Now, more than ever, the downtown area is the place to be for the best Gainesville has to offer in terms of local restaurants, bars and clubs, entertainment and special events. Don’t believe us? Read on …
Visitors to the 31st annual Hoggetowne Medieval Faire can expect another rollicking show from the Gainesville-based performance troupe as it puts an epic spin on the battle between England and France.
Gainesville’s official New Year’s Eve party returns to Bo Diddley Plaza this year, but several clubs and restaurants will also have special celebrations as we say goodbye to 2016.
There will be a full range of food and entertainment options available on Saturday night as downtown Gainesville prepares to ring in the new year.
Most of the activity will be centered around Bo Diddley Plaza, where The Couch Messiahs and Wild Blue Yonder will provide a free concert beginning at 9 p.m. and continuing past midnight.
Here is a list of New Year’s Eve events in downtown Gainesville:
Downtown Countdown: The Couch Messiahs, a Gainesville-based rock-and-roll band, will pay tribute to the music of The Allman Brothers, The Band, Bob Dylan, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Neil Young and The Rolling Stones during a New Year’s Eve celebration concert at Bo Diddley Plaza, 111 E. University Ave. The evening begins at 9 p.m. with a performance by popular local band Wild Blue Yonder. Downtown Countdown begins at 9 p.m. and continues until midnight, when there will be a countdown to the New Year, along with the sounds of noisemakers, which are passed out to the audience earlier in the evening. The event is sponsored by the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department and WIND-FM. For further info on the concert, read our University & Main blog. Continue reading
The downtown brewery is stepping up to the plate this holiday season by throwing a benefit concert on Friday to help three employees whose jobs went up in flames during a recent fire behind Satchel’s Pizza.
Longtime customers at Satchel’s Pizza recognize Jordan Borstelmann as the bartender donning a kilt, a bushy beard and a huge smile. For more than five years, he poured drinks and served food in Lightnin’ Salvage, the entertainment venue and gift shop/toy store situated directly behind the Gainesville pizza joint at 1800 NE 23rd Ave.
On Monday, Dec. 5, a fire engulfed Lightnin’ Salvage and destroyed one of Gainesville’s most iconic hangout spots, where collections of dead butterflies and pine cones shared a home with artwork made from recycled cameras, cellphones and other household items.
The blaze, which occurred when the restaurant was closed, also left Borstelmann, 36, and fellow Satchel’s employees Danny Lore and Judy Keathley out of jobs.
However, thanks to the generosity of First Magnitude Brewing Co., Borstelmann and his co-workers should still be able to enjoy the holiday season and beyond.
On Friday from 4-10 p.m., the brewery at 1220 SE Veitch St. will sponsor a benefit concert to raise funds for the three Satchel’s employees while Lightnin’ Salvage is being rebuilt.
“It’s a little surreal,” Borstelmann said. “You don’t stop to realize how much people care until something like this happens.”
Three longtime Gainesville area chefs — all related — are combining their talents to open Piper Gi’s, specializing in hand-crafted soups and sandwiches. The restaurant will open for business in mid-December.
Take three chefs with almost 50 years combined culinary experience, put them together in a restaurant kitchen with quality ingredients and their imaginations, and — voila! — you have the recipe for success.
At least that is what Jacob Riesch, Tommy Newman and Shanti Riesch-Newman anticipate when they open Piper Gi’s later this month at 204 SW 2nd Ave., next door to High Dive. Riesch-Newman said the eatery is shooting for a Dec. 14 soft opening and a Dec. 15 grand opening.
The carryout restaurant, with a tropical decor that extends to its pastel-colored picnic tables, will specialize in hand-crafted sandwiches, soups, salads and side dishes.
“I would say that we’re bringing the love back to sandwiches and the love back to food and to actual cooking,” said Shanti Riesch-Newman, executive chef at Emiliano’s Cafe for the past five and a half years.
Have you taken a look around downtown Gainesville lately? New eateries and other small businesses are opening on an almost-weekly basis. Fascinating exhibits are on display at museums and galleries. Memorable performances are taking place at local theaters.
There is also excitement in the air with the opening of Depot Park and the reopening of Bo Diddley Plaza this year. People are gathering downtown like never before.
Simply put, downtown Gainesville is a better place today than it was a year ago not because of large corporations and big money, but because of individuals who are passionate about what they do.
Today we recognize some of the individuals who have made and continue to make downtown Gainesville worth visiting and enjoying. (We have listed them alphabetically so as not to show favoritism, but we love them all!)
If we have left someone out, our apologies. Please let us know who also deserves our thanks! Continue reading
The bar and nightclub on Southwest 1st Avenue will close its doors following Saturday night’s one final burlesque show.
The owners of Market Street Pub & Cabaret, home to weekly burlesque shows and an eclectic mix of other entertainment for the past two years, have decided not to renew their lease.
The club at 112 SW 1st Ave., next door to Loosey’s, will close Saturday night after the Market Street Revue burlesque troupe performs one final time under that name.
“It’s going to be sad,” said Market Street Pub co-owner Tony Grezlik, who said it cost upward of $10,000 a month to run the place. “Money is the biggest issue.”
Grezlik and Jill Dumas took over the location in March 2015 and were determined to take the historic building and create a bar space where performance art thrived. They succeeded by lining up burlesque acts, circus sideshow acts, aerialists, magicians, puppeteers, comedians, live bands and singing troupes.
The only problem, Grezlik said, was that people generally visited Market Street Pub only during shows and didn’t patronize the bar at other times. Karaoke and trivia nights never generated strong interest. Also, a weekly comedy show struggled to find an audience.
“If we didn’t have a show, that space did not make money,” he said.