Dick and Loren Nord don’t enjoy moving any more than other homeowners, but they’ve had a powerful incentive to change addresses three times in the past nine years.
Rising home values in the surrounding area — which includes the Belmont, 12South and Melrose neighborhoods south of downtown Nashville — encouraged them to repeatedly buy, sell and move up to the next house.
“That’s why we’re in our third house in the same neighborhood,” said Dick Nord.
The wave of redevelopment that began a generation ago along Belmont and 12th Avenue South has reached Eighth Avenue South and Melrose, a once-neglected neighborhood where it’s not unusual to see new homes with prices above $600,000.
“The growth bled over as each urban neighborhood has developed. It’s just exploding,” said Jessica Averbuch, managing broker at Zeitlin & Co. Realtors.
Her listing at 914a Gale Lane tells the neighborhood’s story. The 3,318-square-foot house was built in 2011 and is priced at $635,000. The house is not far from Eighth Avenue South, which has experienced a renaissance of apartment and condominium construction.
Live, work, play
Eighth Avenue, which changes names and becomes Franklin Pike, is home to popular restaurants and bars such as the Smiling Elephant, M.L. Rose Craft Beer & Burgers and the Sutler saloon. Downtown and Nashville International Airport are just minutes away. That has made it increasingly attractive to home buyers, said Averbuch.
“Eighth is a happening spot. There’s so much there to let people live, work and play,” she said.
That wasn’t always the case. When the Nords bought a house on Montrose Avenue nine years ago, they got a bit of pushback from relatives who didn’t share their vision of the area’s potential.
“I told my dad. He thought I’d lost my mind,” said Dick Nord.
Today when the Nords step out of their front door, turning one direction takes them to their favorite destinations on 12th Avenue. Turning the other way takes them to Eighth Avenue. Sevier Park is around the corner.
“We actually take a little golf cart around the neighborhood. Kind of put around,” said Dick Nord.
Neighborhood by neighborhood
William Smallman owns the Magness Group, the company that built the Nords’ home. He sees many people moving to the area in search of affordable new homes. Others are moving from the suburbs in search of a convenient neighborhood in the heart of the city.
“They’re sick of driving and want to walk,” said Smallman.
The momentum that carried redevelopment as far as Melrose is now spreading it to other nearby urban neighborhoods, including Wedgewood-Houston, bordered by Greer Stadium, Fort Negley and the Tennessee State Fairgrounds, and Woodbine, a neighborhood further south along Nolensville Pike.
“It’s bleeding over. Wedgewood-Houston is the next 12South. Woodbine is next. It will happen,” said Smallman.
Newell Anderson, a Realtor with Village Real Estate Services, said the emerging neighborhoods south of downtown are “a wonderful opportunity.”
“There’s a definite demand, and location is what’s doing it. The desire to be close to town is creating interest in these neighborhoods,” he said.
Keller Williams Realtor Josh Anderson said prices of condos and single-family homes in the area are skyrocketing.
“It’s because of everything around them, the ability to walk down the street to a restaurant or a bar. That’s what people want,” he said.
That’s what Alicia Lohaus wanted when she moved from Cool Springs in suburban Williamson County to The Melrose, a luxury apartment development on Franklin Pike near Interstate 440.
“It’s not just hip and upcoming,” she said of the neighborhood. “It’s arrived.”
Bill Lewis. The Tennessean. 2014.
To be honest, The Sutler had me at Buck Owens.
I didn't know what to make of the saloon/music hall/restaurant at first. Was I there for the live acts? For the tight little cocktail list? For chef Nick Seabergh's smart take on bar food? What was I supposed to expect?
But three different Owens tunes in one sitting has to be an omen, right? If anybody did the most to mess with what Nashville's expectations of something ought to be, it was the man from Bakersfield. Screw it, I thought. I'll just not worry about it.
And that's what I did over a few different meals, thoroughly enjoying items like Brussels sprout hash ($8), pork fat fries ($7) and a Porter Road Butcher short-rib hot dog dunked in pureed pinto beans and green chilies ($11) that made it one of the richest chili dogs I've had in a while.
