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The Suburbanite
  • Twentysomething hipsters, nerds, hip-hop kids flock to The Auricle

  • So I’m at this late-night hipster hangout surrounded by pierced and tattooed twentysomethings when this guy I was chatting with earlier sidles over and offers to buy me a house shot and I can’t really decline without looking cowardly, so I say sure and it turns out to be a shot of Jameson Irish Whiskey chased with dill pickle juice.

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  • So I’m at this late-night hipster hangout surrounded by pierced and tattooed twentysomethings when this guy I was chatting with earlier sidles over and offers to buy me a house shot and I can’t really decline without looking cowardly, so I say sure and it turns out to be a shot of Jameson Irish Whiskey chased with dill pickle juice.
    I down it.
    As I’m trying to dissect the flavors in my mouth I notice the mega-trippy video for “Time to Pretend” by MGMT is playing on all the screens and everyone’s dancing and for one blinking moment I can’t help but wonder, “Am I really in downtown Canton?”
    Best known as a concert venue with a busy slate of mostly indie-rock shows, The Auricle is gaining a second identity as a dance venue. On Friday nights from 11 to 2:30, this clean and comfortable venue is the unofficial clubhouse for a young alternative crowd seeking something different. You must be 21 or older to enter, but no one looks over 30 either.
    “I like that you can just go down there and dance, be crazy, nobody cares,” says Erin Mulligan, a semi-regular. “You go down there and just get free.”
    The Auricle’s Friday-night dance crowd is 180 degrees different than anything found on Planet Belden Village. “We’ve got the nerds, the hipsters, the punk-rock kids, the industrial kids, the hip-hop kids,” says Nick Brewer, The Auricle’s co-owner. “It’s such a varied group of people, I think anyone would feel comfortable here.”
    The vibe is casual and friendly. Plus, the place is dark enough that even the shyest wallflowers might wind up in the dancing throng that starts forming around 12:30 a.m.
    “Pretty much the whole place becomes the dance floor,” Brewer says. There are cool laser lights and several video screens beaming the official videos for each and every song, helpfully identified by artist and title.
    The music is an unpredictable, eclectic mega-mix, linked by danceability. In a single night, one might hear Deadmaus, Sublime, Gnarls Barkley, Phoenix, Pitbull, Ace of Base, Gorillaz, Chromeo, Modest Mouse, Run-DMC, Justice, B-52s, LMFAO, Britney Spears, The Faint and many more.
    “There’s probably 200 different artists we play, around 600 songs with videos,” says Brewer. “We try to introduce people to newer stuff. We always keep it fresh — we add 10 to 15 songs each week. And we take requests.”
    Brewer, who deejays, and his brother Josh, who tends bar at The Auricle, “are huge dancers,” he says. “We used to frequent Thursdays in Akron all the time. We love to dance, we love the culture. A dance night was an obvious thing for us to do. There’s a big need for it down here.”
    On First Fridays, The Auricle dance night draws more than 300 people. Other weeks the count generally runs between 150 and 250. “For every 10 new faces, we get three or four regulars,” Brewer says.  
    Page 2 of 2 - “I’m becoming a regular,” says Rachel Walter. “This is most comfortable I’ve ever felt in this type of atmosphere. There’s all kinds of people here. On First Friday, it gets crowded to the point where you can hardly get a drink — and that’s a good thing.”
    To meet the beverage demand, The Auricle’s already sizable bar is being expanded. Brewer says.
    “I get happy when the place is packed. That’s inspiring,” says Korey Cleaver. “I’m a dancer. Me and my girlfriend like to show up everybody.”
    “We have a lot of regulars who have been along for the ride ever since we opened. You get to know them, and you meet their friends,” says bartender Caitlin McCravy. “People who come here know to respect the place. They don’t want to mess it up.”
     “We’ve had to throw a few drunk people out, but we’ve never had a fight break out, never had the police here.” Brewer says. “We get chill people. They just come to dance.”
    The Auricle is located in the lower level of the Metropolitan Centre at 601 Cleveland Ave. NW, but the club entrance is on Sixth Street NW. Admission is free to the Friday dance nights.