News of Metro Bar and Kitchen's (1352 W. Sixth St.) sudden closure in the Warehouse District after a 10-year-run was a shock to almost everybody except the new tenant: Bar Louie.
"The ownership of Metro decided they no longer wanted to be in the downtown Cleveland market," explains Erika Buesing, senior director of marketing for Bar Louie restaurants. "So they approached us knowing that we were planning to expand."
Buesing says that the company's current growth plan is to expand in markets that they are already in. Bar Louie also runs a property at Legacy Village in Beachwood.
Of the downtown location Buesing says, "the area is natural fit because there is a lot of nightlife in the area, also a lot of working life. Our target demographic is young professionals aged 21 to 35 who are looking for a place to go that's in between college bars and the suburbs."
While many of Metro's recent renovations of the restaurant seem tailor-made for Bar Louie, changes still will need to be made. Buesing says that the raised area in the rear of the main room will be removed, freeing up a clear path around the bar.
"The bar is the heart of our locations," she explains. "You can't socialize as good if you can't walk all the way around the bar."
When the downtown Cleveland location opens sometime in July, it will be the sixth Bar Louie in Ohio and the 47th in the nation. The menus at all locations are pretty consistent, says Buesing.