Eric Church Is Opening A 6-Story Bar Called Chief’s In Downtown Nashville

A man wearing sunglasses
Joe Pugliese

There’s no shortage of artist-owned bars in downtown Nashville.

Names like Alan Jackson, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton all hang in neon outside of their own bars on Nashville’s famous Lower Broadway.

Some of them are good, some of them are bad, but it seems that every day there’s a new artist opening a bar on Broadway.

But I think this one is going to be perfect for Sinners Like Me.

Eric Church announced today that he’s opening a brand new, 6-story bar, BBQ restaurant and music venue called Chief’s in downtown Nashville.

The new venue will be located at 200 Broadway, in the building that formerly housed Cotton Eyed Joe, and will be right beside John Rich’s Redneck Riviera.

Church bought the building for $24.5 million from Rich along with Ben Weprin, founder of boutique venture capital firm AJ Capital Partners, which also owns the building housing the famous Exit/In music venue in Nashville and is best known for its chain of Graduate Hotels across the country.

He’s also bringing in a taste of his local Carolinas by partnering with famous BBQ chef Rodney Scott, the James Beard Award-winning pitmaster and founder of Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ, for the bar’s food program, which will be served from the rooftop and contain all-weather seating for visitors.

In announcing the project, Scott said he’s excited to bring his flair of BBQ to Music City:

“I am beyond excited to not only bring Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ to Music City, but to also partner with my good friends Eric and Ben on this project.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love music – so the opportunity to expand the brand in partnership with an award-winning musician makes this project extra special! I can’t wait to share our Carolina roots and our whole hog BBQ with the incredible people of Nashville.” 

And to set itself apart from the other artist bars in downtown Nashville, Chief’s plans to feature a two-story seated music venue that would be able to host ticketed live events. (A Chief concert at his own bar? Sign me the hell up).

In announcing his new venue, Church says Chief’s will reflect every step of his award-winning career:

“I remember driving through downtown Nashville over 20 years ago with a pawn shop guitar, riding shotgun in a beat-to-hell truck just trying to chase a dream.

Chief’s is the culmination of catching that dream. Like everything else we do in our career, I wouldn’t even attempt a project like this if I didn’t think it would be the best, so that’s what Chief’s will be: the best.

I am partnering with my closest friend and, in my opinion, the greatest hotel entrepreneur on earth, Ben Weprin, and the greatest barbecue chef in the world, Rodney Scott. Together we will create an experience unique to Nashville and absolutely unparalleled in the world of music, food, fellowship and entertainment.

This is my hometown. This is personal. This matters. Every detail of Chief’s will feel that way. I cannot wait to get started. See you in 2023.”

Nashville mayor John Cooper also praised the announcement, saying that Chief’s will play an important role in revitalizing the Second Avenue corridor, an area still recovering from the 2020 Christmas Day bombing:

“Bringing a seated music venue to Lower Broadway while revitalizing and preserving a historic building is exactly the kind of investment Nashville’s entertainment sector needs.

I thank the partners involved for keeping the character of the building while creating a new concept for locals and our visitors to enjoy.”

And his sentiment was echoed by Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. CEO Butch Spyridon:

“Pairing Eric’s talent and passion for music and his work ethic with a new restaurant, bar, performance hall and more downtown is a recipe for success.

The fact that he is doing this in a historic building that will transform the gateway to historic Second Avenue is truly a bonus as that street recovers from 2020’s unfortunate incident.”

Plans are to begin renovating the Second Avenue building later this year, with Chief’s set to open in 2023.

Oh man am I excited for this one. Obviously Church is one of my favorite artists, but it sounds like Chief’s is going to be unique among the artist-owned bars downtown that are sometimes more similar than they are different.

Can’t wait to put a drink in my hand at Eric Church’s bar.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock