Not too long ago, a historical building overlooking French Creek stood empty, waiting patiently for its next chapter to begin. The former Creekside Tavern in the nearly two-century-old building had been a community staple for decades, and locals were eager to see it open again. In 2013, they finally got their chance with the debut of The French Creek est. 1816 pub and eatery.
Patrons belly up to the renovated bar for 40 craft beer selections and a glass or carafe of wine from all around the world. These drinks pair with perch dinners and house-made meatloaf, as well as burgers that arrive on brioche, pretzel, or gluten-free buns. Guests can eat inside among the pool tables or head outside to the patio, where they can relax in the shade of an umbrella, listen to acoustic music from live acts, or gaze at the flowing creek to try to spot any krakens.
Buckeye Lanes’ glossy lanes provide a place to foster camaraderie and healthy competition. Easily heftable bowling balls and bumpers accommodate children during normal business hours and birthday parties catered with hot dogs or pizza slices, which can be held in a person’s not-bowling hand. During Rockin' Bowl two nights a week, the alley morphs into a pulsing nightclub from midnight to 2 a.m. with orbs hurtling amid dimmed lighting and cranked up beats. In the snack bar and lounge, pool sticks thwack cue balls on eight billiards tables and patrons devour sandwiches or demolish karaoke tunes.
Stop 45's owner, Tom Curry, commemorates Avon Lake’s years as a stop on the Lake Shore Electric railroad with this freshly renovated, 2,400-square-foot flavor depot, featuring a remodeled menu brimming with specialty pizzas, savory wraps, and flavorful starters. With the Ohio meat-and-cheese plate, strewn with state-produced Holiday meats and Middlefield cheeses ($9), patrons relish an authentic Ohioan coupling without the risks involved in luring a white-tailed deer up a buckeye tree. Steamed mussels can take a dip in a pool of marinara or luxuriate in a broth of garlic butter and white wine ($9), and ancient-Roman salad dressers bedeck the caesar-style wrap in an ensemble of parmesan and grilled chicken ($8). Stop 45 also hosts an entourage of specialty pizzas blanketed in homemade sauce, including the Hawaiian pizza, whose oven-baked crust sets the stage for a luau of pineapple, banana peppers, and bacon ($15–$19), and the Meatza pizza whose bountiful helping of five meats fuels competitors with enough protein to emerge victorious from heated games of Scrabble ($16–$22).
For the quartet of entrepreneurs behind Lake City Tavern, there's no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to pub food. Hence the eatery's mostly traditional lineup, ranging from fried green beans to smoked jumbo wings tossed in garlic parmesan. On occasion, though, cooks reassemble classic ingredients in creative ways, such as stuffing fries, bacon, egg, and cheese into a breakfast wrap available all day.
Pints and mixed drinks complement feasts, which unfold amid a near constant stream of entertainment, from dart leagues and sports on flat-screen TVs to live music and karaoke. In the summer, Lake City Tavern unveils its spacious outdoor deck and bar, which surrounds a sand volleyball court where patrons can showcase their spiking or bury their dessert for later.
Babe's Sports Grille offers a rollicking combination of sports-bar charm and nightlife options, with live music on the weekends, a breezy outdoor patio, and hearty eats. Eyes hustle across the menu and into the defensive line of hefty appetizers, including sautéed Cajun shrimp salad ($8) and Babe's famous wings, accompanied by one of seven sauce options such as garlic-parmesan or barbecue ($7.50 for a dozen). Guests can sink baying canine teeth into a 14-ounce strip steak, served with garlic bread ($14), or pop breaded shrimp, fries, and coleslaw into gaping maws ($8). Specialty pizzas harbor time-tested culinary combinations such as the barbecue chicken ($10) and the four-meat Italian Feast ($14), and Babe’s make-your-own pies ($9+) challenge patrons to elect their own toppings, like bite-sized state senators. Fridays and Saturdays showcase the stylings of DJs and die-hard dancers, proving that, when performed correctly, modern dance can be considered a sport.