A favorite of Case Western Reserve students, faculty, alumni, staff and just about everyone else, the Jolly is centrally located in Thwing Center. With cheap food, regular drink specials and one of the best selections of draught beer on campus, the Jolly is the go-to destination following meetings and exams. Great food options include their barbecue pork sandwich and salad offerings. Be sure to have the sweet potato fries as an appetizer alongside your beer (or nonalcoholic beverage); it is a delicious combination.
A recent arrival in University Circle, ABC Tavern was originally opened on West 25th Street in Ohio City before opening a branch in the new Uptown development. Tucked behind the hulking Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (MOCA) building, ABC offers traditional bar fare with a twist, like fresh ground lamb quesadillas and hummus cucumber clubs, along with a fully equipped bar and plenty of quality beer on tap.
L’Albatros Brasserie & Bar
Sometimes the stressors of life necessitate an $11 cocktail. When these moments strike, grabbing a seat at the bar inside of L’Albatros is your best bet. L’Albatros is tucked away on Bellflower Road between The Coffee House at University Circle and Denny’s All Nighter. Their french-inspired menu offers some of the best food on campus, with their version of french toast or the sinful Croque-monsieur being stellar options to pair with alcohol. If you’re on the hunt for a good cocktail, be sure to try The Last Word and its delicious combination of citadelle gin, luxardo maraschino liqueur, chartreuse and lime juice. Just don’t try to drive home afterwards.
Tucked behind The Coffee House and the Alumni House, the Barking Spider Tavern is a hidden University Circle gem. Almost constantly booked with live music ranging from jazz and art rock to acoustic funk, the tavern is a favorite haunt of the Cleveland Institute of Art and Cleveland Institute of Music students that share the Case Western Reserve campus. With a rustic vibe, complete with an outdoor seating area equipped with picnic tables and ringed by wooden fencing, the Barking Spider is the perfect spot to escape from the University Circle bubble without actually leaving it.
A Cleveland institution of sorts, the Winking Lizard Tavern was originally opened in 1983 in Bedford Heights. Today, the tavern boasts 14 locations in and around the Cleveland area, including one conveniently close to campus in Coventry. Along with the fairly standard food selection and a healthy bar, the Winking Lizard offers the annual World Tour of Beers. Last year’s world tour featured 300 beers, with prizes for trying 50, 100, and 150 varieties. If that’s any indication, this year’s World Tour is bound to be a blast and is worth checking out for those of age.