“We pretty much changed everything except for the shoes and bowling alleys,” says Jonathan Seeholzer, Regional Operations Manager for MRN Hospitality Group.
On July 1, The Corner Alley Downtown (402 Euclid Ave., 216-298-4070) shut its doors to facilitate extensive interior and exterior renovations. The East Fourth Street entertainment destination doesn’t reopen until Wednesday, September 16, but Scene got a sneak peek of the dramatic changes during a Friday morning walk-through.
The most significant modifications are apparent long before a guest even enters the building. A brand new blade sign signals a change in design direction. Nearly all of the building’s tinted glass windows along Fourth Street and roughly half of them along Euclid Avenue have been replaced by hydraulic-powered garage door-style windows that fold up and out of the way with a flick of a switch.
Even when down, the clear glass panels are a huge improvement to the original tinted windows in terms of projecting an image of fun to potential guests, says Seeholzer.
“You’d walk by on a Saturday night and there would literally be 150 people here and it looked empty because of the window tinting,” he says. “You couldn’t see what was going on inside.”
Inside, the original dining room has been replaced by a massive 50-stool rectangular bar, which is conveniently located just feet from newly accessible side patio. The bar now boasts two dozen draft beer handles, a marked improvement from before. The dated interior, with casino-style carpeting and drop ceilings, was replaced by a modern industrial look that better fits the neighborhood. Polished concrete floors, exposed warehouse ceilings and a high-gloss bartop give the space a completely different look and feel.
All new furniture in the bar and new dining room, located where the original bar used to sit, provides more flexibility in terms of seating.
Both Corner Alley Uptown and Downtown will debut the same all-new menu, which is described as “scratch-made bar food.”
“No matter where you might have eaten, people end up here to have a little fun, play some games, have a drink and eat some snacks,” says GM Mike Grasso.
The menu is loaded with small plates, sharable platters, salads, sandwiches and pizzas. Share some brisket and white cheddar-topped nachos or bourbon glazed chicken wings. Sliders come in seven different varieties, including fried chicken on a biscuit with slaw, and a beef burger with bacon and bleu cheese. A Reuben-style pizza is topped with corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and 1,000 Island, while the Asian pizza features crispy chicken, cilantro and soy Thai sauce.
For dessert, try a deep-fried Ho-Ho with raspberry compote or an old-fashioned ice cream sundae.
The full menu is now available until midnight on weekdays and 2 a.m. on weekends.
Because the removal of the window tinting along Euclid allowed in more natural light, which interfered with the quality of the above-lane projection screens, all new flat-screens were installed. In fact, when you add up all the new screens throughout the complex, you end up with 2,000 inches, according to Seeholzer, who apparently loves math problems.
In the lanes, all new seating now features under-bench storage compartments for street shoes, purses and jackets. New entertainment in the form of table shuffleboard, skeeball, foosball, pinball and classic arcade games now populate the space. And a “striking” new bowling ball feature wall, much like that at the Uptown Corner Alley, brightens up the entire room.
The formerly private VIP bar and four-lane alley will now be open and accessible to all (unless rented). Because the original bar has been moved farther away from the lanes, explains Seeholzer, it made sense to expand and permanently staff the one closest to the lanes.