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.
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.
Billy's – A Cappelli Martini Bar specializes in its title cocktail, but with a food menu extensive enough to include both caprese salad and sushi, it's clear that the chefs work as hard as the mixologists. A host of special events, too, keep patrons returning: Man Cave nights feature indulging in cigars and whiskey on the patio, while dance parties get toes tapping inside. In the dining room, cerulean blue light glows beneath a glossy black bar, reflecting off white brick walls for a crisp, cool look.
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).
The name Burgers-N-Beer is straightforward. That’s why first-time visitors may be surprised by the scope of the eatery’s offerings. Cooks sculpt juicy half-pound patties by hand, piling on toppings such as fried eggs or marinara sauce. They also stuff burgers with fillings such as gorgonzola or creole-inspired olive tapenade, and they sometimes go to extremes by crafting burgers that weigh in at a full pound.
Patrons can also opt for slabs of ribs, corned-beef sandwiches on rye, and Italian specialties such as fried ravioli or italian wedding soup. But the food isn’t the only reason to stop by. Burgers-N-Beer exudes what one Cleveland Scene writer described as "old-time charm, cheery atmosphere, and prompt, friendly service—all seemingly designed to make a midweek dinner feel like a getaway at a lakeside resort.” On Friday and Saturday nights, the restaurant stops eager patrons from abandoning still-rolling cars with complimentary valet service.
Envisioning themselves as the house band of the United Nations in 1962, Pink Martini's 12 musicians perform an eclectic songbook of pieces drawn from globe-spanning jams, American lounge tunes, and jazz. Guest vocalist Storm Large, who has appeared on the reality show Rock Star: Supernova, takes over the lead-singing reins for Pink Martini’s summer tour. With a style described as “powerful, at times operatic” by the Guardian, Large fills the gap left by former singer China Forbes and her classy charisma and potent purr. Originally opened in 1921 as a vaudeville house where Fred Astaire and Judy Garland once dropped jaws, the lavish State Theatre aligns with Pink Martini’s elegant visions of jet-setting cocktail parties.