Voted 2010's 2nd Best Trendy Bar by the Fox 8 Hot List, The South Side dishes out a succulent menu of gourmet tavern fare overflowing with fresh takes on traditional pub mainstays. Quack for a small plate of chipotle barbecue duck pizza, featuring roasted tomatoes, scallions, provolone, mozzarella, and cilantro-lime vinaigrette ($9.50), or study a sandwich's delicious cheekbone muscles with the open-faced chorizo meatloaf topped onto sourdough and drizzled with rosemary cabernet gravy ($10). Grilled german bologna on a pretzel roll comes dressed with caramelized onions, spicy mustard, and horseradish havarti ($10), while hazelnut coffee-crusted sockeye salmon is served with seasonal squash purée and chocolate buerre blanc ($10) . Every Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., diners just waking up after a long night of unsuccessfully building an egg-juggling robot can dine on a brunch menu heaped with zesty midmorning fare such as chicken and waffles, which layers tempura, airline breast, belgian waffles, cinnamon butter, Ohio maple syrup, and a side of hot sauce ($7).
After dinner, Liquid undergoes a transformation. While diners are finishing up hearty pulled-pork sandwiches and fried pickles, a DJ steps into a booth. A switch is flipped, and multicolored lights shimmer across the low-lit interior as house music thunders from the speakers. The crowd goes wild.
Part restaurant, part bar, and part nightclub, Liquid spans three rooms, from a large dance floor to rows of tables and booths. Servers whisk bar-friendly eats to revelers until 1a.m., from spicy chicken wings to summer salads.
The cooks at Nova Bar and Grill purvey a menu brimming with Argentina’s characteristic blend of Mediterranean influences, from Spanish to Italian, using ingredients derived from South America's agricultural- and livestock-focused traditions. A trio of empanadas snuggles a blend of cheese, cumin-tinged veggies, and either spinach, beef, or chicken in its crispy pastry shells ($6). Churrasco, or grilled skirt steak ($16), showcases Argentina’s famously beef-centric cuisine, and a full cast of meats takes center stage in the parrillada's blend of skirt steak, short ribs, chicken, and argentine sausage ($29). Bites into the Angus burger's manchego cheese, bacon, and avocado ($12) energize palates more effectively than garnishes of pickles infused with pop-rocks, and slices of la argentina pizza serenade taste buds with an orchestration of red peppers, hard-boiled eggs, and tomato. As they dine, guests at Nova Bar and Grill can take in the eatery’s modern, geometric décor, with ceiling-high, cylindrical-shaped columns, as well as back-lit, rectangle-shaped cutaways and chrome, chair-shaped chairs.
The Office provides enough delicious eats and drinks to stuff the belly’s briefcase to the buckle. Appetizers entice professional palates with sophisticated options—such as wasabi-stuffed shrimp cocktail and seared scallops with asparagus and mushrooms (both $10.95)—but also assuage simpler salivations with comforting pre-dinner fare such as wings ($7.95 per dozen), loaded Irish nachos ($8.95), and herb-and-parmesan fries ($4.95). Once your mouth is warmed and ready, direct its incisor specs to the entrees like temporally displaced Napoleonic soldiers toward a Russian teahouse. Bacon acts as the ambassador of turf-born protein on the otherwise surftacular plate of pan-seared salmon and lobster, which swims in a sea of tomato-compound butter ($17.95). The mushroom and swiss burger ($7.95) and flat-iron steak ($15.95), on the other hand, stand their ground as terra firma edibles. Lighter bites that are equally heavy on flavor include the mesclun salad, which is a fresh toss of strawberries, candied pecans, dried cherries, feta, and balsamic vinaigrette ($6.95 for a full).
Short attention spans are rewarded at Club Velvet. The lounge spills out onto the casino's gaming floor, so you can turn from the bar to the stage to a prime people-watching arena with just a swivel of the head. Of course, you're likely to be drawn in by the live performances no matter what else is going on: the standup comics on stage arrive backed by national acclaim and bearing high-energy riffs, agile crowd-work, and even the occasional squeaky-clean set for people who can't show up to work smelling like swear words. Servers distribute finger foods, wine, buckets of beer, and sweet, fruity cocktails throughout the show.
Composed of veterans of HBO, The Onion, and Second City, the recently birthed comedy troupe TubShark unveils its mirth-making stylings with two shows at Big Dog Theater. Enjoy a night’s worth of free-range laughter with TubShark’s eclectic revue, which blends the sensibilities of groundbreaking programs such as Mr. Show, Kids in the Hall, and Trapper John, M.D.. Northeast Ohio–bred comedy talents Jesse Alison, James Catullo, Tim Cornett, Marissa DeSantis, Jessica Fleming, Liz Huff, and Nick Staron write and perform all sketches, weaving audience interaction, standup, film or video, and music like a gang of wisecracking seamstresses.