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Winking Lizard Tavern

Not Rated.
Winking Lizard TavernWinking Lizard Tavern
very good

22 Reviews
Reviews: 22
Visits: 41
Avg: 3.88
pDev: n/a
Taps: 24
Bottles: 323
Cask: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

811 Huron Rd E
Cleveland, Ohio, 44115-1120
United States
phone: (216) 589-0313

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @winkinglizard

Place added by: cokes

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Place: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 22 | Visits: 41
Photo of jmosier
3.7/5  rDev -4.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Had never been, so my wife and I went here for dinner on our way to see Lewis Black at the State Theater (great show, but I digress). Fantastic beer list, and a good selection on tap. Had one of the best burgers ever there, cooked just right, and the fries were extra crispy as requested. Wife said she wished the chicken in her Asian chicken wrap was a little warmer, but said it tasted good, just the same.

I had a Great Lakes Octoberfest and a Brother Thelonious on tap. Too bad no GL Nosferatu on tap -- surprised when the waiter said that it wasn't out now, they had it earlier in the year. Interesting, since we just got it from our distributor a couple weeks ago (writing this in mid-September) and the GL web site lists it as September-October. Oh well. There was so much else to choose from.

But + points to the waiter for steering me away from the Rueben, which I was thinking about getting (the look on his face when I asked about it told me all I needed to know). Hence the very satisfactory burger.

The place had a homey sort of look to it, don't look for glitz. Friendly staff, the hostess kindly called a cab for us to take us to the theater.

I would go back here. More beers to try.

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Photo of NWer
4.5/5  rDev +16%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

The Winking Lizard Tavern is a fun place and near ballpark making it very convenient to boot if you're there for baseball. Above average bar food. The pulled pork sandwich was the best I have had since I lived in the South thirty years ago. Great tap selection. I had a Great Lakes Burning River American Pale Ale but the choices were abundant and their prices are excellent - too much to choose from.
Great food, great atmosphere, great service.
Got out of there with three 22 oz beers, three sandwiches for 42 bucks plus tip.
Will definitely go back before I leave town.

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Photo of claminat420
3.7/5  rDev -4.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

stopped here on my cleveland trip to see primus. a modern sports bar but with a nice beer selection. we (gf and i) went during dinner and it wasn't too packed. kinda a mixed crowd it being a sports bar and it being in the business district. i orded some 911 wings (45cent wings mon and tues) and a half slab of baby back ribs which were ok (shoulda been more meat on the bones). they had around 15 beers on tap. if they didn't have your beer on tap i'm almost positive they had something you liked in a bottle. the waitstaff was friendly. overall the place wasn't too shabby. for it being walking distance from the hotel it definitely gets a plus. the prices could be lowered but the happy hour and deals really made it reasonable.

PS. i ordered a turkey wrap for later at the hotel for the drunk munchies and it was terrible. they need to put some mayo or something on it cuz it was drier then hell.

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Photo of mgbickel
3.84/5  rDev -1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5

Ah...my second visit to the Winking Lizard...the first being back in 2002 during my craft beer obsession infancy! In all honesty, it looks like the place hasn't changed much! You can enter from either side of the building...it is a bit of an odd triangle shape...there is a small bar at the apex of the triangle and a larger (but still pretty small) eating area at the base. The décor is what you would expect in a neighborhood sports bar...low lighting, lots of TVs and wood.

The beer selection is pretty decent...they have a nice bottle list that is available for take-out. There are coolers behind the bar that house the bottles (some of which are hidden behind others and wine). Not sure on the exact numbers, but I would guess about 100 bottles and 20 or so drafts. Lots of local and domestic craft available. The imports were not strongly represented though.

The bartender and hostess were very friendly and helpful. They even offered for me to join a "world of beer" tour (or something along those lines).

If you are in the downtown area of Cleveland, this place is worth checking out for sure!

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Photo of Stigs
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Stopped here for a couple drinks at the end of a recent visit to downtown. Inside, I made comments that the place had the decor similar to a Hooters. Seemed like a decent place to sit and watch a game. Got there around 11 and there were plenty of open spots at the bar.

