A Wild Night in Downtown Cleveland
Today’s entry is a guest post from my wife Tiffany.
On a balmy 32-degree December evening, my brother John and I headed downtown to meet up with Steve and a few friends (shout out to Turk, Nate and Megan) to celebrate his new job. I would have gone with my husband, but he ditched me to go to the Cavs game with his sister Julie. (Okay, so I begged him to take Julie to the game.)
John and I found a parking spot in a deck near Euclid for TWENTY dollars. Cash only. I lived in Boston, New York and Los angles and never paid TWENTY dollars for parking. I’m a big fan of Cleveland, but come on. Parking should be no more than a couple bucks, if not free. Make it easy for people to come downtown!
We decided to stop at Butcher and the Brewer for a bite. Even though the hostess quoted us a 45-minute wait, we snagged the vacant bar stools along the front window. Best seats in the house, in my opinion. Great people watching and good service.
As for the food, I have three words for you: fancy corn dogs. Heck, I love the frozen kind, so I was floored when we were served cake pop style yummy corn dogs with fancy mustard that I couldn’t eat because it was infused with beer. Oh yeah, I don’t drink, so I won’t be commenting on any of their specialty cocktails. My club soda with no ice and a wedge of lemon was spot on, though.
After dinner, we met up with our group at Lake Effects pop-up holiday bar in The Schofield Building. Every sober person’s dream: a Friday night at a Christmas bar in downtown Cleveland. As a former professional drinker, this had amateur hour written all over it.
Not long after we walked in, I had to hit the little girls room. Of course the line was eons long, so I opted to sneak over to the hotel lobby and use their much larger facilities. Another reveler, decked out in her best ugly, but trying to be cute, Christmas sweater led the way … sort of. She was unusually hammered for so early in the evening, but a hoot nonetheless. After pushing the wrong side of the door several times, she was so thrilled to finally get it open that she threw her arm around me and jubilantly celebrated the half block to the hotel lobby, remarking over and over how ‘we’ couldn’t get the door open, but finally did.
With no way to ditch my new best friend as we approached the quiet and civilized lobby, I muttered a few ‘be cool’s,’ which she repeated back to me in her best whisper slur. Once in the stall (separate, thank God), I fulfilled my bathroom duties with the sheer determination to escape before she could flush her toilet. I quickly scurried down the block hoping upon hope she was too far behind to see me. One might think that was the highlight of the evening. Well, my friends, you’d be wrong.
Back in the sauna-like bar, we set up shop in a corner fit with a small couch and chairs. We had just settled in for our long winter’s evening when all of a sudden there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my seat as the contents of a shelf went splatter right where I’d been sitting. Someone had apparently banged into the partition-like wall hard enough to send the decor tumbling. Painted hardcover books, a watering can, and a thick glass Christmas tree remained on the wobbly shelf, so I wisely removed the items before they had their own chance to fall off.
Five minutes later, the owner/manager/bar-back came guns blazing to our table shouting at me to open my purse and remove the stolen wall decor from my tiny handbag. Clearly misinformed, I did what every mature, sober 40-year-old woman does. I stood up, pointed my finger right at him and yelled “Duck you!” (Damn you, autocorrect). “You’re ducking decorations nearly smashed me on the head.” And then I proceeded to repeat the first statement a few more times before he cowered away from our table, shaking the guys’ hands and apologizing for the accusation.
I’m not going to lie, it felt pretty good to yell back. I’m not one to normally screech expletives at someone so aggressively, but I’d do it again if the situation presented itself. It was cathartic, and whatever other anger or resentment that had been lingering inside went with it, too. Bonus.
Following my now infamous bar fight (as I’m referring to it), we made our way to Corner Alley for some late-night bar food and a hearty laugh over the evening’s events. As they say, if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry. And that’s what I took away from the evening. A GREAT laugh. What’s better than that? It’s the mark of a good evening. Some might say it’s the meaning of life. I wouldn’t go that far, especially in a blog about Cleveland bars and events, but I will say it’s a night I won’t soon forget.
Coming Friday: A night out at Yard House that featured first dates and Indians’ All-Star Roberto Perez.