One of the easiest ways to mark Northeast Ohio’s changing seasons is by observing where the staff of Buzzbin can be found drinking itself into oblivion. The trees are budding, the air is tinged with the smell of fresh-cut grass, and our editors and contributors are dragging themselves from the rocks they’ve been living under to spend the next five months finding reasons to drink outdoors. Here are some of Buzzbin’s favorite patio bars for doing just that. – Seth Borgan
Mike Nasvadi — Editor-in-Chief
I’ll tell you why I like the patio at the Erie Street Pub in Massillon the best. One, they serve beers in a mug they call “The Hammer.” It is huge. Two, they have the best BBQ wings on the planet. Drinking a beer out of “The Hammer” is like doing a one-arm curl, which is also like exercising while I am chomping on wings. In some weird way this all makes me feel like I am on a diet. The patio itself is straight out of your favorite vacation spot, accompanied by grounds for a huge backyard party. There’s cornhole, beer and more beer. And those elements will keep anyone in Stark County busy for eternity.
Molly Lehman — Contributing Editor
On warm nights, when I feel like pretending I’m not on a grad-school budget that otherwise limits me to fish sticks and Carlo Rossi, I go to Picciano’s Martini Lounge in downtown Canton. The place takes its word-of-mouth fame seriously: no sign on the storefront outside, and no website. Find it, and you’ll open the door to a narrow, dim space with dark leather and cabernet walls, well-dressed patrons and, on Fridays, live jazz. Out back is a cozy rooftop patio with a city view. The martinis are pricey (think $11 pricey), but amazing — and potent. The gin-drenched French 75 is made for July.
Nate Brown — Contributing Writer
My favorite is The Horseshoe in Warren. When the weather warms up, the downtown bar turns into a patio paradise. They have plenty of tables and benches to relax on and usually a decent band playing. There’s a good selection of drinks and, equally crucial, they’re cheap. Most importantly, if it’s too cold or raining, they have a tent for the outdoor bar, so you can hotbox cigarette smoke like a Marlboro Wiz Khalifa.
Doug Guth — Contributing Writer
Brennan’s Colony in Cleveland Heights is a popular neighborhood tavern that expanded in recent years to include a large patio with an indoor/outdoor bar. You may have to wait for a table if you pop in on a warm Friday or Saturday night, but the covered bar is a comfortable, friendly space to hang with friends and sip the alcoholic beverage of your choice while you pass the time. The Colony’s half-pound All World burger tastes better when sitting outside, anyway. It’s a scientific fact!
Emily Richardson — Contributing Writer
I love the patio at the 5 O’Clock Bar in Lakewood. It’s rarely overcrowded and feels like someone’s backyard, with plenty of tables, chairs, and room to spread out. One random night I had my tarot cards read by a woman back there. Tremont has great patios, but on weekends the effort of fighting for parking and a decent place to stand or sit can be too much. The 5 O’Clock has cheap drinks, generally good music and great people-watching. I don’t have to stab someone to get a spot at the bar (but I tend to do that regardless).
Steve Hallo — Assistant Editor
Edison’s Pub in Cleveland’s historic Tremont neighborhood has one of the best things going. For starters, you can bring your dog. This instantly puts it well ahead of most drinking establishments. I think that goes without explanation. It also has a pizza shop attached and around 100 different beers. The patio is tastefully appointed with a fountain and classic American graffiti: crudely drawn genitals and witty slogans like “Screw You” and “Dave Sideburns is Balls!?!” — that type of stuff. To top it off, there is a good-size canopy to weather those early summer showers.