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Great Lakes Brewing Co.


Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

2516 Market Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio, 44113
United States

(216) 771-4404 | map

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Reviews: 230 | Ratings: 514
Photo of masterbruewer
3.8/5  rDev -11%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3

We ate there on a slow Sunday afternoon.

The place is very cool looking, Old wood bar with an outdoor patio and a very cool cellar bar. The atmosphere was hard to judge since there weren't too many people there. Those we saw seemed pretty cool.

Service was spotty. Despite making professions of my beer geekness and trying to engage the bartender in conversation, she seemed more interested in talking to other staff and folding napkins. To her defense, it seems many restaurant employees do this when business is slow.
I was beginning to get a complex from being ignored, but the bartender pulled out a good save. After the napkins were folded, she began asking me about my vacation that was just ending and about the four other breweries I had been to that week. She made me feel a little better and turned out to be very nice and helpful in my purchase of glassware. (By the way, of all the breweries I'd been to: Pearl Street in Buffalo, Martha's Exchange in Nashua, NH, Wachussett Brewery in Westminster, MA and Northampton Brewing Co in Northampton, MA, Great Lakes had the best prices on glassware.

The quality of all Great Lakes brews I've had has been great. The two I tried that day, Owen's Olympic Pilsener and the Elliot Ness, were fine. Strong flavored and smooth.

The beer selection is pretty good. About 10 choices in a variety of styles.

The food was a little high priced and not too much variety, but it was pretty good.

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Photo of Wildman
4.33/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Okay, most of the times when I go to Cleveland, it is fairly late at night to attend a concert. So it seems I rarely have time to stop by Great Lakes. Well, since I was going to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I decided I could drag my friend to Great Lakes finally.

Well, The interior is mostly wood and seems to be a fairly old bar. The bar area where we sat is totally closed off from the other main seating area, which I liked. Not a particullary big bar. The choices were the standard for that time of year with one house beer, Ohio City Oatmeal Stout. I apparently had just missed the Anniversay Ale on tap. The service was good and the bartender was informative. The food was the more upscale that some brewpubs lately seem to be aiming for. Unfortunately this means the meals are more pricey and there are less sandwich options. But that seems to be the trend even in Columbus at Columbus Brewing and Barleys. The downstairs wasn't open, so I really couldn't check out the atmosphere of that area. The store that sells things is next door and the brewery is behind it. Definately worth a visit when in Cleveland.

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Photo of garthwaite
4.7/5  rDev +10.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Great Lakes is one hell of a brewery & restaurant. Those living in Cleveland are lucky, lucky humans to have this fine establishment nearby. Big & clean with all kinds of outdoor seating, multiple dining areas, a large underground private room, & an intricately constructed, gorgeous dark wood bar. Service & products were impeccable. Menu has a great variety of unique & affordable meals. The spicy artichoke crock served with banana peppers is magnificent, as is the Edmund Fitzgerald Porter ice cream. Beers were phenomenal, really hard to beat fresh taps from Great Lakes. The following brews were on tap when we visited:
Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, Burning River Pale Ale, Locktender Lager, Dortmunder Gold, Anniversary Ale, Erie Monster Double IPA, Eliot Ness, & Holy Moses.
I'd skip the Locktender, but do yourself a favor & sample absolutely everything else. They do have beer to go at reasonable prices & both sell and re-fill growlers, which unfortunately are a bit expensive (I'm used to Old Dominion's $5 refills). Overall, I can't recommend this place highly enough.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.6/5  rDev +7.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I feel like an absolute idiot. I lived in Cleveland for 3 years back in the mid-90's and never went to Great Lakes. My excuse is that I wasn't into good beer at the time, but still.... I remedied that huge oversight yesterday when I popped up to Cleveland for lunch. I was home visiting my family and the brewery is about 90 minutes away. When looking for the brewpub (it's a very short distance away from the actual brewery), I pulled into a loading dock and came face-to-face with several large pallets full of all varieties of beer. I have rarely seen a more beautiful sight.