Let's be clear about one thing from the outset: This is not a menu for someone looking for a light bite. From the fried pickles ($9) and pork rind nachos ($10) to the stacks of barbecued brisket or pork with gravy and a fried egg on top ($16, plus $2 for the egg), The Sutler can be a heavy experience. And that might be a problem if it were only a restaurant, but with a well-crafted beer list that's full of hops and cocktails like basil juleps and sweet-and-sour Corsair gin with thyme, the contrast works well.
Seabergh says they used the original menu — on display in the men's room — as a starting point.
"A lot of it had to do with the old Sutler menu, just trying to keep in tune with the theme of a saloon but also being all-inclusive of the South. It's taken some of the older items and updating them," Seabergh says. "There were some things like pickled eggs and a sausage plate that were just a straight dive bar. We wanted to keep the feel but have it not be so dive bar."
So instead there's a section of the menu titled "JARS," with things like sweet potato hummus ($7) and potted smoke ($8) — a brisket and pork butt confit to be spread over thin slices of toast with whole-grain mustard and pickles. The best of these is a play on pimento cheese and crackers called the Sutler Queso ($8). Three local cheeses — a cheddar, a gouda and chevre — are blended into a spread and served with pepper jelly and spiced peanuts on top of saltines. After assembly, it is a damn near perfect bite, hitting every taste bud in your mouth.
If that seems like a lot went into a relatively simple-looking dish, it did.
"I actually talked to a dude who used to cook here and asked him what was in the World Famous Pimento Cheese, and he was like, 'Oh, we took some Rotel and some Velveeta cheese and we mixed it all up together,' " says Seabergh. "Ours is a little more involved. We're almost trying to make it as hard as we possibly can. It's a super prep-heavy menu, I'll tell you that."
It pays off in things like the fries, which are some of the best I've had in a while. Potatoes are cut into shoestrings, rinsed off and put in the cooler. They're then blanched at 250 degrees in pork fat for 45 seconds, fried again at 300 degrees for four minutes and then rested in the walk-in until ordered, where they're dropped into 355 degrees of pork fat once more. While hot, the fries are tossed in a garlic-scallion compound butter and then topped with smoked sea salt and smoked paprika. The Alabama white sauce they're served with puts the whole thing into the realm of the ridiculous, a nice little bomb of umami in potato form.
There's also some creative reuse at play. A delicious Yazoo/cheddar combination shows up as the base for an excellent cheddar ale soup ($8) and as the dunking sauce to turn the Yes Dammit Burger ($13) into a cheeseburger. The brisket appears in a horseshoe — the aforementioned open-faced Texas Toast sandwich with gravy and egg — and in the loaded mac-and-cheese ($9).
The menu itself is extremely shareable, even the dunks, a play on the soup-and-sandwich dishes Rick Bayless serves in his Mexican street food restaurant Xoco in Chicago. I'd also eat a bucket of the popped crack corn ($7), drizzled with honey and bacon and shot through with jalapeno cracklins, but alas, it only came in a cone.
For those wanting a more traditional entrée, there's a hanger steak ($26) and an impressive-looking rainbow trout ($18) as well as a white shrimp plate ($19) that arrived with a delicious Worcestershire butter. The best of the entrées, though, was a duet of pork belly and pork tenderloin ($19), both grilled and served with carrots, parsnips and a sweet vinegar glaze. Order the grilled veggies ($9) as a side — we found lots of little surprises in the substantial plate, including some perfectly torched broccolini to drag through the pimento-thyme gastrique.
I never spent much time in the old Sutler, but the design of the new one does a nice job of not showing too much spit-and-polish while remaining interesting. The wall full of boots behind the stage is a nice touch and blends well with the mostly Western playlist of background music, full of singers like Owens, Moon Mullican and Dale Hawkins.
The Sutler works as a lot of things, but especially as a collection of strong flavors and salty bites that can scale between bar snacks and a full-blown meal. And given the dearth of great post-midnight dining options, The Sutler may end up being as valuable a food destination as the original one was for music.
Steve Cavendish. The Nashville Scene. 2014.
