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          The recliner of Cleveland: Ohio City

          From the bar

          Bruce Douglas

          Issue date: 4/9/10 Section: Focus
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          The Old Angle has a pleasant, easygoing atmosphere, but lacks the patronage to take advantage of its affordable drinks and friendly staff.
          The Old Angle has a pleasant, easygoing atmosphere, but lacks the patronage to take advantage of its affordable drinks and friendly staff.
          [Click to enlarge]
          Bier Markt, owned by the owners of McNulty's in Coventry, is divided into two sections: the main bar upstairs and the relaxing
          Bier Markt, owned by the owners of McNulty's in Coventry, is divided into two sections: the main bar upstairs and the relaxing "Speakeasy" in the basement.
          [Click to enlarge]
          "You gotta love livin', baby, 'cause dyin' is a pain in the ass." - Frank Sinatra
          Few areas nearby are more relaxed than Cleveland's Ohio City neighborhood. Ohio City is located just on the West Side of Cleveland, right after crossing the river out of downtown. The area does not have the same buzz as the Warehouse and Gateway districts, but it still packs some great bars all within walking distance and it's a great break from the norm. Cheers!

          Bier Markt & Speakeasy
          1948 West 25th St., Cleveland
          Overall: B+

          Bier Markt (pronounced "Beer Market") is owned by the same McNulty family that owns the McNulty's in Coventry, a fact made very obvious when I entered: overcrowded, under-lit, and stocked with a great selection of beer. While I enjoyed the upstairs for its crowd and bustle, I really enjoyed the basement, which they lovingly refer to as "Speakeasy." I found the basement reminiscent of Ultra, except not god-awful. Huge bar in the middle, booths around the edges, a very laid-back atmosphere to contrast upstairs. It really seemed to be missing some sort of live jazz musician or anything to give it just a bit more character than my obnoxious friends could provide. Although prices in both areas are a little high, I really enjoyed the two different styles and I think anyone could enjoy spending an entire evening here.

          ABC the Tavern
          1872 West 25th St., Cleveland
          Overall: A-
          There's really only one word for ABC the Tavern: classic. This is a bar, in every sense of the word. I couldn't help but enjoy every little thing about ABC. There are clearly areas of the building that have not been updated since before 1980, but it adds so much character. The staff was outstanding, perhaps some of the nicest bartenders I've dealt with. To be honest, they seemed to be having as much fun as the patrons. The bar is accessorized with an old-school jukebox and various bar games. I got the feeling that many of the people around me had been there every weekend for the last three years. It's a great regular crowd that didn't seem bothered by newcomers, and overall, ABC is just a fantastic stop that left me feeling great.

          Old Angle
          1848 West 25th St., Cleveland
          Overall: C+

          Perhaps I'm not being fair here, but I have to write on what I experienced. Old Angle struck me as the epitome of wasted potential. The decor made me feel as if I were on some sort of side street in medieval times, the staff was incredibly friendly, the drinks were reasonable, even the food looked outstanding. So what went wrong? There was a great corner area that could have housed live entertainment, but that is not something they support. There were barely enough people to fill a quarter of the seats, and there was just very little going on. In short, it was boring; it backed the hole-in-the-wall feel, and just appeared to not be drawing a crowd. I encourage visiting such a cool-looking establishment, but I simply couldn't find any reason to stay past my first drink.
          Some honorable mention bars that I visited, but was not able to write up, should definitely be on your list in Ohio City: The Great Lakes Brewing Company, Garage Bar, and Market Avenue Wine Bar. Next week we're off to the last stop of the tour, Tremont.
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