As phase two of the three-part development plan in the Flats got under way, the East Bank has sprung to life seemingly overnight. With eight new additions this summer, the Flats has begun catering to a more hip demographic. Flowering now with concept bars and high-end eateries, the neighborhood is fast-becoming one of the 216's trendiest areas. Here are the newest dance and dinner spots to rise up in last few months.
Alley Cat Oyster Bar
1056 Old River Rd
From the mind of California-obsessed restaurateur Zack Bruell, Alley Cat leaped onto the East Bank early August. With his 10th Cleveland restaurant, Bruell told Scene Alley Cat was his take on west coast pier restaurants. To be expected, Alley Cat's menu features an extensive list of oysters and wine, as well as a smattering of beef and seafood dishes. With a waterfront view and seating for 350, Alley Cat also hopes to snag the attention of wedding planners and corporate dinner parties by offering its space for rent.
1050 West 10th
The newest addition to the Flats, Flip Side's East Bank location opened its doors Tuesday. Not a stranger to the area, Flip Side has four other locations, the closest in Rocky River. The burger bar offers what's to be expected from a burger bar: 20-odd burgers and the option to add liquor to any milkshake. As a bar, Flip Side offers what's lacking on the strip: a low-key, cost-efficient hangout spot. Sandwiched between uptempo clubs and big band bars, Flip Side emphasizes casual dining with a simple menu and minimalist decor.
Big Bang Piano Bar
1163 Front Ave
Another August addition, the Big Bang is a national franchise that swooped into Cleveland to liven up the place. A watering hole featuring dueling pianos, the Big Bang boasts a pretty large dance floor and live, all-request entertainment each night. With two pianos sat opposite each other on-stage, musicians take requests but emphasize classic rock anthems.
1176 Front Ave
The most exclusive and expensive club to drop into the Flats, FWD promises to heighten the V.I.P. experience by offering a members-only pool bar and reservation-only dance nights. The self-described "day and night" bar opens on noon Fridays and Saturdays and 9 a.m. on Sundays. FWD may be something to add to your morning bars list, if you can get in. Its strict stress code strikes anyone wearing sneakers, sports apparel, large jewelry, loose-fitting clothes or is otherwise "sloppy" from the guest list.
Punch Bowl Social
1086 West 11th
Take Punch Bowl Social literally. One of the fresher faces in the Flats having just opened last Saturday, the gastropub serves breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as its signature punch menu. The bar focuses on traditional cocktails with a twist and calls back to the days of tea-length skirts and men in fedoras. Clevelanders can find old-fashioneds, mules and fizzes on its drink list, along with literal punch bowls. To emphasize the "social" part of its name, Punch Bowl Social also provides event space and package deals.
Crop Sticks, Crop Rocks and On-Air
1059 Old River Rd
Six, seven and eight on our list, this restaurant trio shares one location. The Crop entertainment complex houses Asian bistro Crop Sticks, American diner Crop Rocks and club-bar-restaurant On-Air. Crop Sticks and Crop Rocks opened in August, leaving On-Air to make its debut this Sunday. Both Crop Sticks and Crop Rocks emphasize their food and ambiance, while On-Air will emphasize entertainment. On-Air will hold a music venue, dance floor and restaurant in its 7,000 square-foot location.
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