Last week I joined a half dozen girlfriends on the rooftop patio at Studio West 117 for happy hour. My friend Yvette Ittu, who is the head of one of the organizations (Cleveland Development Advisors) that provided funding to help this new spot come to fruition, wanted to make sure word was getting out about this cool new entertainment option in Cleveland. And, from my first impression, it looks like they spared no expense to create an LGBTQ+ safe space that straddles the border of Cleveland and Lakewood.
Betsy Figgie and Daniel Budish are the force behind this venture, and while it was designed to be a gathering place for the LGBTQ community, it welcomes all. But still, when I told a few friends about my visit, and encouraged them to check it out, I routinely got “Do straight people go there too?” Yes, yes we do. And here is why you might want to try it out yourself:
- The LGBTQ community has been patr0nizing predominatly straight restaurants and venues for years, so why not return the favor?
- The food was good, the cocktails were inventive and affordable, the vibe was relaxed and fun. Everyone on the staff I spoke to was full of energy and eager to please.
- It’s June – PRIDE month! And, since literally everyone I know has close friends, neighbors or family members who are gay, lesbian, bi or trans, why not visit a spot that shows how inclusive and welcoming our town is. I would assume everyone who walks thru the doors is either LGBT or a friend and supporter of that community so everyone can relax, chill and just be who they are.
The night I was there I saw a family with kids eating pizza on the patio, a Cleveland Councilman hosting a group of friends on the Trellis rooftop patio, two people competing on the pickleball court and dozens of others just hanging out on a beautiful May night.
But, this is a huge facility (300,000 SF) so part of the challenge will be that at first glance it’s looks sparsely populated, but in a smaller venue, it would be packed! And, the competition for your entertainment dollar in Lakewood is fierce. There are so many great restaraurants with walking distance of all who live in this lakefront community that it kind of makes those who live way out in the ‘burbs a bit jealous. However, in my book, density, especially with restaurant and entertainment spots, is a good thing. More competition is great as it creates a district that people flock to (think The Flats, downtown Chagrin Falls, Tremont)
Of course rainbow flags are everywhere, including the cornhole targets!
Studio West 117 is just one block west of W. 117th Street (the dividing line between Cleveland and Lakewood) on Hird Avenue, close to Detroit Road. It’s closed on Mondays and currently lunch is only offered on weekends.
Executive Arrangements provides highly customized introductions to Cleveland and Akron for job candidates and new hires as they contemplate a relocation to our town. About 10% of the people we work with every year identify as LGBTQ+0. We love learning about what is new and happening in our region so that information can be woven into a personalized Orientation Day when we introduce a newcomer to our region. If you think this approach could help your organization attract and retain top talent, call us at 216.23.9311.