Chances are, if you are from Cleveland, you have heard the name “The Barking Spider Tavern”, and if you are well versed in the music scene, chances are, you’ve been there. This former carriage house is located on Case Western campus at 11310 Juniper Rd behind the ‘Coffee House’ (formerly Arabica coffee house). First time visitors to The Barking Spider often wander around looking for the venue for hours, and with good reason- it is completely hidden from view, and there is very little in the way of visible signage. Despite this campus enforced inconvenience, The Barking Spider has earned worldwide recognition as one of the most respectable listening rooms in the N.E. Ohio area, and has played host to a countless number of local, regional, national, and international touring acts during it’s 25 year tenure in Cleveland.
The Barking Spider was founded 25 years ago by Martin Juredine and Bruce Madorsky, and is the home to many of Cleveland’s finest songwriters and musicians. Sadly, Juredine passed away in spring of 2011, but his spirit and memory live on through all of the countless number of people whose lives he touched over the years. Juredine’s youngest daughter, a lively young lady by the name of Jenna Juredine, has assumed her father’s role as the proprietor of The Barking Spider, and has taken to it like a fish to water. Jenna has fond recollections of growing up in the wonderful oasis of live music that is The Barking Spider, and has done a wonderful job of filling the larger than life sized footprints that her father left behind.
The Barking Spider features an eclectic beer selection, both in bottles and on tap, but does not serve liquor. The floor to ceiling French doors that make up the two side walls of the club open out onto cozy porches on either side of the bar, where music can be heard spilling out into the warm summer air. In the fall and winter, a retro style fireplace warms musicians and audience members alike.
The Barking Spider has the very “Tin Pan Alley/Greenwich Village in the ’60s” approach to compensating the talent that performs there- in addition to the club’s contributions to the artist, a tip jar in the shape of a small wooden barrel is passed around, and any regular visitor knows, it is part of the evening’s entertainment to shell out a few (or a lot of) bucks to help support the artists. Friday evenings are a special treat- bartender Ben Guylas takes the stage with the bands that headline on Fridays to do a improvisational spoken word/poetry segment, affectionately called “Money For The Band”, during which time he performs his own writing in an effort to help the bands raise funds- always a unique and enjoyable event! This long standing tradition was started by Guylas’ friend and predecessor, Tom Croley, and has continued ever since.
Another interesting feature about the Spider is the dog/cat/etc. friendly policy. Since the Spider does not serve food, they welcome friendly creatures of all natures to come and enjoy the music with their owners. On any given night, you may feel the furry brush of a four legged friend as he or she wanders around peoples’ legs at the tables.
All in all, The Barking Spider is a cozy and intimate musical experience, with a warm and welcoming atmosphere that has kept people from around the world flocking through it’s many doors for the past 25 years, and will continue to do so for years to come.
The Barking Spider Tavern is located at 11310 Juniper Road Cleveland, OH 44106-3907. There is live music 7 nights a week, and closing time is 1am Mon-Sat, and 12am on Sundays. For more information, directions, etc., please visit http://www.barkingspidertavern.com, or call during business hours at (216) 421-2863.