Neighborhood Watch: Downtown Cleveland, Ohio

The grandiose banks of Cleveland’s past seek new life as swank eateries and lounges

WORDS Amber Gibson
July 2019
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In the time between the civil war to the Great Depression, Cleveland, Ohio, was one of the most important industrial cities in the U.S., behind New York and Chicago. With its prime Great Lakes location, it was a banking, manufacturing and transportation hub for a country that was developing at a breakneck pace. To reflect the city’s prosperity, banks were fitted with marble columns and gilded teller cages.

“Euclid Avenue was the Millionaires’ Row of the 1890s,” says Tom Yablonsky, executive vice president for the Downtown Cleveland Alliance. Today, the city is still home to the largest bank lobby in the world (Union Trust), and many of these grand old buildings have found new life as swanky eateries and lounges. Indeed, Cleveland has become a national leader in historic adaptive reuse. “The city has used its existing architectural stock to create a vibrant downtown,” Yablonsky says. “There’s a scale of place and sense of authenticity.”


 

Heinen’s Fine Foods

Cleveland, Ohio, United States

The downtown location of this family-owned business, in the Cleveland Trust Company Building, features a stunning Tiffany-style glass rotunda above the main floor. Sample wines from self-serve taps on the upstairs balcony for the best views of the cathedral-like space.

Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse

Cleveland, Ohio, United States

The private dining room here is inside the safe of the old Midland Bank in the art deco Landmark Office Towers, built between 1928 and 1931 by railroad barons the Van Sweringen brothers.

Marble Room Steaks & Raw Bar

Cleveland, Ohio, United States

Set in the banking hall of the Garfield Building, Marble Room has grand staircases, Roman columns, cathedral ceilings and a vault in the basement for private events.

Vault in Metropolitan at The 9 Hotel

Cleveland, Ohio, United States

Four vaults at the old Cleveland Trust Company are decked out in 1920s decor for guests to enjoy craft cocktails and small bites in a speakeasy environment.

Wild Eagle Saloon

Cleveland, Ohio, United States

The Howell Building was home to the Morris Plan Bank in the 1920s. Today, it is a party destination pairing deep-fried bar food with arcade games, bocce courts, billiards and foosball flanked by flat-screen TVs.

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