My friend and I got there at opening time, so getting seated wasn't a problem. Within 15 minutes though, the place filled up with dozens upon dozens of patrons, all in search of good food and drink. What I wouldn't give to live or work in the area again. The interior has, no doubt, been well-described by now, but I just wanted to mention how impressed I was with the ornate, carved, dark-wood bar. The food was the usual pub-grub. It didn't seem to stand out to me, but to be fair, I only had one thing. I had a Moondog Ale which I though was very good (I'm waiting to review it from the bottle) and a Lake Erie Monster Double IPA which was ok.

I wish that I had had the opportunity to stay longer and have some of my favorites on-tap, but we were pressed for time and had to go. I did manage to stop in to the attached gift shop and pick up a t-shirt, poster and several pint glasses. My wife's family lives on Cleveland's West Side and we normally visit them at least twice each year. I will be sure to stop by Great Lakes on almost every visit and you can bet that I'll linger and savor this place as it deserves.

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Photo of aracauna
4.1/5  rDev -4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I really like this place. When we showed up to the restaurant, there was an hour or more wait, so we took the tour of the brewery while we were waiting for a table. The brewery is extremely nice. It's the highest tech craft brewery that I've ever seen. I'd recommend the tour to anyone. Our tour guide, a tallish, thin, older fellow, was cheesey, but still funny and relatively knowledgeable, although he couldn't answer some of our geekier questions.

Back at the restaurant, we had dinner (an excellent burger) and a few of the beers. This is a solid brewery and the old building the brewpub is set in makes for a really nice experience. I plan on going back during my next trip to Cleveland.

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Photo of mzwolinski
3.75/5  rDev -12.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Located in downtown Cleveland. My wife and I made a trip up here from Willoughby on a Saturday afternoon to check the place out, and the place was jumping. There was some sort of street fair taking place out side, complete with craft-booths and belly dancers, and the outside seating was pretty packed.

It actually took us a bit of doing to find the place -- we initially confused the brewpub, which is on Market, with the brewery itself, which is only a block or so over.

Once inside the correct building, we found a spacious, tastefully decorated restaurant. The crowd was mixed -- some younger folks, but mostly families. The food menu was alright. Mostly standard pub-fare, but with enough interesting variations to keep it interesting. I had a blue cheese bacon burger, which was quite tasty.

The beer selection was decent, but only one "non-standard" beer was on tap while I was there. I had a glass of the Anniversary Belgian ale, and paid $10 for both the beer and a very attractive commemorative glass. The beer itself was decent, but I was especially impressed by their Porter and their Dortmunder Gold. The waitstaff didn't seem to know a whole lot of beer, but my experience was limited to just 1 waiter, so who knows.

Family-friendly with a good atmosphere in a location with lots else to do. Recommended!

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Photo of Ahhdball
3.53/5  rDev -17.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

Drove from Columbus to visit some inlaws, and am glad we made the effort.
Walked in from the brick lined streets to a small waiting area. Wood floor and bar with classic pub features. Steps to the right lead upstairs to a large well lit dining area. It was well apparent they didn't like me bringing my 9 month old son. He's very well behaved so they lost points on service. I loved the basement.
The selection of food couldv'e been larger. No biggy, I'm not that picky.
I had the Fish & Chips and learned I like catfish. Good but I've been spoiled by "The Old Bag of Nails" here in Worthington.
All in all I'm going to stick to the beer but the restaurant needs a little assistance.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.45/5  rDev +4.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Stopped in before going to see a concert in Cleveland, wow I'm liking the old bar with the Elliot Ness's bullet hole. Seems like a lot of the furniture benches and tables, chairs and what not are like antiques from long ago. Really like the feel they just put in a sports bar area downstairs with plasma tvs and what not good for watching the game. Friendly servers and bartenders service was great no complaints. Offered brews were the year rounders of Ed. Fitz, Burning River, Locktender Lager, Elliot Ness, with seasonals or in house only brews of Holy Moses, a Schwarzbier, Rockefeller Bock, Wolfhound Stout, and Blackout Stout. Food was good my buddy had the burger and I had catfish and chips beer battered with the porter. I must visit if your in Cleveland!

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Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5


I finally made it to GLBC. As part of the 4/5/03 BA get-together, I had quite the fun time with my fellow BA's. GLBC's restaurant is quite nice, with plenty of space to eat. The bar area was smaller than I expected, though. The "bar" itself was beautiful and we were directed to the bullet holes created by Mr. Ness years ago. The food was pretty good, though I just had a burger. There is also a nice gift shop attached to the restaurant with a great selection of items.

