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Beasts of the Northern Wild

A field guide to Cleveland's alarming, alluring summer animalia

by and


It's the heat. Or something in the water. Or the heady cocktail of too much alcohol, too little clothing, and inhibitions floating away like midges in the Lake Erie breezes.

Whatever the reasons, Cleveland's summer bestiary is out in full force, flaunting their bad fashions, flashing daddy's credit card, and generally annoying everyone within earshot. From the swankiest clubs to the dustiest sandlots, there's no avoiding them.

But why try? Every city has its native fauna, with their odd tics and charming quirks, and local mannerisms that make you either want to embrace or strangle them. And we love ours! After all, they're what keep life in this boisterous burgh so endlessly fascinating.

Herewith, a brief guide to our favorites — and some of their most popular watering holes. Bring the binoculars, order up a cold one, and enjoy the show.


Age: 44

Occupation: Medical supply sales

Home Turf: Gold Coast, Lakewood

You'll Spot Him:

• Blasting Drake from his speedboat while waitresses from XO sun themselves on the deck;

• Approaching girls at the bar with shots of Patron, explaining what a "chill time" they'd have on the "yacht;"

• Texting your mutual pot connection that he has a "squad of bitchez" coming out on the water Saturday and needs "Colombian party favors, STAT."

Summer Highlight: "P-I-B on the Fourth — only place to burn one down for Uncle Sammy. Value added: Bowling Green broads!"

Overheard at the Bar: "Life jacket? What? You afraid of a little water? I got you covered girl, don't worry."


Age: 38

Occupation: Homemaker, substitute instructor for Saturday-morning hip-hop Pilates

Home Turf: Chagrin Falls

You'll Spot Her:

• Walking from her double-parked Land Rover outside Brio at Legacy Village;

• Complaining to the manager at Saks that the store doesn't carry enough Kate Middleton;

• Picking the kids up from Mayfield Day Camp 45 minutes late, then dropping them off with the babysitter before happy hour with the girls at Jekyll's in downtown Chagrin.

Summer Highlight: "As you probably heard, St. Bart's filled up unexpectedly early this year, but we found a wonderful two-bedroom in Panama City. Excuse me? No, the one in Florida."

Overheard at the Bar: "I'm so lucky, I need to be pinched. Does that make me sound like a bitch? Stop hogging the guacamole!"


Age: 25

Occupation: Technician at a cellular research lab in the applied science department at Case; tells people she "does stuff, sometimes;" occasional Thought Catalog contributor

Home Turf: Ohio City

You'll Spot Her:

•In the right lane on Detroit holding up your commute home;

•Asking you to please stop dancing in place at a Beachland show, she's trying to enjoy the music;

•Generally scoffing.

Summer Highlight: "Radiohead doing 'There, There' at Blossom was pretty heady. Of course, they didn't play 'Talk Show Host.' Blah."

Overheard at the Bar: "No. Vintage Schwinn over a moped any day. Horsepower is a total copout. Duh."


Age: 28

Home Turf: Battery Park

Occupation: Public Relations

You'll Spot Her:

• On various high-end restaurant patios throughout the summer, photographing each dish before she dives in;

• Declining the hamburgers at your office cookout because the beef isn't free-range organic or even grass-fed;

• Returning habañeros and chewing out a vendor at the West Side Market for lack of "promised zing."

Summer Highlight: Taste of Tremont.

Overheard at the Bar: "Miss? This Shiraz has a little more of an almond aftertaste than you said it would. Are we positive we're talking about a Chilean provenance? My palate is telling me Australian."


Age: 46

Home turf: West Park

Occupation: Cop

You'll Spot Him:

• Spitting Copenhagen into a Mountain Dew can before breakfast;

•Advising the 13-year-old umpire that his definition of a strike zone is "horseshit;"

•Suggesting that his T-baller stop swinging like a "Sally" and hit the ball.

Summer Highlight: The Memorial Day tournaments. Game plan: "Loading up on Miller Lite for Megan's 6 a.m. softball tourney in Lima, but I shouldn't have any trouble getting back for Timmy's first pitch at the Ashtabula invitational. That doesn't start till 8. Then we'll hit the cages till dusk and fire bottle rockets out of our butts. The kids love it when I do that."

