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Moosehead Hoof & Ladder No. 3

Call it a cliff-hanger. Moosehead Hoof & Ladder No. 3's patio sits on the edge of a shale cliff with sweeping views of the Rocky River below. But, don't worry. As a posted sign assures, a tiered cement pad secures the back patio. "It's not going anywhere," says director of operations, Rick Ledbetter. The simple, 36-seat terrace makes a great spot for a business lunch or family meal during the day. Surrounding trees provide the right amount of shade, and a calm rushing sound emanates from the river below. But at night, dramatic lighting down the hill transforms it into an intimate date destination. "It's a nice place to come dine out in the woods," Ledbetter says. "It has a nice natural feel to it." 7989 Columbia Road, Olmsted Falls, 440-235-5511,
* THREE OTHER COZY PATIOS: Fire Food & Drink, 13220 Shaker Square, Cleveland, 216-921-3473; Ty Fun Thai Bistro, 815 Jefferson Ave., Cleveland, 216-664-1000; Swirl Wine Bar, 33325 Bainbridge Road, Solon, 440-349-6900

The Greenhouse Tavern

The Greenhouse Tavern technically isn't the center of East Fourth Street — it's about 100 paces from Prospect Avenue and 80 steps from Euclid Avenue — but sitting on the patio during a busy weekend evening certainly puts you right in the middle of the action. "[It's] great because it activates the energy that our servers exude and transfers directly to people walking by," says chef and owner Jonathon Sawyer." The second people see others sitting there, they want to come in and eat." When you're done devouring the restaurant's famous crispy chicken wings can fit, you can head up to the rooftop patio for drinks and views of the city's skyline and activity below. In keeping with Sawyer's green philosophy, the outdoor tables are made from 60-year-old reclaimed wooden bleachers from Lakewood Park, while the high-surrounding-rooftop walls include barnwood, weathered metal shingles and exposed brick. "It's sort of an oasis in downtown Cleveland," he says. 2038 E. Fourth St., Cleveland, 216-443-0511,


Nothing quite says summer like margaritas, tacos and, of course, a patio to enjoy all the splendors of the season. Tremont's Barrio has all those in spades with its two-tiered outdoor space, secluded from the traffic along Literary Road thanks to stone walls and a corner fireplace. The laid-back decor gets a burst of color from flower pots filled with orange and yellow marigolds, hanging baskets of purple impatiens and rows of lights strung above umbrellas. "You get the vibe of what Barrio is all about with the big side doors that open up so you can hear the music," says owner Joe Kahn. And if you need another reason to visit, just look up. Kahn left the mural from the previous tenant, 806 Martini and Wine Bar, intact. "We are eventually going to change it, but it's such a staple in the neighborhood," he says. 806 Literary Road, Cleveland, 216-999-7714,

Rosewood Grill

If you want to soak in Hudson's historic vibe along with a glass of wine, it makes sense to do so at a property that's more than 160 years old. When Rosewood Grill moved into this spot — originally the home of Turner's Mill — just off the village green in 2009, it made extensive renovations to the historic 1852 building, including the addition of a brick patio nestled off the restaurant's bar. It has just eight dining tables, but thanks to Rosewood Grill's call-ahead policy (it doesn't accept reservations), you can pop in on the fly. Even if the patio is booked, a 20-by-4-foot rectangular fire pit surrounded by 20 rocking chairs offers a place to hang out."We feel that people come to Rosewood Grill and look at it as a home away from home,"says Hospitality Restaurants president George Schindler. "The patio serves as an extension of that philosophy." 36 E. Streetsboro Road, Hudson, 330-656-2100,

Pickle Bill's

The popularity of the floating patio at Pickle Bill's Lobster House on the Grand River has inspired a new way of drinking. Throwing back a few cold ones on the circular purple barge topped with a rainbow-striped circus tent has become known as "drinking in the round." "It's just something different," says owner Jerry Powell. But it's also just one of the restaurant's three patios. Hand-painted riverside booths on the back patio beckon families for seafood dinners, while the swings suspended from the palm-frond covered rooftop bar is where sun-soaked loungers from Headlands Beach go to unwind with margarita shakers. "People love to go up there and look down the river over the salt mines and watch the yachts going by," Powell says. 101 River St., Grand River, 800-352-6343,

* THREE OTHER WATERFRONT PATIOS: Chez Francois, 555 Main St., Vermilion, 440-967-0630; Sunset Harbor Bar and Grille, 625 Prospect St., Fairport Harbor, 440-350-0500; Tinkers Creek Tavern, 14000 Tinkers Creek Road, Walton Hills, 216-642-3900 216-664-1000


Molded into the urban landscape, the multilevel concrete patio at downtown Akron's DBA strikes a startling contrast to the broad leafy backdrop beyond. "It's massive, and it's very inviting," says chef and owner Dante Boccuzzi. "There's so many places where you can sit." Find a spot at the outdoor bar (with overhead heaters for chilly nights), in the sunken dining area or in the upper dining area and lounge (where the coffee table features a fire pit through its midsection), and you'll still get that stunning view. Just outside the shadow of the so-called Y Bridge connecting Akron to Cuyahoga Falls and nestled in the treetops above the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, diners fork up bites of green spaghetti with garlic braised shrimp and foie gras pot pie. And in case you heard "Dante" and thought "music," yes, an outdoor DJ is tentatively planned for weekend nights. 21 Furnace St., Akron, 330-375-5050,
* THREE OTHER DOWNTOWN PATIOS: D'Vine Wine Bar, 836 W. St. Clair Ave., 216-241-8463; Johnny's Downtown, 625 Prospect St., Fairport Harbor, 440-350-0500; Winks Bar and Grille, 1301 E. Ninth St. 216-297-4490