The brewery tour was awesome and Terry (who also drives the "Fatty Wagon" shuttle to Indians games...how great?!) did a great job explaining everything. Amazing how much beer they produce from their location.

The beers at GLBC, are extremely smooth and drinkable. Having never tasted anything offered by them, I was eager to see why my friends raved about GLBC. I was not disappointed. I had 6 of their tap beers and all of them were fantastic.

If you make to C-town, do yourself a favor and spend some time here. You'll love it.


Opening Day in Cleveland...and you know what that means: A trip to Great Lakes Brewing!

We decided to check out the basement of the GLBC brewpub as they had renovated it. New TV's and you can see the brewing tanks behind the iron gate (Grand Cru anyone?). The service was fantastic, as was the food. The basement bar had the Blackout Stout on tap and that made my day. An even better trip than the first time I made it to GLBC. A must-visit if you are within 100 miles.

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Photo of beergeek279
4.43/5  rDev +3.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Atmosphere: Well, what else can I say? It's Great Lakes!!! Great Lakes is on the western side of Cleveland, away from Downtown (but within a fair distance of Jacobs Field). Along with a brewery building, they own a block of buildings with a gift shop, a wine bar, some condos/townhouses, and of course, the Great Lakes taproom, where it all began. The taproom itself has been there since the 19th century. The taps are in the main room, with an antique bar and a room surrounded by Cleveland memorabilia. In the next room sits the brewing equipment that once made all of Great Lakes' beers, but now are used for taproom-only specialties. Upstairs is their reserved party room, which I didn't really see. Downstairs is where the restrooms are located as well as their new basement taproom, where musical acts will be featured, and other times will be a more quiet place to drink. As for the crowd, the room was filled with many young people drinking all craft brew, and most importantly, Great Lakes was non-smoking inside the building!!!

Quality/Selection: The taproom had 8 beers available: 5 of their regular offerings (Eliot Ness, Edmund Fitzgerald, Burning River, Locktender, and Dortmunder Gold). I'd had most of these on draft, so I really went for the 3 brewpub-only specialties, which at the time I went were Rockefeller Bock, a dark bock, Barrel Select Pils, a very hoppy pilsner, and York Street ESB. All 3 were quite good, and worth the trip to try.

Service: The bar and restaurant were both very busy at the time we were there, so there weren't really opportunties to sit and chat, but under the circumstances there were no real complaints. I was pleased that they did offer tours, though. My brother and I were lucky to get a tour with just the two of us, and though the gentleman was rushed since he had another group coming in, we did get a nice, thorough walk-through of the brewery and just how the beers were made. A much more sensible touring policy than Penn's rather narrow-minded approach, and made the trip that much better.

Well, I've certainly enjoyed Great Lakes beers as amongst my favorites since I've become a craft beer fan, and I've always wanted to make the trip to Cleveland. The trip was certainly worth it, as Great Lakes rarely disappoints. The brewpub beers were simply fantastic, and the tour was informative, with an enthusiastic guide. I'll certainly return to Great Lakes in the future to try the menu, as well as the new rotation of brewpub beers. Ohh, since I was so impressed, I won't put in any potshots at Cleveland this time!

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Photo of cupbeerman
4.53/5  rDev +6.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Great Lakes Brewing Company is one of the top craft breweries in the world, and with a visit to their brewpub you can see why. Their brewpub is located in an old Victorian building. They had 8 beers on draft. These beers were the five base beers, and they had three brew pub only selections. The beers were fresh and served at the proper temperature.

The bar itself had about twenty stools, and there was about 18 tables scattered in the two rooms. They are opening a new dining room and bar on March 17th. The very nice thing about Great Lakes (other than the beer of course) that there is no smoking at the bar. The atmosphere totally took me by surprise. The place was packed with a much younger crowed than I thought there would be.

The service was very good. I received a tour of the brewery, and the bartenders were very courteous. I wish I would have had the chance to eat, but the place was too crowded and my party was behind schedule.

