The Bank’s New Vibe is Right on the Money
If you were an undergrad at the University of Florida in the past decade or so, chances are you’ve had at least one questionable night at The Bank Bar & Lounge in downtown Gainesville.
Whether it was a blurry fraternity social or a girls’ night out gone awry, evenings spent at The Bank weren’t always the classiest.
Thankfully, you never have to relive those dingy dancefloor days, because The Bank has new owners and a completely new feel.
Co-owners Rich Pusateri and Jeff Hickey have transformed The Bank into a laid back neighborhood bar where sports fans, music fans and drinking fans can relax and unwind.
“We’ve brought in a staff with the same mindset as us,” said Rich. “People who can make good drinks at good prices and an atmosphere where people are going to want to come drink.”
Despite the new lights, fresh paint and internal restorations, there is one aspect of The Bank that isn’t going to be wiped clean: the rich history of the building.
The building, opened by Henry F. Dutton in 1873, was the very first bank in the city of Gainesville and the third bank in the state of Florida. Dutton, who was a colonel in the Union Army, cashed out in the cotton trade, phosphorus mining and railroad industry and needed a safe place to keep his money. Thus, Dutton Bank was born.
After the old bank closed in 1940, the historic building continued to change hands. From the late ‘70s to mid ‘80s it was a recording studio and in 2000, three fraternity brothers turned it into the nightclub most people know (and cringe at) today.
Rich has a deep history in Gainesville as well. Starting at Harry’s in 1994, then Lillian’s in 1998 and then Tall Paul’s, he’s been an integral part of the downtown bar scene for over two decades.
“The main job of a bar or bartender is to help people have a good time,” Rich said. “That’s not a bad way to spend an evening.”
Good times seem to be the focus of The Bank’s makeover, too. With happy hour from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. from Tuesday to Friday, signature cocktails like the “Dutton Reserve” and “First Fridays” filled with live jazz and wine specials, the place is set up to be one of Gainesville’s new favorite hangouts.
So leave your nightclub heels at home and experience the cool new vibes of The Bank Bar & Lounge.
“Gainesville, we’re open for business.”