Ordered a SN Celebration, my girlfriend attempted to order some kind of Triple, and they were out of it. The Celebration tap tasted just a tad bit off, still enjoyable. Finished the night with an Old Rasputin as I wanted something darker. Ordered some fries along the way to munch on and they were quite good, nothing fancy.

Overall pretty enjoyable...would definitely go back if I was in the mood.

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Photo of mtnbikerpa
3.48/5  rDev -10.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I was there over the Fourth of July weekend and one time there was a 1 and a half wait, so I decided to come back. In about 2 hours the place was cleared out because of the start of the Indians game. Great selection in bottles over 90 beers and good number of tap handles. Had a stone oaked AB, a orval, and some Ind. ale by Great Lakes. Staff seemed to know their stuff and food was not bad. Wings and burgers are good. I had plenty of time so I didnt notice how fast the service was. But I think when u go to a place like this there is no hurries just relax enjoy yourself with good food, great beer and maybe good company.

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Photo of Hibernator
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Dropped by the Winking Lizard Tavern a couple of times during my stay in Cleveland. In terms of location, this place is pretty darn convenient as it super close to The Q & Progressive Field. You have the option of sitting outside on the side of the street or inside at the bar or at a booth/table. Had some late night munchies here one night and everything was good. Nothing great, but you can get your standard pub food here. I ended up getting a wrap and Buffalo Wings.

Tons of coolers are located behind the bar with over 100 bottle options to chose from. Options included Westmalle Tripel, Stone Arrogant Bastard and Rochefort.

In terms of draft beers, I counted about 25 with highlights that included Bell's Two Hearted Ale, Stone Levitation Ale, DFH Festina Peche & 60 Minute IPA, Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold, Burning River Ale, Independence Ale, Commodore Perry IPA, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Summerfest.

They have a 'Glass of the Month' beer which is a cool concept because you keep the glass. The featured beer was Peroni while I was there. They also feature a Happy Hour special from Monday - Friday that takes $1 off 22 oz pints. I paid $5 for a Bell's Two Hearted Ale that was absolutely delicious and I was even more excited at that price.

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Photo of Redrover
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

I was in Cleveland for work and decided to catch the Indians game. A quick look on Beerfly led me to this place for some pregame food & beers.

The Winking lizard is a wedge shaped building near the Indians ballpark. There are two smallish bars each in its own room and a patio area. There are also plenty of tables for larger groups. It is understandably popular on game days.

Plenty of flat screens tuned to sports. Music volumes are low, lots of conversation noise.

They have a friendly staff. Maybe a trifle slow when crowded, but they are very free with samples.

24 or so taps, at least 16 are decent. They have multiple offerings from Great Lakes including a rotating special.

Large and inclusive bottle list including such gems as Heavy Seas Small Craft Warning, Hiatchino Ginger Brew, Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard, Cane and Ebel, etc.

The food is decent pub grub with some good specials. I thought the prices were very fair for both food & beer.

This is a great place to stop before or after a game or if you find yourself in this part of town on business.

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Photo of andjusticeforale
3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

We stopped in for a few pops and sat right in front of the beer case. The draft selections were not overly terrific and this was admitted by the bartender. But they are running a nice promotion of 100 different beers from around the world; Before we knew this we had ordered a Westmalle tripel and a Kolsch and then we had some wings and local IPA; great food; great place to watcha game; glass ware was not always appropriate, but I'd rather have a good selection than a lousy one with budweiser mugs....

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Photo of LittleTimmy
3.08/5  rDev -20.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | food: 2.5

I was in town for a convention and stopped in here for a Sunday evening meal. As others have mentioned, it's kind of sports bar-ish and crowded, but then, it is just a couple blocks from the Jake (er, I mean Progressive Field) and the basketball arena.

Overall, I'd say this place was...OK. They do have a large selection of beers, but nothing really leaped out as being particularly interesting, although in Cleveland I'm more than happy to get by drinking any of Great Lakes fine brews. The service and food were fine, but certainly nothing outstanding. Winking Lizard will do in a pinch, but not a must-stop.

