Saturday, July 26, 2008


I came across this interesting article about the recent cocktail convention in New Orleans. I found the classicist vs chef frame a good hook, and it started me thinking about the local cocktail scene. In the city where I previously lived, I had the very good fortune of finding a bartender that was not only friendly, but also dedicated to the history of cocktail making, and confident enough to play around with new ideas and specialty ingredients. Another friend and I had many an excellent drink thanks to this young man.

As for Cleveland, I'll admit, I haven't discovered a very robust scene, but that's also because I haven't looked that hard.

Obviously, Cleveland has Velvet Tango Room, which is lauded as one of the very best cocktail lounges in the country. Its presence alone should qualify our city for mention on any "best cocktail cities" you could find. But... it is hard to find, quite expensive, and really how many times do you get dressed up for drinks? It just isn't a place you can go to all the time, which is why I've found myself wanting other places around town, too. In fact, I've visited only 3-4 times in the last year, but I get the vibe that if one had to choose, it would be more classicist than chef-oriented, but I very well could be wrong on that score.

I've also enjoyed several of the cocktails at Bar Cento, but there the options are fewer and although tasty not made with quite the intensity or je ne sais quoi of VTR. Because I live right nearby and because it is more friendly to my budget, I head over there more often but still not as often as I would like. I would venture to guess the tenders at Bar Cento are more in line with that of the bar chefs mentioned in the WSJ article, though not as far-out as the specific individual mentioned. But, again, I could be wrong. (Here's another good article on the convention - check out in particular the part about molecular mixology.)

Anyway, all this is prelude to me asking the collective you what your thoughts on the Cleveland cocktail circuit are. Any favorite places? Any alternative interpretations to how I've classified VTR and BC? Anything else remotely related to the topic?

PS - Yesterday's best part of the day. Hmm. Yesterday was kinda crappy. I'll say it is a three-way toss-up between finding a baby gift at Bazaar Bizarre (thanks caseybots), chatting for a few minutes with Thomas Mulready at the Cool Cleveland party, and splitting a pork sandwich from Hot Sauce Williams with my lady friend while popping a squat on the corner of Huron and some alley. We also caught a view of Mayor Jackson being interviewed about 15 feet away. My lasting observation: Jackson's pants are too big for him. Mr. Mayor, with all due respect, if you are going to waste our money, at least siphon off a bit and get yourself a new tailor. There certainly must've been some good options during your taxpayer-funded Parisian jaunt, right?

1 comment:

Kerry said...

Lava Lounge has good drinks and food.