Sunday, June 26, 2011

Stevenson's Bar and Grille

23749 Lakeshore Blvd
Euclid, OH 44123
(216) 731-7671

by Beau Cadiyo

Bite: Probably the best dive bar food in town.

A few weeks ago, Cleveland saw two shootings within a week of each other. The first, in a club on Public Square, happened early in the morning on a Friday, after the clubs got out and before people started going downtown to work; the second, again on a weeknight, happened in a bar on Saint Clair.

My mind went wild. Who the hell is out at 2:30 a.m. on a Friday morning? Don’t these people have jobs to go to? If not, how are they affording alcohol and cover charges and weapons? Why are people going out with guns to clubs in the first place, and who knows that they have these guns yet lets them walk around with them without comment? Don’t they realize that this can only escalate?

If there’s any one good thing that comes out of all this, it may be that there weren’t any race riots or accusations of white paternalistic instincts hurled about. I’m in the middle of the new, beautifully written biography of Malcolm X, and one cannot read it and not be more sensitive to issues of race. Also, now that it is summer, many people are probably being reminded of the controversy last year over Cleveland police officers discriminating against blacks in clubs on West Sixth. In light of the allegations of disparate treatment, it is thus particularly interesting that all of the victims of these shootings appear to be black; there is no mention of the race of the alleged shooters, but in one video the handcuffed man being paraded around by police is also black. We don’t know the race of the security guard, but all of the people filmed watching the scene on St. Clair are black. All of the people calling for the club to be shut down appear to be white, though, and it looks like many of the police officers are also white. There are no apparent accusations of racism in either of these instances, or of whites unduly oppressing blacks by calling to close down majority-black clubs or arresting people who allegedly assaulted a security guard. There are no calls for whites to leave the majority black communities alone and to let these communities take care of themselves. Instead, there is complete silence about the race of the perpetrators, victims and the government agents.

Is this good or bad? I think it’s probably great. The race card is easily, and often, played in situations where it is actually inapplicable. The reaction to these shootings indicates that people are deciding not to play this card for once, and instead are focusing on what we know: the Public Square club had numerous violations and was being recommended for closure before the shootings occurred, and the deceased on Saint Clair were, apparently, beating a security guard and dragging him to a back bathroom to assault him in other ways (whether this was turning into a sexual assault is not clear, and reporting since the shootings has been minimal). In a sense, then, the fact that white people are calling for the club to be shut down without charges of racism being levied against them indicates that perhaps racial animosity, or beliefs about inherent racism, don’t have to come up when race might play a factor, and I think that is a positive. At the same time, though, we must be afraid that some will argue that this is justification for more disparate treatment between majority-white and majority-black clubs; we must also recognize that this could escalate to the point where many people will feel that they have to carry weapons around for safety.
Safety. The shootings also reminded me of a debate I had a long time ago about what Cleveland needs. A classmate of mine argued that education was the top priority for Cleveland; I argued it was security. He came from the standpoint of long-term thinking, he said; education would bring people to the area, help convince them to stay and also add to the economy, long-term. Education is important; don’t get me wrong. However, if kids can’t walk to school because they’re afraid they’re going to be shot, the greatest schools in the world are worthless because the students can’t get to them.

Similarly, security downtown is of primary importance. Of course, the ideal is to have a vigilant citizenry that will police itself and prevent these sorts of antisocial villains from perpetrating crimes. Second best, though, and what is actually realistic for our downtown, is to have the police do everything that they can to prevent crimes from occurring. Whether their numbers need to be increased, their pay needs to increase, or some other factor needs to occur, we need more cops on the street preventing crimes whenever they can and arresting criminals whenever they can’t. The statements made about downtown’s reputation speak to this: when crimes occur, people are driven away. Security, then, is of the utmost importance in the city’s revitalization.

We were recently at a dive bar, Stevenson’s, which is perhaps one of the more dive-y bars I’ve ever been to. It used to be a bait shop for fishermen, and then added a bar and food capabilities. We had a few burgers and a pork sandwich, all of which were prepared right behind the bar in full view of everyone; they also have a decent beer selection. The sandwiches were delicious for dive bar food; the burgers were well-done but the lettuce and tomato were fresh and the buns were of the hard-to-mess-up variety. The best part: it’s pretty cheap. If you’re in the area and you’re hungry, this is one place you should consider. The only caveat is that there is almost no parking in the bar’s parking lot, so you may have to drive around the corner to find a spot.

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