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New venue, The Local 662, replaces Garage Bar in St. Petersburg

We were dismayed last August to report the closing of the Garage Bar, greaser-punk's paradise on Central Avenue in downtown St. Pete.

But with the sudden resurgence of Central's 600 Block, it was inevitable that the club would relaunch. And recently, it reopened as The Local 662, a partnership between Tony Rifugiato of No Clubs Productions and Mark Assiff of the State Theatre.

Located at (you guessed it) 662 Central Ave. -- between the new-ish rock bar Fubar and the recently expanded Daddy Kool Records, and across the street from the State Theatre and Star Booty Salon -- the Local 662 is adding to the 600 Block's burgeoning rep as one of the most interesting scenes in all of Tampa Bay.

"Tampa, apart from Seventh Avenue, doesn't really have this kind of Bohemian interaction between art and music all on one street," Rifugiato said. "All we're lacking is a coffee bar."

The Local 662 has a full liquor bar and updated sound system, with a mix of cool art inside. There's also an array of tables and chairs in the back, where the riser used to be. The venue will be open from Wednesday through Saturday, with two DJ nights on Wednesday (old-school soul) and Thursday (indie and alternative), and live music Friday and Saturday. 

The venue officially opened May 8 with a show by The Semis, Brahm Bones and Thomas Wynn and the Believers during last weekend's 600 Block Party. This weekend, there's a free show by Mogul Street Reserve tonight, and a show by Half Step Down on Saturday.

The owners are steering the club toward being a top-notch venue for free shows by local indie and rock bands, kind of like a New World Brewery/Crowbar hybrid in downtown St. Pete. But there are a couple of national acts coming too, including a free show by Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, seen here most recently opening for G. Love and Special Sauce, on May 31. Click here for the details. And on May 21, there's a show by Athens, Ga.'s Twin Tigers, who are touring this spring with both the Hold Steady and Interpol.

"The cool thing is, being across the state from the State Theatre, we're obviously hoping that some of the crowd afterwards will come to the bar as well," said Rifugiato.

Personally, we liked the Garage Bar quite a bit, though we've heard several acoustically-inclined people complain that the sound in there was simply god-awful. So a change was probably in order.

We'll be at OK Go tonight and Tropical Heatwave Saturday, but we look forward to checking out the Local 662 sometime soon. Were any of you guys at the grand opening last weekend? What do you think?

Check out the Local 662's concert schedule after the jump.

Friday: Mogul Street Reserve (Cage the Elephant after party)

Saturday: Half Step Down (Cannibal Corpse after party)

May 21: The Beauvilles, Twin Tigers

May 28: Amanda Drake

May 29: Peter Baldwin

May 31: Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad

June 25: Geri X.

June 26: The Hip Abduction

July 16: Dive Bar Stalkers, Cadillac Bombers

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 3:19pm]


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