another evening I may way want a dart board, cold ignorable beer and patrons that feel like we've known each other half our lives, even if we've just met. Living in Lakewood means getting exactly what you want, just remember that there's a chance you could find it in any Every Bar in Lakewood.

Sidetrack Cafe, Bar #55, may be completely different than it was 8 years ago. I look forward to seeing it again soon.

13429 Lakewood Heights Blvd

Thursday, March 6, 2014

St Patrick's Day Guide 2014

Merry Arts

Saturday, March 15th from noon-3 the little ones have their own St. Patrick's Day! Free admission--live Irish dancing from the Brady Campbell school of dance, balloons, face painting, green milkshakes, kid's menu and Slider is coming by! Our new heated patio will be open!

Doors open at 7:30 for our annual $5 all you can eat breakfast buffet! 
Our Great Guinness Glass Giveaway, Irish music, the best corned beef around and much more will be happening all day and night. 
A special performance from the band Hot n' Ready from 4-6 after the parade. So take off work and celebrate one of the greatest days to be a Clevelander!
15607 1/2 Detroit Ave

Mars Bar
They're back tomorrow!!! 3 words... corned beef gyros!!! Mars Bar will be apen at 9am for St. Paddy's Day!!! Green beer, corned beef, corned beef gyros, & regular gyros, our whole staff will be up, and smoking area on our patio!!! Come up and drink with us!!!!!

Harry Buffalo Lakewood opens at 8am!  
Kegs & Eggs!
Jameson Specials!
18605 Detroit Ave

Bonnie and Clydes
Opening 5:30am Breakfast Corned Beef Omelet Corned Beef and Hash Also Serving All Day.. Corned Beef Sandwhiches Reuben Sandwhiches Corned Beef & Cabbage Dinners $1 Jell-O Shots $1.50 Green Beer Pints $2 Leprechaun Shots And Many Different $2 Green Themed Shots. We Also Have Limited Shirts Still Available for $15

Taco Tantos
We've brined and slow cooked the corned beef, today we just have to add potato, sour cream, steamed cabbage and cheese wrap it all up and serve it to you hot and toasty. Sure to to give you staying power whether you're celebrating with green beers or just having a regular Monday.

Shamrock will be carrying on with St. Patrick's Day pride: 
Open at 9AM for a pre-parade Corned Beef Hash & Poached Eggs Breakfast. Delicious Corned Beef Sandwiches and Corned Beef Dinners for as long as they last, plus a partial "regular" menu from Kim & Lu's Kitchen (for those who like alternative food choices.) 
Loud tunes, lots of beer and booze at fair prices, a visiting bagpiper, etc. 
If trolling West Side Irish bars with friends is your idea of fun, the Shamrock is a traditional stop.
11922 Madison Ave

Quaker Steak & Lube

15312 Detroit Ave

We will open at 5:30am, we will have free corn beef and cabbage in the morning. We will have $1 cans all day and night.
1539 W 117th St

Brew 133
We open at 8AM for kegs, eggs, and corned beef hash until 1pm. 

We have drinks specials and a DJ all day! 
The drink specials are; $4 Bloody Marys, $3 Guinness Pints, $3 Irish Whiskey (any kind), $2 Fireball, $3 pints, and $2 Throwback Tallboy 16 oz. Miller Lite Cans! 

We have Corned Beef Sandwiches and Chips for $6 as well! 

Bagpipes will be played by Cleveland Police Department and sheriff's office around 6:30.
13368 Madison Ave

McGinty's Pub
We will open the doors at 8. 
From 8-10 we will have $2 Guinness and Breakfast sandwiches. 

Starting at 11 we will have $6 corned beef sandwiches for sale. 

Also you can grab your very own 2014 McGinty's St. Patrick's Day T-shirt.  

The Guinness Bill Band will play Live starting at 6:30 and we will have bagpipes stop by during the day.
13751 Madison Ave

Waterbury Coach House
Corn Beef Dinner: (Corn Beef, Cabbage, Redskin Potatoes, Carrots) $10
Reuben Sandwich $8
Corn Beef Sandwich $7.50
Sandwiches include soup and choice of potato salad or fries.
Guinness bottles $4
We will have live music as well!
13333 Madison Ave

Lakewood Village Tavern

We are opening at 9am happy hour until 7, select $2 drinks at night. Corned beef hash, Reuben with fries, corned beef dinner, corned beef sandwich with shirts will be available for purchase as well.

13437 Madison Ave

We open at noon
Karaokes at 4
Ruben pizzas for 6 bucks and $2 lucky leprechaun shots.. 

