If all goes as planned, Victory Alley will be open in time to watch the Cavs home opener against the Miami Heat on its two ginormous 15-foot-tall HD projection screens. That game takes place on October 30th, which means owner Kevin O’Donnell will have many sleepless nights between now and then.
O’Donnell, who recently sold a successful litigation support company, purchased the two-level building at 727 Bolivar Road, which happens to be located immediately next door to Cleveland Scene HQ. The space was home to the oxymoronically named strip club Tops and Bottoms Gentlemen's Club, which was shuttered back in 2013 at the hands of Councilman Joe Cimperman.
“This will be a family friendly modern sports bar,” O’Donnell stresses.
He is spending a considerable amount of cash to gut the interior and transform it into a thematic space that “looks and feels like you’re sitting outside in a New York alley,” he explains.
He’ll accomplish that by applying various textures like brick and stone to the walls and installing exposed spiral stairwells. He also is adding garage door panels to the facade of the building and converting a small rear parking lot into a trellised garden patio with bar and firepits.
“I want to be known as the place to go for downtown residents to watch games,” he adds.
He said the decision to make the space an upscale sports bar was a no-brainer.
“The building is less than 80 steps away from both sports arenas; it just made sense to make it a sports bar.”
While close to those high-profile venues, Victory Alley is secreted away on a rarely trafficked strip of asphalt. Getting folks in the door will take considerable effort on his part, admits O’Donnell.
“We’ll have to do significant marketing and branding to make people know that we’re over there,” he notes.
When they do make it, guests can expect fresh-made pub grub like build-your-own flatbreads and stuffed burgers.
This project is one of two that O’Donnell currently is undertaking. He and business partner Jeremiah Keagle are opening up Encore at the Agora, a casual pub and grill at that storied concert venue. To do that they will secure a liquor license, build a bar, install garage doors and put in play a beer-friendly menu of soups, salads, burgers, wraps and other sandwiches.
“We want to make it a cool place to go in Midtown,” he states.