East 4th Street in downtown Cleveland is perhaps one of the best attractions our city has to offer. From fine dining to live entertainment to nice apartments for rent, this little section of town has a lot going on! Located in the historic Krause Building, Wonder Bar is the perfect East 4th spot for enjoying some live jazz while sipping a sophisticated martini.
Service and Atmosphere
We walked into Wonder Bar on a Thursday evening, looking for somewhere to grab a post work beer. It was noticeably dead; it would have been completely empty save one filled table and a few stragglers seated at the bar. We opted for a high top table at the end of the restaurant, and the bartender came by shortly after we took a seat. The bartender, who also acted as our server, was great—chatty, helpful with the beer selections, and attentive throughout the evening.
While it wasn’t exactly a happening spot during our visit, Wonder Bar does transform into a bustling jazz club on the weekends, with live music starting at 9:00 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. It’s a great spot for sipping some cocktails and enjoying a show after snagging a meal down East 4th.
Wonder Bar boasts a pretty solid beer selection, including a decent sampling of drafts, and a great variety of bottled domestics and microbrews. Some personal favorites found here include Rogue Dead Guy Ale, Victory HopDevil, Delirium Tremens, and 21st Amendment Brew Free or Die. Beer prices are comparable to most any of the nicer Downtown establishments, most options running between $4 and $6.
If you’re looking for a place to sip some classier cocktails, Wonder Bar may be just the place for you: they have a nice selection of premium martinis like a s’mores and a mint chip, as well as some signature cocktails including a delicious sparkling pama.
Wonder Bar also boasts a pretty lucrative happy hour Tuesday through Friday from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m, featuring $2.25 domestics, $2 off all drafts, $5.50 well drinks, and $2 off any of their pizzas.
Wonder Bar’s menu seems to be lacking cohesion; comprised of an odd mix of pizzas, salads, appetizer-sounding dishes, and a couple of other options that just don’t feel like they belong.
I decided to try the stuffed jalapenos ($8), fresh peppers stuffed with a blend of cream, parmesan and cheddar cheeses, served with a chipotle ranch dressing. In theory, these things sounded amazing. In reality, they were a bit of a mess: the cream cheese was overpowering, the overall dish was extremely salty (and I’m a food salter), and the jalapenos were mushy. The chipotle ranch dressing wasn’t good either—it was an odd, almost flavorless combination.
We also sampled the pulled pork sliders ($12), BBQ pork topped with cheddar cheese and onion straws served on sweet rolls. The pulled pork itself was tasty, and the onion straws were crispy and a nice addition to the mini sandwiches. The deal breaker on this dish was the one completely stale roll we were served, leaving us to wonder how someone overlooked something so simple.
Other options on Wonder Bar’s limited menu include marinara, barbecue, and Hawaiian pizzas, and salads including salmon, spinach, and house varieties.
Overall, our Wonder Bar experience was far from bad; the bartender was great, the beer selection was better than most, and it was a pretty relaxing atmosphere for a Thursday evening. And there’s no doubt that it’s a great live music venue during the weekend. With a little work on their food, this bar has the potential to be someplace wonderful.
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