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37 Main serves as premier venue for classic rock tributes
0810MAIN1
37 Main’s eye-catching facade gives passers-by a hint to what lies inside the building: a full-blown rock cafe with a Van Halen-inspired paint job and a greatest hits-style selection of memorabilia.

37 Main
When: Open 11 a.m. to midnight Tuesdays through Thursdays and until 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays
Where: 212 Spring St., Gainesville
More info: Gainesville.37main.com, 678-696-8829

A time capsule stuffed with classic hits has opened on Spring Street.

With its giant, brushed-steel guitars and out-there paint job, it’s hard to miss 37 Main, the restaurant and rock cafe that opened in downtown Gainesville in late June.

The cafe is the project of the White brothers – John, Joe and David – who opened their first 37 Main location in Buford nine years ago.

Walking into the restaurant is to be transported back to the American rock scene’s heyday from the 1970s to the early 1990s. Front and center in the welcome area is the paint job made famous by Eddie Van Halen’s guitar.

Portraits and pop art of famous musicians and bands cover the walls of the dining area and dance floor. Red and purple lighting illuminate black floors, ceilings and furniture.

It’s a unique experience in Gainesville — downtown or otherwise.

“There’s nothing quite like it,” said Eric Hogan, singer for the Nirvana tribute band Nevermind. “The first time I stepped foot in 37 Main — literally you feel it’s like walking into the avenue from Purple Rain in ’84. It’s like an honest-to-goodness friggin’ rock club.”

Atlanta-based Nevermind is a frequent performer at 37 Main’s Buford location. Hogan said the White brothers dump a huge amount of effort and money into perfecting their sound systems.

Bands perform live on Fridays and Saturdays beginning at around 10:15 p.m., said Chantelle Knuycky, the general manager of the Gainesville restaurant.

“We primarily have ’80s and ’90s rock and roll, but we do branch out,” Knuycky said. “We have country bands that come in. We have cover bands and tribute bands. Slippery When Wet is a tribute to Bon Jovi. We have Departure, which is a tribute to Journey.”

There are a few bands playing original music, but Knuycky said people “like to be able to dance to stuff they already recognize and know.”

The owners are also working to get national performing acts to play at the restaurant, Knuycky said, but couldn’t give any more details on Wednesday.

People who appreciate music and sound quality will feel right at home in the restaurant.

“As a music fan, being inside a 37 club is pretty substantial. I’ve been playing music live for 29 years. When I tell you there is a very different atmosphere, it’s wonderful,” Hogan said. “It’s not a dive. It’s very classy in there. It’s fun; it’s upbeat — it just sounds great, like you’re sitting there with a pair of amazing headphones.”

The restaurant’s menu and its lineup of bands is posted on its website. Specials are offered during the week, including $2 tacos on Tuesday, half-price wings on Wednesday and a wine special on Thursday.

On Aug. 19, Nevermind is scheduled to play in Gainesville. On Aug. 25, Departure, the Journey tribute band, is set to play. The Fly Betty Band, a local band playing today’s dance and top 40 hits, is slated to play on Aug. 26.

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