RIP Pat: Here’s every Pat’s in the Flats photo from the U.S. Rocker archive

When Patricia “Pat” Hanychthe Pat of Pat’s In The Flats, namesake of the notorious Cleveland, Ohio dive bar and underground music venue—died last month, on June, 22, 2022, the world lost a rock ‘n roll icon. An unlikely one, as Pat looked a lot more like your average grandma than some leather-clad badass.

Pat's In The Flats Patricia Hanych Cleveland Ohio

Patricia “Pat” Hanych.

But Pat did launch some pretty badass and successful bands via her bar, including The White Stripes and The Black Keys so… yeah. Pat was pretty much solid gold in the music world.

When Pat passed, I was wrapping a huge work project here in L.A. and didn’t get to memorialize her properly. Event-throwing skills I learned from Pat (and others in Cleveland) have led to a career in media production. I’m very grateful to Pat for that. I also probably lost more braincells in late night drinking escapades at her bar so… there’s that too. I’m a little slow.

I saw some wonderful tributes online that I want to acknowledge. Here’s one from Shawn Mishak in Scene dated June 14, 2022, that really captures Pat’s story—why we love her, as well as everything she did for underground music and Cleveland musicians in particular:

Patricia Hanych, the beloved owner of Pat’s in the Flats, passed away Sunday morning at the age of 82 following a short battle with cancer.

Booking agent, confidant, bartender, pseudo-grandmother/aunt/mother of countless Cleveland musicians, Hanych closed the business, which had been in the family for more than 60 years, in 2018.

Her father, William Hanych, first purchased the property in 1945 when he opened Pickles. It became Anne’s Lunch in 1951, named after Hanych’s mother, and later Pat’s.

Patricia, who worked at the family business since she was in high school, began booking live music in 1987, and, before long, Pat’s became known as a place where aspiring musicians could get a gig, even with little experience.

Pat was always willing to give the band a shot and didn’t fuss a lot about draw and ‘meat in the seats’ conversations about presale and door count. The deal was simple: She’d pull a calendar from behind the bar, you’d pick a date, the bands took and kept the door and she did the bar.

“An’ no fighting!” she would say.

There are also some really nice words about Pat Hanych here from CLE luminaries like Ron Kretsch, Malcom Ryder and Anastasia Pantsios.

Hopefully Pat’s wake was a rockin’ and rollin’ party for the ages. I’m sorry I missed it but Pat, hard worker that she was, hopefully would have understood.

This post is my humble tribute to Pat’s in the Flats and Pat—who always took my calls, always listened to my pitches and never said no to some pretty far-fucking-out-there concert bills. Pat was always present with words of support for all. God bless ya.

Pat's In The Flats Patricia Hanych Cleveland Ohio

The ultimate dive bar: Pat’s In The Flats, on the banks of the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio.

How I met Pat

Pat’s in the Flats was a spot I heard about while I was still in my original hometown of Erie, PA. Some friends of friends’ punk band (My 3 Scum perhaps?) played there in the late 1980s. So I heard about Pat’s long before I heard about more trendy clubs like Peabody’s DownUnder or The Phantasy. Certainly before I ever encountered the Euclid Tavern, which was a very pivotal venue in my musical development.

READ: I skipped the last Nirvana show to book my first concert

When I moved to Cleveland in 1990, I initially had no car and so Pat’s in the Flats was out of reach. The venue remained mythical. I couldn’t easily take a bus or a Rapid there—or get back home at 2am. Taxis had trouble finding the joint, hidden as it was below what felt like three layers of highway overpasses. So I had no way of attending (not to mention I was underage.)

Pat's In The Flats Patricia Hanych Cleveland Ohio

I’ve always been curious who created this illustration on the Pat’s In The Flats’ mens room door, which was no place for a gentleman! Photo: Sean Carnage.

I finally got to go to the legendary Pat’s In The Flats for an event called “Battle of the Worst Bands” in 1992. (I believe night one was at the Grog Shop. Or perhaps that was a later installment of this event?)

Finally of-age, I immediately partook of Pat’s delightful selection of dirt-cheap domestic bottled beers—and these little fish sandwiches she heated up in the back somewhere. Wow! Those sandwiches knocked me out. Totally weird bar food, but also right up my alley. I used to make fishstick and white bread sandwiches at home when I was a latchkey kid in the late 1970s and early ’80s.