Overall I really enjoyed the experience of Great Lakes Brewing Company. It was worth the 150 mile trek from the Burgh

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Photo of AllThingsNinja
4.13/5  rDev -3.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

The Great Lakes Brewing Company repeatedly drew my across the Cuyahoga to Cleveland's Ohio City neighborhood. With elegant curbside dining in warm weather, a gorgeous woody street level dining room and seating in the cellar the pub exudes atmosphere. Rumor has it that bullet holes in the wall were left by Eliot Ness. The pub has the full line of Great lakes beers on tap, and usually has a handful of beers that are available only at the pub. These small batch brews really grab my attention. The menu pairs each item with an appropriate beer. The combinations that I have tried were delightful. The food is excellent and portions substantial. I still haven't made it through a meal with enough room to try the Edmund Fitzgerald Porter Ice Cream. I guess that I'll just have to go back. What a pity.

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Photo of Maestro
4.58/5  rDev +7.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

The last time I was in Cleveland, my good friend Todd took me to Great Lakes. I had some of their beers before, but I really didn't know what I was getting into. The pub was great. There was an English bartender who poured very nice pints and had lots of things to share with those of us at the bar. He wasn't annoying, he just knew what to say. The beers were amazingly fresh and this stands out in my mind as one of the best places to drink draught beer. The standouts were Burning River Pale Ale, Conway's Irish Ale, and Wolfhound Stout. The stout was a low alcohol stout that really was amazing. I really appreciate low alcohol brews that stand out. It shows some serious craftsmanship. This brewery is making amazing beers. If you are ever in the area, get to the GLBC and have a few pints. It is well worth it!

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Photo of longpondbeerman
4.45/5  rDev +4.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

OK, so we went on a Holiday weekend and the place was really crowded, even at 5 pm. However, I could tell immediately that this place is a winner. There's tons (literally) of brick and sandstone to create a hunkered-down old warehouse atmosphere, offset exquisitely by a long,wooden (mahogony?) bar, which unfortunately I could not get close enough to. Instead we were ushered downstairs into the quieter, but frankly far more appealing, cellar. We got a sweet location in a booth away from the action, and I settled in to the deep, dimly-lit cavern to spend a happy evening with my family sampling some outstanding brews: a Burning River Pale Ale, the Emmet's Imperial Stout, an Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, and--my favorite, the hoppy Nosferatu. Our service was great, in spite of the crowds, and my food selection(catfish and chips) was a pleasant, light supplement to my real reason for being there. I took the obligatory after-dinner tour, and finished off a swell evening sampling the Dort-something (Heisman) Lager.

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Photo of GreatPondBrewer
4.38/5  rDev +2.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Having family in Cleveland was a good excuse to check out the GLBC over Thanksgiving and it didn't disappoint.

GLBC has one of the best atmospheres I have ever been in. Its located on tiny Market Street, which is basically all owned by the brewery and the brewery itself is within a minute of the brewpub. As soon as you walk in the bar greets you with 8 taps and about 12 seats plus some more tables and adequate standing room for those who like to stand around the bar (that is me). There is another dining room on the first floor that looks out onto the street and has a good view of the brew kettles as well. My family and I sat downstairs in the converted basement which was awesome. Plenty of exposed beams and sandstone walls and highbacked wooden booths.

Beer selection was excellent for a brewpub with 8 on tap including a couple seasonals and their new Imperial Stout. Everything tasted good and it doesn't surprise me because they do such brisk business that there are probably never kegs sitting around.

Service was good considering the massive amount of people that began to filter into the pub. Our waitress was always ready to fill up and was pretty knowledgable about the beers offered. Even told us that they had tapped a keg of the Nosferatau that wasn't indicated on the current tap list. Also they were running hourly tours of the brewery which was great as well.

Food was pretty good as well. My christmas ale went nicely with the stilton and chedder soup and my pork medallion salad was complemented well by the porter. They also have beer recomendations with just about everything on the menu.

All in all this was well worth the visit. Excellent beers, great atmosphere, and free brewery tours and tasting.

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Photo of Ellbert
4.7/5  rDev +10.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

An Excellent place to go for great beer and food.

I walked into the resturaunt and put my name it. They said it would be about 15 minutes. I sat at the bar with my girlfriend and ordered an Aniversary Ale.

The hostest came and got us... took us to our table. I got to sit right next to the brewing tanks in the resturaunt and watch the brewer do his thing.

