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East Bank of the Flats from Aloft Cleveland. Via Facebook

East Bank of the Flats from Aloft Cleveland. Via Facebook

I never say no to happy hour at one of my favorite spots around town. But in the past couple of weeks, I’ve been hitting the bars and restaurants with a bit more purpose.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATwo weeks ago, I grabbed a couple friends and headed to Aloft Cleveland Downtown and the new hotel’s WXYZ Bar. The Downtown Cleveland Alliance and Cleveland.com partnered to host TweetUp, a networking event to celebrate the opening of this trendy spot.

Aloft Cleveland stands right next to the new Ernst & Young office building. The hotel boasts great views in all directions, including views of downtown, the lake and the East Bank of the Flats.

Now about the East Bank, that is an exciting tale for another day. Aloft and the new office building are among the first of many development plans for the East Bank. Looking out toward our crooked river, I could not help but imagine the future development and smile.

Potential site for future development

Potential site for future development

The next night, my friend and I returned downtown to West 6th for You Are Cleveland: Architecture and Urban Planning. Hosted by LaunchHouse and City Beautiful, the networking event, which will continue on as a series, brought many like-minded people under one roof to talk about some awesome things happening in Cleveland. Kathleen Crowther, executive director of the Cleveland Restoration Society, mingled and answered questions at her booth. Jason Rohal, project designer at Vocon, was also in attendance.

Director Bob Brown

Director Bob Brown

Director of the Cleveland Planning Commission Bob Brown set up a booth to answer any questions about his department and also gave a presentation about plans for Opportunity Boulevard. Jennifer Coleman, chairman of Cleveland’s Landmarks Commission, revealed her progressive stance on restoration when she addressed the crowd. It is refreshing to see a woman in her important position and to hear practical plans for restoring old architecture (which Cleveland has in abundance) as well as tastefully mixing in the new.

The Bradley Building at Lakeside and West 6th

The Bradley Building at Lakeside and West 6th

The third event to note is The Brews + Prose, the monthly reading series at Market Garden Brewery. An extra large crowd packed into the brewery’s basement bar to celebrate the event’s one year anniversary and listen to readings from Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist Connie Schultz and Michael Ruhlman, celebrated food writer and author of The French Laundry Cookbook.

Everyone who knows me can admit how I raved about Cleveland unconditionally for years. But after going to many events like these and meeting so many Cleveland boosters, my hometown pride is reaching new heights.

So, when’s the next big event in Cleveland?

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