A Perfect Bachelorette Weekend in the CLE

Friday, May 4, 2018

My friend Lilly is getting married later this month at the Lakewood courthouse, followed by a reception the next day at Music Box Supper Club. They're keeping everything very chill, & the same was true of Lilly's bachelorette party, which she mostly planned herself. She made & shared all the plans, which included her & two friends crashing at my house for the weekend - because her fiance's bachelor party was happening at their apartment at the same time! Since we were going to be spending some time - minimal, but still some - at my place, I tried to add a few little surprise touches, too - gift bags, champagne, etc.

We went out of state for my bachelorette party, but Lilly's was proof that you don't need to go far from home to have a celebratory weekend! Here's how our weekend looked.

Po'Boys & Mini Hurricanes at Bourbon Street Barrel Room

No pictures of these because we inhaled everything prettttty quickly, but suffice it to say this was the perfect spot for a casual dinner to kick off the weekend. I ordered a pulled pork po'boy & enjoyed a mini hurricane (just 1.5 oz. of booze instead of the standard 3 oz.) We got there during happy hour, so everything was pretty inexpensive, too.

Mystery Drinks by Candlelight at The Spotted Owl

Next, we headed around the corner to this underground, speakeasy-style bar, which has a distinctly Hogwarts vibe - think brick walls & wrought-iron gates - & is known for its unusual, exquisite craft cocktails. They have a small printed menu, but they recently instituted a new way of ordering: They encourage you to choose a vibe you're feeling & a flavor you like, then the server asks you a few questions about what you do & don't like in order to come up with a drink s/he thinks you'll like.

I said I wanted something made with bourbon & fruit, & I got... something with bourbon & fruit?! I have no idea what it was, but it had a lightly cinnamon taste, & it was almost exactly what I was hoping for. I think we were all surprised by how happy we were with our drink results.

Boozy Brunch at Punch Bowl Social

I've only had brunch at Punch Bowl once before, & I was looking forward to reordering their chicken & waffles, which I once declared to be the best in Cleveland. Unfortunately, they fell from grace this weekend, when I found a bone hidden inside my fried chicken - despite having asked the server ahead of time if it was boneless (& being told that it was). I discovered it after crunching on a gross piece of cartilage (shiver) & when I told our witress, she said, "Oh, thanks for letting me know." Wait, what? Needless to say, I didn't eat the rest - but did snack on my friend Stevie's leftover carnitas nachos.

Other than that, though, Punch Bowl had the perfect vibe for a boozy bachelorette brunch. Though most everyone else ordered Bloody Marys or mimosas, I went with a bourbon-based cocktail called It's a Mer-Man's World, mostly because it reminded me of one of my favorite scenes from Zoolander.

Beauty Treatments & Cocktails at Manifest

This downtown salon offers full spa services & also has a full bar & a drink menu rife with Cleveland references. We all chose different spa services - I went with a matte black gel manicure, like the former emo kid I am (& with sadly stubby nails) - & we had a few drinks while hanging out: I tried The CLE (Titos with lemon juice, rosemary, honey simple syrup, & bubbles) & the Ohio City Martini (Titos with muddled blueberry, lime, St. Germaine, simple syrup, & cranberry).

It was nice to take it easy as we waited for one another to get blowouts, braids, eye makeup, & pedicures. Two of the girls had run a 10-miler that morning in nearby Lakewood, so they were extra deserving of those pedicures!

Champagne Toasts at My Place

We took a quick break to change, freshen up, & toast to Lilly over glasses of prosecco (with gummy bears in the bottom!) back at my apartment, which was loosely decorated for the weekend. I also distributed little gift bags that included a few goodies, including a few types of candy, 14k-gold face masks, big, plastic rings that doubled as shotglasses, "Bride Tribe" flash tattoos, & Beyoncé-themed koozies (the bride's said "Drunk in Love" & everyone else's said "Just Drunk"),

I bought most of the decor items - glittery champagne glasses, a pretty serving tray, mini desserts, a bar sign, a faux chandelier, & gold YAY balloons - from Target's Dollar Spot, & honestly? I think I did a pretty classy job of it. I'd promised Lilly nothing penis-shaped, which was the rule for my own bachelorette party, but hey, I couldn't help that her friend Emma brought the straws you see below!

Tacos & Margs at Bakersfield CLE

This is one of my favorite spots for dinner in Cleveland. It's a chain (only eight locations), but if I'm being honest, I still like it better than the local favorite, Barrio. Bakersfield's tacos just aren't as wet - & they feel like they're of higher quality overall. Their Asian-inspired pollo al sesamo taco is one of my favorite meals in town, & their queso is second to none.

The group split two pitchers of margaritas, & while we waited for our dinners, I asked Lilly to answer a series of questions that I'd had her fiance answer earlier in the week - a "How Well Do You Know One Another?" game that turned out to be pretty darn funny. We also scratched off Bachelorette Night Dare Cards, which were fun but largely a little too crazy for us to actually complete.

Rum Cocktails at Porco Tiki Lounge

This was Lilly's number-one, must-visit destination for the weekend, named one of the best tiki bars in the country & one of Thrillist's Best Bars in Cleveland. Though we had to wait about a half hour to even enter the building (max capacity!), it was so worth it.

I ordered the Heart of Darkness, a very boozy passionfruit & honey drink that comes with an edible flower & a plastic marlin, & a few of the girls ordered The Maiden Voyage, a drink for four that's served in a metal pineapple with a bottle of champagne upside down inside it, smoking with dry ice & containing a few blinking fake ice cubes. It was sent to our table by a server who banged a gong as she presented it to us. Needless to say, that drink was... a lot to handle.

...Plus Beers & Shots at Hi & Dry

We ended the night back in Tremont, where we hit up Hi & Dry, a bar & duckpin bowling alley. Though they have a substantial cocktail list, they also serve plenty of very laid-back beers (I went with a Bud Light, the perfect night-ender). I bought the bride a green tea shot, one of the girls ordered shots of whiskey for the table, & someone else ordered "pickle fries." Half of the group headed home around 1am; the rest of us closed out the damn bar... & got Edison's Pizza on the way home.

We fell asleep around 4am, woke up around 9am, & got brunch from Prosperity Social Club at 11am, after which I returned home & promptly fell asleep for... hours.

By the end of the weekend, it's truly a miracle that I hadn't ODed on all the sugar. I'm not usually much of a cocktail drinker, but it seems like all we drank throughout the course of this bachelorette party was fancy mixed drinks, many of which were very citrusy and/or very sweet. I woke up Sunday morning with no hangover but instead with killer acid reflux & a desperate need for as much water as humanly possible! I'll be taking it easy for awhile, to be sure.

This was my first time doing a bachelorette party right here in Cleveland, an opportunity to explore the city & pick out a few favorite spots to check out for the weekend - while celebrating a friend's upcoming nuptials, of course. Lilly & Darren are getting married next month, right before Mike & I leave for our honeymoon, & we can't wait to celebrate with them!

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