by Kyle Swenson
We might not be telling you anything you didn’t know here, but Cleveland bumps, it grinds, it shimmies and shakes. This town’s got an active nightlife — Ground Zero the beleaguered West 6th area — and wild Friday and Saturday nights are major money makers for downtown businesses, clubs and restaurants.
But all that booze capitalism is in danger of going the way of the Flats: throughout the summer we’ve been riding the thin blue line between a block party and a race riot. Politicos are sounding off; the police are hiding behind the badge; there’s radio silence from the Mayor’s office. But amid all this amped-up tension, a couple Cleveland guys are looking to inject some positive energy into the downtown scene.
This summer Josh Fragoso and his team launched www.clevelandbarscene.com. The site is linked up to a number of downtown hot spots, and pipes in on its Web site live video streams from the bars. According to Fragoso, it lets people window shop their options from home before heading out for the night.
“From the cameras people are able to see the general scene, how many people are there, what kind of guys, what kind of girls, how people are dressed,” he told Scene.
The cams are currently set up at Barley House, Tequila Ranch and Lust. Initially, patrons were worried about privacy issues, not keen on Big Brother or Mom watching you do that body shot or bump dancefloor uglies with some douchebag. Fragoso says no worries — the cameras blur faces.
“The only way somebody would know it’s you would be if you got up on a ladder and put your face right up to the camera,” he says.
Live streaming clubs and bars is standard business in cities like Miami, Las Vegas, and LA. Fragoso says his business is all about showing the masses that Cleveland can beat up the beat and guzzle Dom with the rest of them.
“This is for Cleveland pride and enthusiasm about the nightlife. I feel the same way about the venues we have, we do have a lot of places that are worth visiting. We’re just trying to promote that.”