Welcome to Detroit Shoreway
Pressure Creates Diamonds
By Cindy Hill
Tough break? It's over, is it? Hopes crashed? That good thing didn't last forever? Well, just tonight (or maybe every night) head into the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood, three miles west of Downtown Cleveland, for a beer. A really good beer. Because if there's one thing this neighborhood knows, it's that the best is yet to be.
History: Crash Pad
Image © Cody York
Take the Gordon Square Arcade, which sits in the center of Detroit Shoreway, for example. It wasn't demolished in 1978 even after a deteriorating parapet wall crashed into its adjacent Capitol Theatre, which destroyed both. Like all of us, the neighborhood has seen its own share of hard times. But everyone knows pressure creates diamonds.
In a matter of a few short years, blocks of overlooked buildings along Detroit Avenue were transformed into a model for urban redevelopment, brought on by the visionary residents who raised hell ... and the funds needed to make real change.
Artistic murals embellish the sides of historic brick buildings, while storefronts undergo fresh makeovers - but seemingly it all still maintains the old-school urban vibe reverberating up and down its avenues.
Eat & Drink
Chic means trendy, but Detroit Shoreway's version is casual chic. That means you're just as good in jeans and flip flops (with or without ink).
Sit in front of a hotdog, piled with your choice of savory and sweet toppings, at a 1940's racetrack oval bar, listening to members of the Cleveland Orchestra perform - and you'll be one Happy Dog.
Some unique flavor combinations are found only in this neighborhood - like mile-high Sweet Moses sundaes, layers of Canadian poutine with sausage at Banter and the piping-hot seafood bags at Boiler 65.
Then there's the NY-style pies adorned in clams, Calabrian peppers or pesto at Il Rione Pizzeria and the ever-revolving farm-to-plate concepts (because the owners do, in fact, own a farm) at Spice Kitchen + Bar.
The taps flow copiously at neighborhood faves like the kitsch-but-cool Parkview Nite Club, Irish-infused Stone Mad and the craft beer lover's XYZ the Tavern. And, probably the quirkiest of combos is happening at Brewnuts, where the eccentric-yet-artistic donuts are made with craft beer infused right into the dough.
Who knew turnaround stories could taste so good?
Image © Cody York
This Detroit Shoreway survival instinct is rooted in community pride and nurtured by immigrant families, many who stayed for generations and anchored themselves to the very churches that still sit stoically along the street side. You'll see Italian food and flag line West 65th Street, while rainbow flags welcome visitors all along Detroit Avenue.
On third Fridays, 78th Street Studios is proud of their artists-in-residence, offering free art tours through 60+ galleries and studios, as well as the home to oWOW Radio, an Internet rock station churning out undiscovered indies.
Attend one of Cleveland Public Theatre (CPT) groundbreaking productions in dance, theater or music. Watch a black-and-white matinee, cult classic or a modern blockbuster at the historic Capitol Theater.
And, let's be honest, the only things that crash around these parts are metal pinballs at the Superelectric Pinball Parlor.
On the Edge
Lake Erie and Edgewater Beach are only a 10-minute walk from Gordon Square via an all-purpose path. How to get there? Simply follow a 15-foot tile mural of two cyclists pointing your toward the two pedestrian tunnels.
When you exit the tunnels, you'll have three choices - turn right to the Whiskey Island and Wendy Park; head straight onto Edgewater Pier; or turn left to Edgewater Beach.
Wendy Park offers habitat for 260 species of birds and monarch butterflies and a kayak launch. Nearby Whiskey Island is a habitat for the boating and beer revelers - flip flops are basically required. The Edgewater Pier offers fishing and stunning lake views. And then, there's the beach. (Oh, the beach.)
Image © Aerial Agents
Start at the Edgewater Beach House, a two-story, open-air pavilion in the shape of a boat hull. It features a double-sided gas fireplace, a full bar and a dog-friendly concession on the first floor.
But the money shot is on the deck, which looks out across the expanse of Lake Erie toward Canada, with the 2,400-foot beach in the foreground. Lake Erie's blue waves sparkle with sunlight and the spectacular orange sunsets will confuse you ("Aren't we facing north?")
During a typical summer afternoon, the beach is dotted with neon umbrellas, cozy beach blankets, picnic baskets and the tropical fragrance of suntan lotion. Swimmers splash and bob in Lake Erie, along with adventurers on stand-up paddleboards and kayaks - all while sailboats cruise quietly along the horizon.
Nights are different. Edgewater LIVE, a series of huge summertime parties hosted by the Cleveland Metroparks, means the beach lights up with two music stages, food trucks, nacho stations, bars and banners flapping "ICE COLD BEER." Now that's respect for nature ... human nature.
Welcome to Detroit Shoreway
You'll see. From Happy Dog to happy hour, this neighborhood knows just what you need to come back to life. The venues that thrive here seem to share the same stubborn attitude of positivity, "Oh yes, we will."
Need some proof? Come for a visit. Scope an interactive map of the neighborhood.