McGuffy’s closed, but may reopen soon, landlord says

McGuffy’s House of Rock, a popular live-music club at 5418 Burkhardt Road in Riverside, has closed, but a spokesman for the Spin-Kemp shopping center that houses McGuffy’s said the business may reopen soon under new ownership.

“At this time, it’s very promising,” said Mike Zhang of Impala Capital LLC, owner of the shopping center. “I believe something will be happening there very soon.”

McGuffy’s hosted a show on New Year’s Eve but has not shown any concert-hosting activity on its Facebook page since then.

Zhang said he was unsure whether the club would reopen as McGuffy’s or under some other name. McGuffy’s House of Rock — previously McGuffy’s House of Draft — was established in 1981, and for more than three decades has hosted rock acts and other musicians, most of them either on their way up in their careers, and some a few years past their song-selling or stadium-filling prime. The club’s capacity is about 550.

In recent years, McGuffy’s featured live music on Friday and Saturday nights, with occasional concerts for national touring acts.

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McGuffy’s current owners could not be reached. No one answers the phone at the club. The business had been purchased in 2008 by Julia Norris of Centerville. Norris could not be reached.

When Norris purchased the club in the summer of 2008, McGuffy’s had no shows on the books and was being operated as a restaurant and pool hall. Norris revamped the club’s physical layout, removing a raised seating area to create a more open floor plan, and invested in a new lighting system. By 2010, concerts had returned, and the number of patrons who attended concerts had increased three to four times over early 2008 levels, Norris said in a 2010 interview.

Among McGuffy’s many notorious moments: the members of Guns N’ Roses spent three nights hanging out at McGuffy’s before the band’s two-night stand at the Nutter Center in January 1992, and on the third night of hanging out at the club, band members — minus Axl Rose — took the stage and played a 30-minute-plus set.

The band skipped out on a $179 bar tab, but then-owner John Knauss told the Dayton Daily News three years later that he didn’t mind. “We’ll pay $179 for somebody like that to come in any time and play,” Knauss said.

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