Pat later told me later she originated the finger food as well as the bowls of crackers, etc. that she would sit on the bar because she was afraid people were driving home “too drunk.” Implication being that a “little drunk” was alright. Probably unavoidable after a night at Pat’s in the Flats. Drunk driving harm-reduction talk is taboo nowadays (don’t drink and drive, period!) but this was a different era. And Pat was a woman who pulled no punches. Very much a Clevelander in that regard. Pat saw a need and filled it. Movin’ on…

Back to “Battle of the Worst Bands”: it was a fearsome and bewildering spectacle of onedownmanship. At their best (worst?), the bands were shining examples of politically incorrect Dada nonsense. At their worst (best!), totally embarrassing.

I remember this group called ‘Shit The Bed’ taking a musical, uh, dump on the stage. Pat paused and watched the band for a moment. Their antics were cringeworthy but she showed no emotion—just a faint smile. Wow. This woman’s tolerance for chicanery was impressive, I remember thinking. Little did I know but she had already seen it all at that point.

But in the Grunge era, when even major venues began embracing instrument-smashers and anarchic political punk, Pat’s anything-goes attitude maybe began to seem a little less revolutionary. More of a refuge for the awful bands who couldn’t make it elsewhere. For me and my crew, it was more of a drinking destination. And, man, did we drink.

Pat's In The Flats Cleveland Ohio 1998

Andre Williams gets down at Pat’s on May 29, 1998. Photo: Jay Brown, from the U.S. Rocker archive.

A new dawn

There seemed to be new blood coursing though Pat’s In The Flats starting in the late 1990s around ’97 or so. Maybe it was earlier, I can’t remember.

Doug Niemczura—Euclid Tavern bartender, You Would If You Loved Me performer, U.S. Rocker writer and friend—plus his buddy Mark Leddy—musician and later on co-owner of the Beachland—began booking there and, working closely with Pat, made Pat’s In The Flats a real destination for the nascent Garage Rock revival scene.

Pat's In The Flats Cleveland Ohio U.S. Rocker 1998

Soon bands from Detroit to Nashville and beyond were streaming into Pat’s on a weekly basis. Look at this U.S. Rocker ad from Saturday, July 18, 1998 featuring an unknown band called The White Stripes in what must have been one of their earliest appearances outside of Detroit. Jack and Meg White had debuted the band just ten months prior.

Get all these ads plus concert reviews & more in U.S. Rocker (free downloads)

Suddenly Pat’s In The Flats was the finger on the pulse of a whole new scene. Here are soon-to-be superstar Garage Rock bills from The Rocker:

These bands loved Pat’s In The Flats and Pat because this was a person and a venue that radiated authenticity, which the groups craved. It’s no wonder a successful symbiosis was achieved. Some of the bands, like The White Stripes, and The Black Keys became international superstars. It was a pretty amazing transformation—and an overdue blast of success for Pat Hanych. Did it change how she did what she did? Heck no! She was still making change, picking up empties and chugging along as usual.

Pat's In The Flats Cleveland Ohio 2002

Carrie, Danny Noonan, Ted Flynn & Matt Gengler waiting for My Name Is Rar-Rar to let loose on February 9, 2002, at Pat’s In The Flats. Photo: Carnage.

One last drink

As the Garage Rock bands became more successful around Y2K, the bands could no longer hold court at Pat’s. First they went with Mark Leddy to the Beachland Ballroom (which he opened with Cindy Barber, the former editor of the Free Times, in March 2000). But quickly the big bands were playing theaters and, by the early Oughties, arenas. So what happened to Pat’s In The Flats?

I left Cleveland for L.A. in October 2002, so I don’t have the full picture. But I do know that in the wake of Punk / D.I.Y. space Speak In Tongues‘ sudden closure at the end of 2001, Pat’s once again became the haven for left-of-center outcasts.

Speak In Tongues lives again in a wild new book

These Speak In Tongues kids—now fully-legal adults—were pushed out of SIT’s BYOB nest and into the world of buying beers, you know, from bars like regular civilians. Who did they turn to? Pat’s In The Flats of course. I mean, when you squinted your eyes, and took a deep inhale, the squalor was basically equivalent.

