Category Archives: Drink

Electro Aerial Show Gets Off the Ground at Market Street

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The Market Street Pub & Cabaret hosts a show tonight that begins with bartenders serving beer and wine while suspended from the ceiling. The aerial artistry is the brainchild of Corey Souza, owner of S-Connection studio.


Aerialists for AscenDance perform on the trapeze.

Aerialists from AscenDance perform on the trapeze. (Allen Finley Photography)

When your parents warned you that nothing good can happen hanging around in bars, they obviously weren’t talking about the AscenDance aerial bartenders.

Corey Souza in her S-Connection studio Photo by Gainesville Downtown)

Corey Souza in her S-Connection studio. (Photo by Gainesville Downtown)

Tonight at Market Street Pub & Cabaret, 112 SW 1st Ave., the Gainesville-based performers will serve beer and wine while suspended from lyra, or aerial hoops. That is only a warmup for the Electro Aerial Show featuring a variety of circus-style acts.

“The aerial bartending is like eye candy that goes on throughout the night,” said Corey Souza, owner and artistic director of S-Connection Aerial Arts, the downtown Gainesville studio where the performers train.

The aerial bartending begins at 8 p.m., followed at 9:30 by a choreographed performance that will include aerialists on silks, lyra and poles. Jazzology will perform live music throughout the evening. The show has a $5 cover charge.

“We’ve had excellent crowds for our previous shows,” Souza said. “People are always warm and supportive, and we’re very grateful the Gainesville community has been accepting of our work.”

Souza will emcee and sing during the event, which will feature eight acrobats on apparatus anchored to rigging on Market Street Pub’s 14-foot-high ceilings.

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Downtown Gets First Taste of FishHawk Spirits

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The new tasting room in the old 2nd Street Speakeasy is the first offshoot of the Ocala-based distiller of rum, vodka, absinthe and, soon, whiskey.


Dave Molyneaux, second from right, and his team at the Fish Hawk Tasting Room Photo by Gainesville Downtown)

Dave Molyneaux, third from left, and his FishHawk Distillery Tasting Room team, from left, Chris Fillie, Joe Faino and Brian Meade. (Photo by Gainesville Downtown)

absintheThey’re pouring drinks again inside the bar space that once housed the 2nd Street Speakeasy in downtown Gainesville. And the best part is, it doesn’t cost a dime for a taste.

The FishHawk Distillery Tasting Room had a trial run for invited guests last week, and no one left disappointed. In another month or two, the storefront at 21 SW 2nd St. will be open for anyone 21 and older interested in sampling FishHawk products and perhaps purchasing bottles of the flavorful spirits to take home.

“We have a Craft Distillery license, so we’re not allowed by law to sell alcoholic beverages, but we can sell you the bottle,” said David Molyneaux, CEO of FishHawk Spirits.

Molyneaux came out of retirement one year ago to open a craft distillery in Gainesville. However, after months of planning, he decided to partner with the small, farm-based craft distillery in Marion County, near Dunnellon. The company developed a spirits line that now includes Absinthia Rubra liqueur, Marion 106 Black tangerine brandy, Island Grove Blueberry Vodka and Twisted Sun Gold Rum.

By the end of this year, FishHawk is expected to have a selection of 20 different spirits, including seven flavors of infused vodkas and the same number of whiskeys under the Sui Generis (“one of a kind”) brand name.

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First Magnitude’s Can-Do Spirit

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The 17-month-old craft brewery off South Main Street now has a nifty canning operation that puts its beer on local store shelves—and into your refrigerator.

John Denny keeps an eye on his canning operation at First Magnitude Brewing Co.

First Magnitude co-owner John Denny oversees the canning operation. (Photos by Gainesville Downtown)

Empty cans line up to be filled with 72 American Pale Ale.

Empty cans line up to be filled with 72 American Pale Ale.

You could say that First Magnitude is the little brewery that could can.

Last year, the 17-month-old brewing company off South Main Street began canning its 72 American Pale Ale (APA) on a newfangled canning line it had purchased. Until then, First Magnitude’s brews were available only on draught or in growlers.

“It’s a great thrill to see our product in cans,” said John Denny, FM’s head brewer and one of the brewery’s co-founders. “This just opens up so many more markets for us.”

On Monday, Denny supervised First Magnitude’s 10th canning run, which involved filling about 330 cases of beer. That run only added to the cans of 72 APA already distributed to stores and bars from St. Augustine to Tallahassee and from Jacksonville to Ocala.

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Bank Bar Offers History Lesson, Too

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Those who think they know the full story behind The Bank Bar & Lounge on West University Avenue might be in for a surprise. Its new co-owners are determined to link the past with the present.

Inside the old Dutton Bank, now The Bank Bar Lounge. Photo courtesy of the Matheson Museum)

Inside the old Dutton Bank, now The Bank Bar & Lounge. (Photo courtesy of the Matheson Museum)

Josh Hubner behind the bar at The Bank.

Josh Hubner behind the bar at The Bank.