The food was great. Homemade perogies... A lot of their food was cooked with their beer. The food I tasted was excellent.

After I was done with my Aniversary Ale I ordered and Oatmeal Stout. It took my waitress about 5 minutes to get it too me. She took my Oatmeal Stout off of the bill because it took her so long to get it to me... I didn't think it was long but I didn't argue. She also did not charge us for my girlfriends pop.

A great place with great service.

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Photo of beernbbq
4.45/5  rDev +4.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Another trip to Cleveland and another wonderful visit to Great Lakes. Although I enjoy the Publick House in Southampton, I think Great Lakes is superior in its food selection. The sausage platter is worth the trip alone. Service is brisk, the employees are workmanlike and professional in their demeanor. The atmosphere is cozy and inviting. If I had this place near my house I would be a stockholder by now. And what can I say about the beer. Just awesome. Although I didn't get to sample the Anniversary Ale (2 Burning Rivers and a Porter was about over the top), I saw many patrons enjoying it in the gold rimmed goblet they were providing.

Overall, this place sets a standard for quality that others should aspire to.

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Photo of cokes
4.33/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

A major caveat to this entire review is that I visited GLBC a day and a half after a major blackout and Cleveland still hadn't figured out its water situation, therefore, no food was being served, and I had to work mightly, in between sips and gulps of glorious beer, to appease the rest of the hungry, non-beer drinking crowd I was with.

It was a Saturday afternoon, lunch-time, and the business was pretty light due to the circumstances mentioned above. Most of the activity was on the curb-side tables as embibers sipped and listened to the sounds of a carribean band playing at a market across the street.

The bar area was cozy, yet seemed spacious enough to handle a decent-sized crowd. Wooden and brass interior. There was a large restaurant area too, but it was obviously closed. No tours going on either.

I ordered their lone, non-bottled offering, the Barrel Select Pils. A nice one, as was expected. My two hungry nieces were getting restless by the time I ordered an Eliot Ness. They were starving fighting and screaming when I ordered an Eddie Fitz. Luckily I was enraptured and oblivious.
Quailty is of course, outstanding.

The waitstaff/bartenders were frazzled by their situation, though proabably less busy that usual. Friendly and professional and unduly apologetic.

I would have liked to see another specialty beer or two flowing. But I was plenty pleased with what I got. My nieces might give you a different story, however.

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Photo of smitty1080
4.13/5  rDev -3.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Had a great time. We went there for lunch this Saturday and to catch a brewery tour. There was a thirty-minute wait so I introduced my dad to Edmund Fitzgerald; he now has a new friend in Edmund. I grabbed a Glockenspiel, a complex dark wheat beer, recommended by a fellow patron. I was not disappointed.

We took our beers outside to the beer garden to wait. We joined other people waiting for their table and some who were just enjoying a pitcher outside on a great day.

We got our table and the waitress immediately looked at my mom asking her where her drink was. She enjoys a beer once in a while so we got her a Locktender Lager, she really like it.

The food was good, a little pricey but that’s how it goes in that part of Cleveland. We of course had to try the ice cream made with Edmund Fitzgerald. Awesome, it tasted just like you'd think, a mix of coffee and chocolate ice cream with chunks of chocolate in it.

Our tour guide was Terry; he provided a ton of info. It's amazing how much the brewery influences local business and lets nothing go to waste, nothing. By the way we had a new employee join us on our tour too. The new employees go through the tour and their own beer tasting. It's nice to know they are educating their staff.

I will definitely be ushering up my friends as soon as possible.
Possibly to check out their beer school they just started recently, right now they are filled up till December 3rd.

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Photo of AtLagerHeads
4.68/5  rDev +9.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Like many places, the service depends on the server. Early in the day we had a great helper in Susan who was not only willing to help us know GLBC, but also the beers. She was very kind and helpful. When our local friends arrived we moved downstairs and the young lady there had had a bad day (or life) and wasn't all that interested in our needs. I'll give the place a 4 on service though because most everyone from Susan to the seaters were friendly, courteous, and helpful. One rotten apple shouldn't spoil the barrel.