Chicago Liz Armstrong Misty Martinez Special Brush Cleveland 2002 Pat's In The Flats Sean Carnage Oblongata Begit N Frenz

Chicagoan Liz Armstrong, aka performer Misty Martinez, dazzles the multigenerational punk rock crowd at Pat’s In The Flats in Cleveland, Ohio, 2002, with her Electro Clash sound. Photos: Carnage.

That’s where I came into the equation. On my way out of town in 2002 I booked a string of Pat’s shows featuring total weirdos (and inspiring artists) like My Name Is Rar-Rar, Misty Martinez, Oblongata, Whales, Plus Ultra and more.

I also saw some great Speak In Tongues people play there—bands like The Cassettes, Coffinberry, The Foreign Exchange Students, Calvin & The Bitches, Proletarian Art Threat, The New Lou Reeds… all incredible, cutting-edge groups charting out the places music would go post 9/11.

Pat's In The Flats Cleveland Ohio 2002

Coffinberry play Pat’s In The Flats’ backyard, while Danny Noonan and a crowd of friends looks on, circa 2002. Photo: Carnage.

It was hard to leave Pat’s In The Flats—my last connection to ‘Old Cleveland,’ the mythical place I dreamed about. Now I had California dreams. I remember I had a beer at Pat’s on the night before I left town. I said bye to Pat. I don’t think that she thought that I’d be gone for good.

READ: The best—and last—damn concert I saw in Cleveland

I went back to visit her once after I moved to L.A. The weird old house that the bar grew out of like some sort of fungus, geez, it looked like it had melted. The place was like a wobbly witch hut now. Off-kilter and deflated-looking. Yikes.

People sentimentalize dive bars. Pat’s In The Flats took a real dive—the place physically devolved into a pretty frightening pile of sticks.

Pat's In The Flats Cleveland Ohio

Pat’s In The Flats was suddenly closed & the property went up for sale in 2018. More photos & news about Pat’s closure at Ideastream.

My impression of Pat’s In The Flats’ interior at that time, circa 2010, was that it had become dingier, and the patrons were living in a hall of mirrors—reflections of madness all around. Drunken babbling. Complaining about complaining. Re-enacting drunken rituals from times long gone. Not judging here. I’m a fully-accredited alcomaholic, so the abject scene didn’t stop me from acting a fool and joining in. Still, it was kinda depressing even for an inveterate club lizard like me. Not quite how I remembered things.

But who’s to say? Pat was keeping things going at all costs, rattling around the cozy room, still dispensing beers with a cheerful word. A bright spot in a dim world.

Pat's In The Flats 2022 Patricia Hanych Cleveland Ohio

All fall down: the former Pat’s In The Flats has reverted to nature, circa 2022. Photo: Anthony Prusak.

It was then that I understood that Pat is perhaps miscast as a motherly or grandmotherly figure. She wasn’t trying to be my grandmother—or yours either. Not really.

Pat was one of us. An event-thrower and party person who had gotten older, but was still getting the job done as smoothly as possible (“No fighting!”) while having the maximum amount of fun, and minimal pretensions. And then moving on, because you have to. Another night, another show, another round. Knowing that folks love and respect and even depend on you to keep it moving.

I sure depended on you, Pat Hanych. Thanks for hosting. Thanks for the many, many wonderful nights out on the rock ‘n roll side of town.

Pat's In The Flats Cleveland Ohio 2002

A sweaty good time: Shawn Lovejoy & Danny Noonan from The Foreign Exchange Students boogie the night away with The Cassettes (L-R: Meredith Shantz & Nora Hartlaub) in Pat’s backyard, May 12, 2002. Photo: Carnage.

The U.S. Rocker archival photos

The first batch below are by the incredible photographer, Karen Novak, who chronicled the Euclid Tavern and Grog Shop bands so well. When Karen snapped pics at Pat’s, we at U.S. Rocker begged her for copies, which is how I have them in my archive.

All 101 issues of legendary ’90s underground music magazine U.S. Rocker are now online

The Garage Rock era brought in Jay Brown, who’s a superstar to me for his artistically-inspired documentarian approach to capturing all the cool bands. His photos are after Karen’s below.

