Go Alfresco

July 7, 2015
Go Alfresco

Eating (and drinking) outside the box

By Stephanie Ricca

We Clevelanders relish the days when the sun shines and we feel the warmth on our skin. We look forward to it every year as summer approaches (and usually start celebrating as early as possible, but hey, why not?). That's why the second the clouds part and the temperature hits a balmy 65 degrees or higher, we put on our shorts and wicker hats and run straight to the nearest patio to celebrate with a drink and a bite to eat.

Cleveland has so many patios popping up, sun worshipers won't have to look far to find a great outdoor option.


Let's start off with beautiful vistas at classic Cleveland bistros. Merwin's Wharf in The Flats offers awesome views of the Cuyahoga River for dinner and weekend brunch on its patio. If Merwin's signature cocktails don't keep you warm, the outdoor fireplace certainly will. Looking for something fancier? Locals and visitors alike have been flocking to Pier W for 50 years. The cliff-side Lakewood mainstay is famous for its fresh seafood, juicy steaks, and hands-down, the best skyline views in town.


Give your booze a little fresh air. Clink giant, liter-sized beer steins at Hofbräuhaus Cleveland's Bavarian beer hall or outdoor beer garden in Playhouse Square. The latter seats 1,000, a walk-up pavilion to purchase brats and beers, and European-style seating. If your taste runs more Cleveland craft, head over to Market Garden Brewery in Ohio City. Billed as the city's first American Beer Garden, Market Garden's outdoor patio, adjacent to the fabled West Side Market, is a great place to enjoy home-brewed pours and bites.


Sometimes the journey is the destination. Downtown, build your East 4th Street patio crawl along the city's best people-watching avenue, where top dining spots like Butcher & The Brewer and Chinato offer prime patio space and The Greenhouse Tavern sports a primo rooftop patio. On the city's eastside, discover the Italian dolce vita in historic Little Italy. Along Mayfield Road, bakeries, pizza shops, and top-notch trattorias sit between funky art galleries and shops.

Find more popular hangouts at Thisiscleveland.com.

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