Now Guinness cans are 3 bucks and shamrock shake shots are two bucks these two specials all month long.
13302 Detroit Ave

Irish Kevin's

13601 Detroit Ave

Patio Tavern
Once again, we're looking forward to seeing all our friends, as well as new faces looking for some inexpensive drinks this Saint Patrick's Day! 
Miller Lite Drafts will be $1.25...all Domestic Bottles are $2.00...Jameson, Powers, Tullamore Dew, and Bushmills are $3.00...and we're fully stocked with Guinness, Conway's Irish Ale, as well as 8 other Craft beers on tap! 
Happy Saint Patrick's Day; we look forward to seeing you soon!
15615 Madison Ave

14600 Detroit Ave

The Corner Pub
Were gonna do $3 green long islands, $5 irish car bombs, and $2 irish flag shots...there will be other surprise specials $3 and under.
12301 Madison Ave

Tarrymorre Inn will open at noon with $3 shots of Jameson and $2, 24oz drafts of Budweiser and Genesee!
13356 Madison Ave

World of Beer
9AM - 2:30AM 
This St. Patricks Day Drink Good Beer NOT Green Beer 

5 Irish Beers on Draft  
Guinness - Smithwicks - Bass - Harp - Great Lakes Conway's Irish Ale  
First 48 guest to order a Great Lakes Conways Irish Ale keep the Great Lakes St. Patricks Day Glass !!!!!  
Jameson and Irish Car Bomb Specials  

Doors open at 9AM w/ Breakfast for $6 by Somethin's Smokin Smoked Corned Beef Hash and Scrambled Eggs from 9AM-11AM  
$7.99 Smoked Corned Beef Sandwich starting at 11AM  

Live Band from 4-7PM 
Black Bear Caledonia Pipes and Drums at 7PM 
Irish Music ALL DAY Long
14701 Detroit Ave

St. Patricks Day West End Tavern A west side landmark 30 years. ---featuring--- Guinness. Harp. Jameson. Powers. -and- Corned beef/Irish coffee -and- Bag pipers all day
11:00 AM "Late breakfast/lunch-dinner
Also starring: Leading craft beers such as founders dirty bastard, new Belgium fat tire, Oskar blues dales pale ale, southern tier 2x IPA, and bell's two hearted!
18514 Detroit Ave 

Green pudding shots for $1.00 AND Corned Beef Pizza! What more could you ask for?
18196 Sloane Ave

Buckeye Beer Engine
It's pretty standard that we open early and feature corned beef type stuff, and will most probably run a pint special on Buckeye REDHEAD.
15315 Madison Ave


14718 Detroit Ave

The Red Rose Cafe celebrates St. Patrick's Day All Day with 
$6.50 Corned Beef Sandwich, 
$7.00 Reuben, 
$9.50 Corned Beef Dinner Includes Carrots, Cabbage, Red Skin Potatoes.  
40 Cent Wings as always! (dine in only).

$6 Pitchers of Miller Lite or Labatt, 
$8.50 Yuengling Pitchers, 
$2 Shot of the Month - The Shamrock Shot, 
$2.50 Domestic Bottles All Day & Night!
14810 Madison Ave

Pug Mahone's
March 17th open at 8am. Free Breakfast 9am-10 am Noon -1:30 Live Bag pipers 4pm-7pm Jim Tigue & Eroc corned beef dinner and sandwich specials. $4 shot specials - Irish breakfast, Leprechaun Kiss, Nutty Irishman Beer of the month Dundee $1.25 (all day-every day) Domestic pints $1.25 domestic bottle $1.50 (open to 8pm everyday)
17625 Detroit Ave

Around the Corner
18616 Detroit Ave

Check Out My Scene Best of Cleveland Guide helping you prove that

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Best of Cleveland is Lakewood

Every year, Scene Magazine has us vote for who we think are the best at what they do at, well at this point, just about everything, in the greater Cleveland area. It's easy to get overwhelmed while trying to make it through the nomination list. This year Every Bar in Lakewood is going to try and help out with a Lakewood voting list.
One of the key missions of this blog has been to help promote this great city. In the voting this year I would like to see a stronger presence of our community felt.
It's time to show the rest of our area, that the best of Cleveland is Lakewood. If your business, self or favorite is from Lakewood and should be nominated, let me know. Comment on this blog, tweet me, email me at, or just comment on my Facebook page, then I'll list it on this blog. The more entrees included will create a stronger presence for the list on Google's search engine helping others support our great city. If you'd rather someone different than I've listed, let me know. Some of these have simply been big supporters of the blog. I also wouldn't mind your votes for Every Bar in Lakewood as the best Blog and Food Blog.

Use this link to get to get to the voting page.

