On a Bender

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Wesley Willis. Euclid Tavern, 11629 Euclid Avenue. 9 p.m., Friday, September 10, $6, Ticketmaster 216-241-5555.
Krivosh: Here for the beer.
Krivosh: Here for the beer.
While stumbling around Europe on a tavern tour, young Mickey Krivosh had a revelation: He'd open his own European tavern, but in Rocky River. It wasn't just the alcohol talking. With the help of some money from his folks, he opened a wooded village collective on the Alpine outpost of Detroit Road.

Twenty-five years and countless hours of karaoke later, Krivosh's endeavor, Around the Corner, anchors a curve of bars that sits on the western end of Lakewood. Here, the street does an s-shaped waggle and slingshots into Rocky River, as if trying to shake the seemingly endless string of watering holes along its route.

But on this historic week, Around the Corner will do the shaking. From Thursday through Sunday, the "Corner" celebrates its anniversary with a vintage car show focusing on models from 1974 (the year musclecars died), raffles for Browns tickets and trips, and music by local bands Rock Shop (Thursday), Colin Dussault's Blues Project (Friday and Sunday), and the Curve (Saturday).

"I was going to raffle off a Harley, but then I realized there'd be a bunch of Harley guys, and that's not my crowd," he says.

Unless, of course, the Harley guys are wearing J. Crew under their leather, as the local yokels are generally an upscale down-to-earth lot. They chow down on Wimpy burgers served in a stainless steel bucket ($5.95, cheese a buck extra) and play Wheel of Wisdom, a trivia game in which teams compete with buzzers and maybe a buzz. When they get really crazy, they might drink beer from a bedpan — like one doctor did at the bar's benefit for Lakewood Hospital.

As for taking the bison by the horns, in the early '80s — after vacationing near the culinary megalopolis of Buffalo — Krivosh brought back a new appetizer trend called "Buffalo Wings." He was also one of the first Cleveland bar owners to sign up for a little-known talent evening called "Star Night." By the time its modified successor, karaoke, caught on around town, Around the Corner had already hosted a couple crowded summers of drunken soccer teams singing Loverboy covers.

It beats sweeping floors at Republic Steel, a job Krivosh had until he started the bar at age 23.

"I used to say, "How can anybody work at the same place for twenty years?'" he muses. "I guess I'm still sweeping floors. But unlike Republic, this place stays cool in the summer. Plus, I can have a beer." — Tim Piai

Around the Corner Saloon and Café is located at 18616 Detroit Avenue in Lakewood. For more information, call 216-521-4413.

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