“We are closing as Liquid for good after next Saturday and we’re taking the summer to gut, remodel, rebrand and rename the space,” says GM Eric Howe. “When it reopens it will be as an entirely new space and concept.”
Club impresario Terry Barbu opened Liquid 24 years ago in the original Fat Fish Blue space on W. Sixth Street, setting in motion a decade-long string of hits that included Spy Bar and Wish, while cementing the Warehouse District as Cleveland’s premier entertainment district.
Current management has operated the club for more than a decade and has made major and minor changes over the years to adapt to changing trends. Now, says Howe, it’s time to cut the cord and start anew.
“24 years downtown is an insane amount of time to not do something new,” he says.
Saturday, June 30 will be the last day in business as Liquid. With an event scheduled for August 31 in that space, there is a hard, nonnegotiable date of completion, Howe states. He expects the new venture to be open to the public by the following week. When it does reopen, it will be as a nightlife destination, but not as a conventional nightclub.
“It will not be a nightclub, but more of a transitional space that is busy during the day maybe as a casual eatery and then transforms into a party place at night,” Howe explains. “That’s more of the attitude and design we’re going for as far as our food menu, cocktail menu and layout.”
Looking at successful nightlife models here and away, Howe says that there’s still a niche for entertainment-driven destinations that aren’t the same-old cocktail bars, restaurants and breweries.
“There’s the Flats, there’s E. Fourth, there’s W. 25th Street – all doing well, all great areas, but there’s no dedicated nightlife area in Cleveland,” he says. “People who travel want nightlife and don’t necessarily want to hang out at a brewery or restaurant. I don’t think you have to be a straight-up nightclub anymore to succeed in the nightlife business.”
Howe says that he and his partners are bullish on W. Sixth Street and the Warehouse District in general or else they wouldn’t be taking on this ambitious project.
“We believe in the street and this is us reinvesting into the street,” he says. “Entertainment districts seem to revive themselves every 25 years, and we’re on the cusp of that now in the Warehouse District.”