Eric Church Gives First-Look At His Six-Story Nashville Bar, Chief’s
Church’s bar, restaurant, and music venue, Chief’s, will open in 2023.
Eric Church – Chief’s; Photo by Anthony D’Angio; Rendering Courtesy of AJ Capital
Eric Church is giving fans a first look inside his highly-anticipated Nashville bar, restaurant, and music venue, Chief’s.
The country superstar shared exterior and interior renderings of Chief’s, developed in partnership with AJ Capital’s Ben Weprin, on Monday morning (Dec. 5). These new photos offer a first look at the six-story project, which is set to open at 200 Broadway in 2023.
“I’ve had a blast working with Ben on the design of Chief’s,” Church shared in a statement. “Like everything we do with our music, the same care and consideration has gone into every detail of this place. It will be unrivaled downtown. I can’t wait to play here…”
Construction for Chief’s is well underway. The establishment is described as a “gathering place for all” and will include a ticketed music venue, additional live entertainment throughout the building, a studio for live broadcasting, and many unique decorations such as over 3,000 concert posters from throughout Church’s iconic career.
“Well, there’s gonna be a studio in Chief’s, and we’re going to do a lot of stuff live there,” Church added. “We’re going to do a couple of exclusive shows there. And I’m going to play… It’s going to be a different show. It’s going to be 470 people. It’s a venue. So it’s a ticketed venue.”
Additionally, Chief’s will pay homage to the former CMA Entertainer of the Year’s North Carolina roots with a Whole Hog BBQ restaurant by Rodney Scott, a barbecue pit master and James Beard award-winner.
“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,” Scott shared. “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.”
Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ restaurant will be located on the bar’s rooftop, which overlooks the Music City skyline on the “Hell Of A Q” Rooftop offering.
“Chief’s is an example of impactful design storytelling at its finest,” says Weprin, CEO and Founder of AJ Capital Partners. “We are excited to bring an experience unparalleled in the world of music, food, and entertainment to the heart of Broadway with one of the most storied properties downtown has seen. Through Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ, two seated music venues and a meaningful design, Chief’s is a physical manifestation to Eric Church and his musical legacy.”
The bar’s namesake comes from Church’s longtime nickname and his 2011 album, Chief.
Additionally, Church recently sat down with Storme Warren of SiriusXM’s The Highway to share a few additional details of Chief’s.
“There will be a studio that will be broadcasting live, and we’ll be recapturing that, and there’ll be other shows involved,” Church explained. “But our station, Outsiders Radio, will be a big part of Chief’s and what it is.”
While discussing the 470-capacity venue inside Chief’s, Church revealed that the space will bring a very intimate setting for performances.
“It’s gonna be more of a storyteller/songwriter, stories about my life, challenges I’ve had, songs that relate to that, just me being on a stage, no mics, no gear, just me,” Church explained. “…. I’m gonna walk around. It’s not going to be [me in] a set position. It’s going to be a little bit like a Broadway show. It’s going to be like Bruce’s except it’s a different Broadway. Broadway South (laughs)… It’s gonna be fun.”
The bar will also feature the original sign from The Fiddle And Steel, the Printer’s Alley bar where Church got his start after struggling to make it on Lower Broadway in Music City.
“I really couldn’t get on Broadway,” Church recalled. “The reason I went to Printer’s Alley and went to The Fiddle And Steel is because that’s where kind of the misfits went, outside rejects. The people that weren’t allowed to play on Broadway. [It] took a lot, especially when I came to town. It took a lot to play on Broadway. There weren’t as many places, and the places were pretty coveted. Especially if you tried to play there, it was pretty stacked up. Those people, you know, they didn’t give up their slots and so we would always go… all the musicians and artists that were counted as the misfits, we would end up on Printer’s Alley at The Fiddle And Steel.”
“The other part of the story that’s interesting is we got the original sign that hung in that Alley at The Fiddle And Steel. It’s going to hang at Chief’s,” Church shared. ”We found it. We found it two days ago. A guy had it, a guy who was a general manager at the bar when the bar dissolved. He had it. It took a while to find him, it has taken months to find him. But we found him, and we got the sign. So it’ll hang in Chief’s. I’m very proud of that.”
While reflecting on the early stages of his career, Church said that he hopes Chief’s will embody his journey as an artist, from his humble beginnings to his superstar status.
“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,” Church previously shared. “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. So two things… One is to be on Broadway. What I hope our place has – and it will have – is the [musical] spirit of that.
In October 2021, AJ Capital Partners paid $24.5 million for Cotton Eyed Joe, a building previously owned by Big & Rich’s John Rich, which will now be home to Church’s honky-tonk.
Church will join fellow country superstars who also have bars in Downtown Nashville, including Alan Jackson (AJ’s Good Time Bar), Luke Bryan (Luke Bryan’s 32 Bridge), Jason Aldean (Jason Aldean’s Kitchen + Rooftop Bar), Florida Georgia Line (FGL House), Miranda Lambert (Miranda Lambert’s Casa Rosa Nashville), Dierks Bentley (Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row), Blake Shelton (Old Red), Kid Rock (Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk) and John Rich (Redneck Riveria Bar & BBQ).
Chief’s is set to open sometime in 2023.
Lauren Jo Black
Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.