Overheard at the Bar: "Ignatius is watching my youngest boy. They're actually watching my girl, too. Did I mention she can hit 87 on the gun? Of course, I once threw a changeup 104 miles per hour. That was in sixth grade. We won the CYO tournament that year. You know, minor-league scouts used to call my folks."


Age: 23

Home Turf: Bingham Apartments

Occupation: Direct from his business card: "Executive Vice President of Social Media and New Business Development — Midwest."

You'll Spot Him:

• Ordering bottle service at Velvet Dog;

• Droning on about numerous "business opportunities" at 20/30 Club networking happy hours, though nobody has ever seen him actually engage in any businesslike activities;

• Telling you from the next urinal over at Barley House how nice a guy Kyrie Irving is and how he's "real close" to getting a project with him off the ground.

Summer Highlight: "Annual father-son round robin 18-holer at Mayfield."

Overheard at the Bar: "Oh that? My dad's name is on it because it's the company credit card, that's all. Don't sweat it."


Age: 31, allegedly

Home Turf: Anatomy

Occupation: Self-employed model/web video actress/dancer/promoter/swimsuit designer/DJ/hip hop artist

You'll Spot Her:

• Cutting to the front of the line at Liquid;

• Spending afternoons at Shooter's bar scribbling possible stage names on cocktail napkins;

• Angrily demanding the vet "fix" the incontinence problem her Maltese has any time he's put in her purse for longer than five minutes.

Summer Highlight: Summerpoolooza at Barley House. "Last year I would have said Roverfest, but this time around it was a little too Medina-y. Lady's gotta keep her class."

Overheard at the Bar: "They're real as fuck, yo. Oh, you meant the jacket? No, it's pleather. Why are you even talking right now?"


Age: 40

Home Turf: Internet message boards

Occupation: Actuary

You'll Spot Him:

• On hold with WKNR about third-string tight ends and the 2013 NFL draft;

• On the sidelines at the Browns training camp waiting to get an autograph on his throwback Bob Golic jersey;

• Loudly declaiming in any bar anywhere that Jimmy Haslam will be the kind of owner who will actually "get shit done."

Summer Highlight: "Summer doesn't start until the first preseason Browns game."

Overheard at the Bar: "Hey barkeep, can you switch off the Indians game? NFL Network has a rundown of the next running back draft class. Who cares about the Tribe anyway?"



What You're Drinking: Vodka with just a splash of Red Bull for you, regular vodka and Red Bull for the lady. Shots. Never water. Never. Water is for pussies and Canadians.

Signature Event: Bikini contests featuring the best 10s the town has to offer.

Expect to See: Bros of all shapes and sizes, many of whom believe it is still 1990.

Ambience: The same nautical theme your never-married, middle-aged uncle has in his basement.

Claim to Fame: It's been a few years since someone fell in the water and died.

Most Likely Celebrity Sighting: Super Pimp or Alan Cox


What You're Drinking: A light domestic beer, preferably drunk straight from the pitcher.

Signature Event: Last call.

Expect to See: College students; anyone with a backward hat; someone with the under on the Colorado State vs. Utah first half total of 28.

Ambience: A mix of stale frying oil, sweat, and bargain-basement cleaning supplies, inhaled while sitting one inch from the TV screen.

Claim to Fame: Pimping an idea for a sandwich stolen from a Pittsburgh institution as a Cleveland original; ubi-quitous, with two convenient locations at either end of your street.

Most Likely Celebrity Sighting: Troy Smith


What You're Drinking: An obscure cocktail whose recipe was last used circa 1932 in a small town in France, which no one has drunk in over 80 years because it wasn't that good to begin with.

Signature Event: Young professional happy hours where the city's brightest minds stand in fashionable herds, blocking anyone who would actually like to get the barkeep's attention.

Expect to See: Someone else who has a fabulous job they can't wait to tell you all about.

Ambience: Knock-off reggae fresh from Muzak, beamed out to the patio.

Claim to Fame: It's not Myxx, and it's not on Coventry.

Most Likely Celebrity Sighting: Zach Reed


What You're Drinking: Whatever tepid alcoholic beverage that guy over there just handed you.

Signature Event: Kamp Krusty, where everyone gets blackout drunk in the name of charity.

Expect to See: Intramural volleyball players who aren't keen on shirts.

Ambience: A close approximation of sand, with the sweet scent of exhaust fumes from the Shoreway wafting overhead.

Claim to Fame: Not really an island.

Most Likely Celebrity Sighting: The Miz

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