Pat's In The Flats Cleveland Ohio 1998

Dave Cintron & Downside Special at Pat’s on August 14, 1998. Photo: Jay Brown, from the U.S. Rocker archive.

If I was in a rock group during the 1990s, and Jay didn’t show up to shoot me, I’d be bummed.

I don’t own the rights to the images below. Jay’s photos, like Karen’s, were originally meant for U.S. Rocker. Most of them never saw publication because newsprint publishing was expensive for us. If you publish a tabloid and your page count is not divisible by four, that means you have to add or subtract pages. For a shoestring publication like U.S. Rocker, you can imagine which direction we most often found ourselves going in.

READ: An oral history of U.S. Rocker—Ohio’s greatest rock magazine, Pt. I: The early years 1989-93

Also—little known fact—we had to pay a fee for each photo to be “screened” (ie., made printable on the antiquated web press). So most of Karen and Jay’s pics ended up being filed. Until now.

You can see more of Jay’s photos here

I’ve tried my best to the image dates with what was published in U.S. Rocker, and relied on Jay’s methodical labelling on the back of his photos (super smart move) for the rest.

Buy prints from Jay Brown

The color photos at the end are mine and document my final hurrah at Pat’s. Click through and read full descriptions of each show. Enjoy the memories. And RIP Pat Hanych.

5/23/98: Geraldine, The Dirtbombs & ’68 Comeback

Pat's In The Flats Cleveland Ohio 1998

Geraldine from Athens, Ohio: Chris Burget, Brandon Robinson, Matt Harvey, Scott Winland. Photo: Karen Novak, from the U.S. Rocker archive.

Geraldine were a ripping, uncategorizable band from the post-Grunge time period that bridged Psych and Post-Punk, and heralded the great Garage Rock revival that was about to roll into Pat’s In The Flats in 1998.

Date unknown, 1998: Satan’s Satellites

Pat's In The Flats Cleveland Ohio 1998

Satan’s Satellites. Photo: Karen Novak, from the U.S. Rocker archive.

Pat's In The Flats Cleveland Ohio 1998

Satan’s Satellites. Booker & future Beachland co-owner, Mark Leddy, on keys. Photo: Karen Novak, from the U.S. Rocker archive.

Pat's In The Flats Cleveland Ohio 1998

Satan’s Satellites. Photo: Karen Novak, from the U.S. Rocker archive.

Pat's In The Flats Cleveland Ohio 1998

Ant drumming for Satan’s Satellites. Photo: Karen Novak, from the U.S. Rocker archive.

5/29/98: Andre Williams

Pat's In The Flats Cleveland Ohio 1998

Andre Williams. Photo: Jay Brown, from the U.S. Rocker archive.

6/6/98: Barb & Caroline Eckles birthday party

Pat's In The Flats Cleveland Ohio 1998

Barb & Caroline Eckles birthday party at Pat’s In The Flats, Cleveland, Ohio, on June 6, 1998. Photo: Jay Brown, from the U.S. Rocker archive.

8/8/98: The Tellers & Rocket 455

Pat's In The Flats Cleveland Ohio 1998

The Tellers, Pat’s In The Flats. Photo: Jay Brown, from the U.S. Rocker archive.

Pat's In The Flats Cleveland Ohio 1998

Rocket 455, Pat’s In The Flats. Photo: Jay Brown, from the U.S. Rocker archive.

Pat's In The Flats Cleveland Ohio 1998

Rocket 455, Pat’s In The Flats. Photo: Jay Brown, from the U.S. Rocker archive.

8/14/98: Step Sister, Downside Special & Cash Money

Pat's In The Flats Cleveland Ohio 1998

Tom Dark of Step Sister, Pat’s In The Flats. Photo: Jay Brown, from the U.S. Rocker archive.

Erica Washburn writes in U.S. Rocker:

Right off the bat, [Tom] Dark’s ‘I’m the man’ attitude and intense glare clued me in that they had quite a performance in store. Like a cyclops with his eye on the small crowd, Dark led Step Sister with the rockin’ rasp vital to the punk rawk attack. The band took on even greater power as Dark flipped onto the barren floor…

Pat's In The Flats Cleveland Ohio 1998

Dave Cintron & Downside Special at Pat’s. Photo: Jay Brown, from the U.S. Rocker archive.

