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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Flats-Based Beerhead (nee Beer Cellars) Primed for First Keg Tapping this Week

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2015 at 11:47 AM

Greg Goodrich will be taking another bite of the Cleveland apple this Thursday when he unveils Beerhead, the latest in a spate of brand spanking new dining, drinking and entertainment venues in the Flats East Bank. The bar joins eight other freshly opened bars and restaurants in the immediate area.

If the business name doesn’t sound familiar that’s because Goodrich’s previous beer bar went by the name of Beer Cellars, which lasted in University Circle’s Uptown development for about a year. In the other five or so markets that Goodrich operates, the businesses had been called Beer Market, but all locations subsequently have been changed to Beerhead to reflect operational tweaks, says Goodrich.

“Over the last year we made a big effort to come up with a new brand, new logo and new look,” he explains.

When it opens this week, Beerhead will be different from Beer Cellars in three major ways, says the founder. Unlike before, the beer-focused business will offer a full-service food menu, will sell craft spirits, and will better emphasize locally brewed options. Like the original, live music will be a component. 

Open from 11 a.m. to midnight or 2 a.m. seven days a week, the riverfront bar will have seating for 100 guests indoors and more on the front patio. Food options will be a casual mix of bar snacks, salads, sandwiches, pizzas and desserts.

Of course, the big draw is the beer menu, a roster of some 50 beers on tap and 400 in the bottle or can, give or take. One of the modifications Goodrich and company have made since launching the Beer Cellars/Beer Market concept was to pare down the non-draft list by at least 100 bottles.

MRN Ltd., the developer behind Uptown, pins the Beer Cellars demise squarely on the concept, stating, "This was a concept issue," explains Ari Maron. "Because they had no kitchen, they couldn't generate enough foot traffic. Dynomite [Zack Bruell's burger and sushi concept] is operating out of the same space and doing very well."

Goodrich, on the other hand, places much of the blame on the location rather than the concept.

“We put together a beautiful store there and we got a lot of high remarks from the customers we had, but the business wasn’t there so we decided to move on to another location,” he says. “There was an effort by the developer to try and create another entertainment district in Cleveland and the city wasn’t ready for it. It’s still kind of a lackluster area that doesn’t have the draw that other areas in Cleveland have.”

Asked if he thought new entertainment districts such as the Flats might be contributing to decreased traffic in his old neighborhood, Goodrich replies, “What the developer has done down there [in the Flats] in terms of creating a mixed-use development is truly remarkable in what is the only waterfront entertainment area in Cleveland or even Northern Ohio. The waterfront is our biggest asset in Cleveland and Northern Ohio and to leave it undeveloped would be a crime and disservice to the entire city.”

Check it out for yourself starting this Thursday.

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