Monday, January 28, 2013

Bar #25 The Sloan Pub

Who is the best person to ask what bar you should go to? I could ask an expert, but answering myself is a sign of insanity. If I ask Facebook, I will get the most popular bars. If I google it, then I get the bar with the least complaints. This week we go to the bar recommended by people that work in Lakewood bars. Sloane Pub as picked by its peers as Bar #25.

Sloane Pub sets itself apart from the main stream bars. It even sets itself apart from the main street bars as the only one not on Detroit or Madison Ave. After passing signs telling about its humorous rules and love for socialism, I entered to find a clean and welcoming bar. The stools were comfy and had backs to them. The bartender was friendly, helpful and gave me my beer in a frosty glass.

They still have a juke box with actual cds in it. The patrons kept it running all night long and I liked every song they played. The unofficial song I was told was “I Want to Fuck you Gently” by the Tenacious D.
They had Labatt, Yuengling and a light beer on tap. Sloan Pub had enough different types of bottled beer to keep everyone else happy too. I had Yuenglings, my go to unoriginal beer. They cost me a dollar.

The Sloan Pub also has a shuffle board machine. The bartender made sure the machine was properly saw dusted for us before we played. I won the two games we played by a narrow margin. This included a final last ditch shot that knocked two of his weights out of the 4 point slot and leaving mine in its place...Which was more exciting than it sounds.

The regular crowd is a mixture of servers and bartenders from other bars (we came here by The Rush Inn's recommendation), old men and young townies. The locals, many of grew up on the neighboring streets, love this bar more than any bar crowd I've met so far. They carried a strong enthusiasm for Cleveland and Lakewood specifically. Everyone at the bar were friendly and always weighted to make sure if they were passing they didn't interrupt game when we were playing.

Sloane Pub aims to be a laid back, fun bar where you'll never feel judged. This is the bar to go to when you don't want to deal with the other bars. Sloane Pub is the type of bar where everyone knows everyone's name. The Sloane bar is a good bar to go to to be yourself. If you don't have a bar to call your own, come to bar #25, The Sloan Pub.

Awesome: Frosted Mug, Customer Service, Bartenders Choice

18196 Sloane Ave

Monday, January 21, 2013

Bar #24 Deagan's Kitchen and Bar

There is one bar that is always brought up, when the question of the best place to eat or drink in Lakewood is asked. This isn't because they have bar games, bands or have the cheapest whatever in town.  Tonight, I see how they compare to every bar in Lakewood. Deagan's is bar #24 but are they the #1 bar?
We arrived at 7pm on a Wednesday. The bar was full without even two adjacent spots at the bar. It was vegetarian night. Of course there's a special Monday through Thursday so Deagan's is regularly busy. Deagan's environment is what one could call cool pub. The walls are made of wood and bare brick covered with chalk board beer signs, local art and even antique style light bulbs and fixtures. These combined features create an environment that is both trendy and comfortable. Which is good because if you come during dinner time you'll probably have at least a 25 minute wait.
We sat down and of course added an extra person. They were very accommodating and allowed us to add a chair to the table even with the space restrictions. Our waitress and food came often enough that it never felt like were were waiting for service.

I drank North Coast's Scrimshaw Pilsner. It was a good pilsner. It wasn't so strong that it wasn't easily drinkable but not so bland that you'd forget it was beer. Deagan's only carries higher quality beers, which makes their prices, starting at $5, more palatable.

The food was good. I started with their Bavarian Pretzel. Its dipping sauce was amazing. For dinner, I had the mac and cheese. It was ok. The cheese sauce was a bit too thin. Luckily, Kelly had the steak, (yes steak on vegetarian night) it was really good. They only have one type of chicken wing, with an amazing mixture of jam and awesome. I do miss their buffalo wing from the wing crawl.
One problem we did run into that night was the monologue. This is a threat to any evening of drinking and any of us could be the next culprit. The alcohol dulls that little part of the brain that allows you to stop talking and pay attention to the look on your friend's glazed over faces. My usual fouls:
1) High school cross country/track, there is always that little part of your brain that wants to talk about your entire high school sports experience in as few breaths as possible.

