Nestled in the Coventry district within Cleveland Heights's historic Centrum Theater, Fracas flanks fine gastropub fare with inspired homemade sauces. Sea smitten can munch on the calamari to start, browned in lemon oil and chili olive pesto ($9), while green gurus can lead forkscapades onto plates of fried green tomatoes bathed in chive oil and vinaigrette ($9). Entrees include a beef short rib braised in Dogfish Head IPA ($26), as well as the Ohio City black-pepper gnocchi backed by wild mushrooms, english peas, leeks, and grape tomatoes, and smothered with smoked gouda alfredo ($18). The bar stocks a staunch selection of local and Midwestern brews, 16 on tap and 30 by bottle, and counts the Rate Beer–approved Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold ($4; RB: 95/100) and the Buckeye Brewing Hippie IPA ($12 for 22 oz; RB: 95/100) among their regular liquid relievers. Should carnivores crave sustenance not found on the menu, Fracas's scratch kitchen can create the meal of one's dreams should they have the ingredients, yielding such customer-conceived classics as the melancholy jam sandwich and apple pie a la go carte.
A lengthy lineup of traditional game-day fare and a sports atmosphere captivate fans at Fox and Hound - Bailey's, where the kitchen remains open as late as its neighboring fully stocked bar. Chefs cook until the wee hours of the morning and always until the bar closes, baking Bavarian pretzel starters, crafting towers of onion rings, and preparing hand-battered chicken tenders that are cooked until they are golden brown. They blend their own seasonings to sprinkle over grilled-to-order burgers, and draw from a diverse roster of cheeses and toppings to crown their wood-oven-inspired flatbreads.
While manning the bars, bartenders tap into a stash of libations, such as UV Whipped vodka and Patron Silver tequila, to mix their specialty cocktails. To further foster a sporting ambiance, high-definition TVs glow with sports games and custom music-video playlists, and guests partake in pastimes of ump bashing, billiards, or competitive people watching.
Cleats possesses the official chicken wing of the Cleveland Indians, which is dipped in an extra-hot bronze sauce and guarded by multi-headed beasts. Despite the selection of more than 50 domestic and imported beers and more than enough sports fans to match each one, the establishment is family friendly and happy to serve patrons with progeny in tow. Cleats' menu is a cornucopia of casual American fare, with starters such as spinach artichoke dip ($6.99) and beer-batter-fried pickles ($4.99) at hand to combat raging appetites. Keep it light with a Greek salad ($9.99 large, $7.99 small), or tuck in for the night with a Texas hold 'em burger ($8.99), a beef slab fitted with a cowboy hat of bacon, cheddar, onion rings, and house-made barbecue sauce. If you prefer to keep your meat bites separate from your carb bites, choose from 22 signature wing sauces and order up a combo plate of eight wings and six soft pretzel sticks ($9.99).
Inside The Wild Goose, which won the people’s choice award from the Taste of Willoughby, a stone oven bakes pizzas laden with eclectic ingredients, including elbow noodles, celery, and potatoes. Chefs top the Galway Bay pie with alfredo sauce, rock shrimp, crabmeat, cheese, and a sprinkle of parsley, and they slather the That’s A Buff Chick pizza with chicken, cheese, celery, crumbled blue cheese, and a drizzle of buffalo sauce. When not customizing crusts, they ladle up bowls of irish potato soup and fill hoagies with saucy meatballs as pro football games and amateur potato-peeling competitions play on televisions propped behind a granite-topped bar.
Any Irish pub worth its weight in Guinness can make a mean corned beef. It takes a special kind of visionary, however, to stack that corned beef on top of a towering American hamburger. Like most of its regular patrons, Croagh Patrick's Pub has a thick streak of green in its lineage. Willoughby's premier neighborhood hangout finds common ground between its Irish ancestry and its American present, creating such crossover dishes as Celtic egg rolls and the aforementioned Irish-American burger.
Rather than limit themselves to serving creative, Cleveland-inspired cuisine or to hosting late-night bowlers sipping from frothy pint glasses, the founders of 4th Street Bar & Grill – The Corner Alley decided to do both. Inside spacious, sleek environs, servers at the bowling alley’s 4th Street Bar & Grill dole out pierogis—dumplings stuffed with potato and smoked cheddar cheese—and oven-baked pizzas, such as the Alley Pie, topped with cheese and fresh basil. Local draft brews from Buckeye Brewing, Brew Kettle, and Hoppin’ Frog or one of more than 20 locally-inspired cocktails and martinis accompany meals and pin-pulverizing sessions at one of 16 lanes. Satellite-selected sounds pump through speakers, and patrons can control tunes from a special app on their phone or speak directly to Meatloaf through the jukebox.
Whether they’re there to bowl, eat, drink, or finally understand gravity, up to 600 people can gather inside the ample quarters. Groups of 4–45 revelers can populate the Mezzanine, a private party room hoisted atop an elevated platform and replete with several flat-screen TVs. Millionaire’s Row plays host to 100 guests, who can bowl on four private lanes, sip martinis at the Back Alley bar, or lay quietly atop the billiards table. And inside the 2,000-square-foot Spare Room, up to 90 friends can dine on a customizable menu as well as play billiards, air hockey, foosball, darts, and skeeball.