|Appearances are deceiving. Take Pat’s in the Flats for example. Even owner Pat Hanych — self-proclaimed operator, cook, dishwasher and mopper — admits it looks like just a little-known neighborhhod bar.
In fact, it takes a while for Pat to fess up that she’s had some pretty big-name bands stop by her downtown Cleveland location. Ever heard of the White Stripes? Well, they’ve played at Pat’s. So have bands from Japan, Israel, Canada and, of course, Kent and Columbus.
When she took over from her parents in 1980, Pat’s clientele was 80 percent black, 20 percent white. “This is the only place where both ate, drank and cashed their checks,” she says. “We got people off the boats and refinery truck drivers. It was a 5:30-in-the-morning-until-7-o’clock-at-night business.”
With the introduction of a federal mandate stating that onduty truckers can’t stop anywhere that serves alcohol, Pat’s lost some bar business and entered the music business. “Next door was Usher Oil, a family business. I had high school friends who worked there, and they had no place to play. So they played here for the after-work crowd. Their drummer was their sound man.”
Though it’s just down the hill from Tremont’s trendy joints, this bar remains true to its neighborhood roots. “This is still a blue-collar, shot-and-a-beer bar,” Pat says. “The only mixed drinks we serve are screwdrivers and rum-and-Coke. We don’t draw from the yuppie crowd. This is nothing fancy. There’s no blues and no jazz.”