Enjoy elegant bar food and handcrafted cocktails while watching overhead as planes arrive and depart from CLE at The Aviator's Rooftop Bar & Lounge

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The Rooftop Bar & Lounge features, tables, chairs and sofas to enjoy the view of planes arriving and departing from CLE overhead. (Photography: Felicia Vargo)

By Mitch Allen

Here in Northeast Ohio, we love dining outside. Our winters are long and gray, our summers short and sweet, so every moment we spend outdoors is cherished, especially enjoying a cocktail and a fun meal with friends and family.

This summer, one of the most popular outdoor hotspots is The Rooftop Bar & Lounge above The Aviator, the region’s popular event center and restaurant overlooking Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

As the name suggests, The Rooftop Bar & Lounge is indeed on the rooftop. That means you and your guests can relax under a blue summer sky or a starlit evening and watch the planes fly overhead as they arrive and depart from CLE.

The Rooftop Bar features its own casual menu, including lots of shareables. (Photography: KCBilek Photography)

“We wanted to create a community space,” says The Aviator’s President and Co-owner Khadar Soussou. “The Rooftop is just that—a large gathering place with tables, chairs and sofas to relax and enjoy the view. It’s a perfect evening all by itself, but also a great way to begin an evening—or end it.”

The Rooftop Menu
The Rooftop Bar features its own casual menu different from that of The Aviator’s indoor pub. You might want to start with one of the sharables, like the Watermelon Refresh, which is sliced watermelon, feta, pickled red onion, mint and a balsamic reduction. Or go with the Colossal Shrimp Cocktail. These are too big to be called “shrimp;” they’re more of a shrimp scampi served with hoisin sauce and a grilled lemon.

Next, try a Rooftop Bar flatbread baked in the 650-degree pizza oven. One of the most popular is The Polish Boy, featuring smoked kielbasa, creamy coleslaw, BBQ and fries.

The Aviator is known for its smash burgers—two patties smashed together on the cooktop—and The Rooftop menu does not disappoint. The Aviator Smash is American cheese, caramelized onion, lettuce, tomato, pickles and secret smash sauce served on a brioche bun. Each month Khadar and his team feature a Rooftop-Exclusive Smash Burger. For July, it is the Hawaiian Smash—barbecued ham, American cheese and Kowboy Kandy (pickled jalapenos in a jam-like sauce) on a brioche bun.

If you’re into lighter fare, try the Fried Brussels Sprout Salad. It is living lettuce, Granny Smith apple, toasted almond, bacon, shaved parmesan and crispy Brussels sprouts served with an apple cider vinaigrette.

The Rooftop’s Watermelon Refresh is sliced watermelon, feta, pickled red onion, mint and a balsamic reduction. (Photography: KCBilek Photography)

The Rooftop Bar is indeed a bar, so relax with a beer, wine or one of the handcrafted cocktails. Seating is first come, first served.

Weddings and Events, Too
The Aviator is best known as one of Northeast Ohio’s premier wedding venues. The modern, upscale event center is popular with brides and grooms in part because of its stunning décor, but also because The Aviator is a one-stop shop. Everything you need to bring your dream wedding to life is right there.

“We take care of everything,” Khadar says. “We have a phenomenal team of professionals who focus on the design process and execution of the day. We always try to say ‘yes’ to brides, and I feel comfortable making promises because I know my team will make it happen.”

In addition to weddings, The Aviator hosts parties, family events, corporate gatherings and more. “Our corporate events business has become huge,” Khadar says. “We’ve created complete, full-service experiences. We host meetings, retreats, team-building exercises and more. We recently pulled off a murder mystery exercise for one company, a comedian for another, and a team-building event at a shooting range for yet another. We like to get out of the box to help companies build and strengthen their culture, whatever that may be.”

With four diverse event spaces available, The Aviator customizes your event based on size and theme. When visiting The Rooftop Bar, be sure to explore the entire facility and imagine hosting your friends, family or employees at your own custom event. Stay tuned later this year for information on The Aviator’s New Year’s Eve Bash.

The Aviator Event Center & Pub is at 20920 Brookpark Road in Cleveland next to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. For reservations or to schedule a tour of the facility, call 216-770 5300 or visit AviatorCLE.com. The Rooftop Bar & Lounge seating is first come, first served.

Categories: Westside Food & Dining