2) Dogs, this is actually a double foul with me. I work with dogs and no matter how much you like your job, nobody likes your job when you talk about it for 20 straight minutes. The second foul is talking about the funny things your dog/cat/child does. This is fine in proportional amounts but can easily become a half hour of talking about where your dog/cat/baby has pooped.

R!ch Cihlar, Pop Shop
3) The repeat story, a funny or exciting story that gets a reaction out of people is possibly the most evil of all monologues. Every time this story is told, it will get a little longer, probably still funny though. Unfortunately, your close friends and what-not get to hear this hilarious ever growing anecdote over and over again. Once, they have heard this story 5 times, they can legally murder you in the state of Michigan. (This is the foul in question this evening.)

I think it's time for all of us to admit that we all do this now and again. Once, we all agree that we're all secret monologuists, then we can agree that we are allowed to stop other people's monologues once they have gone too long. Right now, I'm thinking you can just say “Cut! Thank you for your monologue but I think we should now talk about cheese.” Change this as needed.

Post dinner Deagan's clears out a bit and more so resembles a pub where people can all easily converse with each other and hang around the bar.

This was hidden in the wall.

This summer Deagan's is opening a second bar in Lakewood.  Its newest creation will be a wine bar in the strip, which includes Discount Drug Mart.  Deagan's says, "We're looking to do a wine bar... There aren't wine bars in Lakewood.  We want to do something that Lakewood is lacking." The food options will be "limited and simple."  "We want to add more to downtown Lakewood.  We love it here.  If I could open 15 businesses in Lakewood, I would.  Between the city and the residents, I don't have a single negative thing to say about Lakewood in my entire experience here."1
Paul Jacklitch, BWU
Deagan's has some of the best food in Lakewood. They have a nice atmosphere and decent beer selection.  Any bar/restaurant that strives to be elite is one that you won't be able to just sit down without a wait at and one you where you'll be spending at least $20 but probably $40 on your first night. That in mind, you must go to Deagan's because it is probably better than where you were planning on going and it'll be worth it. 
Jonn Sokol
Awesome: Atmosphere, Craft Beer, Gastropub Food

14810 Detroit Ave

1. The information of this paragraph comes directly from's article.  All quotes are from Dan Deagan.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Bar #23: Irish Kevin's (Deceased)

Lately, I've been behind on getting my blogs out within reasonable time after actually going to the bar. The flu and the holidays took a leading part in these delays but mainly it's been time management. This week I tried going to a bad bar. Different people had different opinions which bar it should be. Any bar that someone said was awful someone else loved. I instead picked a bar that under its previous ownership always seemed awful or at least the people that I knew that went there reflected that. This week we find out if Bar #23, Irish Kevin's can erase its bad reputation, even if that reputation was only in my head.
Everyone upon entering Irish Kevin's said, in one way or another, “Wow, this place is really nice!” The second, thing three out of four of us said was, “Where's Johnny?” We had all come from Bearden's in Rocky River in different cars. He had put the intersection into his phone to get directions and stopped paying attention to his surroundings. Once he reached 117th and Clifton he realized that something was amiss. He of course was properly mocked once he finally reached Kevin's bar. A week later, publicly mocked on the blog. Ha, Johnny!

Irish Kevin's is surprisingly spacious and clean. There are nice beer signs around the walls. They have their own line of shirts hanging above the bar. Games include pool, darts and Keno. They have a stage for live music. Wednesday seems to be old man night at the bar, but I think the crowd is normally a bit younger. The bartender gave us quick service but couldn't give information about the beers

They have a great Kentucky Bourbon Ale on tap that was came was smooth and bourbony. Before I could drink it I learned that the tables in the booths aren't heavy nor attached to the floor. I put my hand on the table as I went to swing into the booth and catapulted the drinks off the table. Don't worry, I held onto my own drink. Johnny and I were later allowed behind the bar to check out the bottles in their fridge. I went with Troegs Brewery's Dream Weaver Unfiltered Wheat Beer. It seems what they didn't filter was the lame. The beer wasn't necessarily bad but didn't really add anything good to the mix. Irish Kevin's makes it's own sodas with cane sugar!