You’d be hard-pressed in Nashville to find a bar not serving great food, just as you would a restaurant without a great bar. And after running down the city's most impressive restaurant openings of the year, we thought we'd turn our attention to their slightly boozier, but equally delicious counterparts -- here are the most important new bars of 2014...
The Sutler Saloon
The Sutler first opened in '76, operating for 30 years as a premier dive bar for music lovers with performers from Townes Van Zandt to Johnny Cash gracing the stage. Two Nashville natives, Austin Ray (M.L. Rose, Sinema) along with the buildings developer, Joe Parkes Jr., brought The Sutler back to life in the same, Melrose Theater building. Chef Nick Seabergh serves pan-Southern classics turning this live-music dive into a culinary destination as well, thanks to rotating menu items that span from Southern Fish Fry to “Beast” Loaf in a TN Brew Works pan dripping with gravy.
Kendall Mitchell Gemmill. Thrillist. 2014.
After the glorious old Melrose Lanes was razed in the same strip, we’re glad to see new owners Austin Ray and Joe Parkes treat the old gal like the tiara she was and is. The decor gleams, the music so far leans toward the Americana acts that Kim Webber and Karen Leipziger were booking there in latter years, and the food served up by chef Nick Seabergh (who comes to Nashville via Donald Link’s Herbsaint and John Currence’s City Grocery) tips its toque to the pub chow of decades past with fried pickles, nachos and hot dogs — just maybe a leetle bit fancier and more expensive than you might remember. Then again, if you hung out much at the old Sutler, there’s probably a lot you don’t remember.
Jim Ridley. Nashville Scene. 2014.
The first thing that hits you when you walk into the reincarnation of The Sutler is the smell: leather and bacon. The leather comes from a mosaic of colorful cowboy boots that act as a backdrop for the stage (where you’ll find alt-country, blues, and Americana acts) while the essence of bacon emerges from the small open kitchen that runs along the left wall of the dining room. Here, chef Nick Seabergh and his brigade pump out a menu of Southern-inspired comfort food that perfectly complements the urban saloon ambiance.
What to Order:
Potted Smoke, $8
Bear Creek Brisket Horseshoe, $16
Sunburst Farms Whole Rainbow Trout, $18
Pit Smoked Loaded Mac, $9
Veggies Raw, $8
Owners Austin Ray and Joe Parkes have done their best to re-create the vibe of the original honky-tonk, which opened in 1976. (They moved the space down a few doors from its original location.) A replica of the original wooden bar greets patrons just inside the front door, as does a compact list of cocktails and craft beers, with happy hour specials available from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. during the week.
Rather than obsessively listing every ingredient down to the brand of bitters or species of mint like some craft cocktail lounges insist on doing, Ray’s menu simply lists the primary spirit and a description of what to expect from each libation. For example: The Field Party, says the menu, contains mezcal and “starts the party with fresh squeezed watermelon sweetness.” We say, order it.
As for the food, Seabergh has apparently never met a pig he didn’t like—or, more accurately, that he wasn’t willing to utilize as a flavor ingredient in his decadent dishes. Under the “Jars” section of the menu, look for the Potted Smoke, a spread made from smoked pork shoulder and brisket. The Horseshoe stacks are like a cross between Canadian poutine and a Kentucky Hot Brown; they come with a choice of smoked brisket, pork, or chicken served over Texas toast and are smothered in a rich cheddar ale gravy. The crispy French fries that accompany them have been fried three times in pork fat, making the whole dish an over-the-top indulgence—which you can outdo by adding a fried egg on top. Other notable main plates include a Harris Ranch hanger steak seasoned with a Bongo Java coffee rub and a whole rainbow trout from Sunburst Farms served with black-eyed pea cowboy caviar. (Warning about that trout: The fish has eyes. But don’t let that stop you from ordering this otherwise delightful dish.)
Down a set of stairs decorated with boot soles is The Cellar, an intimate speakeasy bar and lounge with red velvet wallpaper and vintage furniture. There’s a cozier vibe here with a fireside table and crafty cocktails that were developed by noted Nashville mixologist/consultant Alan Kennedy. There are also plenty of beer and upscale bourbon choices. This Sutler is only just getting started—again—but early returns indicate that Nashvillians are eager and ready to bring this beloved institution back to life.
