Around The Corner: 35 Years and Rolling Along
If you drive west out of Lakewood along Detroit Ave., there is a sharp right turn just before you cross the bridge into Rocky River, and around that corner on your right hand side is a little bar and café called…Around the Corner.
“I was trying to come up with a name for the place when I first got it,” says owner Mickey Krivosh,“ and people kept saying, ‘ya know, it’s right there around the corner,’ or ‘it’s just around the corner,’ so that’s what I decided to call it.” And if you have lived in Lakewood or the surrounding area at any time in the past 35 years (and are of legal drinking age!), you have probably been to Around the Corner.
This September marks Krivosh’s 35th year in business, and to celebrate he is having a larger and longer-than-usual anniversary bash. From Thursday, Sept. 17th until Sunday, Sept. 20, the party will roll on with food and drink specials, contests, live music, and other entertainment. Highlights include the Mickey’s Mustache look-alike contest on Thursday, Great Lakes Christmas Ale on Friday and Saturday, anniversary t-shirts on Friday, a contest to win Browns tickets Saturday, a Browns game tail-gate party Sunday with special guest Kevin Mack, and much more.
This year’s party will also be bigger than ever thanks to the May 8th opening of the Warehouse, a 2700 square-foot addition to Around the Corner. Housed in a former print shop and warehouse adjoining the back patio, the Warehouse is an open and airy room with high ceilings, large windows overlooking the patio, it’s own bar, a stage for bands and DJs, and a concrete floor which took 400 tons of gravel to bring level with the patio from the former tenants’ excavated work space. The room can (and already did) host group parties for over 100 people. Currently accessible off the patio, the Warehouse will eventually connect to the existing indoor portion of Around the Corner through an adjoining storefront. During football season, it will serve as a focal point for Browns and Ohio State games, with food and drink specials and multiple plasma screens, including one 65-inch by 40-inch monster plasma covering one wall.
Krivosh said a lot of the credit for the Warehouse goes to his son Ryan. “Yeah,” says Ryan, “I kind of pushed Dad a little on the Warehouse idea, and so far it’s worked out great.” “Ryan played a big part in working on the new expansion,” Krivosh says. “He brings a lot of energy, a lot of new ideas to the place.” Ryan, a 2007 graduate of Kent State University, is slowly taking over the reins from Mickey. Some of the fresh ideas he has brought include a Christmas-in-July party, Wednesday Night Celebrity Dunk Tank, a Miss Around the Corner Pageant, and a body paint and fashion show, many of which were held in the Warehouse. Ryan also came up with the Crab Races, a contest in which contestants sponsor hermit crabs (provided and cared for by a local pet store) in a race to the center of a table. Having seen similar contests as a youngster during family vacations in Florida, Ryan wanted to bring the same event to Around the Corner, and they have been a huge hit. And as with many of the events and promotions there, much of the proceeds go to different charities.
“My goal is to keep up promotions and keep bringing in a younger crowd,” says Ryan Krivosh. Asked if he had any long term expansion ideas of his own, Ryan said ”…not now, but if the right opportunity came along, well…”. The fact that Ryan is doing more and more for the business suits Mickey just fine. “I’ve had a pretty good run over the years,” says Mickey, “and I want to turn it over to him and hope he has a pretty good run, too.” A good run, indeed. Krivosh (Mickey) literally built Around the Corner from scratch. A lifelong Lakewood resident and 1970 Lakewood High School graduate, he rented the original storefront in 1974 at the age of 23 and had to get the liquor license out of escrow. He furnished it with equipment and furniture – at first the place didn’t even have barstools – bought at auctions around the state. From there, he built the business up over the years, offering good food and cold drinks at a reasonable price served by a friendly staff. After ten years he expanded to the storefront next door, adding a stage and second bar. He was the first to bring wings to the area in 1984, after trying them at the Anchor Bar in Lake Chautauqua. Around the Corner also had The Singing Machine, allowing patrons to sing along with musical accompaniment, before it was called karaoke. Krivosh also opened the first bar patio in Lakewood in 1986, well before anti-smoking legislation made it almost a necessity. The original patio boasts a soaring roof that covers the bar area and holds several televisions as well as heaters to allow use in cooler weather. The patio has been expanded several times since then and is usually packed with an energetic and lively crowd from the first warm breath of spring until the cool breezes of autumn.
All that success, Krivosh says, has not come without sacrifice. “This is a seven-days-a-week job. There are no days off. We’re open just about every day of the year, and it takes a lot of hard work to keep the place running,” he says. Krivosh says that over the years he has had a lot of long-term, hard-working, and loyal employees, and now sees some of their children working there as well. In addition to Ryan’s contributions, his daughter Jennifer pitches in on a part-time basis, and his wife Patty plays a very large but behind-the-scenes role in the bar’s success. Of his employees, Mickey says, “I treat them with respect, and they do the same for me. It really is like a big family.” Even some of the customers are like family. Krivosh says some of his original customers from the early days still drop in. He greets them with a smile and a handshake, and maybe a story is swapped. The younger crowd, more Ryan’s age, garners more business, but no one leaves Around the Corner without a smile.
“I may be rounding third and heading for home,” Mickey Krivosh says, “but I’m not going anywhere yet.” For the sake of all of us who like to enjoy a fun night out with good friends and good food and drinks, lets hope he – and Ryan and the rest the Around the Corner staff – are around another 35 years.