What's harder than getting a suburbanite to come downtown? Getting them to stay, once the game, the play, or the concert is over.
"The Indians could win the pennant and parade down Euclid Avenue," complains one testy downtown restaurateur. "The sidewalks could be thronged! But ten minutes after it was over, everyone would get into their cars and drive away!"
Parking, public transportation, and perceived safety concerns play a role in this for sure. Still, another factor is this: When you get right down to it, there's just not much to do downtown after the curtain falls or the whistle blows.
Shopping? Hah. Movies? Limited. And even the best of us can only eat or drink so much before calling it a night. So what's to keep a suburbanite here, after the main event?
Enter The Corner Alley
, the posh, new 16-lane bowling alley, restaurant, and martini bar on the corner of Euclid and E. 4th. Slated to open to the public next Thursday, Dec. 7 at 8 p.m., the spot offers that rarest of all downtown commodities: Recreation. (And no, dodging panhandlers doesn't count.)
Michael Auger of California-based Trifecta Management Group (who developed the concept) is psyched. "We really believe that people will come downtown, catch a game or a concert, then drop in here for drinks, dinner, and to roll a few games."
Certainly, the potential is striking. Besides the elusive suburbanites, the spot also can cater to downtown wage slaves looking for an after-work wind-down, and to the growing population of young, urban hipsters nesting nearby. Next-door neighbors House of Blues, Pickwick & Frolic, and Lola offer ample cross-promotional opportunities. And with the Hyatt and the Ritz-Carlton a short stroll away, the alley could become a hangout for travelers, too.
Of course, only time will tell if the concept has legs. In the meantime, though, we're polishing up those bowling shoes. If throwing a few gutter balls is what it takes to support our downtown, we are so there. --- Elaine T. Cicora