Where are some exciting places to eat, drink and have fun in Cleveland in January?

My husband and I are planning on renting a limo and heading to Cleveland (we live in Youngstown) with a bunch of friends to celebrate our 10th anniversary. We don't get out much and really want to have a good time! We plan on going to dinner and are looking for upscale dining with great food, good service and a fun atmosphere. Then after dinner we plan on bar hopping and again are looking for a fun, friendly atmosphere. Does anyone have any suggestions? Money is not an issue, we just want to have fun!

Update:

Also, we want unique, no chain restaurants! Thanks!

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  • 9 years ago
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    The tripadvisor.com rankings/reviews are pretty good IMO, but not all the restaurants ranked highly are upscale.

    http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g50207-Clev...

    The most highly regarded restaurant in Cleveland is Iron Chef Michael Symon's Lola Bistro on East 4th St., if you like the cuisine.

    http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g50207-Clev...

    Blue Pointe Grill is perhaps the most stunning restaurant in Cleveland, and it's located in the Warehouse District, with most of Cleveland's top nightclubs. Not everybody likes their food, however. Check this website for the opinions (see right column) of one of Cleveland's top restaurant critics; you should contact Michelle and ask her opinion as she's probably coming up on her 10th anniversary and few persons know the Cleveland culinary scene as well.

    http://clevelandfoodie.com/

    The Cleveland Chophouse and Morton's would be options, but these are upscale chains.

    One of my favorites is Crop. Here's the catch. This spring it closed its excellent restaurant in the Warehouse District and is moving to Ohio City later this summer into a larger space. You might want to keep an eye on reviews when it reopens in its new space. It will be one of the culinary events of the year as Crop is considered one of the most innovative restaurants in Cleveland. Its TA ratings have slipped as a result of its temporary closure.

    For bars and nightclubs, this search engine works fairly well. You'll probably want to visit some places in Tremont as well as the Warehouse District, so make certain your driver has the locations programmed into a GPS. Tremont isn't an easy place for newcomers to navigate in daylight, let alone in the dark in winter, and some destinations there are not well marked with signage.

    http://clevelandbarhopper.com/

    http://clevelandbarhopper.com/Listing.asp?f=FullBa...

    The Velvet Tango Room has a national reputation, although it was never a speakeasy and cocktails run around $15 each. It does have entertainment after 9 p.m., but I'm not certain it's what you're looking for. Wilbert's is famous for its music.

    http://travel.nytimes.com/2009/09/20/travel/20hour...

    Keep in mind that it's easy to catch a dead night downtown in January, especially if there's a storm, or the Cavs aren't playing, etc.

    Good luck and congratulations!

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