We headed out to Cleveland and, after slight housing missteps in both Louisville and Detroit, decided to play it safe and get a Marriott in Independence on the outskirts of town. It was Saturday night and after unloading our things and making another batch of gruel, we made our way towards Ohio City – an area known for its bar scene. We were not disappointed – and not solely by the convenient, fee-free parking (Coming in at the number three best reason to live in Cleveland – behind Lebron and housing costs of course).
We were certain that we had seen the best craft brew scenes already – I mean, we live in California, and already stopped in Portland. But to our surprise, here in one of the seats of the Tri-Lake area was a bona fide kick-butt craft brew scene, right there on West 25th Street. We started at Townhall where all pints are $5 and the selection includes all-stars like Green Flash’s West Coast IPA. It was the Cleveland Brown’s first preseason game and we witnessed Johnny Manziel’s first snaps as a Brown. For awhile the crowd was intrigued but the hype was inevitably too great for the kid to live up to. Our next stop was Bier Market and their pool table as we continued our running road trip billiards tournament while enjoying some more reasonably priced craft beers. After two trendy-ish bars, we headed over to ABC Tavern – which looks like the kind of place where you’re going to be served a can of American lager and a shot of well whiskey and like it. Malc and I made friends with our bartender, Jess, who made us some delicious Whiskey Mules and made some recommendations for our next day’s activities.
About ready to call it a night, the florescent lights of a food truck illuminated the walkway and like moths to bug zapper, our taco fate was sealed. This turned out to be a very fortuitous as we made friends with Courtney and Kim while in line. The two convinced us to “not be pussies” and grab one more beer. With our manhood in question, we agreed. After some chit-chat, we made plans to get brunch and interview the girls the next morning.
Brunch was set for 11:00am and so we set out in search of interviews a little after 9:00am. Ohio City was pretty dead at that hour on a Sunday morning so we took in some of the impressive architecture for the local middle school. About ready to throw in the towel, we stumbled upon Sara and her Great Dane, Maurice. Sara is a hustler and an advocate for healthy eating. If she had her druthers, she’d want millennials to start the movement away from processed foods. It was a great interview and it all started thanks to Maurice.
Feeling good about salvaging the morning with a solid interview, we head to Nano Brew for our brunch. Courtney and Kim arrived and while Nano was out doughnut holes (almost a deal breaker) the rest of the food was great and we enjoyed having some people to share our tales with while listening to some of their own. After brunch, the interview was conducted and we parted ways – them, back to their lives, us, into the heart of Cleveland.
First stop, the Rock and Freaking Roll Hall of Fame! If you’re in Cleveland, you’ve got to do it. They open with a slightly bizarre but also highly enjoyable history of rock and roll video and then you are released to explore the bottom floor which chronicles the history of rock in roll in different regions, and has interactive exhibits that show how various artists influenced their successors. You can get lost in the place and after several hours, we headed left and broke off into our interviewing pairs.
It just so happened that the Gay Games 2014 was being hosted in Cleveland. The persistent bass pounding prevented interviews but it was nice to see yet another example on our trip of support for the same sex community. We moved on, away from the hustle and bustle of the Games and had a real nice interview with a brother and sister who were visiting from small town upstate New York. It was nice to hear their perspective since we wouldn’t be making any stops in their area. Fairly exhausted at this point, we headed back to the Marriott for gruel – and that’s where we would stay, effectively ending our stay in Cleveland. Next up, Rochester, NY.