Best Of Cleveland Party & Viaduct Lounge

It was a windy, windy night!

Ever notice how great you feel when you don't have any plans? And when you do have plans you get sick right before? That happened to me this week. After working a 13 hour day (thanks to a mechanical delay) Thursday (with a wicked migraine), I awoke Friday with a full on cold or the flu or something. Figures since I was planning to attend Cleveland Magazine's Best of Cleveland Party at the Rock Hall and stop over to check out the not-yet-opened Viaduct Lounge that evening. So all day I played the "will I go?" or "won't I go?" game. Thinking I'd try to get showered and ready and if I made it out, fine, if not, fine.

After spending what seemed like hours expertly applying concealer to dark circles, highlighter to splotchiness and shimmery hairspray (cause if you can't hide it-you might as well distract from it) I was ready to go. The husband comes home and I mention to him that you can't even tell I'm sick. To which he replies "Well, you can kinda tell, just around the eyes, really. Then you can tell you've got something going on." Oh, thanks hun.

We headed out first to get a sneak peek at the new Viaduct Lounge which should be open within 2 weeks. They are in the old Ponte Vecchio space holding down one of the most beautiful views of downtown CLE. Since it's super close to us I was excited to see that the owners of ABC and XYZ Tavern taking over as Ponte Vecchio was not quite the best fit for us. I can't put my finger on it. The wait staff was nice enough, but the food was hit or miss. We tried dinner, pre-dinner drinks and post-dinner dessert but the place just didn't stick for some reason.

one of the best views in the city

The new Viaduct Lounge is a bit sleeker with the same gorgeous views. The wait staff is wonderful and welcoming, witty, sweet and smart. If you are a patron of ABC or XYZ these will be familiar faces for you. Word is this will not be fine dining but "the finest casual/fun" dining. Plans are to have a champagne/sparkling bar along with a raw bar. They didn't have any of the menus available yet and you know I was dying for a sneak peek! Ginko did this before they opened. Inviting everyone to come down to check out the space but keeping the main menu under wraps. It totally worked! I went back 2 days later to check it out. So it's a sure bet I will be back to the Viaduct as soon as they open. Keep posted for a full review.

the main bar wraps around one end of the restaurant ending in an open kitchen

floor to ceiling windows line the other half - here is the bar area

tons of exposed brick, booths and tables make up the restaurant side

we tried a variety of small bites that lead me to believe I'll be coming back
for more than just the view
The sun had gone down so we headed over to the Rock Hall for the Best of Cleveland party. Luckily we opted not to valet or try to park in the lot at the Science Center because the line of cars was ridiculous! We parked in the garage off E 9th St and walked over to the Rock Hall before any of the cars moved.

Clevelander's are not used to traffic

There was plenty of food and treats, wine and cocktail tastings. Since tickets sold out I was nervous it would be wall to wall packed, but it was the right amount of people and space. I heard previous years were crazy with long lines for the bar and coat check areas. No problems there.

We enjoyed sampling all of the city's best and deciding for ourselves if they lived up to the hype. I was dissapointed that Lemonberry wasn't serving yogurt, but they had a great array of toppings to nibble on. Cap'n Crunch and gummi bears, anyone?
OH, Cake Pops! were giving out their amazing chocolate dream pops with chocolate fudge cake and milk chocolate drizzled shell.
My favorite treat of the night was the red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting from Sweet! The Mobile Cupcakery. I pretty much stalked them.
Rozi's was sampling The Rook wine which I remember  trying, loving and getting from Wine & Design last year. It was actually featured in my first ever post. (Note to self: remind Greg to order some for me!)
B Spot was serving up some delicious burgers and Angelo's had a steady stream of pizzas going and I had the most remarkable maple goat's milk fudge from the Ornery Goat Dairy.

I have a slight fear of Slider so I think the husband
thought it was funny making me take their photo.
We spent quite a bit of the evening going through the Rock Hall itself since the husband had never been and I hadn't visited since it first opened. The Women Who Rock exhibit was fun. And yes, the meat dress is creepier than you'd think!

All in all it was a great night (even if I was ducking into every vacant hallway to blow my nose!) One of those nights where I was reminded how much I love this city.

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