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 real estate investment management firm AJ Capital Partners, which also owns 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.
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.
But what did radio host Storme Warren, formerly of Sirius XM’s The Highway and current host on Garth Brooks new TuneIn radio station The Big 615, think when he got a look at the renderings for Church’s new bar?
Well, he told Weprin that it looked like a TGI Fridays.
“The renderings of one of the levels…just a striking resemblance to a TGI Fridays.”
And according to Warren, after initially being offended by the comparison, Weprin conceded that it may at least bear some resemblance to the chain dining spot:
“He goes, “I would be really angry because I’m so, so personally connected to this bar and everything about it. And I think I was really angry at first. But then my wife goes, mhmm, Storme’s not wrong.””
But Warren got a look at the renderings for the rest of the bar, and shared what else we can expect – confirming that it doesn’t all look like a TGI Fridays:
“He shows me the renderings of the entire bar. Four levels, an entire entertainment venue that looks like the Ryman Auditorium inside…
A dueling piano bar, they’ve got a barbeque joint…I mean, the place is going to be insane. And the attention to detail is unparalleled.
I mean, everything is an Easter egg. You thought Taylor Swift had Easter eggs? The entire bar is an Easter egg for Eric Church’s entire career. Everything has meaning.”
Man, as an Eric Church fan I can’t wait to see this place.
And Weprin had a sense of humor about Warren comparing his bar to a TGI Fridays:
“For every picture he showed me, up in the upper lefthand corner, there was the TGI Fridays logo.”
Oh, and what did Weprin have for them to eat during their meeting?
Potato skins from TGI Fridays, of course.
I’ve joked before that all of the bars on Broadway are getting so generic that next thing we know they’ll be putting an Applebee’s in Ernest Tubb’s Record Shop.
But while Chief’s may resemble a TGI Fridays, I have a feeling there’s not going to be anything generic about this place.
There hasn’t been an official opening date for the bar announced yet, but the team over at Chief’s has been slowly giving us a glimpse of what to expect in the new Broadway bar, including a seated venue reminiscent of the historic Ryman Auditorium where Church has said he wants to play shows unlike any he’s ever done.
During an interview with Rolling Stone, Church discussed his plans for performing at Chief’s once it opens, and he said he wants to use the space to touch on more heavy subjects, like paying tribute to the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting in Las Vegas, and to his brother, Brandon, who passed away suddenly in 2018:
“I want to do a show that talks about Vegas. It talks about my brother. It talks about things in my life. I’m not going down there to play ‘Drink in My Hand.’ It’s going to be stuff that’s very raw, very real, and it’s just me onstage.
It’ll be Church on Broadway.”
Church was, of course, the headliner for the Route 91 Harvest Festival on Friday night back in 2017, before the tragedy on the festival’s final night that Sunday. It’s something that Church rarely talks about publicly, though he did deliver a heart wrenching performance at the Grand Ole Opry just days after the tragedy.
It’s also not what you typically find on Broadway these days, with most of the bars filled with drunken tourists on any given night who come to Broadway more for the drinking with the music as a mere backdrop.
Of course if anybody’s going to do things their way, even in the midst of a party scene like Broadway, it’s Eric Church.
Man I can’t wait to finally get to check this place out.