First, what a year to be living in CLE! A Clevelander could get used to June basketball and October baseball. All of these playoff games give The Bar League crew plenty of reasons to go out to our favorite bars all week long.
Earlier in October, the manager of Griffin Cider House & Gin Bar, Adam, reached out to me encouraging us to visit, and I eagerly agreed. This little bar in the Birdtown neighborhood of Lakewood has been on my list since it opened last year. If you aren't familiar with where Birdtown is, take a drive down Madison Avenue to the southeastern corner of Lakewood. When you notice side streets with names like "Quail" and "Lark," you'll know you're in the heart of Birdtown. The numerous churches sitting alongside homes gives this neighborhood a unique feel. In fact, one of these churches is slated to be converted to a brewery - Birdtown Brewery - and should be open next summer. Another bar will be opening in the area soon, too. L.B.M. should be opening this fall right next door to Griffin Cider House.
We were relieved that despite the fact that Griffin's is not a sports bar, they do have several TVs. Our group was eager to grab a cold drink and watch the Tribe crush the Toronto Blue Jays. A friend arrived a little early, before the bar officially opened at 5pm, and he let me know that the staff kindly opened up for him to come on in to watch the game. That's how friendly the folks at Griffin's are! The atmosphere here is as warm as the hospitality. Small, sophisticated, and intimate, this bar is ideal for a cozy evening with friends, or even a date.
You should know that Griffin's cider is made from local apples, and brewed nearby in Westlake. They have about a dozen different ciders on tap. I recommend ordering a flight so you can try a few. But Griffin's serves more than cider! They actually have a great cocktail list. Gin is the MVP on the cocktail menu here-- they have the largest selection of gin in the state. I went for the "Sloe Gin Fizz," and I've never had anything like it! Sophisticated and fun, this drink is light and fluffy thanks to the whipped egg whites in it. Even if you're not in the mood for cider or a cocktail, they have a nice selection of bottled craft beers, and a few on tap as well.
Griffin's is not a restaurant. They do have a very small traditional English food menu, though, including a meat pie, cornish pasty, and a scotch egg. We were told that they will soon be adding to their food menu, which you'll be able to enjoy in their new lounge.
In a town like Lakewood where you have dozens and dozens of bars to choose from, Griffin has carved out it's own unique niche. It's cozy, friendly atmosphere makes it the ideal place to relax and enjoy a cocktail or a cold locally made cider or beer. So go off the beaten path and head to Birdtown to pay Griffin Cider House & Gin Bar a visit and let me know what you think!
Griffin Cider House & Gin Bar
12401 Madison Ave.
Lakewood, OH 44107