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Photo of scoobybrew
3.71/5  rDev -4.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

The wife and I stopped here on a recent trip to Cleveland with an old college buddy and his spouse. The place is somewhat sportsbar-ish with respect to appearance and décor. The beer list was fairly impressive in number - 100+ beers - which ranged from fairly common to rare, but nothing too esoteric. There was a nice variety on tap also. The menu also displayed 'beginner or novice' beers, being macros to fairly ubiquitous craft beers. This is a nice touch for the market they're aiming for. Apparently if you try all 100 beers on a list within a year, you receive a jacket with their logo on it. It's nice that they encourage an adventuresome spirit in trying out new stuff. That said, the management could work on the glassware a little - in availability, but also in training. I had a Chimay white on tap that was served in a wine-like glass, but my wife's Three Philosophers was served with a British-style pint glass(?). That said, overall it was worth the stop as it was very close to the hotel and an enjoyable enough environment with decent selections.

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Photo of Gatch
4.14/5  rDev +6.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

A great location being downtown and only a couple minute walk from Jacobs Field or Quicken Loans Arena. We were lucky to be in Cleveland at such a good time, because the night we were there, the Cavs beat the Pistons and took the East. The city went crazy and the streets were packed with people. Everyone was hugging people, slapping hands, and celebrating with complete strangers. As the streets started calming down, I made my way into the Winking Lizard because I had read about it before the Road Trip. I had a pint of Bell's Two Hearted, my first Bell's, and it was exactly what I had hoped for and exactly what I needed (but it was served in a plastic cup, haha).

The atmosphere was pretty crazy b/c of the Cavs, but they handled the crowds well. You could have walked into any bar, though, and the atmosphere would have been crazy. They seemed to have the staff prepared for the kind of night it was going to be.

The place was clean and the coolers were organized. The beer tasted great and I saw no issues with quality, even when this night made quality control difficult.

Service wasn't very good, but I'm not going to discredit them on it because there was rarely a spot at the bar to walk up to and order something. I ordered my Two Hearted pretty fast, but after that, service declined and our group couldn't get much for drinks. Someone actually bought us a round because one of my friends said "Detroit sucks" to a Detroit fan and the we almost fought, but some guy was a friend of the Detroit fan and didn't want us to fight, so he bought us all drinks. By the way, the prices of the Macros were inflated, but my Bell's was priced well, so that's fine by me.

Selection was really good, in my mind, because I don't see a lot of the MidWest/Lakes beers all the time. They had a couple beers from Great Lakes & Bell's, which was enough for me. I think they had more Macro's on tap that night because of the occasion. They knew who they had to please, which was why a lot of taps were standard stuff and the coolers had more Macro bottles than usual. Even still, the coolers had a great selection of some pretty good bottles.

I didn't try any of the food, by the time we got in at 11, the kitchen closed a few minutes before. The pints were priced well, the service was good even when they were packed, and the atmosphere was enjoyable. I would come here again on any night.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.7/5  rDev -4.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

When I walked in the front door I was greeted by a large Iguana in a cage then as I worked my way back to the bar the had several glass door coolers of beer behind a bar. There were plenty of tables aswell and it was about 1/2 full on a Saturday night. The beer menu was on a paper menu with ads and specials on one side and an alphabetized list on the other.

They had lots of different glassware, some with logos and some without, but when I ordered a Belgian Quad it came with a Nonic. I thought about asking for a new glass but I didn't want to be that guy. They had a nice selection of Imports and American beers with beer tours to help you drink your way through the list. Nice little bar with a good beer selection but still lots of run-of-the-mill beers to fill in the gaps.

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Photo of UDbeernut
3.4/5  rDev -12.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3

Winking Lizard Taverns is a chain with locations through the greater Cleveland region and the state of Ohio. Each location usually features the standard macrobrews on tap and a nice selection of microbrews served by the bottle or can. Featuring its World Tour of beers, the Winking Lizards offers a substantial selection of average to excellent beer.

Food is standard sportbar fair offering an array of burgers and sandwiches. Atmosphere is decent, but nothing special. A good place for a novice to start and sample some beers from various regions.

