Following a thorough remodeling, westside staple Touch Supper Club reopened its doors last fall. Already, the place had been known as a mainstay for the DJ set: Monthly events like "Sanctuary" and "I Got 5 On It" brought dancing crowds out in droves. (Those events still take place on the first and last Saturdays of each month, respectively.) Now, though, there's even more eclectic fun on the turntables.
"We knew going into the relaunch of Touch that we wanted to focus on certain sounds that were not offered enough in Cleveland," Brad Petty tells Scene. He books the DJs and special events at Touch. "These are genres that both Robert [Ivanov, the owner] and I personally enjoy and know represent what Touch means to people. Classic hip-hop, throwbacks, funk, soul, disco, house, Afrobeat, Latin and other world and underground sounds are what Touch is all about. The DJs we book and parties we throw stick to what we are known for — which is this music."
When Touch reopened, longtime fans were greeted by major updates throughout the place. In particular, the newly remodeled basement featured a nice zinc-topped bar and plenty of additional seating. Always home to special events, the basement at Touch had suddenly become a chic addition to the westside's musical offerings. "The basement is all about dancing," Petty says.
And the dancing doesn't stop. Sanctuary and I Got 5 On It remain popular events — legendary, one could say, in their own ways. Petty's mission was to increase the reach of Touch's musical atmosphere and reel in a nice variety of DJs to helm both the upstairs and the downstairs.
"DJ p.stoops spins funky downtempo sounds upstairs on Fridays and Dan Polito plays a mix of soul, disco and deep house on Saturdays," he says. "They are generally always there, while the basement is a rotating mix of parties and guests. Going into this new version of Touch, we made a pact that the basement would always be open on weekends for dancing and upstairs would always be on the loungier tip."
The upstairs, filled out with diners and a laid-back crowd at the bar, offers an excellent atmosphere for those seeking a soulful accent to their nights. DJ p.stoops — Patrick Stoops — was brought on board by Petty to spin at B-Side about two years ago. Now he's holding down Fridays at Touch, and adding to the dynamic flavor of the scene.
"At Touch, you can hear Latin funk one night and then sweet '90s hip-hop the next," Stoops says. "People are really enjoying themselves."
Indeed, from the dancing set downstairs to the tabletop background sounds upstairs, there's a little bit of something for everyone. And, as springtime explodes in Cleveland here, it's a sure bet that the lineup at Touch is only going to expand further. On April 8, for instance, DJ Self Help is skating in from New York City to lay down an evening of dancehall and tropical bass downstairs.
"We offer DJs a place to play music that they really enjoy and listen to themselves," Petty says. "Every time I book a local DJ they tell me Touch is their favorite place in town to play because it's like playing a house party and they don't have to spin the same music they would at, say, a downtown club. EDM, the new Future song, and any other current music trend is really not on our radar at Touch, so we have no desire for our DJs to spin it. There are plenty of places for clubbers to go if they want Top 40, but really, only a couple places for the type of music we showcase. We like it like that."