Last week, The Bar League met in Hingetown to pay Jukebox a visit.  Don’t know where Hingetown is?  Hingetown is the name of a neighborhood in the northeast corner of Ohio City.  You'll find a string of small businesses that anchor the district on the corner of West 29th and Detroit, including Rising Star Coffee, Cleveland Tea Revival, Beet Jar Juice Bar, Harness Cycle, and of course, Jukebox.  

Jukebox coins itself "a city tavern."  It's a polished yet comfortable little watering hole that has a nice sense of community-- you can tell that the locals that live in the area frequent these barstools often.  The bartenders were friendly (hi, John!), and so were the other patrons.  Everyone was in a lively mood for Music Trivia.  We were so busy hanging out on the back patio that we missed it, which I regret.  The host was a riot, and was blasting throwbacks from all decades.  Halfway through the game, he and many of the players rushed the bar for tequila shots which they celebrated with on the picnic tables out front.  If you’re planning a night out at Jukebox, go on a Wednesday to get the full experience!

Jukebox has about a dozen craft beers on tap, many of which are local to Ohio.  I was excited to try Yammy Yammy, Platform’s new Sweet Potato Ale—it’s delish!  They also carry some cider from Rhinegeist, a brewery from my hometown, Cincinnati.  Have you tried it yet?  No matter what you like to drink, you’re sure to find something to suit your fancy at Jukebox.

As for food, Jukebox does have a small menu.  But you won’t find your typical greasy bar food here!  Pierogis ($7) are the main feature; they paired well with my Yammy Yammy ale.  You can also choose from a few sandwiches, or build your own kraut bowl.  While Jukebox is truly a bar, not a restaurant, their food is damn good!

If you're lucky enough to make it out to Jukebox before the Cleveland winter settles in, head out back to their huge patio to have a beer with friends on their picnic tables.  They have a large projector screen out there-- call ahead to see if they'll be playing the Tribe game.  It's also a cool area to host an event.  Our mascot, Bella, celebrated her 1st birthday there with a Dog Life in CLE fundraiser for R.E.A.L. Rottweiler Rescue.  Puppies & cuteness were everywhere!

The patio @ Jukebox

The patio @ Jukebox

As you know, part of my motivation for starting The Bar League was not only to experience different bars around town, but also to get to know the people that make them so awesome, including the founders, bartenders, and patrons.  

Before visiting Jukebox, I gave the founder and owner, Alex Budin, a call to learn more about his story.  An (east side) Cleveland native, Alex was living in Chicago putting his accounting degree to use at a finance job.  He was getting bored with his cubicle life, and wound up taking a side gig at a bar for something to do.  This turned into more of an apprenticeship; he learned how to operate a bar from the ground up.  

On a visit back home in Cleveland, he had his "eureka" moment and decided it was time to make the leap and join the leaders and visionaries that were transforming Ohio City with their own bars & small businesses.  He found an opportunity to make his mark in Hingetown during a time when the bars on 25th were no longer true "neighborhood" bars.  He found that the Ohio City locals wanted a small bar to call their own.  Enter Jukebox, a "city tavern" where you can enjoy music (for free!) from their 100 album jukebox with your neighbors and friends.  

Alex is truly an inspiration to me-- he's following his dream, and doing his part to improve his neighborhood and his city.  And he's doing it well.  Go see for yourself!

{If you want a sneak peak inside Jukebox, check out this short little video that they have on their website.}     

1404 W. 29TH ST.