Even in its heyday, the Flats never had a club like this.
While the Beach Club had indoor sand and Fagan's boasted a waist-high pool on the patio, FWD Day and Nightclub will be Cleveland's first outdoor club when it opens this month. With five bars, a 2,000-square-foot dance floor and an adjacent 20-by-40-foot pool, the open-air venue complements the emerging Flats East Bank residential and entertainment district.
"It's really truly been over the last two or three years when outdoor venues became popular," says Bobby Rutter, who co-designed FWD alongside Michael Schwartz, co-owner of Flip Side restaurants. By day, club members and residents of the new 240-unit Flats East Bank riverfront apartments can lounge by the 4-foot-deep pool on Vegas-style daybeds. At night, national disc jockeys such as Scene, Lil' John and Spider take over the circular center stage with a 360-degree view.
"If you're young, you'll probably want to be on the dance floor with a lot of people," says Rutter. "If you want to be away from the action, you can be in a cabana."
We get the party started with a breakdown on FWD.
Rust Belt chic: Reminiscent of an industrial smokestack, a neon sign with the FWD logo will rise high above the DJ booth. To complete the theme, the club walls are comprised of 40-by-9-foot shipping containers. "From the exterior, it'll look like a shipyard where the containers come off the ships and get stacked on the shore," says Schwartz.
Sound proof: On par with clubs in Las Vegas, Miami and the Baltic island of Ibiza, FWD's Funktion-One Evo7E sound system has more than 20 inputs that control each individual speaker in the club, creating a quiet lounge in the back and the option to play different music in individual areas. "We're the first club in the country that will have it permanently installed," says Rutter.
1. Stage pass: Up to 100 clubgoers can party onstage alongside national DJs spinning tracks at FWD Thursday through Sunday. "People are looking at you while they're on the dance floor," says Rutter. "You'll be 6 feet from [the DJ] at any point."
2. Private eyes: Twelve cabanas separated by silk draperies overlook the dance floor like a stacked opera house. "The beauty of the design is that they can be combined," says Rutter. "You could just reserve the whole line of cabanas, and we would rearrange the furniture within them."
3. Pool party: The 4,000-square-foot pool deck has eight custom daybeds complete with lockboxes. Guests can lounge poolside with cocktail service. "It operates just like a SoHo house club in New York with a private pool, where you can hang out," says Rutter. "In a lot of cases, it'll be rented to a large private group."