2600 Franklin Pk., Ste. 109; 615-840-6124; thesutler.com
Chris Chamberlain. Nashville Lifestyles.
In its first life, The Sutler was a bar and eatery tucked in the Melrose shopping strip, a joint really, as beloved for its beans-n-cornbread, sandwiches and drafts as for its live music. Opened in 1976 by country radio D.J. Johnny Potts, it drew in Music Row writers, musicians and execs and became a go-to for great acts — showcasing big names and emerging talents. A little funky, a little divey, it was a storied place that shuttered in 2006. Chances are, over its 30-year run, you may have gone and gotten a Sutler story of your own.
One of mine comes from the early '80s, when my friends and I were lucky to snag stage front seating to hear our favorite local band, The Nerve. In the course of a driving performance (their rockin' sound was their own, with influences of The Meters and Little Feat in evidence), lead guitarist Danny Rhodes leapt off the stage onto our table. Beer sloshing out of our mugs, he spun, dipped and slurped a little spilt beer off the tabletop, all the while playing, never missing a lick. You gotta lotta nerve!
Restaurateur Austin Ray and partner/developer Joe Parkes Jr. had also clocked in hours at the Melrose watering hole; no doubt they've got stories, too. Their reimagining of the place pays homage to The Sutler of yore and yet casts a contemporary slant. They have created a saloon-hall bar and dining room, all dark woods, leathers, a glitzy chandelier and clever design motifs using cowboy boots. They built a stage, installed a fine sound system and brought back the live music. They've taken the concept further: Descend the staircase into The Cellar, and you'll find yourself in a speakeasy style lounge serving up a separate roster of chi-chi cocktails.
The greatest point of departure is exemplified by the food. Designed by chef Nick Seabergh, it is gastropub fare that travels South by Southwest. Seabergh comes with impressive credentials: A longtime supporter of Southern Foodways Alliance, he has worked with chef John Currence at City Grocery in Oxford, Miss., and most recently was the executive chef at Alchemy in Memphis. His menu fits the vibe of the new The Sutler Saloon, offering assertive, creative takes on bar food — and more.
His Fried Pickle Bash is more than a pile of battered-n-fried dill chips. The tart, crispy array assembles spicy kosher dills, green tomatoes and okra with two dipping sauces: Tabasco remoulade and a minerally-sweet mignonette made with Steen's cane syrup. His "Jars" (Mason, of course) come filled with innovative and delicious combinations. Sweet potato hummus is enlivened with a topping of pecan-sage pesto, crumbled cotija cheese and a side tangle of marinated white onion and jalapeños, with grilled tortillas for dipping.
Three local farmstead cheeses laced with roasted green chilis comprise the Queso, served with saltines (one bacon-wrapped cracker crowns the jar) and a surprise: An inverted lid holds some brilliant and fiery red pepper jelly. Meat lovers will relish the rillette style "Potted Smoke" — a lush blend of smoked brisket and pork butt confit to spread over grilled crusty bread. If you need more crackers, chips, or toasts, your server is happy to supply them.
Meaty main courses
Hearty appetites will be sated with the "Horseshoes." These are towering open-face sandwiches on Texas toast — smoked pulled pork, brisket or chicken smothered with pork-fat fries and a pour of Cheddar-ale gravy. The pork, sourced from Wedge Oak Farms, was smoked-kissed and juicy, the fries maintained their crunchy integrity under the Yazoo beer-cheese sauce. You can a fried egg to top the whole shebang — we opted not to gild the lily.
His "Dunks" are fire-grilled sandwiches (Bear Creek Burger, Porter Road Butcher dog, grilled cheese) each with a ladling of soup in which to dunk 'em. The traditional comfort of tomato soup and grilled cheese gets a modern spin — five Tennessee cheeses and Broadbent's bacon filled the sandwich, and tart raspberry coulis is combed through the tomato bisque.
There are a few substantial entrees, as well as smaller plates for sharing.
