Between 1989 and 1999, a vital piece of Gainesville’s cultural landscape was the Hardback Café. It was one of the first venues to feature local bands and artists. The likes of Less Than Jake, River Phoenix, and Hot Water Music (who recorded a live album there) spent time at the Hardback. It’s a place that firmly secured itself in Gainesville lore. The location of the original Hardback is now home to Boca Fiesta. I moved here in 2003, so I only know of the Hardback through stories and the interwebz, but one can never truly love Gainesville unless they can appreciate the Hardback.
I’m very happy to announce here that the original owner of the famed establishment, Alan Bushnell, is bringing it back to life. The space that formerly housed Lux and more recently Flashbacks at 211 W. University Avenue will be the Hardback’s new home after a 16 year absence. Bushnell hopes to be opened by early December, pending permit approvals. In addition to featuring local bands, the Hardback will show original videos and art, while serving local beer and coffee. Rejoice Gainesville, a legend is coming back to life. You heard it here first!