Hardback Cafe

211 West University Ave

Downtown Gainesville


YOU can read about how Gainesville has always been a hot-spot of original musicians, from the 1960s on through the 2000s. There's Music Everywhere: The Rock and Roll Roots of a Southern Town, by Marty Journard (covering 1960s and 70s)... and Gainesville Punk: A History of Bands and Music, by Matt Walker (covering the 1980s up to the current resurgence). Tom Petty, Stephen Stills, Eagles' Bernie Leadon and Don Felder, Hot Water Music, Less Than Jake, Against Me! have all arisen from the liberal-artsy Gainesville, a college town which has generally fostered the arts, and somewhat incidentally or even ironically supported local music.

In the late 1980s, the Police were instructed by the Government to supress the lively house-party scene in Gainesville, which had fostered the band scene but had annoyed the neighborhoods which were being gentrified. Up to that time, venues typically hired cover bands to provide entertainement; and at best, some bands would throw in an original or two.

The Hardback was the perfect solution! First opened in April 1989, in Gainesville's then sparcely peopled downtown... (redevolopment fruits seen today were just sprouting then) The Hardback occupied the spaces now known as Boca Fiesta, The Backyard, and Palomino, and then it was not the highly refined commercial real estate it is today. It was a dive, but it was magical, and unique. It provided local bands with a safe-house for 10 years.


Kurt Wolfgang- designed an early hardback t-shirt


New School webpage

Old School webpage








Re-opened on December 10th, 2015, Hardback Cafe is no retro dive, but an elegant, if rugged, art space. We feature original musical performances, art exhibits, comedy, poetry, both upstairs and down.


Check out

hardbackgainesville on facebook and please subscribe to our event page for all the upcoming shows