Jekyll's Kitchen

Like Robert Louis Stevenson's infamous characters, our social personalities can fluctuate wildly. But whether you're looking for a more reserved outdoor dining experience or need to feed your wild side, Jekyll's Kitchen in Chagrin Falls pleases both patio personalities. The restaurant has unobstructed views of the iconic falls and river rushing below from almost anywhere you sit, but the lower-level patio is situated closer to the water and has a full fine-dining menu available for our buttoned-up side. The street-level Hyde's Cabana Bar, flanked with couches and lounge chairs surrounding a brick fireplace, is all about fun with a menu of sandwiches and wood-grilled pizzas. "You can come have a pizza or burger and a beer and relax," says general manager Jason Crawford. "Or you can entertain business clients and have a dinner with swordfish or a bone in rib-eye." 17 River St., Chagrin Falls, 440-893-0797,

Wine Bar Rocky River

You wish your backyard was this nice. Silver maple trees provide shade to a large portion of the 68-seat patio at Wine Bar Rocky River. And for those unpredictable rainy days, a pergola holds up to 32. (It can also be rented out for private events.) "You really feel like you're in your own backyard," says general manager Shaun Hardon. Since the restaurant doesn't take reservations outside, once guests get a spot they tend to linger. "People ended up sitting for twice as long, because they get so comfortable," he says. "The record I have for a table outside is 10 1/2 hours."Every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the restaurant hosts a dog-friendly brunch outside, even offering treats from Style Mutt to its furry friends. "Dogs that get along with other dogs and get along with people are more than welcome to accompany their owners," he says. 1313 Linda St., Rocky River, 440-799-4300,

L'Albatros Brasserie & Bar

Leave it to Zack Bruell to elevate outdoor dining. Like his cooking, the spare-no-detail chef and owner of L'Albatros gathered the best ingredients and made them better: the Old World essence of the 19th century carriage house turned brasserie, a frame of well-landscaped trees and bushes that add a sense of privacy and a prime location in University Circle. With a subtle hand, Bruell takes all this and creates a patio that feels like an extension of the intimate L' Albatros interior by using the same tables, chairs and red brick flooring. Large windows add to the visual continuity and atmosphere. "The only difference is there's lounge chairs and umbrellas," Bruell says. An outdoor covered bar attracts its own crowd, and a new cabana area creates a gazebo-style dining area. "Mainly, it feels like you've escaped somewhere," he adds. "The big issue for us in the summertime is everybody wants to sit out there." 11401 Bellflower Road, Cleveland, 216-791-7880,

Felice Urban Cafe

It's like sitting on a friend's backyard deck. But your friend doesn't have a bar inside his garage or chef Ricardo Sandoval cooking for you. The patio at Felice Urban Cafe, a Spanish and American restaurant in a restored three-story house, mixes modern chic with a tranquil, rustic feel. Designer Chris Demkow transformed an old garage into a sort of retro camp cabin with dark wooden beams. Carefully distressed found-art objects decorate a fence; firewood is piled nearby. "One thing about the patio that's enticing is you can walk in off the street," says owner Margaret Mueller. Newcomers walk up from Larchmere Boulevard, but regulars slip in from East 126th Street on a little brick walkway. It passes a vegetable garden, where the restaurant grows tomatoes, kale, peppers and herbs. A line of trees frames the yard. A canopy — an extension of the garage's roofline — shields several tables from rain and sun. "There are people out there now, and it's raining," Mueller says during a gentle spring storm. "They sit there, drink wine and listen to the rain." 12502 Larchmere Blvd., Cleveland, 216-791-0918,


There must be some sleight of hand we're missing, some early David Blaine street magic. Somehow Hodge's courtyard patio feels private while providing a sense of being in the middle of a living, breathing city. Maybe it's the downtown buildings that surround it on three sides. Or because it sits back from Euclid Avenue by several hundred feet, where you're close enough to the action to hear the saxophone serenade of Maurice Reedus Jr. but far enough away to not notice the traffic. Maybe it'sthe space to seat 120 guests or the tables and chairs that echo the restaurant's wood-accented interior. Maybe it's the outdoor bar, a favorite of co-owner Chris Hodgson, who says the patio was a huge selling point in choosing the location for his first restaurant. Or the secret could be something simpler. "Being able to come have a beer, go to a game, come back and eat some dinner, it's nice," Hodgson says. 668 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, 216-771-4000,

Stone Mad

Take one look at Stone Mad's large, recycled sandstone patio, and the pub's name makes perfect sense. Built within a year by co-owner Peter Leneghan and a friend, the Gordon Square Arts District spot just beckons for guests to step through its iron gates and sit at one of the 14 tables. Not surprisingly, they're fashioned out of sandstone like the seats and almost every other surface (don't worry — the benches and seats have cushions for comfort). Leneghan sourced his materials from old building foundations, local quarries and even 30,000 street pavers from Scranton Avenue (which can be found along the walls, but mostly in the parking lot). The highlight of the patio, a 20-foot-tall, four-sided fireplace in the center, allows guests sitting at tables on all sides to enjoy the warmth of the wood-burning fire."You can see the fireplace from every angle of the patio," Leneghan says. "It's a one-of-a-kind patio. People are blown away when they see it." 1306 W. 65th St., Cleveland, 216-281-6500

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