Suits and Scotch

M Lang serves up a little liquid hospitality to attract customers after surviving the Euclid Corridor Project.

Mike Lang has always kept a few bottles of beer around for his customers. But in June, he added a full bar to his PlayhouseSquare store, M Lang Executive Attire & Lounge. It’s freestanding, U-shaped, wooden and artfully wedged into a far corner. Its selection ranges from margaritas to a Lagavulin single-malt scotch.

As we sip glasses of orange juice liberally spiked with vodka, he says the unusual retail amenity — the first of its kind in the state, the Ohio Division of Liquor Control told him — was his attempt to generate new business as the Euclid Corridor Project neared completion.

“It was disastrous,” the 48-year-old University Heights native says of the project, which disrupted traffic and caused many Euclid Avenue businesses to shutter. “We might as well have closed for three years.”

Now, Lang says, the 14-seat bar brings in customers after work on Fridays, where they often linger until 8 p.m.

“Sometimes it is standing-room only,” he says.

The bar traffic draws new attention to the store’s merchandise, primarily men’s suits. Despite the upscale decor and prominent display of designer labels such as Ralph Lauren and Joseph Abood, Lang says he can outfit a customer for as little as $200. “People come in thinking that we’re very pricey, and we arenot,” he insists.

In June, he began carrying jewelry and a limited selection of women’s clothing, mostly tailored dresses, suits and underpinnings by Bowdon, an American company that makes private-label clothing for the likes of Nordstrom. Among the items on the rack: a $125 princess-seamed chemise in a worsted-wool pinstripe and a $150 sleeveless dress and matching long jacket in a silk-and-wool tickweave.

Like most men’s stores, M Lang offers tailoring services on purchases. But Lang, who learned to sew as a teenager, handles some of the smaller wardrobe malfunctions himself, often at no charge — a real perk for customers who don’t know how to sew on a button.

“I tell people, ‘Just don’t touch it! Bring it to me!’
1275 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, (216) 771-4197
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