Tuesday, October 7, 2014

117 South Main (South Main Cafe)

117 South Main  -  Photo courtesy of Linda Ruth Schwab

Not long after this former church building housed the New River Trading Company, it transformed into what many people consider to be the best bar and music venue Blacksburg ever had.

If I have the story right, three business fellows (Bob "Bullwinkle" Summerell, Al Freeman, and Fred Blake) shifted from Levi's to Budweisers around 1973, and over the next couple of years the partnerships changed to include Steve McBroom and most importantly Mike Schwab.

By 1975 or 76, Mike Schwab became the sole owner of the establishment which eventually included wife Linda Ruth.  They enjoyed a 20-year run, and the number of little known and well known musical acts that graced the stage is countless.  In the latter years (1984 to 1995) the joint was known as South Main Cafe, but everyone I knew just called it "117".

If you're too young to remember this place, that's a shame because it was definitely the primary gathering place for cowboys, hippies, and everything in between.  I remember the long neck Buds, pinball machines, pool tables, and a balcony above.  It was rustic, but that's the way we liked it.  Today it is home to Cabo Fish Taco.

I know this post is going to fill up with comments.  Looking forward to the reader's own memories of drunkenness, debauchery, and ass-kicking music.