Happy 20th Anniversary to The Beachland Ballroom
Owners Cindy Barber and Mark Leddy Forge a Business, & a Community
by John O’Brien, Jr
The Beachland Ballroom & Tavern officially opened its doors on March 2nd, 2000. Owners Cindy Barber and Mark Leddy worked together to convert the old Croatian Liberty Hall on Waterloo Road in the Collinwood neighborhood (built in 1950) into the eclectic live music venue that the Beachland is today.
You may ask, “Where’s the Beach?” It is about a ½ mile north. Euclid Beach (1894 to 1969) was not far away as well, and the area became known as the Beachland.
Keeping key original details and maintaining the vintage vibe and authenticity of the building was always something Mark and Cindy wanted to preserve. The unobstructed view of the larger Ballroom and the intimacy of the Tavern lends itself to a variety of shows that can be accommodated between the two spaces.
Notable bands to come through the Beachland’s doors over the years since it’s 2000 opening include Akron’s The Black Keys, The Cramps, Guided by Voices, and The White Stripes, among many more. A long list of Irish bands have graced both stages, and are what first brought the venue to my attention. I have gone back so many other times, for the top-notch other genres as well.
The Beachland hosts two stages under one roof – the intimate Tavern stage (148 capacity) and the larger Ballroom stage (500 capacity). Most nights, the Beachland operates two separate shows; a full kitchen featuring homemade and locally sourced menu items; an extensive and affordable beer selection; and even a vintage shop in the basement called This Way Out. Weekends feature the Beachland Brunch, hosted each Saturday (11am-3pm) and Sunday (10am-3pm) with vinyl DJ’s spinning on Sundays; and handcrafted Bloody Marys and Beachland’s award winning biscuits all weekend long.
Beyond hosting nightly local and national musical acts, the Beachland participates in community focused and special events, such as the summer and holiday Rockin’ Flea Markets, workshops and industry mixers, and annual events such as hosting official stages for the Waterloo Arts Fest, and Beachland’s SummerFest festival. The destination venue that Cindy and Mark set out to create has become a pillar of the NE Ohio music scene and artistic community.
Transforming the Neighborhood
Cindy moved to the Collinwood neighborhood in the mid-eighties, and saw the potential hidden within Collinwood’s ethnic and musical community. With legendary bands such as Pere Ubu and The Schwartz Brothers already living in the area, and polka dances and pig roasts among regular neighborhood get togethers, the bohemian music community was present, but without a proper music and event venue to host them.
In an overall effort to revive the Collinwood neighborhood, select members of the community formed an initiative in 1988-89 called the “Lakeshore Neighbors,” whose focus was to rehabilitate the many historic buildings and create infrastructure for an artistic and entertainment focused community. Cindy was one of the founders of the Lakeshore Neighbors initiative.
Waterloo Arts and Entertainment District
The Beachland provided the anchor point needed to establish the Waterloo Arts and Entertainment District. Following the iconic and historic Playhouse District, the WAD is only the second designated entertainment district in NE Ohio. Since establishing the WAD, several art galleries, record stores, and monthly events such as “Walk All Over Waterloo” continue to make this district a destination and hub for the NE Ohio artistic community.
2020 A Special Year
2020 is certainly a special year for the Beachland. Many independent venues have come and gone within the past twenty years, but the Beachland has continued to gain prominence by showcasing nationally and internationally recognized acts, along with rising local talents.
Barber initially envisioned the Beachland as a resource to revitalize the North Collinwood neighborhood she had lived in for many years. During this time, she brought on Beachland co-owner and still main Talent Buyer Mark Leddy, who had a history with booking underground bands in Cleveland.
Cindy was gratified when she observed the growth of the acts that played the club, stating “I was actually surprised that we were able to help and nurture so many bands. We ended up getting a status as a must-play venue.”
Over the course of the past two decades, the Beachland has developed a loyal audience in the Northeast Ohio area and beyond. That strong customer loyalty was recently demonstrated at the Beachland Building Fund Benefit just a few weeks ago.
The Beachland raised a considerable amount of money to put towards repairs and improvements for the venue, including an entirely new roof, along with a major upgrade to the heating and cooling system. The venue is moving forward with plaster repairs and other touch ups to spruce up the interior of the club as well.
20th Anniversary Lineup
To celebrate the 20th Anniversary on March 3rd, the Beachland highlighted twenty shows throughout the month. They featured acts from a wide range of genres, including psychedelic indie-pop act of Montreal, the garage rock bands Black Lips and Reigning Sound, punk rockers New Bomb Turks, heavy metal vocalist Geoff Tate, jam band icon Keller Williams, and swing jazz group Squirrel Nut Zippers.
Such an intriguing array of acts represents one of the hallmarks of the Beachland since its inception, as Mark Leddy states, “We wanted to be a high-quality music venue with a much wider variety of styles than Clevelanders were used to seeing at any one venue.”
In other words, the Beachland strived to be a rock club that went far beyond the confines of rock. In 2020 and beyond, the Beachland will continue to bring acts across the genre spectrum to Cleveland, and it will fiercely persist as an independent venue. As Mark says, “In Cleveland, you’ve got to be tough. We’ve persevered when most would’ve packed their bags. We’ve carried on through thick and thin.”
Bring the Music Home
This Way Out, Beachland’s vintage/record store is located off the lobby in the basement. Open Saturdays Noon – 11pm & Sundays Noon – 3pm, as well as open during most shows in the evenings.
Clevelanders can rest assured that the Beachland will be rocking Northeast Ohio for years to come. Rock club friendly food that is above and beyond a rock club’s standard quality – the Beachland’s kitchen prides itself on being 100% from scratch, homemade and locally sourced, featuring a full dinner menu that is available during all Beachland shows and events.
Crowd favorites include marinated buttermilk chicken tenders and sandwiches, burgers, house made sauces, and vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options, and the legendary Beachland Brunch, hosted each Saturday from 11am-3pm, and Sundays from 10am-3pm, featuring the Beachland homemade and award winning biscuits and hand crafted Bloody Mary’s. Sunday’s Rockin’ Brunch kicks it up a notch with a featured DJ spinning on the Tavern stage. Reservations are accepted.
Catering & Special Events
The Beachland, while known as a pillar of the rock n’ roll community here in Cleveland, is not limited to concerts and music related events. The historic Beachland building has been host to many special events, weddings, fundraisers, and private parties over the years. The innovative and eclectic kitchen can create custom and specialty menus to serve special events, all with the same quality and character that gave the Beachland that legendary status! To book your special event and/or catered event, call (216) 383-1124.
Saturday Brunch: 11AM – 3PM
Sunday Brunch: 10AM – 3PM
Dinner: Open for Ballroom and Tavern shows till 11PM!
15711 Waterloo Rd · Cleveland, OH 44110