I had been waiting for the Bottlehouse on Lee Rd. in Cleveland Heights to open for almost two years–it’s original opening date was slated to be sometime in late 2011–and was excited to finally see it in business. I have been there numerous times–both with family and with friends–and would heartily recommend it to fans of tasty beverages, a family-friendly atmosphere and good food.

The name evokes beer, and they have a good rotating selection brewed on premises including imperial IPA, wheat beer, bitter ale and Belgian. They also usually have 1–2 taps of other craft brews including Fatheads and Troegs. The beers I’ve tried have been excellent on the whole, especially the God of War Imperial Red and the English Ale. Beers are also available in sampling sizes.

Their bourbon and mead selection is equally impressive and also available as samples and flights. I particularly liked the cherry chipotle mead, which was mildly sweet with a tang from the cherries and a smokey kick from the chipotles. Other selections include plain meads, fig mead and cherry cyser. They also have a few mixed drinks featuring bourbon.

The Bottlehouse is probably starting to sound a bit like a fancy wine bar at this point, but it isn’t. Family-centered elements include root beer, free popcorn and a selection of board games. Reading material is half beer magazines and half children’s books.

They also have a rotating selection of six pinball tables including Taxi, Fish Tales and Johnny Mnemonic. This is technically among the biggest pinball collections within 100 miles in any direction, and they are kept in generally good working order. This has been a hit both for family visits and outings with friends.

There is no kitchen at Bottlehouse, and the food selection has been somewhat in flux. Food trucks have been tried–we had some yummy tacos from Touch Supper Truck–but there have been controversies with this based on complaints from local restaurants and Cleveland Heights laws. The main model is now a counter behind which restaurateurs bring in prepared dishes. Perla’s Pierogies is usually there, and their various pierogies (3 for $5) have been quite good. These aren’t quite enough for a meal, though, especially in terms of countering the effects of plenty of beer. Perla’s recently started offering the heartier dish of pork stuffed cabbage, though, which I haven’t yet tried. For those looking for something more exotic, Chutney Rolls has been behind the counter as well on weekends offering Indian food wrapped in pita. I tried samples of the potato / pea and the panner tikka, both of which were outstanding: full-flavored, filling and spicy. They also have chicken tikka rolls. All rolls are $5.50 each or two for $9.00.

There is also a stage for musicians, which has been empty most times I’ve visited. As my bandmate and I joked with an employee about jumping up and playing, he told me that we were welcome to do so at any time. The one caveat is that they aren’t paying musicians as this point. So D-503 may be taking the stage sometime soon.

In case all this wasn’t enough to keep the proprietors busy, they now also sell brewing supplies to the public at wholesale prices. Their initial plan was to offer on-site brewing, but their own beers have been so popular that at this point they don’t have the time or space.

Bottlehouse is a great addition to the neighborhood and welcoming to anyone looking for excellent beverages and an unpretentious, family-friendly atmosphere. We’re already regulars there.

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