Art event?
Lakewood Arts Festival

Performing Arts Theater
Beck Center
Place for free fun
Lakewood Park
School District
Local Neighborhood
New Restaurant
Humble Wine Bar
Romantic Restaurant
Humble Wine Bar
India Garden
Patio Dining
Humble Wine Bar
Patio for Drinking
Humble Wine Bar
Wine Bar
Humble Wine Bar
Beer List
Buckeye Beer Engine
Root Cafe
Pier W

Greek Village
India Garden
Bloody Mary
Taco Tuesday
Merry Arts
Dessert Menu
Humble Wine Bar
Place to Buy Music
My Minds Eye
Thrift Store
Avalon Exchange
Antique Shop

Lakewood Antique Mall
Consignment Shop
Curvy Consignment
Best Chocolate

Fears Confections
TJ's Butcher Block
Wine Shop
Beer Store
Root Cafe
Hair Salon
Crazy Mullets
Barbershop/Men's Cut
Reagle Beagle
New Store
Jazz Club
Blues Club
Hipster Bar
Mahall's 20 Lanes
Karaoke Bar
Corky's Place or Eddy & Iggy's
Neighborhood Bar
Merry Arts or Plank Road Tavern
Industry Night
Mahall's, Deagans, or Harry Buffalo (We do Industry night well!)
Bowling Alley
Mahall's 20 Lanes
Bobby O's

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Bar #54 Humble Wine Bar

When a bar does really well, it tends to lead it to make new baby bars. Sometimes this creates clones of the original bar leading to a franchise by the same name. Other times these baby bars are created as unique new versions or concepts of the original bar, possibly even being completely different. A number of our newest bars to open in Lakewood over the past year were the offspring of other successful bars. Congratulations Lakewood, it's a wine bar! Bar #54 is Humble Wine Bar to be exact.

OK, let's get it out of the way: yes there aren't beers on tap and it's expensive. But a cheap wine bar with Coors on tap is hardly a recipe for success.

On this wintery February evening parking was not readily available in the giant shopping plaza parking lot. There were mountains of snow waiting to melt taking up a 5th of the lot and the neighboring bar was having their all you can eat buffet. The bar's back entrance was a long hallway with a sign to point the way to enjoy ourselves on National Wine Day.
Humble Bar has a classy look of an older pub with a very clean and comfortable feel. There was a long bar you could sit at with a great view of their flaming pizza oven. The bar was busy but with no wait. As with Deagan's, the staff is encouraged to show off their tattoos. The waitress was friendly and encouraged questions. Our friends slowly arrived over the next hour keeping our waitress on her toes and even leading us to require an extra table. The Humble Bar staff never had a problem taking care of us.
Humble Bar carries a variety of food. They are primarily appetizers, including a cheese board, antipasti and salads, and small pizzas. The most noticeable characteristic of their food is they are fresh, light and of a higher quality ingredients. The brussels sprouts weren't in stock, which we didn't find out till we ordered them a half hour into our visit. I started off with their Prosciutto Caprese, which consisted of alternating slices of spiraled mozzarella and prosciutto, and heirloom tomatoes. It was a great combination that I inhaled and recommend. Kelly went with a single cheese on their board. It had a selection of bread and crackers along with her chosen humboldt fog goat cheese out of California. I thought it had a nice combination of sweet, creamy, farts and mold...but in a good way. The margherita and spicy sopressata pizzas were both excellent. The margherita had the edge, with the delicious heirloom tomatoes to the spicy sopressata, which wasn't spicy.
Obviously they had lots of good wine. We went with their weaker options. I started off with a bottle of Chimay Red. It was a refreshing red ale that relies more on fizz than on its subtle taste. I followed it with their BFF Old Fashioned. It's a normal old fashioned with a splash of breakfast. Bacon bourbon, maple syrup and even piece of bacon on the tooth pick make it a great drink option. There was also an olive instead of a cherry on the tooth pick for unexplained reasons. Kelly had Cleveland sunset mead. I thought it tasted like a sour wine mixed with pear juice. Kelly said it tasted like a liquified version of Jennie's Ice Cream's Cherry Goat Cheese.
There were two small TVs in the far corners of the bar. I only bring it up because the one by us played Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 2 and, I think Ben Hur.

I had a nice time at Humble Wine Bar. It's an easy environment to talk to your friends. The light foods allow you, not to feel burdened down by what's in your belly, without loosing out on quality and taste. Their drink list gives everyone something they can really enjoy. Other than apparently running out of brussels sprouts and cherries we didn't have any bumps during our time there. If you are on a budget, plan around their happy hour; this was my largest bill of the blog. Overall, the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree. For those who want a higher level of wine bar that also allows one to be relaxed and actually enjoy your food, drink and company, Bar #54, Humble Wine Bar is for you.

15400 Detroit Ave