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Published April 07, 2008

The Beat Goes On
John Varvatos Does CBGB

Rock is dead.

Or so the sky-is-falling purists would have you believe.

That's why when John Varvatos took over the lease at recently defunct CBGB—the beautiful Bowery hellhole that spawned punk rock—the doubters and detractors spoke out, and did so loudly. But we took a peek inside the newly Varvatos'd space, just opened today, and for all the possible new tenants (this easily could have been a Chase bank), J.V. seems to have built the one shrine that will convert all the cynics.

The room is the right mix of tribute, art and commerce. Gone are the rot and the stench, the infamous bathrooms and the anything-goes green rooms—but everything else has been worked into the plan in some way. The walls are still covered with layers of untouched graffiti and stickers, the ceiling is black and the original bar remains (minus the coating of Jack Daniels).

You can expect the entire J.V. line here in addition to the new CBGB-only 315 Bowery Collection, some limited edition pieces and a partnership with vintage fetishists What Comes Around Goes Around. But there's also some extras like retro stereo equipment and mint records from Varvatos' personal collection—and it's all for sale.

Just to make sure the spirit of rock lives on, there's a retractable stage for performances, a radio station that will broadcast from the store and... a tailor working in plain view.

Hey hey, my my. Rock and roll will never die.
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Oleg March