drinks @ lola

I’ve been to the new Lola twice so far for dinner (in the spring prior to a game), and both times told myself I need to come just to sit at the bar. Which is exactly what we did over the weekend.

The space itself is really something. Perhaps the best atmosphere and décor in Cleveland. Those Symons really have an eye for design. Even the bathrooms are beautifully decorated with smart color choices, tile and gorgeous sinks. Seriously, next time you’re there make sure to check it out. I have this thing with restaurant bathrooms, and Lola gets my vote as having the nicest.

The restaurant has a very cool vibe, but not in a cold way. It’s warm and sophisticated overall with a great color palette, wide-open kitchen and stunning ceiling (my thing is bathrooms; my husbands is ceilings, so now I find myself always looking up). You can’t beat the old spaces downtown with the intricate detail work in the ceilings. The ones that have tin ceilings are the best.

Next to the kitchen, the biggest focal point is the bar. It’s simply beautiful. The bar itself is all alabaster with a warm glow. The backdrop is an all glass, temperature-controlled wine room with hundreds and hundreds of bottles. It’s pretty cool to watch the servers step in and go directly to the sought after bottle. This amazed me. I can’t even grab the right spice out of my spice rack on the first try and these people knew right where to go each time. The only item neither of us cared for were the two paintings. While I can appreciate that they carried the warmth of the bar into the wine room, my husband had a good thought when he said really cool tiles would have been a nice compliment.

The bartender was pretty colorful, too. He was full of energy and very excited to talk about the bar and the menu. You can tell he loves his job – which is always nice to see passion in employees, regardless of the field. I asked him for his recommendation for a full-bodied glass of red. This seemed to make him happy. He asked if I liked “bossy” wines, I gave a nod, and he said he had the perfect selection for me. He suggested Ojai Vineya syrah from Santa Barbara. What a wine – it was so good I actually e-mailed myself the name so I could remember for next time. He saw I was happy with his suggestion and gave me a look that could only be translated to, oh yes it is.

Both times we had dinner at Lola we sat next to the window, which is a nice place to have dinner. But when you sit at the bar, you can really take everything in – the people, the kitchen, the dining room and of course, the bar itself.


  1. Allison M.
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of Lola, I’ve been seeing previews for the next iron chef. I wonder if Michael won or not.

  2. WRJ
    Posted October 3, 2007 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    I was bored at work …again…so I decided to check out your blog. Lola –humm, I ate at the original. Might try the new version if someone would invite me….

  3. Anonymous
    Posted October 3, 2007 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    He lost and deservidly so,his dishes were very pedantic

  4. michelle v
    Posted October 4, 2007 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    I actually heard he did rather well, as I would imagine. And the fact that he was asked to participate on the show – that’s huge! Seriosuly, do you know what a big deal that is? Regardless of what you think, be happy in the fact that a local guy from Cleveland will be on the show. It’s great for him and great for our city.

  5. michelle v
    Posted October 4, 2007 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    WRJ – anyime you want to grab dinner big brother, we’re free. And I know you’re more than happy to treat :)

  6. Anonymous
    Posted October 4, 2007 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Actually I do know,I also know that most of Syman is hype,there are alot of better chefs in Cleve. he just seems to market himself much better.When you only go to the new trendy places or the places that have been here forever you miss what the independent,private,corporate and education based chefs are doing.

  7. michelle v
    Posted October 4, 2007 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    You are entiled to your opinion, but why hide behind anonymous? It’s so easy to lash out and make rude comments when you are anonymous… I can’t understand that mentality. If you have something to say – own up to it. I don’t care if you agree or disagree with me, but not hide behind anonymous. It’s food afterall… Anyway, read the blog. Most of the places I talk about are independents. You said something about only going to the new places or the palces that have been here forever – so what does that mean exactly, b/c if you’re not new, or you have been around for a few years, then what? If you think there are better chefs and places to eat, give some examples. Again, opinions are great, and I like hearing other views, but do it in the right way.