The whole rainbow trout, seasoned in a spiced mustard rub, grilled and plated with black-eyed pea and grilled lemons, makes a stunning presentation and a delectable meal. (Take care with the bones.) Wild Georgia white shrimp pop with sweetness, cooked in a blend of Creole spices and Worcestershire butter. Hidden underneath them are slices of Tasso ham and hoecakes. We also liked the treatment of the hangar steak — coffee-rubbed, rare-grilled over hickory, and finished with pepita pesto and a brush of red mole butter.
On the lighter side
While the menu is very meat-centric, we did find a few vegetarian options, beyond the pickles and spreads. The platter of wood-grilled veggies of the moment featured fennel, onions, Swiss chard, winter squashes awash in a piquant lemon-thyme gastrique, vibrant and full-flavored. The "small plate" of Brussels sprouts leaves, shallot chips and crunchy Cheddar bits come tumbled on a bed of whipped potatoes, rich and salty.
The Spinach-Rocket Waldorf is a refreshing take on the apple salad, here made anew with the addition of cider-plumped apricots, pickled celery, spiced pecans and black-eyed peas to the heirloom apples, all tossed in lemon yogurt-poppyseed dressing and placed on the bed of greens. In the midst of some of the heavier fare, it offers a palate-pleasing counterbalance.
Creative pub-grub and cocktails, decent happy hour, amiable service: In this life, The Sutler Saloon is off to a strong start. And its "Grassfed Sundays" — that's bluegrass pickin' and family-style feastin' — bring an exciting new chapter to The Sutler story.
Nancy Vienneau is a chef and retired caterer with 25 years of experience. She cooks and teaches at Second Harvest and blogs about her adventures with food athttp://nancy vienneau.com. Reviews are written from anonymous visits to restaurants. Negative reviews are based on two or more visits. The Tennessean pays for all meals.
THE SUTLER SALOON
2600 Franklin Pike, Nashville
Hours: Opens at 4:30 p.m. daily. Happy hour 4:30-6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday
Payment: major credit cards accepted
Alcohol: full bar
Food: Southern-inspired gastro-pub
Cost: Snacks: $9-$15. Jars: $7-$8. Dunks: $10-$13. Soups: $6-$8. Horseshoes: $16. Hickory grilled: $18-$26. Veggie small plates: $7-$9.
Parking: on site lot, valet
Nancy Vienneau. The Tennessean. 2014.
Two months have passed since the previous episode. We know this not only because it says so onscreen, but we can see the passage of time reflected in Juliette's fuller figure. Although she and Avery are at least seeing their baby doctor together, it doesn't mean they're seeing eye-to-eye. They even disagree over whether to find out the sex of the baby. He wants to know, but Juliette doesn't. As if she can handle one more surprise.
For most everyone else, a break in Luke's tour means a trip home to Music City, although Deacon immediately gets sick and Luke's 48 hours with Rayna and their kids is about to get more complicated than any of them expected.
Rayna sings "Lies of the Lonely" during her anticipated Dancing With the Stars guest shot, which we pointed out in our previous recap was just one of the ways ABC was heavy-handedly cross-promoting their TV shows and specials, including the CMA Awards. Wow, what will they think of next? We find out, and so does Rayna, whose manager, Bucky, tells her she's been offered a Rolling Stone cover story (Wait, did we say heavy-handed? We meant genius!)
Anyway, it's all great, she figures, until Rayna realizes she's going to have to forgo family time to spend the next couple of days being shadowed by one of the magazine's reporters, which includes having him in her home. No one is unhappier about the situation than Luke. He's probably still stinging from the news that he only got five CMA nods and Rayna got six, and is wondering how that's going to look in Rolling Stone. Or he hasn't thought of any of those clever Luke-isms lately. Here's one we like, Luke: "A hug is a strangle you haven't finished yet." You can have that one on us.
Will, who is in no hurry to go back home where Layla is waiting – most likely sharpening the cutlery and looking up vivisection on the Internet – shows up at Gunnar and Zoey's house, where "new" dad Gunnar and son Micah and throwing the football around. Micah's mom, Kylie, has taken off to spend time with her boyfriend Brad, so the boys plan a big ole sleepover. Zoey now has a houseful of men to take care of, but since the little woman isn't complaining, Gunnar knows she must be thrilled to be cooking, cleaning and servicing her man. In other words, Gunnar is going to get a cast iron skillet upside his head any minute now.