Kick back and casual atmosphere; the Indians rule here. Big surprise, the Jake is just down Lorain and across the bridge. GLBC runs shuttles to the ball park from their brewpub. Way cool way to do the games. They give a super tour of the brewery and our guide, Terrence Ryan was super knowledgeable and helpful. He also does the ballpark run. Tastings at the brewery feature Dortmunder Gold at different temps so that newbies can see that warmer is better than frigid when tasting good beer.

Update: August 2003. This place just continues to impress me. We stopped on our way back from the East and had superb food and service on the brick sidewalk out front on a lovely summer night. The bad waitress with an attitude was nowhere in sight and our helper on this evening was not only a great waitress who cared about our needs, she was also a confirmed and dedicated hops lover who understands how Commodore Perry makes its mark. Upping my marks on both food and service - I think they get it on how to please customers and hire (and prehaps fire) the right people. The food is a bargain at the current quality and portion levels. Though the old lady is not a great beer lovers, still she commented that the best food she's had lately comes from places that serve good beers. What a breakthrough that!

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Photo of SERowe
3.9/5  rDev -8.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Great beer in a nice "pub" atmoshere. On the evening of my visit the bar keeps seemed more interested in talking amongst themselves, but they were friendly enough. Did I mention the great beer? The food wasn't bad either.
I would definitely visit here often, if I didn't live 4 1/2 hours away!!
The Dortmunder Gold is very good, as is the Edmund Fitzgerald Porter. The Burning River Pale is nice too.

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Photo of BierReise
4.05/5  rDev -5.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

The only thing better than a good brewpub is a good brewpub with good food.I had the opportunity to have dinner here one night and I really was impressed. A great classic brewpub atmosphere with decent beer and sevice. I love the smell of a brewery and when combined with the smell of good food it's like heaven. I can't wait for the next time I'm in the area.

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Photo of jtw5877
4.38/5  rDev +2.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Great Lakes Brewing Company is one excellent place to eat and enjoy some excellent craft beers. The atmosphere is classic. The bar is a hundred year old masterpiece. The several areas to eat in are all beautiful. And the food is top notch. I'd recommend this place to anybody visiting Cleveland.

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Photo of ADR
4.4/5  rDev +3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Crowded on the Friday eve after Christmas, two deep at the bar. Lots of tall windows and distressed wood booths and tables, nicely antiqued in look and atmosphere (apparently, its been a saloon for 100 years). Stainless steel on the ground level with a "cave" down below that has more tables and copper equipment. Upper level is "white linen" dining. Waitress had a good overall knowledge of beer, but fumbled when comparing Eliot Ness to that colored catastrophe, Killian's Red. They had an Imperial Stout the night I was in and it was delicious (unrated, because I was a little burned out evaluating after the 3 pints and the sampler). I wanted to go on the tour, but had other plans by the time the next one started. VERY good or at least solid beers across the board. The food was mixed according to myself and companions, an OK sandwich for me, an overpriced pennini pasta for others, a good vegetarian ravioli for another. For all the non-smokers, Great Lakes prohibits smoking despite no Cleveland laws against it...you can puff and leave your butts on the keg ashtray outside the front entrance if you want.

I was pretty dang impressed by this place.

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Photo of mickstepp
4.58/5  rDev +7.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Boy do I miss this place. I was a regular before I moved to Cincinnati. (I still stop in everytime I'm in Cleveland but it isn't nearly often enough). There is usually quite a wide range of beers on tap including one or more seasonal or specialty beers. I particularly remember the Nosferatu, a red beer (of course) which I think they brew up around Halloween. My standbys are the Burning River ( a nicely hopped but well balanced Pale Ale) and the Edmund Fitzgerald Porter (very dry which is my preference over the sticky sweet variety). The atmosphere of the brewpub is almost as good as the beer. Cleveland is a blue collar town and the people are down to earth (a lot of microbreweries I've noticed draw a pretentious yuppie crowd, and Great Lakes gets them too but they are overwhelmed by the working stiffs). The food is decent too but I remember one of my favorite things to do on Saturday was to walk over to the West Side Market (just a half block away), grab a sausage and sauerkraut sandwich, wolf it down on the way to Great Lakes and then follow it with a yummie ale or two or three...

If you are ever in Cleveland this is an absolutely not to miss place.

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Great Lakes Brewing Co. in Cleveland, OH
95 out of 100 based on 230 ratings.
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    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

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