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Photo of mcallister
4.01/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

This WL is good if you're looking for a good beer to drink. However if you want to truly enjoy that beer I think a better place can be found. It is a pretty loud and smokey bar but I'm not complaining.

I didn't have any food so I can't comment their; but the Bigfoot '06 I had and the Weyerbacher Blithering Idiot my girlfriend had were damn good although served to cold. They also have many other good beers both import and craft. I think the draught selection could of been a little better albeit still very good. Dissapointed I wasn't here a week later when they put the Sierra Nevada Harvest Ale on.

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Photo of Bones54
3.58/5  rDev -7.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I'm part of the 100 beer club, but as far as the Lizards that I have been to this is not my favorite. I am a fan of their food- decent wings, great burgers, and amazing bbq sauce.
The problem with this Lizard is the bar has a very odd shape- actually seems as if it is two complete separate bars. It's difficult to make your way around- and I gaurantee upon first exit out of the bathroom you will be confused and walk straight forward. You'll understand what I mean when you go. Don't be ashamed we've all been there.
As far as atmosphere- its fun after Indians/Cavs games. It is a favorite hang out of Indians/Cavs employees. The Cavs Girls love the place! But don't expect to get quick or any service after games, its as if the staff has no idea how to handle crowds- plus the setting makes it difficult to walk around.
On the off nights the service is actually better than most Lizards, but thats because you might find yourself being the only one in the bar.

Overall, the Lizards are a great place to go with you macro friends because its somewhere that appeases both crowds. Food is above average, and beer selection is fairly deep.

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Photo of johnyeast
4.34/5  rDev +11.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

I'm not sure if the atmosphere rating should be influenced by the company you make, but this one scored high. Basically a sports bar, but with great beer. My friend was treated to great service in deciding on his beers, finally deciding on the Victory Golden Monkey. I stuck to the local Great Lakes brews. Love the Edmund Fitzgearld Porter. Met Ashlee and Sean while sitting there. Ashlee was flirty from Cleveland and Sean was in town for a conference. A good night was had by all. Bartender had a joke to tell and the place was hopping with out being crowded. Thumbs up. Also close to hotel.

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Photo of PBRstreetgang
3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

If you're not taking the Great Lakes fatty wagon to and from the stadium, this is a good palce to stop in for a pint before the game. Located just around the corner from the ballpark and quite easy to find, a parking space however -is not.

Of course the winking lizard is as much a sports bar as it is a beer bar, so that means pre and post game crowds will dominate the building. But the service is surprisingly prompt even if you are not seated at the bar. The food is excellent as far as pub grub goes, but don't bother trying to order a steak.

All the usual "world tour" beers are present, along with a wide selection of excellent craft brew. However, there are also quite a few over-priced BMC beers. Still, it's nice to order a single bottle, as opposed to picking up a six pack and find out it's not your style.

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Photo of DuqTroops
3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

This is a great place to come to before / after a sports game. I live about 2 blocks from here and usually walk there. If driving, it is a pain to park around here; so park in a local garage or if you get lucky the street.

Beer selection is moderate. Doesn't have much local flavoring, however, their international selection is the best in the area. Much to offer from Germany and England! They have the most notable locals - great lakes, etc.

Food is cheap and bar food. Very VERY cheap.

Decent place to come for the game - lots of specials.

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Photo of malty
3.94/5  rDev +1.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Visited 10/29/05: A unique, old wedge shaped building a couple blocks NW of Jacobs field. The atmosphere was somewhat generic reminiscent of TGI Fridays, what do you expect for a chain? The brewerana (sp?) was pretty impressive, lots of neat tid bits that surprised me every now and then. Lots of TVs tuned to every NCAA football games.

Quality of brews seemed good. Had Rodenbach on tap (yum), which was very fresh and right on. The beer coolers were front lit with fluorescent so I had the bartender grab back a few deep.

Service was OK. The bartender's knowledge of the beer was lacking, but he was very accommodating with my geeky requests (grabbing by beers from the back of the cooler).

