The store is the original home of CBGBs (may it rest in peace). When CBGBs had been closed down and taken over, the new owner had started to gut the building, tearing down the heart and soul of that iconic music venue where so many greats had blessed the stage. John Varvatos stepped in and took bought out the new owner because of his passion for music - he knew it would be sacrilegious to see CBGBs demolished! The gut renovation had already begun but he salvaged and preserved what he could.
When you walk into the store you are saturated in all things rock 'n' roll, including the music coming out of the speakers. Check out my photos below to see what treats lie within the treasure trove. One of the greatest parts of the store is the awesome members of staff who will willingly give you a tour of the store and encourage you to browse all the incredible goodies in there.
What I truly respect about John Varvatos is his genuine passion for music and that he puts his influence to good use. A perfect example is the live music nights the store hosts once a month. They select an up-and-coming band, combine it with a liquor sponsor, reach out to their loyal mailing list and boom the room is full with a line around the block and a fun night is had by all. You can sign up to submit your music or add yourself to the mailing list at the store. Maybe I'll see you at the next one! In addition to these open events they also hold private events at which everyone from Alberta Cross to Guns n' Roses, Alice Cooper to ZZ Top (just to name a few) have performed. The next one has Paul Weller performing, May 17th! Unfortunately these are by invitation only, but perhaps if you dazzle the store staff they can sneak you on the list ;)
|The store front|
|The stage! Only ask to jam if you really can! Ringo Starr and Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers have been known to stop by for an afternoon jam session|
|The posters on the wall are literally like stopping by the best art exhibit ever|
|The vintage record collection is incredible, hand picked and labeled by John Varvatos himself and sold at decent prices|
|Once you have chosen which record you are taking home feel free to have a listen to it on one of these vintage Macintosh, Marantz or Pioneer sound systems|
|. . . or on this brand new state of the art Macintosh!|
|This is the heart of the store, an entirely original wall of CBGSs exactly how it was|
|The original stairwell of CBGBs exactly how it was|
|These stain glass panels were imported from an English Church to make it clear that this store is a holy rock n' roll site. The guitars hanging are signed by ZZ Top, Slash, Joe Perry and Cheap Trick.|
|The selection of books here are incredible, some of them are exclusive to the store. On any given day Robert Plant has been known to stop by and sit on the comfy couch and read|
|I had to get a photo with the Alice Cooper Statue of Liberty haha|