Man, Kid Rock’s bar just can’t seem to avoid controversy… even when it’s not their fault.
The bar is already coming off of a rocky 2020.
Steve Smith, the outspoken owner of Kid Rock’s and several other bars on Nashville’s historic Lower Broadway including Tootsie’s and Honky Tonk Central, initially refused to close his businesses back in March when they mayor ordered bars and restaurants closed across the city. He finally gave in, but when Kid Rock’s reopened, it again found itself in hot water with the city over failing to follow social distancing and capacity restrictions. The bar had its beer license suspended by the city, but that suspension was ultimately reduced to a $2,500 fine.
Smith has since gone on to call Mayor John Cooper a “communist” and demand that Cooper “get off his ass” and let the bars stay open past the current 11 PM curfew.
Like I said, no stranger to controversy.
But Kid Rock’s is once again in the spotlight, and this time it’s for a former employee’s actions during the riots at the Capitol last week.
As pictures began to circulate of the individuals who broke into the United States Capitol after last week’s protests turned violent, social media was particularly interested in a man who was seen climbing in the Senate balcony wearing police gear with a thin blue line logo in the shape of the state of Tennessee, as well as carrying a taser and flex cuffs.
The motives of the man carrying the zip-tie handcuffs whose tactical gear is adorned with symbols indicating support for military and police — including a "thin blue line" in the shape of Tennessee — cannot be verified. https://t.co/T461N9tvhu
Well social media and the FBI managed to identify the guy as 30-year old Nashville resident Eric Munchel. And it turns out he’s a former bartender at – you guessed it – Kid Rock’s Honky Tonk.
Smith has confirmed through his attorney, Bryan Lewis, that Munchel did indeed work for Kid Rock’s, but had been terminated several months ago.
“He was a former employee, but was terminated several months ago. Steve Smith nor any of his organizations condone or support the actions that took place at our nation’s Capitol.”
Since being thrust into the spotlight involuntarily due to the actions of their former employee, Kid Rock’s Honky Tonk has gone dark on social media. Their Twitter account, @bigasshonkytonk, has gone private, and they appear to have deleted their Facebook and Instagram page, which allegedly featured a picture of Munchel in a post asking patrons wearing to wear a mask back in August 2020.
UPDATE: Eric Munchel may have taken a job at "Kid Rock's Big Ass Honkey Tonk" bar in Nashville, TN. This photograph from August 18, 2020 can be found on the bar's instagram account. pic.twitter.com/rSH6LEOSzG
Munchel’s social media also listed that he was employed at Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille, a bar with four locations in Florida. Doc Ford’s has also released a statement clarifying that Munchel has not worked at the establishment for “2+ years.”
Munchel has been charged with one count of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. He’s currently in the Metro Nashville jail, being held on a federal warrant.
Now, Kid Rock’s bar has seen its fair share of controversy over the years, and people have strong feelings about not only the bar, but also its namesake and its owner. But come on… forcing the place to delete its social media because a former employee who was fired months ago did something stupid? If this was any other bar it would be a non-issue…
It’s clearly a product of the times we’re living in, but after everything that’s happened to the bar and restaurant industry this past year, how about we focus on the guy who actually carried out the riot and not on a bar that he doesn’t even work at anymore?
Oh, and just for fun…. he brought his mom to the riot.