It's the end of the world as we know it...

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29.3.05

A few people, most recently Jason B, have asked about the Flats (for those who don't know, The Flats is a winding, half-mile stretch of riverfront on the Cuyahoga River with bars and restaurants in buildings that were once factories and warehouses and have closed and been abandoned). One out of town friend even commented that they were "no more." And certainly, from their heyday (i.e. when I was in high school) that is true. (Fun memory: they used to have college ID bars and night and I happened to have a college ID - legally - from age 16 b/c I took college classes while in high school. I had no problem getting into bars then. But I digress.)

The decline of the Flats isn't an illusion to out of towners (although my favorite bar - Howl At The Moon - is still there). The reasons are many.

First, there were three drowning deaths in about a year (drunks fall into the river; I believe at least one was underage) which can tarnish an image of an area as a "party location." (Come here and die!) Second (and perhaps related), there was a lot of underage drinking, which meant that the early to mid twenty set, let alone the thirty set crowd, had no desire to drink with a bunch of teenagers. (Pointed glare at groups of teenagers who, five or ten years ago, was me.) It also meant that bars would be closed for period of time somewhat regularly after they had been caught admitting or selling to underage people. Then the restaurants began to close, so no more going out to dinner and then drinking at a bar next door.

But I personally think that the biggest reason the Flats are in decline is The Warehouse District (mostly West 6th), which has become yuppie haven. Now, all the twenty-something and thirty-somethings that used to see and be seen in The Flats have to see and be seen in The Warehouse District. It has become Cleveland's new meat market (more so because it's a "young professional" meat market. Everyone still goes out Friday after work; they just go to the Warehouse District now. The sad part of it is that you can't party on the river anymore, which was always great in the summer. Though you can party on the rooftop in the summer.

The "flavor" of the flats isn't replicated in the Warehouse District. In my opinion (not a huge Warehouse District fan) there are three types of bars in the Warehouse District: pretentious, more pretentious, and most pretentious. (And perhaps it shocks you that someone as elitist as myself doesn't like these types of places, but they aren't pretentious in an intellectual way but in a "my job is X and I make Y amount of money" kind of way.) The bars are all interchangeable, with names like Blind Pig and Fusion and Liquid and Mercury Lounge and Spy Bar an Velvet Dog. In my opinion, they don't have their own "flavor;" it's all the same flavor. Which is ok b/c it's popular and it sells, but it's not quite the same as when each bar in The Flats all had their own flavor.

Has anyone else been having Blogger comments trouble? Constantly timing out? Grr...

3 Comments:

  • At 12:20 AM, Anonymous JasonB said…

    Thanks for that deeper explanation of what happened to The Flats. I can see how a few deaths might slow down the area's business. It was a great place though, the one night I was there awas a beautiful summer night eating on a patio by the river. Favorite memory of that trip.

    I had the same yuppie vibe from the Warehouse District even then, although I think that's where I got some amazing sushi. Wish I could remember the name of the place.

     
  • At 10:56 AM, Blogger Me said…

    Sushi Rocks. Also on West 6th. :)

    Eating on the Patio by the Cuyahoga River, well, there are a few, but the most popular by far is Shooters on the Flats. Open for lunch too. I love it there. :)

     
  • At 5:22 PM, Anonymous JasonB said…

    That was the sushi place! Ohh and they had great fried calamari too. (I'm craving sushi right now....)

    The place on the flats we ate I think is closed now, at least it was in summer '03 a year after. It was the first or second place from the lake on the east side of the river. They had "Cleveland's Best Party Band" which, if I remember correctly, cleared the dance floor within 3/4 of a song. The Unintentional Comedy Factor was high.

     

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