The Cleveland Agora
A Rock & Roll Proving Ground
Following a stint distributing records for jukeboxes, Henry LoConti Sr. opened the first Agora in 1966 near Case Western Reserve University. After two more location changes the club ended up at its present location in 1986. Originally seen as a dance club for college students, the Agora quickly evolved into a nationally prominent venue in the music industry, developing a reputation for breaking major new talent.
While the Agora became a national chain of clubs for a time, its flagship remained in Cleveland. In 1968 the venue opened the nation's first in-house recording studio, producing many live albums. "Onstage at the Agora" became an internationally syndicated television show before MTV. The Agora seats an impressive 2,700 people in its theater and ballroom.