What’s New in Cleveland, Ohio (from Passport Magazine)

By Mark Chesnut, Passport Magazine

In most cities, the opening of a new bar or dance club is enough to set the LGBTQ community abuzz, but in Cleveland locals are celebrating the debut of a much more ambitious project, Studio West 117 (studiowest117.com). This LGBTQ+ complex will eventually span more than 300,000 square feet and house venues for everything from dining to dancing, athletics to education. Studio West 117 is more than just a new business project. It’s about building the groundwork for a new LGBTQ+ neighborhood.

I was lucky to be able to attend the grand opening in 2022 of the first phase of Studio West 117: The Fieldhouse (1384 Hird Avenue, Lakewood. Tel: 216-712-6687. studiowest117.com/fieldhouse). I was impressed with this new facility, as well as with the long-term plans to develop what will be a truly multifaceted complex that is unlike anything I’ve seen before. The fact that it’s happening in Greater Cleveland says a lot about how LGBTQ-friendly and progressive this destination is. Destination Cleveland (334 Euclid Ave. Tel: 216-875-6600. thisiscleveland.com), the city’s tourism office, is doing its best to make sure that LGBTQ+ travelers know about what the city has to offer.

The Fieldhouse at Studio West 117, set in a historic, renovated warehouse, is a well-designed start for the multi-phase project. The building houses an expansive LGBTQ-centric recreation and wellness facility and hosts a variety of sports teams, fitness classes, and other programs. Not being athletic, I didn’t actually partake in any of the sports, but I did manage to observe others enjoying the facilities. I especially loved watching a lively group of drag queens scaling up the rock climbing wall during the opening night party. I did, however, personally experience some of the Fieldhouse’s multiple dining and drinking venues, including Eat Me! Pizzeria, Muze Gastropub, and Trellis, a stylish rooftop bar with a sophisticated food and beverage menu.

Phase two of Studio West 117, which is to debut in 2024, will include additional entertainment venues in a nearby building that’s slated for major renovation, while phase three, scheduled for completion in 2025, will feature a new-build residences and a hotel, among other things. This new development enhances Cleveland’s already long-standing appeal with LGBTQ+ locals and travelers.

Read More at Passport Magazine