Pat's In The Flats Cleveland Ohio 1998

U.S. Rocker favorites Cash Money aka Cash Audio (Scott Giampino, John Humphrey) at Pat’s. Photo: Jay Brown, from the U.S. Rocker archive.

Download the June ’98 issue of U.S. Rocker FOR FREE & read more

2/9/02: My Name Is Rar-Rar, Sean & Ian, Plus Ultra

Pat's In The Flats My Name is Rar-Rar Sean Carnage Cleveland Ohio 2002

My Name Is Rar-Rar’s Greg Peters, with Ryan Smith, Julius Kwolek, Steve Peffer, Beckett Warren & more looking on. Photo: Carnage.

My Name Is Rar-Rar has been to paradise…

Much like the Roadhouse from Twin Peaks, Pat’s In The Flats was nestled deep in the darkness—a gateway to the liminal world (in this case the post-industrial decay of the dismal Cuyahoga River basin)—illuminated by only a single working neon beer sign in the window, drenched in mystery.

Get yer Rar-Rars out—and see the full pics & story right here

3/22/02: Chargers Street Gang

Chargers Street Gang Joe Holzheimer Chris Kulscar Lachlan Mackinnon Matt Fish Sean Carnage Pat's In The Flats 2002

John Neely looks on as Chis “CK-1” Kulscar and Joe Holzheimer rock out. Photo: Carnage.

The Chargers showed off a retooled line-up at Pat’s and dared listeners to dig their new look:

In the early ’00s, the band shed the rudimentary (but economical and great) garage rock thing and became a much more sophisticated ensemble, mainly due to the addition of Matt Fish on drums.

Check out the rowdy photos of Chargers Street Gang

4/27/02: Misty Martinez, Whales, Oblongata

Chicago Liz Armstrong Misty Martinez Special Brush Cleveland 2002 Pat's In The Flats Sean Carnage Oblongata Begit N Frenz

Misty Martinez is in distress! Photo: Sean Carnage.

Misty Martinez shocked and awed—and then got up and left:

No one had never seen anything like this—multiple choreographed costume changes! female-powered indie sleaze! […] Truth be told, this show knocked me out of the concert promotion game for awhile…

Read about the best worst night of my life—and it happened at Pat’s

5/12/02: The Foreign Exchange Students & The Cassettes

The Foreign Exchange Students Shawn Lovejoy Danny Noonan Joe Williams Pat's in the Flats The Cassettes Cleveland 2002

The Foreign Exchange Students: Joe Williams, Shawn Lovejoy, Danny Noonan. Photo: Sean Carnage.

It was the dawn of Electroclash, and once again Pat was way ahead of the curve:

I was missing the inclusive, freaky “girls ‘n gays” party vibe of my early Cleveland experience at Cleveland Institute of Art. As much as Rock music is my ethos, I was feeling suffocated by the gnarly dude-wall of folded arms at every fucking show by this point. Enough! I needed to live. And dance…

Shake off the Garage Rock & REALLY get down at Pat’s In The Flats 

6/15/02: Coffinberry, Calvin & The Bitches, The Volta Sound

Ted Flynn Rob Sirovica Brian Straw Pat's in the Flats Cleveland Ohio Sean Carnage 2002

Ted Flynn, Joanie Deveney, Rob Sirovica, Brian Straw. Photo: Sean Carnage.

When summer rolled around, and being indoors became too oppressive, Pat let us make hellacious noise outdoors too:

Pat’s In The Flats’ backyard was pretty magical this evening, especially when Brian StrawTed Flynn and Rob Sirovica took the stage with an unusually rock-styled (though thoroughly noise-informed) performance that one would not normally expect from these improvisational, experimental musicians…

Get the whole story right here

And make sure to check out these links:

See all my Pat’s In The Flats posts

Spend some time on Jay Brown’s photo site

U.S. Rocker chronicled Pat’s In The Flats bands & more—download issues for free

Duvalby Brothers singer Buzz Boron has left us a legacy of incredible music

Follow me on Instagram for Cleveland throwbacks & more

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