This weekend was chock full of fantastic. We had an absolutely amazing time – a much needed recharge after the ‘return to work’ syndrome we were experiencing. I’ll leave the first-hand account of all the awesome to Bryan though, while I focus my energy and reflect a 1-minute encounter we had in a near-west side neighborhood on Saturday evening.
Tremont is a neighborhood that has experienced major gentrification over the last 10 years. It started, as they all probably do, with home remodels, hip restaurants and bars, and snowballed from there. It still has a lot of charm – some of the properties are beautiful. The foodies love it because a lot of the best restaurants in town are there along with galleries, the obligatory coffee and vintage shops- you name it. We like to visit the summer art shows and art walks. There’s a pizza place and pub named Edison’s that we frequent (but never on a Saturday night after 8 or 9).
Over the last year or so we’ve attempted to go to Tremont a number of times. Once for dinner for my birthday and on other random evenings just looking for something to do. The outcome is always the same. Either it’s 9:30 and we’re still expected to wait 45 minutes to be seated or there are bouncers at the bar entrances to keep the floods of hipsters under control. ONE night was amazing. We stopped in a place called the Tremont Taphouse, had great beers, great calamari and a quiet evening sitting at the bar. We made the mistake of trying to go back ONE time. That’s when we realized the first time was a fluke caused by the snow storm that had been going on that evening. Every time we try to go anywhere in Tremont after 7PM we walk away with the same sentiment, “dammit! why did we decide to come out here again?”
I didn’t expect that to carry over to the retail, too. This weekend’s Tremont fail? The Cleveland Brew Shop. A shop supposedly opened and run by a guy who LOVES home brewing, who scoured the greater Cleveland area for the perfect space and fell in love with Tremont. We had been watching the shop get ready to open on our way to work from time to time. We were anxious to see what they had to offer (if for no other reason then to understand what brew shops in the area were doing). Consider it research for future endeavors. At 5:38PM on Saturday we rolled up on a buzz from what had been a great day so far. We were working our way to the Bottlehouse Brewing Company in Cleveland Heights. What a perfect stop along the way!
Walked up to the door – turns out they closed at 5PM. The four hipsters who stood/sat inside bullshitting did nothing but try to avoid eye contact with us. We got the lay of the shop in those 30 seconds. Typical fixtures and decor for the area. They had, what looked like, a standard full supply line. Prominently displayed on the wall behind the register creating the main focal point of the entire back of the store were the Cleveland Brew Shop t-shirts. It didn’t feel like someone who loved brewing beer created that store. It felt like someone who had money and created a business plan to capitalize on the hipster crowd and craft beer trend in the area – complete with the memorable logo and catchy tagline. Great marketing? Absolutely. Hiring the hipsters to run the place? Certainly not creating a welcome vibe.
We stepped away disappointed. This was not going to be the brew shop for us. We jumped in the car, heading for the Eastside and a completely different experience that awaited us.