Scene Magazine Best of Cleveland 2013 – Coventry Winners!
Big Coventry Congrats to all the winners of Scene Magazine’s “Best of Cleveland Twenty Thirteen.” The people have spoken, over 35,000 in all let their voices be heard.
Special congrats to our Coventry winners!
Best Place for Spoken Word – B-Side Liquor Lounge
Though it’s about to undergo a rebranding and become the B-Side Liquor Lounge & Arcade, the B-Side Liquor Lounge has been the go-to place for local spoken word artists for the past 8 years. Dubbed Lyrical Rhythm night, the Tuesday night spoken word event boasts “open mic poetry and soul” and will sometimes feature a live band to back the performers. But with the rebranding of the club, owners say Lyrical Rhythm has come to a close and they held the last Lyrical Rhythm night earlier this month. 2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., 216-932-1966, bsideliquorlounge.com
Best Coffee Shop – Phoenix
There have been countless coffee shops to come – and largely go – in the Cleveland marketplace. But for more than 20 years, home-grown Phoenix has been keeping the commuting and telecommuting crowd productive and sharp-minded. In Cleveland Heights, the humble little shop almost singlehandedly put a Starbucks out of business thanks to a product and level of service that no mega-chain can match. By buying, roasting and brewing the best beans in the best ways, caffeinator-in-chief Sarah Wilson-Jones and company have built a reputation that extends well beyond their three cafés. Outreach, classes, and promotions teach the gospel of good brewing to coffee lovers citywide, making Phoenix one of our favorite places to roost. Multiple locations, phoenixcoffee.com
Best Sub Shop – Dave’s Cosmic Subs
“I wanted to make the best sub on Earth,” David Lombardy said as his motivation to get into the grinder game. And for 16 years he has been doing just that at his original Chagrin Falls location and at least a dozen more. If you can’t find a sub to suit your fancy at Dave’s then you just ain’t trying. We lost count at “lots,” but that’s because we can’t seem to order anything other than the Original Dave’s Cosmic Sub owing to its perfect proportions of Italian meats, cheeses, veggies and Dave’s Cosmic Sauce. But what we really love about our neighborhood Dave’s are the staffers, who always act as if they really, really love working there. Considering that they probably get free food, that’s wholly understandable. Multiple locations, davescosmicsubs.com
Best Wine Bar – La Cave Du Vin
If you were to design the ideal wine bar on paper, it likely would look a lot like La Cave Du Vin. Subterranean as a wine cellar, darker than a bat cave, and run by passionate grape heads with the gift of gab. Sure, craft beer slowly has been edging out wine in terms of focus and selection, but what does remain is well curated and always worth a purchase. The best wine bars are date places, romantic nooks where privacy, conversation and discretion rise above all else. That describes this Coventry mainstay to a T, and that’s why it ranks as the best in the biz. 2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., Cleveland Heights, 216-932-6411, lacaveduvin.com
Best Vegetarian / Vegan – Tommy’s
Places like Tommy’s used to be called sprout bars, hippie hangs where the naturally curly noshed on meat-free meals with gusto. Little has changed but the label (we now call places like Tommy’s “restaurants”) at this decades-old Coventry Village institution. Because they have been doing the herbivore thing so long, meat-free meals here don’t feel like a Lenten sacrifice. Carnivores: Dig right into a spinach pie with mushrooms, veggies and sesame sauce and tell me that you’re suffering. Won’t happen. Uh-uh. While not vegan, room must be set aside for the city’s best milkshakes, a richly textured treat that never goes out of style. 1824 Coventry Rd., Cleveland Heights, 216-321-7757, tommyscoventry.com
Best Wings – Winking Lizard
You want to know the secret to success? Well, if you’re the Winking Lizard, the answer is chicken wings. Those little fried and sauced flappers have helped this local legend grow from a single shop in Bedford Heights to a chain of more than a dozen spots. The fresh, never-frozen wings are the paradigm of the genre: big, juicy, crunchy and sauced to the hilt. With 15 flavors to choose from, diners can tailor their tastes from sweet and fruity to blazing hot. Teriyaki, spicy sesame, Caribbean and Thai offer more than just heat: They bring complex flavor to the party. But for tongue-blistering heat, diners know to go for the 911 or Magma. Yee-haw in a basket! Multiple locations, winkinglizard.com
Best Consignment Shop – Avalon Exchange
With one location on Coventry and a new spot in Lakewood, Avalon Exchange offers the most generous gently used clothing deals around, as well as bargains on this season’s designer threads. Cleaner and better organized than your standard-issue funky thrift store, this is your best bet to find coveted brands like Paige denim and cool-kid staples like Members Only jackets. It might not have the worn-in cachet of less upscale shops, but “character” isn’t really a priority when what you want is on-trend classics. 1798 Coventry Rd., Cleveland Hts., 216-320-9775, avalonexchange.com
Best Local Store / Best Comics/Collectibles Shop – Big Fun
Playboy has called Big Fun one of the “coolest stores” in America, and who are Clevelanders to disagree? Since the 1980s on Coventry, Big Fun has been providing locals with that unique brand of childlike nostalgia found only in an old-timey toy store. It’s a trip down memory lane for those born in the 40s or 50s and a journey to an unknown past for the millennials. Locally owned and operated by Steve Presser, this bastion of fun now has a west-side location on Clifton to complement the original store on Coventry. It’s got all the toys and collectibles you’d ever conceivably want or need, and has a name which is the exact thing you feel as you walk in. 1814 Coventry Rd., Cleveland Heights, 216-371-4386 and 11512 Clifton Blvd., 631-4386, bigfunbigfun.com
Best Barbershop /Men’s Salon – Crazy Mullets
Crazy Mullets is even better known for crazy-cheap prices. How low can a punk get? You can score this season’s trendy fascist cut for as little as 18 bucks, but you’ll look like a million with rad stylists at two locations. While some may balk at the salon’s punk rock pedigree and trashy titular ‘do, the chatty staff will make you feel right at home. Peroxided co-owner Ed Maddox has even been known to don a mullet wig while getting to work on your scuzzy locks. With a whimsical attitude and fingers solidly on the pulse of trendy tresses, Crazy Mullets is the go-to refuge for thrifty dudes who’ve been humiliated one too many times by “Best” Cuts and DIY grooming abominations. 1830 Coventry Rd., Cleveland Heights, 216-320-9891 and 14807 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, 216-712-7733, crazymullets.com