Forward Hospitality Acquires Smokey's BBQ Space in the Flats. To Become High 5, a Clubby Sports Bar

High 5 will offer “value-oriented bottle service"

click to enlarge Artist's rendering of building (right) that will be home to High 5. - HSB Architects
HSB Architects
Artist's rendering of building (right) that will be home to High 5.

In the wake of developer Scott Wolstein’s passing, some in-process projects in the Flats have changed course. One of them is Smokey's BBQ and Saloon, which was on pace to open this summer. That restaurant was to occupy the second and third floors of the new building that houses Welcome to the Farm. Now that two-level space will be home to High 5, which will be operated by Forward Hospitality.

Forward CEO Michael Schwartz describes High 5 as a “happy, chill, let’s laugh kind of sports bar,” where guests can feel comfortable in t-shirts and flip-flops.

“With a name like High 5, I think you can imagine a sports bar concept,” he adds. “But this will be a little higher end.”

In the main second-level space, there will be a large rectangular bar surrounded by lounge-like seating, much of which overlooks the river. There will be “big TVs and lots of them,” along with a menu prepared by Hospitality’s chef-partner Shawn Monday.

“The food will be higher-end, but nothing fancy,” Schwartz pledges.

In a sports-bar first, High 5 will offer “value-oriented bottle service.”

“You’re not going to be spending $300 for a bottle of Tito’s,” says Schwartz.

And while there will be a DJ, and there will dance music, High 5 is not a dance club, the owner stresses.

The third level features a massive 3,000-square-foot rooftop patio with lake and river views.

“We were fortunate enough to take over a near-complete space," explains Schwartz. "We will put the Forward spin on it, but we are fortunate that the bones of the space are done, and because of that we expect to open in October."

When it does open in October, High 5 will be open Wednesday through Sunday and for every major sporting event.

In other Forward Hospitality news, Flip Side, the chef-driven burger, shake and craft beer concept with multiple locations, has closed its nine-year-old Chagrin Falls store. After a significant remodel, the space will reopen in a few months as something new and exciting, promises Schwartz.

About The Author

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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