You can't deny that there's a certain mystique associated with some of the bars and pubs in Old Brooklyn. Some seem friendly and welcoming, while you don't know what to expect from others based on what you might have heard or seen in the appearance of buildings and storefronts.
As strange as it may seem, my curiosity has driven me and a few friends to explore the neighborhood's many watering holes. My personal goal over the next several months is to stop into every establishment to see what they look like inside and find out what kind of people they attract and serve. I ultimately hope to discover one or more spots within the community that have a comfy atmosphere and friendly people and make for great places to hang out and recommend to others, and determine which most exemplifies Old Brooklyn through and through. My initial efforts have been concentrated east of Pearl Road.
Here are the places I've enjoyed so far and a few remarks about each.
Steelyard Tavern, Broadview Road at Natchez Avenue
Located on Broadview Road a few storefronts away from Councilman Cummins ward office, Steelyard Tavern was a delightful surprise. It's housed in a old brick building that abuts the sidewalk, and the newly-renovated interior boasts a tin ceiling. Steelyard Tavern is somewhat small, but very quaint. It's one of the first OB bars I'm aware of that has a wider beer selection, including Cleveland's own Great Lakes Brewing Company. The crowd was very friendly and welcoming. The tavern's Myspace page says that it has "the vibe of Tremont in the heart of Old Brooklyn." I couldn't agree more. Here's another review from cleveland.com.
Zeleznik's, Jennings Road at Harvard Road
Zeleznik's is truly an Old Brooklyn institution. I've previously written a post about Zeleznik's on Old Brooklyn Blogs, and the fact that it was one of the first in the series OB Featured Business speaks volumes about what I think about the longstanding pub. It's quite a charming place, and part of what I enjoy most is hearing what Peggy Zeleznik has to say.
Mike's Bar and Grille, Broadview Road just west of Valley Road
Again, I didn't know what to expect walking into a house converted into a pub. A lot of work seems to have been put into the interior, which was very nice, clean, and brightly lit. There are a few diner-type booths, a long pub table, and other tables in addition to an expansive bar. A large patio has been recently constructed on the front of the building, and I like the addition of a bike rack.
The Dirty Dog, State Road at Oak Park Avenue
The Dirty Dog is a quaint little corner neighborhood bar on one of my favorite Cleveland streets. After my group sat down, the owner stopped over to say hello and share a warm welcome. I suspect that he's a Cleveland firefighter because the 'Dog had that type of decor. There's a pool table, and like the Steelyard Tavern and Mike's, the bowling machine is a nice touch. I didn't get to check out the food menu, but the Dirty Dog does have a full kitchen.
Have somewhere you like to go? Post it here and let us know.