Cleveland Powerhouse on the West Bank of the Flats

The Flats and downtown Cleveland, Ohio

Christina Spicuzza/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0

FirstEnergy Powerhouse, on the West Bank of the Flats just outside of downtown Cleveland, is a former power station transformed into retail shops, restaurants, and a comedy club. The red brick building, originally constructed by Brush Electric Light and Power Company (the precursor to CEI and First Energy), sits along the Cuyahoga River, next to Jacobs Pavilion concert venue, and offers spectacular views of the Cleveland skyline. The Powerhouse is also the home of the Greater Cleveland Aquarium.

About the Powerhouse

The large, four-story red brick Powerhouse building was constructed in the late 19th century to provide energy to power the city's streetcars. The building was designed by John N. Richardson, of the Cleveland architectural firm of Cuddell & Richardson. Richardson was also responsible for designing such notable 19th-century Cleveland buildings as the Perry-Payne Building, the Bradley, and Franklin Castle.

The Powerhouse was used primarily to provide power for the streetcar line that traveled to Cleveland's western neighborhoods. When the automobile overtook the streetcar in popularity, the Powerhouse was no longer needed and was closed in 1920. The structure lay dormant for more than a half-century.

The Powerhouse structure, now a National Historic Landmark, was totally renovated in the mid-1980s and is noted for its stylish arched windows and distressed brick walls. Today, it is a popular meeting place for visitors and residents alike.

Restaurants, Attractions, and Clubs

The businesses and attractions inside the Powerhouse include:

  • McCarthy's Ale House
  • Music Box Supper Club
  • The Rusty Anchor
  • Nautica Cafe
  • Nautica Queen
  • Shooters on the Water
  • The Improv Comedy Club and Restaurant
  • Windows on the River party room (available to rent for weddings and other special events)
  • Greater Cleveland Aquarium

Ample parking is located right next to the Powerhouse. Rates vary and increase on weekends and for special events. The Powerhouse hosts a number of special events throughout the year, including concerts, summer festivals, food fairs, and holiday happenings.

Near the Powerhouse

The Powerhouse is located adjacent to Jacobs Pavilion concert stage, home to outdoor summer concerts from May through September, and Shooters on the River restaurant as well as the base for the Nautica Queen cruise ship and Great Lakes Watersports. The Nautica boardwalk connects the various venues within the area of the Powerhouse. There are also temporary boat docks near the Powerhouse where boaters can park while they have dinner or explore the Powerhouse attractions.

Contact Information

Nautica Entertainment Complex
1231 Main Avenue
Cleveland OH 44113

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