in Bars, Clubs, and Discos

Belinda’s, a Latin bar and nightclub, opened at 9613 Madison Avenue in 1994. Bill Perez, a Puerto Rican immigrant, purchased the former Irish West Side American Irish Club in 1994 and converted it into a spacious dance club. Belinda’s frequently hosts live entertainers and musicians on the large platform stage that lines the club’s rear wall. In front of the stage, a spacious “wooden ballroom floor” provides ample room for patrons to dance the night away while enjoying refreshments procured from either of the two large oak bars that flank the dance floor. In the late 1990s, Perez began a broadcasting popular Latin dance music on WPRC FM 91.9 using a small low-frequency radio transmitter located on top of the club. In 1998, however, the Federal Communications Commission ordered Perez to cease operating Belinda’s radio broadcasts. Perez challenged the FCC’s decision to shutter Belinda’s radio program, but was ultimately forced to surrender the club’s broadcasting equipment in 2000 following an unsuccessful legal suit. (An unrelated Cleveland club, Grid, engaged in similar conflict with the FCC regarding the operation its unlicensed micro station, Grid Radio, between 1998-2000. Both clubs were ultimately unsuccessful in challenging the FCC in court.) Though Belinda’s maintains a predominantly Latino patronage, it has offered a variety of themed nights targeted towards other demographics over the years. Beginning in the early 2000s, Belinda’s began hosting dedicated Black and LGBT Nights on Thursday evenings. In addition to hosting a variety of popular local and national Latino musicians and entertainers, Belinda’s has offered a variety of weekly events geared towards LGBT+ Clevelanders (including drag revues, pageants, parties, and house balls). Due to the racially disparate nature of Cleveland’s club scene (as well as the lack of extant spaces specifically dedicated to Cleveland’s Black LGBT+ communities in 2000s Cleveland), Belinda’s emerged as an important space for Black and Latino LGBT+ Clevelanders to congregate and celebrate together as a community. Belinda’s continues to operate as Mayan’s VIP/Belinda’s VIP Lounge.

Additional information coming soon.


  • BelindasVIP. “Mayans Belindas VIP Lounge.” Instagram.
  • “Best Dance Club – Belinda’s Night Club.” Scene. 2000.
  • Mayans VIP Belinda’s. Facebook.
  • McBurney, Christine. “The Art of Social Dancing Is Not Dead.” FreshWater Cleveland. February 26, 2015.
  • McGregor, Paloma. “Caliente! It’s Always A Hot Time When the Latin Music Throbs at Belinda’s.” Plain Dealer. October 1, 1999.
  • “Monika Veliz Interview, 08 August 2023.” Cleveland Voices.
  • O’Malley, Michael. “From Step Dancing to Salsa – Old Irish Club Now Fosters Kinship in Latino Community.” Plain Dealer. March 17, 2002.
  • Petkovic, John. “Two Places to Tango the Night Away.” Plain Dealer. March 5, 1999.
  • Piai, Tim. “Dance the Night Away at Belinda’s.” Plain Dealer. May 10, 2002.
  • Putre, Laura. “Hell to Pay.” Scene. October 4, 2001.
  • “UNITED STATES v. William Perez, Claimant-Appellant. (2000).” FindLaw. July 6, 2000.
  • Whelan, Alana. “Industry Changes Over Time, Some Still Survives on Madison Avenue.” Plain Press. February 6, 2021.
9613 Madison Ave, Cleveland, OH 44102

Tell us about Belinda’s

Many of the locations documented on Queer Cleveland are not well-documented in the historical record. If you have additional information about Belinda’s, please let us know by sharing a memory, correction, or suggestion using the comment form below.

Or send an email to

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *