Last night I went to a wine bar in the warehouse district of Cleveland. We got a decent parking spot—on the west bank of the Flats.
Actually, my brother, friend and I were "on the list" for a show at the Improv, but we arrived there late and were DENIED. (As much as a locked door can deny someone, but I took it personally.)
We figured we could find a decent bar to grab a few drinks so the evening wasn't a complete bust. And we—wrongly—figured that we'd find this hypothetical bar in the Flats.
Having little desire to skank it up, I hadn't been to the Flats in years. Even though I'd read that the Flats were dying (again?), I didn't think I'd be blowing dust off its coffin. It was deserted. No tube-topped girls peeing behind parked cars, no bass thumping from tricked out Civics. The bars were boarded up or vacant. We didn't venture all the way down Old River Road, but I'm guessing the situation was about the same down the strip.
Not that my heart is heavy for having lost the questionable nightlife establishments of the Flats. Its desolation was just striking. I vaguely know there are plans to breathe new life into the Flats, and the construction of new apartments/lofts we saw was evidence. I know something will be made of it, and I hope it will be successful.
I thoroughly enjoyed walking around the Flats, gazing up at the illuminated bridges, listening to strains of the Paul Simon concert at Nautica/PD Pavillion/whatever. It evoked my love for Cleveland. Akron is good to me, and I love it as an earnest, dorky stepfather. But Cleveland—that's my daddy.