So You Wanna Get Fancy

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Some days we are the mom covered in unidentifiable stains, with the small, terrifying children who rage in Whole Foods. They knock down at least two meticulously constructed apple displays, and your fears of being banned are realized – your organic fruit and veggie days are over. And then there are the days when our kids are polite to strangers, smiling on cue and displaying perfect manners, saying “pweez” and “tank you” in the most adorable squeaky voices of all time. Those days our makeup is on point, supermom status is nigh, and date night with our partner is a few short hours away. But if lately you’ve been feeling it’s an endless cascade of tumbling apple displays, and you’re longing for a glamorous night out, here’s a list of Cleveland joints where you can be your fancy self (no diaper bag necessary!).

Dinner then a show at Playhouse Square

Playhouse Square is the second largest performing arts center in the US. They host more than 1,000 events a year, including Broadway shows, operas, kids entertainment, concerts, and more. And they throw one of the best parties of the year, The Jump Back Ball, a smorgasbord of good food, live music, raffle and silent auction, and an open bar (I know it’s going to be a while before your grocery store shame subsides, but go easy on the open bar. You’ll thank me in the morning!). With the sheer multitude of events lined up at the Playhouse, and the amazing restaurants within a few blocks of the theater district (Cowell & Hubbard, Cibreo Italian Kitchen, Bin 216), it’s an accessible date night to soak in the arts and good eats.

Nighttown

A Cleveland staple for over 50 years, Nighttown is known for its eclectic crowd and vibrant music scene. Most nights of the week you can catch a performance - Stevie Wonder and John Legend have both graced the stage - and it’s a unique, memorable experience because of the extreme intimacy of the venue.  The food is consistently good, but their brunch menu’s Famous Dublin Lawyer is to die for. Go for the food and ambiance, but stay for one of CLE’s coolest music experiences. Added bonus - there’s a good chance you’ll be the youngest couple there; bask in the glow of your youthful glory!

Pickwick & Frolic

A giant venue boasting a comedy club, dinner theater, martini bar, and more, your night easily flows from one activity to the next at Pickwick & Frolic. Their comedy club features CLE favorites, like Mike Polk, to well-known comics new (Jay Pharaoh from SNL in May) and old (Tom Arnold in September). Their theater has rotating shows and events, with the current lineup including burlesque, a murder mystery dinner, and an open mic night. And their drink options do not disappoint. Kevin’s Martini Bar is a retro, cozy space housing the only champagne bar in Cleveland. Bubbles, beautiful burlesque babes, and bust-your-episiotomy-stitches comedy - you’re completely covered!

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and The Greater Cleveland Aquarium

Cleveland’s awesome zoo and aquarium aren’t exclusively kids entertainment - both venues put on adults-only events throughout the year. The Cleveland Zoological Society has three events planned for this summer. Their ZippityZooDoo in June is their annual gala, which raises money for education scholarships for Northeast Ohio students, and this year is debuting their brand new tiger passage. In early August, Twilight at the Zoo spotlights 18 local bands, playing a wide range of music genres. And Date Night at the ZOOvies caps off the summer festivities in mid-August, with appetizers, drinks, and a classic movie in the zoo’s theater.

In 2016, The Greater Cleveland Aquarium is hosting a series of five “rambunctious tasting parties,” aptly named Captain Neo’s Adult Swim. Each night features a different theme, with Captain Neo teaching the book on aquatic animals, while you sip cocktails and enjoy the scene. Head over to the highly rated Luca Italian Cuisine for a late dinner, or if you’re looking for a more casual hangout, throw some darts at Cleveland’s oldest bar, The Harbor Inn.

And that’s the list! Throw those spit-up stained clothes in the washer… no, scratch that, the garbage… and get out there! You’ve got this, CLEmom.