It's probably a good thing Zoey and Scarlett didn't interact during this episode, since Scarlett's chief complaint is that she's busy writing songs for Carrie (Underwood) and Miranda (Lambert). When Deacon mentions that he has a new back-up singer and "friend" Pam, Scarlett thinks he should invite her over for dinner. But Deacon is convinced that what happens on tour should stay on tour. Somebody should have told that to his immune system since he's nursing a nasty cold. At the front door of his house, he encounters Terry, who leaves a small gift for Scarlett. It's a harmonica. When Scarlett goes to look for Terry, they talk about how he now has a side job selling newspapers. She offers to buy his entire stack of newspapers as a trade for an afternoon of co-writing together. Terry comes clean, telling her hat his wife, son and daughter were killed in a head-on collision just before Thanksgiving in 1993. In an episode that features some very nice music, Scarlett and Terry take the stage at the Bluebird Café to sing an inspirational tune appropriately titled "Carry On."
At another of Nashville's legendary clubs, the Sutler, a much more intense performance is about to take place (and no, not the one between Gunnar and Zoey, although things are certainly tense between them thanks to Kylie and Micah). Gunnar and Zoey have joined Will to hear Layla perform her new songs and, based on past experiences, they figure it's a good thing the only tomatoes in the vicinity are fried green ones. But, surprise! Layla's song, "Blind," is actually good – in an "I'm over being hurt by you" sort of way. Stunned by the song's honest lyrics and raw emotion, Will takes off when he hears the line "I will bleed out the sorrow that you put in me today." Layla thanks him for giving her something real to write about. But they still have the reality show's premiere to get through.
While Rayna is talking to the Rolling Stone writer at her office, Juliette barges in to find out why Rayna hasn't responded to her about the new songs she sent her. Rayna encourages Juliette to write more honestly, and at the same time, Juliette realizes the Rolling Stone writer witnessed her little outburst. On the plus side, Juliette's new single, "Hormonal Headcase" could be her biggest hit to date. Or at the very least could be her best chance at a mention in Rayna's cover story.
Lucky for Juliette, however, the writer ends up having lots more juicy material to choose from, including Deacon's refusal to comment about his past with Rayna, which will soon seem even tamer in comparison to the Greek drama that threatens to blow the roof off the Ruke household when soon-to-be-stepsiblings Maddie and Colt are caught sucking face.
Juliette asks her assistant Emily to be her birthing coach in Lamaze classes, but Avery, who buys a crib for the baby and drops it off for her, hears Juliette singing and is beginning to warm up to the idea of being involved in his baby's life. He later shows up at Lamaze class and feels the baby kick. Lucky for Avery it wasn't a slap to the face or a fist in the family jewels.
After three months of dating, Kylie finally tells her boyfriend she has a son. He has no interest in kids, so, of course, she does the sensible thing: she takes off to be with Brad, leaving Micah with his dad (and "stepmom" Zoey)!
The whole Will and Layla storyline adds one more decidedly odd dimension to the show. Here are two actual actors (Chris Carmack and Audrey Peeples) playing characters on a TV show. Within that show the characters they play are starring in a reality show, playing "actors in their own lives." The couple soon has to endure Will's countless shirtless shots and Layla's apparent inability to operate a handheld can opener, making them Music City's answer to Jessica Simpson, Nick Lachey and the great tuna fish/Chicken of the Sea caper from that real-life couple's MTV reality show. Things may have thawed between Will and Layla but it looks like they're about to get awfully icy again. (Or maybe Layla's looking for that ice pick for a completely different reason?)
And speaking of ice, Rayna tries to convince the Rolling Stone reporter to keep her daughter and future stepson's tonsil hockey a secret. In order for him not to run with that story she agrees to give him the story of her turbulent relationship with Deacon. Don't worry, Rayna, you're in good hands. What could possibly go wrong with that plan?
