Monday, May 27, 2013

Bar #39: Kenilworth Tavern

A lot of thought can go into which bar you want to go to on a given night. Are you hungry? Do you want a loud or quiet night? Does the bar have a claw vs claw game? The trick is don't over think it because plans can change in an instant. This week the kitchen was closed so we went next door to bar #39 Kenilworth Tavern.
I couldn't start drinking on an empty stomach for long. After finding out the kitchen was both closed and cordoned off I went next door and found what I was looking for.

The Kenilworth is a sports bar that remembers when the Indians were getting good and when Browns fans only had one rival to hate (1995.)  They have a handful of interesting things up on the walls including a Bud car hood. They have plenty of TVs to watch the game you want, today included skateboarding.

The Kenilworth Tavern is owned by an older Greek family. Their menu is setup so that everybody that shows up is going to have something they want to eat. These options include some salads made by a mad cook, vegetarian options that teach us the valuable lesson that turkey is the other white beet, and a multitude of wing flavors. I got their cajun wings, which were amazing. It was one of my favorite wing/sauce combinations I've had in Lakewood. I ordered their suicide sauce on the side to try it out. It was good, it doesn't give up taste in exchange for heat.
The beer options are fairly standard; primarily your corporate options with a little Great Lakes and craft to tide the rest of us over. I tried a bottle of something different, glucose free. Redbridge is made by Anheuser Busch it tastes like beer, mostly. There's a funny taste to it, not necessarily bad but not something you'd choose to add to it. If you can't drink glucose than you won't mind this.
The Kenilworth Tavern uses what is becoming a well known trick to getting more people in the bar, good looking female bartenders. They are appearing more often now in the bars that in the past would have had some old bartender that only believes in serving beers or shots and like to push the ice into the glass with his fingers.  I've also seen other bars where this seems to have been a part of their turn around. Question for the women out there.  Does having a good looking male bartender affect your decision on what bar to go to? You're not going to get any complaints from me as long as the ladies can also do their jobs well; and I didn't have any tonight. My bartender/waitress was able to help me figure out which wings I wanted and let me know what was going on with their claw game.

The greatest of all claw games is usually in the Kenilworth Tavern. You don't know if you have what it takes until you are chasing something that can run away. This bar has a lobster claw machine. You put your money in.  Then try to chase down these red not-so-plush toys.  If you succeed, the Kenilworth will cook it up for you (possibly for a fee.) These lobsters were unfortunately wily. They decided that being boiled alive is a worse choice than most. The lobsters began clogging the filtration system and dying off every night. The claw vs claw game is now in the shop until the problem is fixed.
I met the Kenilworth Tavern softball team.  They are currently undefeated. They want the rest of the softball teams to know that they are best.
I have no complaints about the bar I ended up at this spring evening. The food was good enough to make me plan on going back. The service was good and quick. The beer options gave everyone an option even if they're allergic to glucose. Overall this bar wasn't my first choice. Once, I gave it a chance I didn't need to try anywhere else. You should head over to the Kenilworth Tavern, bar #39, it might just be the last bar choice you'll need to make.

Yeah, Kenilworth had Shaq!
18204 Detroit Ave

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Bar #38: Trio's Bar (Deceased)

Every city worth its weight has that dive bar whose exterior is so divey that you have to work just to figure out the name of that bar. Some of these bars have floors sticky with various unknown fluids and the majority of the patrons are either unconscious or have already stabbed you in the face. In other towns the bar's sign was simply blown off in a storm and never found its way back up. I found a sign in a window that said Trio's Bar and it was bar #38.

The first thing I noticed in Trio's was there's a bunch of cool stuff. (It's also, a lot bigger than expected.) They have a mixture of items that have sat in the bar's location for decades. Trio's was originally in Manja's location and then moved across the street when Cleeks was closing. Cleeks was a golf bar. There are antique golf items up on the walls, including a stakable chair and golf club head coat hooks. There also used to be 101 golf clubs up around the big mirror behind the bar. The bar also includes a strange golfer statue with a giant inflatable golf ball, a rotary pay phone, a wooden Indian, and a wall sized projection screen. They also have an awesome 70stastic juke box.
The music was only playing when people were using the juke box. Prior, the TV started us off with Jeopardy. Which continent do you think has the most UN countries? Then two older women took over and put on American Idol and Glee.
Hope you like cheap beer because that's what you're getting at Trios. I went with PBR because it was a buck and better on tap.
They don't have food so we walked over to Tai Hut; which I'm sure is good. I was tempted away by the Little Caesars in the distance and picked up my $5 preready peperoni pizza. Trio's provided paper plates for us.

The bartenders were both very helpful and full of information about the bar. I'm pretty sure they were also both a bit drunk by the time we left.

They have pool and darts. Dogs have been allowed inside the bar.

The answer was Africa.
Trio's was fun and has a good staff. Their beer is cheap and patrons friendly. The bar's clean, the patrons might not be. We all felt welcomed and wouldn't mind coming back again. Check out bar #38, Trio's, everything you want from a dive bar without the stuff you don't.

