Bad Medicine, a 'Listening Bar' Opening This Summer in West Park, to Merge Vinyl, Cocktails and Food

"We want this to be uniquely Cleveland.”

Listening bars, like dive bars and cocktail bars, are all over the map in terms of vibe. Some are serious-minded jazz libraries while others are trippy dens sticky with electronica. What they have in common, however, is an obsessive commitment to audio quality while providing a welcoming space for guests to connect with the music and each other.

When Bad Medicine (13334 Lorain Ave.) opens this summer in the West Park neighborhood, it will bring a distinctly Cleveland perspective to the Japanese invention.

“Some of them are going to be jazz bars, some are just playing Johnny Cash or Elvis, we want this to be uniquely Cleveland,” explains co-owner Bryan Tetorakis. “Cleveland is the birthplace of rock and roll, so we’d be doing ourselves a disservice if we weren’t trying to play some great classic rock – but we do want to throw in some surprises too.”

Tetorakis and partner Adam McDaniel are planning on an August opening for the bar, which will focus equal attention on music, cocktails, food and service.

Tetorakis, a beverage professional with coast-to-coast experience, says that he stumbled upon the vinyl trend like many others.

“I got bit by the vinyl bug during the pandemic when there was nothing to do,” he says. “I lived right next door to a great used record store in downtown LA – and that was our way of keeping sanity. Since then, I’ve been buying and collecting records, and I have a basement full of gear.”

Bad Medicine will feature a custom backbar with built-in speakers and ample storage for records. Two turntables will sit on the main bar, within easy reach of the bartenders, who will curate the music at all times.

“Everything customers hear will be played on vinyl through vintage Hi-Fi equipment, most of it from our own personal collection of gear,” adds McDaniel.

To go with the tunes, there will be a roster of classic and modern cocktails including Manhattans, Old Fashioneds, Mojitos, Mules and seasonal creations. The drinks will be made using custom spirit blends, cold-processed cordials, fresh-squeezed juices, in-house bitters and crystal-clear ice.

From the small but mighty kitchen, chef Dennis Davis will prepare creative bar snacks, gourmet sandwiches and composed salads. Likely items include a fried Brussel sprout Caesar; scallop BLT on toast; and peppercorn-crusted Italian beef sandwich.

“Bad Medicine is a cocktail bar first, but we put the same amount of thought and effort into our food as we do our cocktails,” says McDaniel.

Bad Medicine might be “a cocktail bar first and vinyl bar second,” as McDaniel says, but the ultimate goal is to be a welcoming watering hole for all guests regardless their initial motivation.

“We are going to try and do everything at an exceptional level,” Tetorakis says. “We really want to be part of the neighborhood, but also somewhat of a destination. We are incredibly inspired by places like Never Say Dive and LBM, and how they’ve been able to really bring everybody in and buy into what they’re doing.”

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Douglas Trattner

For 20 years, Douglas Trattner has worked as a full-time freelance writer, editor and author. His work on Michael Symon's "Carnivore," "5 in 5" and “Fix it With Food” have earned him three New York Times Best-Selling Author honors, while his longstanding role as Scene dining editor garnered the award of “Best...
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