Places To Play

Beachland Ballroom

Beachland, KF Crisafi, Beachland Ballroom, Beachland Cleveland

Beachland - Photo by KF Crisafi

Just looking at the Beachland’s schedule, I see Bootsy Collins, Loudon Wainwright III, Of Montreal, Destroyer and Fountains Of Wayne. It’s the biggest club in town, fiercely independent and staffed by scene lifers. Because they’re in one of the most remote neighborhoods in Cleveland, they have had to become their own destination. So they have a record and vintage shop in the basement and a pretty good kitchen. They’ve been great about letting us on bills with huge bands and getting our music to fans who won’t come out for a band until they’ve already broken. Hip tip: The staff sarcastically refer to it as “The B’land.”

Happy Dog

Happy Dog, Happy Dog Cleveland, Happy Dog Ohio

Photo via Happy Dog's site

This bar is closest to where most of the band actually live, so it’s both a hangout and a performance space. Cover is almost always $5 and goes straight to the bands, which we definitely appreciate. Their specialty is gourmet hot dogs and veggie dogs. You order one basic dog and pile on tons of ridiculous toppings from fried eggs to Froot Loops. Lots of fun. Monday is trivia night, Tuesday is classical music or a lecture. Every other Friday, they have a polka happy hour. Polka is still popular around here, even with the kids. They also have shuffle board and a pinball arcade in the basement. Our bassist, Brian Hill, will school you at pinball.

Grog Shop

Grog Shop, Cleveland, Grog Cleveland, Grog Shop Ohio

Photo via Grog Shop's site

If the Beachland is the biggest and the Dog the friendliest, the Grog is the hippest. Bands on the come-up go to the Grog on their first big tour and get thrown to the wolves. Sometimes they succeed, sometimes they’re never seen again. We’ve had some great shows there. Despite the hip reputation, the staff are very friendly and, not unlike the Beachland, are lifers who can point you toward the fun places around town.

Next page: Post-Show Hangs