ABC the Tavern

Service and Atmosphere

It’s pretty easy to overlook a place like ABC the Tavern. Sitting on West 25th in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood, from the outside it appears nothing more than a dive bar, a Cleveland commonality usually not worth a second glance. But once you try it, you’re bound to be hooked on this little gem.

Complete with decor circa its opening day some 20 years ago, ABC the Tavern boasts an authentic charm that’s hard to beat. With its original decorations, old school bowling machine, jukebox powered music, and nearly absent lighting, it would be easy to assume ABC the Tavern is just another watering hole for Ohio City regulars. However, when you throw tasty menu items, an extensive bottled beer selection, and excellent service into the mix–you’ve got all the makings of a Cleveland hot spot.

Upon our arrival, we guided ourselves to a small high top table directly across from the bar. With no servers in sight, we didn’t have high expectations for a stellar customer service experience. But we were wrong. The two bartenders happened to also be waiting the tables, and provided perhaps the friendliest and most attentive service we had experienced in a long time.

The Beer

ABC the Tavern provides an excellent variety on their expansive beer list; there is surely something to please even the snobbiest of beer snobs. There were plenty of great seasonal and regular options on their draft list, including Dogfish Head Punkin, Angry Orchard Cider, and Great Lakes Dortmunder. Their bottle list, on the other hand, catered to those looking for more unusual brews and included favorites like Heavy Seas Pale Ale, Stone Arrogant Bastard, and a sampling of the local Fat Heads brews.

My only complaint? The beers were a tad on the pricey side; an Angry Orchard Cider and a Full Sail IPA were $6.00 and $5.00, respectively. But, that was easily forgettable by the steal we got on the delicious food. And, if you’re looking to score some drinks on the cheap, Wednesday at ABC the Tavern is happy hour all day, so you’re bound to find a good deal.

The Food

With tasty menu items like a house cured pork belly BLT, and the should-be-famous atomic dog (a bacon wrapped, jalapeno stuffed, deep fried hot dog), it’s easy to forget that you’re at a local tavern. It’s traditional bar food–only more more inventive, and certainly more delicious.

Though their menu is not large, it was still a tough decision between the filet of tofu sandwich and the hummus cucumber club (both options $6.75). I eventually opted for the latter, which may have been one of the best choices I’ve made in awhile. I was delighted with a warm, double-layered pita sandwich, stuffed with some of the best-I’ve-ever-had thick, creamy hummus, layers of cucumbers, red peppers, and topped with a light cucumber sauce. For $6.75, the sandwich itself was huge, and came served with a mound of tasty hand cut fries.

 In addition to their menu, ABC the Tavern also offers up a variety of daily specials that are definitely worth checking out.


ABC the Tavern nails bar food, customer service, ambiance, and certainly is a win in terms of beer selection. From hipsters to business people to hungry locals, the best part about this quirky little tavern is that it’s almost a sure win for just about anyone.


  1. Stuart Spivack - November 14, 2012

    The pot roast sandwich and the fried chicken sandwich are the best sandwiches around here and really some of the best food of any kind or at any price point. Plain squishy bun with flavorful meat. It doesn’t need to be fancied up. I see the fried chicken sandwich appear as a special periodically. I’ve only seen the pot roast a few times as a special. Hopefully, it will appear more frequently, too.

    • Discovering Cleveland - November 14, 2012

      If we see either of those pop up as a specials, we’ll for sure be there to check them out–they both sound tasty! I was thoroughly impressed with their food, especially at the low prices.

  2. Stuart Spivack - November 14, 2012

    The also did a nice roast pork sandwich recently. I usually head right over as soon as I see them announce a special.

  3. D - November 16, 2012

    Be sure to arrive early on Fridays and Saturdays, as it can often get so packed that you can’t even walk through the bar.