Ah, Cleveland. So terminally uncool. Why do you even try? Don't you know you're not New York or Chicago? Don't you know you're just embarrassing yourself?
Well, you should. While the local press laments our lethal lack of self-esteem, urging us to Believe in Cleveland, it spends far more ink incessantly reminding us just how uncool we are.
Take The Plain Dealer's John S. Long. While comparing Beachwood's Red the Steakhouse with other steak joints, he provides us with this insight: "Its red walls with their lacquered look give it more of a New York feel than the other Cleveland spots."
Oooohhh. The all-important New York feel. A treasured discovery, when you're living in a city not cool enough to have its own feel.
Just ask the young woman who was quoted in Crain's Cleveland Business after she purchased a Warehouse District condominium. "The Warehouse District has a New York feel to it," she said. Or ask a co-owner of Battuto, who told the Free Times that the restaurant's new facade will -- you guessed it -- "give it more of a New York feel." Maybe we're on to something. Little tiny pieces of Cleveland could pretend to be hip -- or at least give the impression of not being embarrassingly worthless -- if we make them feel like New York.
View, a new downtown club, has the right idea. The Free Times' Douglas Trattner informs us that View is "modeled after chi-chi clubs like New York's Lotus and Ghost Bar in Las Vegas." He quotes the owner as saying that climbing the club's staircase will feel "kind of like coming out of a subway in New York."
Because when you're paying five bucks for a Bud Light, it's imperative that the place feel like a New York subway.
In The Plain Dealer Sunday Magazine, Regina McEnery refers to Moxie as "a spacious Beachwood restaurant whose chic, almost industrial decor seems straight out of New York City's Tribeca."
Meanwhile, Tim Piai, writing in The Plain Dealer Friday Magazine, tells us that Flo Café "feels like a cool Airstream trailer that's been retrofitted for New York City." I don't even know what that's supposed to mean.
Piai was at it again in an article about posh Cleveland nightspots. He recounts this exchange with "Ben" from Northfield: "After I tell [Ben] the East Side might be the closest thing to New York here in Cleveland, he politely disagrees. 'I'm not so sure,' he says. 'I think the East Side's attitude is more like Manhattan, but the best places downtown and in Tremont have the atmosphere.'"
As a knuckle-dragging Clevelander, I'm left puzzled by this conversation. But even with a walnut-sized brain, I'm pretty sure the point is to look at ourselves in the mirror and hope to see New York.
Even this rag's not immune. Scene's Elaine Cicora tells us that a new sports bar in Wickliffe "will channel a Big Apple vibe, complete with N.Y.C. memorabilia." Wow, a Big Apple vibe! I'm all a-twitter! God forbid that I should drink in a sports bar that channels a Cleveland vibe.
Crain's Cleveland Business quotes the owner of a planned lounge on West Sixth Street (that's in the Warehouse District, which, as you may recall, has a "New York feel") as saying he wants to create a "New York-style place."
So . . . If we create in Cleveland a New York-style place in an area with a New York feel, are we cool yet?
An ad for the Lost City Bistro Bar promises a "NY style nite club atmosphere," while the Rock Bottom Brewery entices us with this cryptic ad: "Happy Hour -- NY Style."
Having been to bars in New York City during happy hour, I can give you this insight: People stand around, drink, and try to get laid. Sure, that might sound like a happy hour in Cleveland, but it's obviously much cooler in New York. That's hard to believe, since our happy hours offer the added bonus of secondhand smoke.
New York isn't the only city we fall short of. Leave it to Trattner once again to assure us that Tremont's Parallax is too cool to have sprung from Cleveland's overweight loins: "It appeared as if someone had swiped Kosta's and replaced it with a swanky Chicago hotspot."
Laura Taxel of Northern Ohio Live concurs that Parallax is too cool for us. "There's even a Saturday night waiting list," she says. "That's more New York City than Cleveland." Absolutely, since we Clevelanders pass out early on Saturdays, after long days of drinking Busch and watching bowling on ESPN2.
Still not sure we suck? Amy Starnes will convince you.
The Free Times writer says downtown's Constantino's Market "looks like it was air-lifted out of some trendier city and set down here."
Did you hear that sneer on here? Ouch.
And while we're down, how about somebody kicking us in the balls? This gem, which appeared in The Plain Dealer Friday Magazine, was referring to Cloud 9: "This club is straight outta Los Angeles or New York with its beautiful people, thumping beats, and beautiful mod decor."
Beautiful people? In Cleveland? No way. They must be imported. In fact, I am often amazed that Clevelanders even procreate, given our appalling looks.
And, finally, who else but the über-cool Trattner, this time writing in The Plain Dealer Friday Magazine, to stick the knife in our ribs? After describing the classy interior of downtown's V Lounge, he calls it "a look befitting a much larger -- and hipper -- metropolitan area."
Did you hear that? It's so cool that it doesn't even belong here.
Oh, Cleveland. You can keep trying to be cool and hip. You can keep embarrassing yourself. For my part, I'm going home to sulk in the basement. My balls hurt.
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