Detroit Shoreway Bar Crawl

Cleveland, Ohio

Sneaky good dive bar drinking sits just west of Cleveland's downtown core (with an epic night cap)
Beck Tavern - Columbus Dive Bar - Interior
Cleveland’s Detroit Shoreway is in many ways the archetype near-urban neighborhood that fell into some level of disrepair before being reclaimed, renovated and reimagined by impassioned community members. According to the neighborhood’s own web site, median home sales during the 1990s fell as low as $16,000, a symbol of descent for a neighborhood that can trace its history back to the early 1800’s and the lifeblood of a canal, of all things.

The Detroit Shoreway borders likely change based on who you ask, but generally speaking, this area just west of Cleveland’s downtown tour is a sprawling, largely residential tract of land that traces Lake Erie. A handful of commercial corridors provide the main bar and restaurant concentrations for the area, but, as always, the dive bars, diners and food trucks that dot the area often veer off the beaten path.

What makes the area such a great neighborhood crawl is the mixture of time-tested history (evident in both the repair and disrepair of some of the key architecture in the area) and gently renovated offerings, creating a pretty impressive network of breweries and bars with just the right amount of neighborhood-infused diveyness to be worth the visit.

The Stops

1. B And G Tavern

4150 Lorain Ave, Cleveland, OH 44113
Google Map
(216) 651-0883

This recommended version of the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood crawl can really be split into two parts, a concentration around Lorain Avenue to the south and a more protracted stretch of offerings along Detroit Avenue a few blocks north. B And G serves as the Lorain anchor, home of maybe the best dive bar sign in Cleveland (and a candidate for best in the country) as well as some surprisingly good food catering to a steady stream of neighborhood regulars that have been frequenting B And G since the 1980s.

2. Forest City Shuffleboard Arena & Bar

4506 Lorain Ave, Cleveland, OH 44102
Google Map
(440) 829-2196
Web Site Link

Another true-to-title offering along Lorain, Forest City Shuffleboard provides exactly what it sounds like it might, an array of indoor shuffleboard courts flanked by standup bar shuffleboard tables and ample quantities of alcohol. Flat rates can be paid for hourly rental of the courts and tables, offering another opportunity to hassle your friends to chip in for something.

3. Happy Dog

5801 Detroit Ave, Cleveland, OH 44102
Google Map
(216) 651-9474
Web Site Link

If you didn’t quite fill up at Seti’s Polish Boys, or if you’re starting your tour here with the Detroit Avenue branch of the itinerary, Happy Dog offers another Shoreway destination for cylindrical grilled meat. The vibe here is much more the “exotic toppings piled high” style than Seti’s “throw some onions on that thing” approach. A small stage can be found inside, hosting elements of the surging music scene in the Shoreway.

4. McNamara's Pub

8611 Lake Ave, Cleveland, OH 44102
Google Map
(216) 356-6000

On the edges of the Shoreway neighborhood, McNamara’s is the classic “reclaimed old building” version of a dive bar. In a profoundly residential area flanked by an equally classic convenience store across the street, McNamara’s interior wisely allows the age of the building to shine through, from the exposed and refinished wood floors to the brick interior walls.

5. Terrestrial Brewing

7524 Father Frascati, Cleveland, OH 44102
Google Map
(216) 465-9999
Web Site Link

Flanking a railroad that runs along Lake Erie, Terrestrial Brewing Company is part of one of those planned communities where sprawling apartment complexes give way to reclaimed portions of the surrounding area. Dominated by exposed brick and beer tanks, Terrestrial’s cavernous footprint offers ample space to pre-game the Shoreway’s two dive bar gems capping this recommended crawl.

6. Parkview Nite Club

1261 W 58th St, Cleveland, OH 44102
Google Map
(216) 961-1341

There are few Cleveland dive bars that feel quite as classic as Parkview Nite Club, the kind of neighborhood tavern that just screams “Midwest” in a very good way. From the vintage bowling game in the back corner to the long bar that stretches the full length of the building, Parkview is a magnet to the surrounding area, the kind of meeting place that pulls a neighborhood and its people together.

7. Tina's Nite Club

5400 Herman Ave, Cleveland, OH 44102
Google Map

The best is very much saved for last on this itinerary and best in this case applies to a dive bar that shares its space and signage with a bail bondsman. This cinder block-lined rectangle of a building houses what feels like a one-room-schoolhouse dive bar, a bare bones presentation brought to life by nearly-nightly karaoke that draws an impressive crowd. Stark patio, neighborhood setting, late night karaoke and an endless supply of High Life, there may be no better way to cap off a neighborhood crawl than Tina’s.

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Babe Ruth drank here.