Jeff Hickey and Rich Pusateri are not history scholars, but as new co-owners of The Bank Bar & Lounge, they certainly can appreciate the building’s historical significance in downtown Gainesville.

Long before the place sold beer, wine and money-themed martinis, Col. Henry Forest Dutton conducted transactions of another type there as president of Dutton Bank, the first financial institution in Gainesville and only the third bank in Florida.

This week you can ring in 2016 in the very room where Dutton did much of his wheeling and dealing 140 years ago. Dutton’s former office is now known as the President’s Room, and it is one of the many cool features of The Bank Bar & Lounge at 22 W. University Ave.

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Hardback Café is Back for an Encore

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Sixteen years after closing its doors next to the Hippodrome, the Hardback Café is up and operating again at a new address—and still aiming the spotlight on local bands.

Owner Alan Bushnell behind the bar at the new Hardback Café.

Owner Alan Bushnell behind the bar at the new Hardback Café.

Alan Bushnell has been doing a lot of catching up with old friends these days now that he has reopened the Hardback Café in a two-story space in downtown Gainesville.

On a recent evening, Chris Wollard dropped by to scope out the Hardback’s new location at 211 W. University Ave. The longtime singer and guitarist for the punk-rock band Hot Water Music also wanted to congratulate Bushnell—and to thank him.
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The Dime: Shining Example of Change

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The owners took their time after it opened to finally give the business an official name, but the swanky little cocktail bar now known as The Dime is worth every penny to its patrons.

Daniel Schexnaydre behind the bar at The Dime. (Photograph by Lena Crane, Reflections of Light Photography)

Daniel Schexnaydre tends bar at The Dime. (Photo by Lena Crane, Reflections of Light Photography)

the dime and gramfest 004For all their business acumen in transforming the epicenter of downtown Gainesville into a hip place to be, Scott Shillington and Hal Mendez might have missed a great marketing opportunity when they finally got around to naming their “no-name” bar earlier this year.

As they pondered their decision, the obvious name was literally staring them in the face.

The Old Joe.

That’s the nickname of the much-maligned Confederate statue that stands sentinel directly across University Avenue from the bar. He’s right there, perched high atop a granite pedestal, his steely gaze burning through you from 50 yards away as you exit the bar’s stubborn glass door. Late at night, hidden in the shadows beyond the streetlights, you’d hardly know Old Joe’s there.

Yep, The Old Joe has a nice ring to it, evoking time-honored Southern values that still rally some folks but rankle most others.

Instead, after almost a year of anonymity—but not a lack of attention—the classy little cocktail bar is now known simply as … The Dime.
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The Bull is Everyone’s Friendly Neighborhood Bar

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In the heart of downtown, a little establishment with a lot of character.


There’s nothing more satisfying than walking into a local watering hole after a long day and seeing a friendly face behind the bar.

One such place is The Bull, a downtown Gainesville establishment where no one is a stranger. Manager Jacob Larson and his bartending staff make sure of that with warm smiles and, oftentimes, firm handshakes. Maybe even a hug.

“I love this place because it’s so welcoming,” said Del Wallis, who was catching up with old friends on a  spirited Friday night at The Bull.

The Gainesville native, who now lives in Jacksonville with her husband and 3-year-old daughter, was in town visiting family. She couldn’t resist dropping in at her old haunt.

“This place feels like home,” she said. “It’s small, but not too small, and it’s not loud like so many bars.”

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High Dive is Always a Happening Place

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For more than two decades, the music venue has showcased some of the best talent to pass through Gainesville as well as top local bands.


The vintage poster wall at High Dive.

The vintage poster wall at High Dive.

You could say that Pat Lavery was once the poster child for the downtown music venue now known as High Dive. That is, in his younger years he’d go around Gainesville and post announcements of upcoming shows for what was then called the Covered Dish.

“I was their flyer guy,” Lavery said with a hint of pride. “It got me in the place for free.”

Today, Lavery gets into High Dive for free by booking all the acts there—and at several other venues around Florida—through his Gainesville-based promotions company, Glory Days Presents.

“Back then, I had no idea what promoting music was all about,” he said. “I learned so much about touring shows and the underground music scene by observation.”

Lavery and the High Dive staff keep things hopping almost every night of the week with live music as well as special events, such as standup comedy, art shows and food truck rallies.

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First Magnitude: New Brew Crew in Town

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A year into business, the taps are flowing strong at Gainesville’s second craft brewery.


mag logoEric Dreyer has both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in food science from the University of Florida, which is why some of his friends might have been amused by his most recent career move.

The 29-year-old Dreyer left the security of a research position in the tasting lab at UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences for the unpredictable ebbs and flows of a local startup—and he couldn’t be happier.

That local startup is First Magnitude Brewing Co. and, as an award-winning, craft-beer home brewer, Dreyer is doing something he is passionate about.

“I was happy with my job at the university, but this was too good an opportunity to pass up,” Dreyer said, pointing to the shiny, 15-barrel brew house that constitutes FM’s production facility a block off South Main Street in Gainesville.

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