I didn't think they had food. There was almost no mention of them having food in the bar except a random mention of wings. I have since learned from their Facebook page they have a bunch of fried bar food favorites. They now have fried pickles.

Irish Kevin's is an overall good affordable bar that turned 3 last month. To survive in Lakewood you need more than a gimmick, you need the basic qualities without which customers will inevitably be repelled. They are a clean, comfortable bar that gives the option of getting something you'll want to drink, eat, do, watch and listen to at a fair price. Kevin's Irish Kevin's primary customers are still probably the population within walking distance but they make sure their customers don't have a reason to look for a new bar. Check out Irish Kevin's, bar #23, they are reputed to be a good place to be.

Awesome: Soda, Atmosphere

13601 Detroit Ave.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Bar #22: Mullen's on Madison

As the world was spinning towards its inevitable demise, I needed to pick what would possibly be the last bar I would ever go to. I was invited out by a friend to the bar next to his shop. This is my favorite way to pick my next bar, and the best reason to pick the last bar before the end of the world, because people want me to be there. Yes, the world didn't end and I should have written this faster, but Mullen's on Madison could have been the last bar I ever went to, and is bar #22.

My first stop on my way to Mullen's was to go next door to Pop Shop Custom Framing. (Ok, my first stop was a bit down the street to Pet's General to pick up some dog food, exchange some witty repartee, and to pet a chinchilla).  You may know R!ch Cihlar who is a founder of the Pop Shop Gallery (now the Breakneck Gallery), which has helped spread contemporary art for years. More recently, R!ch traded having an art gallery for a slowly deminaturizing small human being, but kept the framing shop and the name. He has been working on a project for a good chunk of the last year, 365 Days of PEZ. He is painting PEZ dispensers using a stenciling technique on found objects like skate decks and records. He has been posting a new work of art every day on his Facebook and website. Check them out!

We made our way over to Mullen's on Madison next door. It's on Madison Ave. Mullen's is an inviting bar with signed sports jerseys, a pool table, local art framed, murals, and one dollar bills on the walls themselves.

They had a nice selection beer at cheap prices. I had free Yuengling, thanks to R!ch. Later, I had Oskar Blues Brewery's Mama's Little Yellow Pils. A pilsner that had nice mildly complex flavor, which wasn't scared to taste more like beer than water. They have popcorn. It's neither too salty nor too stale.

Our conversation bounced about eventually reaching babies in bars. It was agreed that babies should only come to bars where they have proper seating and if the bar can also act like a restaurant. Babies however, should go home for a normal bed time. This conversation also went on to decide that babies do not need to go to places where screaming by adults is found to be inappropriate. These can include movies, some restaurants, planes when possible (they can be uncomfortable for the baby), fireworks (unless they like them, though ear protection should probably be worn.) The conversation can be summed up in one final statement by Ramona: “What are you doing!? Get your stroller out of the porn store!” Of course, this is life and it's easy to drunkenly come to these conclusions, but life makes the rules whenever it can.

There is a curse to this bar that you should know about. It's not that in the past it has been cursed with poor taste, which it was. Two incarnations ago it was a cozy, low ceilinged bar foggy with cigarette smoke with a carpet on the floor that had absorbed enough trickle down beer and tobacco to grow its own carpet on top of itself. The ceilings were then moved upwards and the walls were scraped clean and covered in lots of green and orange paint. Obviously, that wasn't better. Thats all fixed now. The true curse is that the former ugly bars have seeped into the any proudly displayed jersey that grace the walls of Mullen's,  forcing player after player out of the city. Notables include Brady Quinn and LeBron James. Many of these jerseys are brought down and replaced with new sacrifices as the curse continues.
Mullen's on Madison's staff and ownership was friendly. My beer was cold and plentiful. I had no complaints and I don't think you will either. Mullen's is 1 part Irish Pub and 1 part dive bar mixed to be better than its parts. You should leave your normal bar and come check out bar #22. Even if the bar does banish another of your favorite players, it won't be the end of the world.

Awesome: Customer Service, Atmosphere, Bartender's Pick

17014 Madison Ave