I attended the sold out Guided By Voices show last Friday night at the Grog Shop in the Coventry area of Cleveland Heights. A big show for a big event at the intimate venue. The Grog Shop is celebrating it's 20th anniversary this month. Here's the story from the Cleveland Heights Patch, Grog Shop Celebrates 20 Years in Cleveland Heights, and another from today's Plain Dealer, Kathy Blackman celebrates 20 years with her punk family at the Grog Shop
During their 20 year run they've moved from one end of the Coventry commercial district to the other. They're a perfect fit for the eclectic neighborhood that's been home to the freak scene since the 1960s.
I haven't caught too many shows at the Grog over the years. I was raising a child. Add to it that I live in the southwest corner of the county and worked downtown for most of that time. It seemed quite irrational to leave work downtown, head home, spend time with my son, then head past downtown to the Grog, finally driving home late at night. Let's see, that's about 100 miles of driving. You see what I mean? I'm still not keen on venturing to shows there on weeknights. I need my eight hours of sleep.
So while I applaud Kathy Blackman and her Grog Shop's 20th anniversary I wish it were more centrally located. Better yet, how about one on the westside. The Grog along with the Beachland are the two venues that offer a regular schedule of national indie artists. Both are located on the eastside.
Why isn't there one on the westside? The eastside has CWRU and JCU campuses from which to draw from but those are hardly big university campuses. And the westside, especially Lakewood, is where many, just out of college, first start out on their own. The bar scene is much more vibrant too.
A perfect spot would be in Ohio City which is seeing some exciting growth. I'm not about to tell Ms. Blackman or Cindy Barber of the Beachland how to run their business. I love both venues and admire what they've achieved both in their clubs and surrounding neighborhoods. But isn't there a need for one a little more centrally located?