Stephen L. Betts. Rolling Stone. 2014.
New Year’s Eve in Nashville is always a good time, whether you’re a local or just visiting. This is your New Year’s Eve in Nashville guide to the best parties, concerts, events and things to do on Wednesday, December 31, 2014. We’ll be adding more shindigs to ring in the new year as they are announced.
Jingle Boot Rock New Year’s Eve Party
The Sutler | Melrose
Kick up your heels at The Sutler’s Jingle Boot Rock New Year’s Eve party. Get ready for live music, dancing, drinks and a dinner buffet. Doors open at 6pm. Tickets include a gourmet buffet featuring Sutler menu favorites, prepared by chef Nick Seabergh. The Sutler staff will pass out a champagne toast just before midnight, with full bars upstairs and downstairs available all night. Wooly Bully and Zippy’s Clutch will play favorite cover songs from The Sutler’s acoustically-tuned stage. Guests are sure to hit the dance floor.
General admission tickets are $60, and include event entry, live music, dinner buffet, and a champagne toast.
Nashville Guru. 2014.
Halloween is finally here and Nashville is definitely not short on crazy events to satisfy your every costume-loving, candy-craving, music-loving need. There are so many themed parties across metro Nashville that you might just have a hard time deciding which to choose, but you better chose quickly! Some events are already coming close to selling out! So break out your best Pinterest-style, socially relevant costume and prepare for a serious Halloween weekend hangover.
FRIDAY, October 31, 2014 – Happy Halloween!
Nearly Native Nashville. 2014.
Which, to a bunch of us, seemed super-weird.
Because The Sutler was a long-shuttered, divey little joint. It was in the same business strip that once held the Loews Melrose Theater and the Melrose Lanes bowling alley. The Sutler served beans, cornbread fritters, pickled eggs and roast beef sandwiches. The Sutler was smoky and funky, not trendy and sexy.
So why call the new place The Sutler?
Because in addition to being smoky and funky, The Sutler was fun. It was a place people liked to hang out, in comfort and friendship. Ray and Parkes both liked that old place.
And then there's the music thing. The same bunch of us that thought calling a shiny new thing The Sutler was super-weird also know that the old Sutler place had a little stage where Johnny Cash, Townes Van Zandt, Levon Helm, Guy Clark, Don Everly, Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Bela Fleck and a bunch of others played. When Karen Leipziger started booking the room in April 1993, The Sutler became a center of Nashville's roots music scene and an incubator for the artists who would in the new century be called "Americana."
The Sutler was where the remarkable Walter Hyatt — whose music inspired Lyle Lovett, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and many more — played every Monday night. Hyatt hired a drummer named Billy Block, and in February 1996 Leipziger green-lighted Block's wish to start an every-Tuesday, multi-artist show that came to be called Billy Block's Western Beat, and that show featured Lucinda Williams, Jim Lauderdale, Buddy Miller, Tim O'Brien, Kevin Gordon, Darrell Scott, Tim Carroll, Joy Lynn White and so many more who became core "Americana" artists.
Musician and disc jockey Johnny Potts founded the old Sutler on Jan. 16, 1975. The place had beer, so soon the place had songwriters. Lots of songwriters, it seems, like beer. Potts got a portable stage with room for two people, and then he expanded that stage.
But The Sutler remained more of a daytime hang than a true music venue until Leipziger came in 1993 and began booking the room, handling publicity and upgrading the sound system. Leipziger and Potts agreed that the club would offer guaranteed pay to musicians, and wouldn't charge the "production fees" that other clubs required from musicians.
"We provided sound and had someone to take money at the door," she says. "The musicians were treated with respect, and the audience was treated with respect."
Leipziger still has old Sutler calendars, contracts and contact lists. From her folders full of information, it's clear that for a five-year period in the 1990s, The Sutler was an incredible place. She had a Wednesday night acoustic concert series where you could hear acclaimed folks such as David Olney, Jeff Black and Buddy Mondlock for a $2 or $3 cover charge. Buddy Miller played an album-release show on Aug. 10, 1995, with guest Dale Watson ... for a $5 cover.
