LTH Home

Velvet Tango Room - Cleveland, OH

Velvet Tango Room - Cleveland, OH
  • Forum HomePost Reply BackTop
  • Velvet Tango Room - Cleveland, OH

    Post #1 - August 24th, 2008, 11:00 am
    Post #1 - August 24th, 2008, 11:00 am Post #1 - August 24th, 2008, 11:00 am
    Sure, I’m elated that a place like the Violet Hour has happily hit the Chicago scene. Their riffs on old time classics such as the Aviation, Champs de Elysees (Poor Liza), and the Manhattan (Blue Ridge Manhattan), for example, are real works of art: creative, but respectful of the original, and more importantly delectable. A place like the Velvet Tango Room in Cleveland, however, realizes in no uncertain terms that classic cocktails made as classics are classics for a reason…because they truly work. What dumbfounds me about Chicago’s cocktail scene is that we didn’t go from a place like the VTR to the Violet Hour. We jumped straight from the romantic era to the art deco movement; so to speak, in one fell swoop, finding ourselves in the second derivative of the cocktail world, one primarily of concoctions and riffs. However, the Velvet Tango Room takes on these time-tested beauties head on, unafraid that its patrons might need something more.
    Places like the Velvet Tango Room are a natural segue from a valid and simple cocktail bars one periodically finds here in Chicago (such as the Matchbox), who certainly have the capability to produce a nice selection of no-frills cocktails along with satisfying other bar-ly needs, to the marvel that one experiences at the Violet Hour. From the time you enter its doors, they pay complete tribute to making these legendary drinks in an honored, traditional fashion. The room is colored and textured to a place that only the Great Jay Gatsby or the flamboyant (and suicidal) Jesse Livermore might be familiar with and where the importance of a warm and welcome greeting followed up by friendly conversation is no accident.

    The substance of the place, however, came not only from its well-executed cocktails, warm staff, and ambiance but from what I would call its “Professional bartenders”. Unlike the diligent but often times inexperienced bartenders at the Violet Hour who frequently appear to be, say, praying like hell that their fired-up citrus peel will ignite on cue, VTR’s bartenders gracefully produce cocktails like they’ve been at it for decades. Please don’t get me wrong; I’m not cranking on the staff at the Violet Hour. I love the place madly. I’m just paying well-deserved respect (homage?) to the pros at the Velvet Tango Room who have obviously been meticulously trained and educated by their warm and friendly owner, Paulius Nasvytis. This is an operation where thoughtfulness is executed at all levels.

    Like ReneG, I would also say that this bar was the best I’ve ever had the pleasure to experience anywhere as a total package and that the Velvet Tango Room is well worth going way out of your way for.
  • Post #2 - August 25th, 2008, 5:57 pm
    Post #2 - August 25th, 2008, 5:57 pm Post #2 - August 25th, 2008, 5:57 pm
    Thanks so much Pigmon. -Paulius here, Just want to say I am very lucky to have the crew I do. The VTR operates with 4 bartenders. Apprenticing to learn to bartend at the VTR is a two month process. This type of dedication is very rare in the bar buisness. And all of us, hostess, bartenders assistants, and the bartenders themselves know we are all in this together, and we all take innordinate pride in our work. I am very proud of my staff. Thanks to all who appreciate and understand the VTR.
  • Post #3 - August 25th, 2008, 6:04 pm
    Post #3 - August 25th, 2008, 6:04 pm Post #3 - August 25th, 2008, 6:04 pm
    Paulius runs an incredible shop and he took great care of us during a long, food-filled weekend in Cleveland last summer. In fact, VTR was one of the highlights of our trip. My wife and I still refer back to the joy-filled, breezy afternoon we spent sipping hand-crafted cocktails out on the patio behind the interior space. From door to door and everything in between VTR is meticulous, thoughtful and absolutely wonderful. For anyone who appreciates cocktails -- especially those folks who are situated in the midwest -- this should be a 'must hit' destination.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #4 - August 26th, 2008, 9:20 am
    Post #4 - August 26th, 2008, 9:20 am Post #4 - August 26th, 2008, 9:20 am
    VTR is one of the reasons I'm glad to live in Cleveland!
    Life Is Too Short To Not Play With Your Food
    My Blog: http://funplayingwithfood.blogspot.com
  • Post #5 - September 13th, 2008, 10:28 am
    Post #5 - September 13th, 2008, 10:28 am Post #5 - September 13th, 2008, 10:28 am
    There are less than a handful of places have come really close, but there is no perfect bar, no that place. The perfect bar exists only in my head as a place that opens when I arrive and closes when I leave, it's not too loud and not too silent, where I can go and drink perfectly crafted drinks for free, all while being served up by a staff that's beautiful on both the outside and the inside.

    I've been all over this great land of ours and in my travels have always striven to find the closest thing to that place. I had expected that I'd find it here in Chitown. Or maybe in LA, Las Vegas, Scottsdale, or one of the 5 boroughs. But I'll be damned that I found it in Cleveland of all places! To me, that's almost like suggesting Salt Lake City or Cheyenne, WY.
    Yes, I too have witnessed this extraordinary experience that is known as the Velvet Tango Room ("VTR"). It can be somewhat difficult to state just how extraordinary it is. One could try to compare it to another establishment of the same ilk, but in doing so would be a disservice to the VTR and everything that it is...and everything that it isn't! It's the closest place to that place that I'm likely to find.

