by Justin Markert
In the last ten years, Ohio City and West 25th Street have transformed into a hotbed of night life. Great restaurants, great shops, and great bars. But one thing that has been lacking in the district is the regular presence of live music. That’s finally changing, thanks to the new live music series at Speakeasy. We caught up with Daniel Huszai to find out more about Speakeasy Live!
Justin Markert: West 25th has long been lacking a place for live music. Tell us how this came about.
Daniel Huszai: Up until now, there hasn’t been a location to regularly see live music on West 25th. In the past, we have hosted bands in Speakeasy, but only for special events. When they performed, they sounded great! Speakeasy’s atmosphere and layout is perfect for live music. Within our company, the staff is made up of so many talented artists and musicians, all of whom have something to contribute to the music scene in Cleveland. With all that talent under our roof and the perfect location, it just seems right.
Tell us a little about the bar itself, Speakeasy.
Speakeasy is located beneath McNulty’s Bier Markt at 1948 W. 25th St, Cleveland, Ohio. The lit chandelier will lead you down the staircase where you will find the prohibition-era themed lounge, with classic and signature cocktails and haute-rustic decor. The construction was done according to green building standards, including reclaimed barn wood from a local barn built in the early 1800s. Formerly the sales department for the Fries and Schuele department store founded in 1868, part of the design is the original hand-cut sandstone foundation walls. The cocktail list was created to include traditional cocktail recipes and new renditions of those favorites. Adam Gullett is the genius behind the brilliant cocktails concocted within the walls of the Speakeasy.
How often will Speakeasy host shows?
Every other Thursday. Doors open at 7:00pm and the music begins at 8:00pm. With any modicum of success, we’ll be going weekly in May.
What kind of music will you be booking?
We’re trying to get a great variety in the space. Everything from solo, acoustic singer-songwriters to psychedelic, to bluegrass or jazz. You name it, we’d love to have it down there. My personal philosophy is that: If it’s good, it’s good. Regardless of genre or style, talent should be recognized.
Any other artists confirmed for future dates?
February 20th holds Corissa Bragg, Uno Lady, and Noon for us. For March 6th, I’ve booked Voxcaster and Mount Saint Hellen Kellers, who are comprised of former members of Sun Spots. On March 20th, Joey Beltram of Good Morning Valentine and Shawn Brewster of Oldboy will team up. Stereo Worker’s Union and Ma Holos will play on April 3rd. I’ve lined up Alan Madej, Brian Straw, and Mike Uva to play on April 17th. A few things are in the works beyond that. I’ve got some things that are unconfirmed, but I don’t want to build too much anticipation.
Those are great lineups! You yourself are a musician. Tell us a little bit about Midwestern. How long have you been together and what kind of music do you play?
Midwestern has been a work in progress for several years, playing a unique mix of Americana, folk, and prog-rock. I’d say, around 5 years of playing together. It’s been the most enriching band that I’ve ever played with. Vocal layers and harmonies, countermelodies on guitar, and all-around solid writing. Never before have I played with a group of musicians that I’ve enjoyed more.
Do you personally have any shows coming up?
Unfortunately not. Midwestern is on a bit of a hiatus. Nate Jones moved to New York City, so the band is down to two members. Juliana and I are currently working on a new project, but it will consist of entirely new songs, or reworked versions of old material.
Where can people go online to find out more about upcoming events at Speakeasy?
Right now, we have several ways of accessing Speakeasy Live’s events: