Todd, an unabashed entrepreneur, said he wanted “the American dream — to open my own business and employ people to help the job
He found himself envisioning a “gathering place.”
“I thought, ‘There are awesome sports bars and awesome dance clubs, but there isn’t a relaxing coffeehouse-type place that sellsbeer and wine.’ ”
The Barrel Room, at 7901 Cleveland Ave. NW in Plain Township, is divided into three rooms and a small loft. The main area is dotted with barrel-base tables and dark wood chairs. The two smaller rooms, one with carpeting instead of the cement floors found in the remaining space, are often booked for private parties. The cozy loft features couches and armchairs — enough seating for about a dozen — and a great view of the action below. Throughout the space, the walls feature fun, color-splashed modern art.
You won’t find baseball on TVs, video games or hot wings here. The ambience leans away from raucous and leans toward refined.
“It’s completely different than anything out there. It’s a place you can relax, have a conversation and listen to live music with no cover charge,” Todd said.
Now that spring is on the horizon, the crowds here will begin pushing outside to the nicely landscaped patio that Todd designed. A tall wooden fence blocks the view of the parking lot and three tall heaters take the chill off the evening air.
The menu offers 30 wines by the glass ($5 to $7.50) and 60 beers by the bottle ($3 to $9). The selection is eclectic and changes every six weeks or so.
The beer list includes a few labels you’ll recognize — such as Great Lakes of Cleveland and Hoppin’ Frog of Akron — and some you may not. The week we visited, the selection included Green Flash West Coast IPA, Breckenridge Vanilla Porter and Kentucky Bourbon Cask Ale.
Todd tries to find wines for every taste.
“Beauty in wine is in the eye of the beholder. Some might like a sweet moscato, others a dry Pinot Grigio,” he said.
When we visited, the list included Innocent Bystander Pink Moscato from Australia, Sola Cabernet from California, and Toscana Bianco Vecchia Cantiana from Italy.
Flights (selections of short pours of different wines) are very popular.
“At first I designed the flights, but then I thought, why not let the customers design their own,” Todd said.
Individually picked flights of three wines are $10.
The Barrel Room offers a smattering of other drinks, including a pumpkin pie liqueur on the rocks and a strawberry daiquiri.
Todd stresses he is not a restaurant, though he does offer a few simple snacks, including dips and cheeses.
Wine tastings are held every other Tuesday. He offers samples of four different wines for $10. To see the schedule, as well as the schedule of live music performers, go to website at www.barrelroomwinebar.com.
Todd said he’s proud to be living his dream of opening a successful business. He gets a little emotional when he talks about his customers and the success of his venture.
“Every year at our anniversary party, when I get up to say something, I get teary-eyed,” he admitted. “I truly appreciate everyone who walks in the door.”
7901 Cleveland Ave. NW, Plain Township
OPEN: Monday, noon to 10 p.m.; Tuesday and Wednesday, noon to midnight; Thursday through Saturday, noon to 1 a.m.