13362 Madison Ave

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Bar #37: Merry Arts

Now that it's May, those of you with basic math skills may have noticed that there are only 8 more weeks till my one year mark. Due to some slacking off and the addition of at least 4 bars to the list, I'm behind. I will now be writing multiple blogs per week in order to take care of the final 18 bars. My final sprint will start with the alleged oldest bar in Lakewood. I went to find out if they had learned how to be the best bar Lakewood in their many decades of business. Merry Arts is bar #37.
Merry Arts and another bar shares a good amount of city parking behind their building.  Tuesday seemed to be a busy night for the duo leading me to park on a side street. Upon entering I was greeted with a tavern with wood paneling, a brick wall and tin ceilings. They have plenty of TVs. There are two rooms with two bars, the second room also has a cozy area that includes a couch and ottoman.

We took a table in the main room and were quickly greeted by a perky waitress that would never leave us a waiting or wanting throughout the night. Her only downside was a lacking of knowledge about opinions on their wings or beer.
They have a nice selection of beer, both on tap and in bottle form all listed on their semi-up to date menu. I went through multiple Brew Kettle's 4 C's. This as an overall good beer, it doesn't rely on extra amounts of hops or spices. Instead it is a middle of the line solid beer that doesn't carry any complaints but also doesn't leave anything lacking. If you like one of their draft beers, then you can take just about any of them home in a growler!
They have a nice sized menu, which includes an impressive amount of different types of wings. It was wing night, so that was my route. I got both the medium buffalo and Parmesan garlic wings. The wings even without the sauce were good and the sauces weren't bad either.

Merry Arts has darts boards. They also have one of the nicer patios in town. It's all brick with a fireplace. There's also a comfy padded sectional.
Inside, there is a claw machine. Near the end of our evening a guy had decided to use said machine to grab some random stuffed animals for unknown reasons. We decided that we believed in him and quickly started chanting “CLAW!” We became more enthusiastic with every success and failure.  After a brief bit of flustering he rose the to cause and got two stuffed animals. The second of these fought him back tooth and nail eating up a dollar until it finally submitted. Clawman then gave his booty to our newest Every Bar in Lakewoodite, Andrea, under the excuse that his dogs will eat them so he can't take them home.  They say at Merry Arts, "You can't steal from a pimp."  But the pimp may give it away for free.

Merry Arts is a comfortable bar with a good beer list and menu. There are seating options for all. Our service was friendly and never left us waiting. The oldest bar in Lakewood has created a solid bar that gives you what you want both inside and out. I plan on returning to bar #37, Merry Arts, in the future for their famous taco night and everything else they have to offer.

15607 1/2 Detroit Ave

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Bar #36: Richland Cafe

Welcome to the third part of our trilogy of not waiting to go to the bars you want to go to. This week's bar was put off till we could see a group of entertainers that only perform there once every other month. Finally, we had the time to make it there when they'd be there plus it was their 2nd anniversary. Unfortunately, they weren't performing, it was just a party. So this week we went to the Red Hot Heathen burlesque group's 2nd birthday party sock hop at bar #36, Richland Cafe.
As you'll remember from the Obituary of the Red Rooster the Red Hot Heathens are a burlesque group that mix comedy, entertainment, costumes and partial nudity. They put on a variety show that includes pasties but doesn't include preconceived notions about what a woman needs to look like in order to be sexy. It's a worthwhile show for men and women alike, burlesque tends to have more women fans than male. In this week's blog there won't be any of that. Teaching us the lessons: burlesque troops don't have to strip on their birthday if they don't want to and if a sign doesn't say there will be boobs don't assume there will be. Luckily, they brought 1950s music, cake, streamers and a cut out car. Dancing fun was had by many!

The Richland Cafe is a rocker bar. So, you'll see a higher amount of tattoos and piercings then in other bars...Honestly, judging from my night there it seems to be a bar full of cool people that don't have a problem with you unless you have one with them.  "Only a rocker bar on certain nights, other than that it's just a close-knit local corner bar with some really great people!" -Jared Youtzy

The bar felt worn in but clean. The walls are a darker red. There are two rooms one with tables and the other with the bar. The bathroom had a frightening paper towel dispenser that it seems requires you pull the paper through the jagged opening and yank, using its plastic teeth to cut. They have a basketball shooting machine.  You can also play pool while keeping track of the score on the old sliding markers.

They had a wide range in beer from the cheap to the worthy. Service was quick even when the bar was crowded.
While posing in the Red Hot Heathens prop car for a picture I was car jacked/photo bombed by a man with a squirt gun. It was a very small gun but he seemed to know how to use it.
In the end I was having an off night and may return to the Richland Cafe for a reblog to do it justice.
The Richland Tavern is a rocker bar full of people having a good time. You won't be bored if you check it out. You will always have something that you want to drink and someone worth talking to at bar #36, the Richland Cafe.

14027 Madison Ave.