As organic to Cleveland as baseball.
The Lincoln Park neighborhood of Cleveland is as rich as the city that surrounds it, a well-worn residential neighborhood marked with timeless food and drink options, and a few more modern entries as well. While it’s no mystery where Lincoln Park Pub gets its name, the bar does sit in a bit of a middle zone between some of the classic options nearby (Hotz Café, opened in 1936) and a few blocks of trendier fare nearby.
Of their own admission, Lincoln Park Pub is more a casual eatery than a dive bar, though there is just enough roughness around the edges to add to the ambiance. Every ounce of the presentation of the bar exudes a classic neighborhood pub vibe, the simple wooden exterior, the wooden flooring that gives way to wooden wall paneling, the back patio dotted with picnic tables and overhead lights. Lincoln Park Pub is the kind of place that feels like a natural extension of the neighborhood rather than some kind of incremental addition.
The space inside is impressively expansive, roughly divided into two halves marked by the bar on one side, seating on the other. Seating lines the bar that runs the length of one wall, extending to window-adjacent tables that provide a view of the neighborhood. Christmas lights hang from built-ins doing their best impression of roof shingles, only adding to the part-of-the-neighborhood feel. Illuminated liquor bottles and beer colors complete the familiar scene.
The room opposite the bar includes a fireplace, a cozy and welcome addition given the sometimes nasty Midwestern winter weather than can roll through Cleveland. A foosball table, a pool table, a dart board, an arcade game in the back, all of the classics are accounted for here. And cutouts in the divisions between the two halves of the space preserve the connected feeling of Lincoln Park Pub, while offering some additional wall space for beer signs, naturally.
As mentioned, there is some roughness around the edges, the basement bathrooms the best example at the foot of a slightly-steeper-than-normal set of stairs. The bathrooms feature the only graffiti to be found within the space, as well as brightly painted brick, obviously no coincidence with likely a rich tapestry of artistic license under each layer of the paint that has been applied over the years.
A patio extends the space out back, picnic tables and metal chairs surrounding a brick fire pit. The largely residential area that surrounds Lincoln Park Pub makes for the kind of backdrop to the outdoor space, again reinforcing the feeling of hanging out a friend’s house with a couple of beers on the table. And that’s really the story of Lincoln Park Pub, a neighborhood bar in every sense of the word that wears just enough uniqueness to create a casual, comfortable atmosphere that is clearly the intent of the owners.