Happy Hour at ABC Tavern

These Brief Reviews of Brief Meals posts focus on the after-work food available on the near West side of Cleveland.

ABC Tavern (1872 W 25th Street) is an example, like Happy Dog, of a once-ordinary establishment brought into new glory by good management. I'm told that until a few years ago, ABC was a dive bar. But with well-executed food and attentive service, ABC is now a great place to be a regular. At around the same time, the rest of West 25th shook off its scales and started dishing up happening Friday and Saturday nights. The area is poised to become a paradise for beer lovers soon, with several bars specializing in craft beers, the Great Lakes Brewing Company bar, and the Market Garden brewpub opening Monday the 27th.
ABC's happy hour specials are usually written on a chalkboard at the bar.  They used to offer several food specials, but now it looks like it's only one per day.  I'm not sure why they narrowed it down, it's not like the place is jammed when I go there at 5:30. Isn't the point of happy hour to attract people that either wouldn't be there at that time, or haven't checked the place out yet?  Fahrenheit scaled back their happy hour food offerings once they had a good sized crowd coming in.

My first experience at ABC was a birthday party for my friend Brian Asquith a couple years ago. Brian is one of those guys who seems to know everyone, and just about everyone shows up for these parties. The bar was probably at its Fire Department-mandated occupancy limit, but the servers were highly organized. At almost any other bar, you'd have had to shoulder your way to the bar to get a drink, and getting food would have been out of the question. Not so: at ABC, they managed to get out and work their stations, and keep everybody satisfied. We were amazed.

Which brings me to my one minor complaint: like a sled dog without a sled tied to it, service at ABC seems to get twitchy when the place isn't busy. They're not relaxed, which makes it difficult for me to relax. But I can hardly complain; they're knowledgeable and they offer a great after-work meal for cheap.