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Just under six months since Racked broke the news that the defunct, much-mourned CBGB space on The Bowery would be transformed into a John Varvatos store, renovation work is complete and, as of noon today, the doors are open. Fans of leather and false nostalgia, rejoice: the space has been remade in a faux-punk ethic, with walls adorned with vintage concert poster reproductions; a section dramatically demonstrating the evolution of what used to be called A/V equipment; plenty of guitars, drumsets, and amps; and even bins of vinyl up front for browsing and buying. Racked's drop-by around 2pm found a relatively sparse crowd, and, worse, no free booze. The front vinyl racks attracted browsers, though.
Overall impression? Quoth Varvatos, a few months ago: "We don't want anyone to walk into the space and say, 'Oh, they screwed it up.' We want them to walk in and say, 'It's not CBGB, but they did the right thing.'" Well, it's not CBGB. As for whether the right thing was to create an upscale reproduction of sorts of the old haunt, we'll leave that for the ghosts of the old Bowery to sort out.
· Now (Almost) Open: John Varvatos Lords Over the Bowery [Racked]
· John Varvatos Scraps CBGB's Squalid Remains [Racked]
· John Varvatos' PR Team Officially Announces CBGB's Takeover [Racked]
· Practically Confirmed: John Varvatos Moving Into CBGB Space [Racked]