    We all have our own ideas of what constitutes that place. NASCAR lovers probably have a different vision of that place. But for me, the VTR is the closest thing to that place for me. If I can just figure out how to get my drinks for free, I'll have found that place...the perfect bar. In the meantime, I'll settle for the closest thing to perfection, my new home away from home: The Velvet Tango Room.
    There's two ways a drink can be prepared: The way the Velvet Tango Room does it, and the wrong way.
  • Post #6 - September 13th, 2008, 11:32 am
    Post #6 - September 13th, 2008, 11:32 am Post #6 - September 13th, 2008, 11:32 am
    LiquorSnob wrote:But I'll be damned that I found it in Cleveland of all places! To me, that's almost like suggesting Salt Lake City or Cheyenne, WY.


    I think that I get the comparison you're making here, in that you are implying that Cleveland is a bit of a backwater. I agree. Not only is it a backwater, it is a backwater that bursts into flames occasionally. However, I must point out that unlike our good Mormon brethren in Salt Lake City, the denizens of Cleveland know a thing or two about liquor. It's a little known fact, but Alan Freed actually invented it there in 1954 right before he discovered rock and roll.
  • Post #7 - November 3rd, 2008, 2:31 pm
    Post #7 - November 3rd, 2008, 2:31 pm Post #7 - November 3rd, 2008, 2:31 pm
    Making my way back around the forums...
    maureencd wrote:
    LiquorSnob wrote:But I'll be damned that I found it in Cleveland of all places! To me, that's almost like suggesting Salt Lake City or Cheyenne, WY.


    I think that I get the comparison you're making here, in that you are implying that Cleveland is a bit of a backwater.
    Actually, I didn't mean to imply that Cleveland is backwater. What I meant was that I didn't expect to find such exquisite liquor-based delights in Cleveland. Just as I would be surprised to find such delights in Salt Lake City (for obvious reasons) and Cheyenne, WY because one doesn't expect Cheyenne to be a hotbed of, well, just about anything!
    There's two ways a drink can be prepared: The way the Velvet Tango Room does it, and the wrong way.
  • Post #8 - November 3rd, 2008, 9:44 pm
    Post #8 - November 3rd, 2008, 9:44 pm Post #8 - November 3rd, 2008, 9:44 pm
    LiquorSnob wrote: Just as I would be surprised to find such delights in Salt Lake City (for obvious reasons) and Cheyenne, WY because one doesn't expect Cheyenne to be a hotbed of, well, just about anything!


    ahem. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/04/us/04 ... ref=slogin

    There's a there, there.
  • Post #9 - December 28th, 2008, 3:55 pm
    Post #9 - December 28th, 2008, 3:55 pm Post #9 - December 28th, 2008, 3:55 pm
    Mrs. JiLS and I had two very fine Manhattan's at the Velvet Tango Room last night (12/27/08) and agree with the favorable remarks above. The place was so crowded, and it took them so long to seat us, that the staff comped our drinks, so I suppose my opinion might be skewed by that fact; nevertheless, these were some mighty fine Manhattans, smooth and rich tasting (probably reflecting the use of Vya red vermouth, which was noted on the drinks menu, and which I particularly enjoy). It's in an unusual location, just stuck on a quiet residential street (although close by the Market, so maybe more lively and obvious a spot in daylight). We were too tired to stick around for the sunrise, but I know we'll go back on future visits.
    JiLS
  • Post #10 - December 28th, 2009, 5:50 pm
    Post #10 - December 28th, 2009, 5:50 pm Post #10 - December 28th, 2009, 5:50 pm
    A native Clevelander, I was embarrassed that in my frequent visits home, I had yet to visit VTR, an ommission I remedied this past weekend. My friend and I visited early, hoping to beat the holiday crowds. I recognized the bartender from the Bar de Ville bartender exchange and had a chance to compliment her personally on how well they handled the crowds here and on the excellent Manhattan she made for me. The memory of that Manhattan still fresh, I ordered it again, and later the Bourbon Daisy. Both drinks were beautiful, the Manhattan smooth, heady, the Bourbon Daisy bright, herbal, floral, snazzy. I loved the live piano music, the warm room, and the friendly crowd. My only quibble and it's not really a quibble - their drink descriptions are wonderful and lyrical but don't describe all of the ingredients in the drink, something I would like to know. I'll be in Cleveland again in about 3 months for Easter and given how close it is to our church, may need to start a new tradition of a pre-or post-liturgy toast to the resurrection. :wink: Just don't tell my parents, 'K?
  • Post #11 - February 22nd, 2012, 6:45 pm
    Post #11 - February 22nd, 2012, 6:45 pm Post #11 - February 22nd, 2012, 6:45 pm
    I had to do some business in Cleveland, not business that I relished doing though it turned out much better than expected. To console myself, I found time to eat and drink well and VTR was the best of a very good group. We arrived at 8pm on a Tuesday, literally the only patrons in the bar. The two bartenders greeted us warmly, and over the next hour we enjoyed some excellent cocktails and swapped stories. They wanted to discuss Chicago bars, told us some stories of their experiences in Chicago, and also shared a lot about how they approach cocktails. We also discussed what makes VTR unique, which includes the all-female bartender team in a profession dominated by men.

    By the time we left, the place was full, the jazz band was playing and the vibe was just as good as the drinks (in Cleveland, on a Tuesday night - not something I was expecting).

    Truly excellent. Can't wait to go back. Might even look for an excuse to visit that (not so) difficult client again soon.
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy

Contact

About

Team

Advertize

Close

Chat

Articles

Guide

Events

more