Selection: I didn't actually count the taps (as there were two separate bars, with a few different beers available at each, but the majority of the beers they shared. I would say there was around a couple dozen different beers on tap. The bottled selection was where I explored the most, being there were several beers I couldn't get in Michigan. Pike's IPA, Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout & IPA, Alagash Grand Cru to name a few - solid selection.

Didn't try the food but ate a few baskets of free popcorn with my mates. Menu looked like traditional chain restaurant food though.

Value was decent. $5 for a 12 oz. Rodenbach on tap in its proprietary glass (which I ended up buying for $3, nice little glass) seemed fair enough to me. $3.50 bottles of (most) micros - not bad at all.

Overall a decent place to sit a try a few beers. Decent tap selection and a very decent bottled selection. Check it out when you’re in town.

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Photo of Dogbrick
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

This Winking Lizard location is on Huron near Jacobs field in a wedge-shaped building. Street parking and garages are plentiful but during an Indians or Browns game a close spot would be harder to find.

Inside it is pretty cramped and maze-like, mostly due to the shape of the building. There is a small patio as well. Lots of TVs everwhere, with some breweriana (tap handles). There are windows lining both sides of the bar which is nice.

The beer selection beats just about anybody in the area. There are well over 100 beers available in bottles, and around 16 on draught. The bottles beers run the gamut from Stone, North Coast, GLBC, Ayinger, Victory, Bell's etc etc. There are a couple of gems on draught too such as Nosferatu and Rodenbach(!). What's more, they have a monthly featured beer that comes with a glass ($1 additional, it's not really free).

The Winking Lizard chain also has a wonderful beer club. If you try either 50 or 100 (depending on what time of year you start up) beers in their beer tour, you get a nice jacket for your effort. It costs $10 to sign up. The best part of this club is you don't get sacked with a bunch of crappy macros you have to try along the way. Pretty much everything on the list is quality stuff.

The service after an Indians game was pretty good.

The food at the Lizard is above average pub fare. A nice selection of wings, sandwiches and pizza.

Some people will always hate this place but where else can you get a Rodenbach on tap within walking distance of a ball park?

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Photo of cokes
3.73/5  rDev -3.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

Update 9/07. I'm gonna boost this up a bit. Upon a second visit (on a much less busy occasion) the service was much improved. The food, too, while standard pug grub, was decent. They, once again were out of their "glass of the month" (this time a Great Lakes Oktoberfest Stein this time on the 8th of the month)...so why advertise? That irks me.
The tap selection is fairly modest, but with some ringers (Great Lakes, natch, a couple middle-of-the-road Belgians, and a rotating "hoppy" tap). The bottles are where it's at, with 100 mostly solid offerings. Considering the quality, the beers (and to a lesser extent-given the location-, the food) are pretty reasonable, if not cheap.
Upon further review, I like this place. It's what a sports pub should be. But get some fucking beer-of-the-month glasses, would you? Or stop hyping it.

Original thoughts follow:

This is a big triangular place located right in the heart of downtown Cleveland right by Jacob's Field and Gund Arena.
Upon entering, it become clear that this is a sport bar. Lots of TVs and quite loud. Looks classier on the outside than it is within. The bar area is large, but was quite crowded the Friday night I was there. We did manage to find some room before getting a table.

The service was pretty grisly. Could have been the fact both the Indians and the Browns were playing that night, or maybe because the city had spent most of the previous night without power. No matter what, I don't expect to have the waitress roll her eyes at me when I order a beer. The bartender was equally unpleasant when informing me that their advertised "Big Beer of the Month", Triple Karmeliet, was sold out. Keep in mind it was the 15th of the month. He didn't much care to talk about it either.

WL does atone for most of its misgivings in the number of beers it offers. The tap selection is not huge, but the bottled offerings are numerous and wide-reaching. Reasonably priced too. Probably about 100 total beers. I'd like to have seen more regional stuff, but I can't complain with what they had.

Food was below average, greasy pubgrub. Wings were mediocre, as was the spice-less "cajun" burger.

Stop in for a beer or six. Just don't expect to engage in any sort of conversation with the staff. Eat someplace else.

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Winking Lizard Tavern in Cleveland, OH
88 out of 100 based on 22 ratings.