Guitarist Jonny Lang played there for a few dozen listeners in October 1996, months before he launched a multi-platinum recording career. Tony Arata, who wrote Garth Brooks' "The Dance," was a regular, as were Chris Smither, The Wootens, Tom Russell, Malcolm Holcombe and Danny Flowers.
Medeski, Martin & Wood were playing non-sold-out shows at The Sutler before they began playing sold-out shows in performance halls all over the world. Gillian Welch played The Sutler, as did blues greats Luther Allison and Marion James, as well as former Dr. Hook lead singer Dennis Locorriere (the latter with Motown bass hero Bob Babbitt).
All this in a section of town that was considered dangerous and downtrodden. It was considered that way because it was dangerous and downtrodden.
"That part of Melrose was, like Lower Broadway at the same time, kind of seedy," says Billy Block. "But the vibe at The Sutler was great, and it became the epicenter of a scene."
That scene has dissipated. Some of its lynchpins — such as Shelby Lynne, Lonesome Bob Chaney and Victor Mecyssne — have moved from Nashville. Others — such as Van Zandt, Hyatt and saxophone titan Dennis Taylor — died too young. Leipziger quit booking the room in the late '90s, Kim Webber booked some great shows there for a while, but she wound up moving to Knoxville and Potts closed the place in 2005. The Sutler's closing was memorialized by legendary music journalist (yes, there is such a thing) Chet Flippo in a column titled "How to Crush the Musical Soul of a City."
Well, consider us uncrushed. Parkes and Ray got the Sutler name back from Potts, and The Sutler Saloon lives and serves and features and illuminates.
Now, understand, it's not the same place, by a long shot. Anyone who wanders in looking for drunken, unshaven troubadours at 4 p.m. will likely be disappointed. The menu nods to the old Sutler food offerings, in the way that LeBron James might nod to lunch-hour hacks playing pickup ball at the YMCA. Cocktails cost more than twice what it used to cost to get in to see Walter Hyatt. And I don't recall Nicholas Feuillatte Brut Blue Label sparkling wine being available at the old Sutler bar.
Sometimes change is good. The sound and sight-lines are far superior in the new room (it's a few doors down from where the old place was), and some of the folks who played the old place are gracing the new stage. This month, Billy Block returned, and wound up loving the place.
"It's a little bit of looking back and a little bit of looking forward," Parkes says. "There are a lot of people who played The Sutler before they were 'somebody,' and I want to be that next generation-builder of people that play here and later become known for what they do."
Ray expects to host both up-and-comers and already-there folks, and the room's staging and sound capabilities are good enough to play ball in the majors. He knows that to some of us old-timers, the notion of a gleaming new Sutler sounds super-weird. But super-weird has its merits.
"As much as your heart can hurt for the amazing old bars that disappear because they can't pay rent or least their lease, it was important to do something that represents Nashville as it is now," he says, as Todd Snider's voice comes from speakers, singing "There ain't nothin' wrong with Nashville, Tennessee." "Right now, it's thriving. And we want to be all the best things that represent Nashville right now: Food, drink and music."
Reach Peter Cooper at 615-259-8220 or on Twitter@TnMusicNews.
If You Go
What: Johnny Appleseed at The Sutler
Where: The Sutler Saloon, 2600 Franklin Pike #109
When: 9 p.m. Saturday
Tickets: No charge
What: Sheriiff Scott & the Duputies at The Sutler, with special guest Rachel Baiman
Where: The Sutler Saloon, 2600 Franklin Pike, #109
When: 5 p.m. Sunday
Tickets: No charge
For more details, visit www.thesutler.com.
Peter Cooper. The Tennessean. 2014.
2600 8th Ave S, Ste. 109, Nashville, TN 37204
Located in The Melrose
The Sutler Saloon Hours
Monday - Wednesday: 11:00 am to 11:00 pm
Thursday - Friday: 11:00 am to 1:00 am
Saturday: 10:00 am to 1:00 am
Sunday: 10:00 am to 3:00 pm
(Brunch Saturday & Sunday 10:00 am to 3:00 pm)
Serving the full menu until close.
(615) 840-6124 | firstname.lastname@example.org