Nashville-based restaurateur Austin Ray is eyeing a subterranean cocktail bar to operate from the space below his The Sutler Saloon in Melrose.

According to a release, an opening date for what will be called Rambler has not yet been finalized. However, the bar will be a “standalone space” within the Sutler. Adjacent to that restaurant/bar is Ray’s Melrose Billiard Parlor.

The three businesses join residential and other retail and restaurant spaces with The Melrose development at 2600 Eighth Ave. S. Across the street sits Ray’s M.L.Rose Craft Beer & Burgers, open now for 10 years.

Ray, who operates his restaurants and bars via A.Ray Hospitality, is not disclosing the cost to get the cocktail bar operational. In the release, Ray notes Rambler will be a “standalone brand and destination.” It will function as a “distinct bar within a bar.”

“Across all of our brands, we focus on the ‘third place’ where people can unwind and socialize outside of their home and office,” Ray said in the release. “A great bar should be fun and personable, and shouldn’t require too much explanation. Expect a cocktail menu worthy of exploring — but that doesn’t require a dictionary — in a memorable underground space. People in Nashville love to go out in groups, and we’re upping the ante on design and seating areas for different sized parties.”

A so-called “cellar” (pictured), which was never officially named, previously had been used as a speakeasy bar and frequent private event space since The Sutler opened in a reinvented manner in September 2014. Since then, phase two of The Melrose mixed-use development has been completed, bringing what Ray called a “substantial increase in residents, as well as free surface and garage parking.”

“As the cocktail and bar scene in Nashville becomes much more established, we saw an opportunity to use this space, which is an underground escape in the middle of a bustling area, to create a spot ideal for grabbing drinks and socializing,” he said. “Building a brand new, standalone concept inside an existing venue like The Sutler is a great exercise in creativity for me and my team. We’re excited to finally give this space the attention it deserves.”

In addition to A.Ray Hospitality, Joe Parkes Jr., David Parkes, and Gary Parkes of The Parkes Companies own The Sutler, Rambler and Melrose Billiard Parlor.

A.Ray Hospitality also owns and operates M.L.Rose Craft Beer & Burgers in Sylvan Park and in Capitol View, and Von Elrod’s Beer Garden & Sausage House in North Capitol near Germantown.

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