The Sutler to reopen in Melrose

Parkes, Ray to reinvent venerable live music venue

The Sutler — the long-shuttered watering hole and live music venue that served for years as a gathering spot for those folks in the Melrose, Waverly-Belmont, Berry Hill and Breeze Hill neighborhoods — will reopen in the historic Melrose building, officials announced today.

Joe Parkes and Austin Ray will serve as owners of the 21st century Sutler, the address for which is 2600 Franklin Pike.   

The Parkes Companies teamed with Ed Fulcher to reinvent the modernist strip center, which includes new retail (to include Sinema and a Bongo Java concept) and adjoining residential space.   

Scheduled to open this summer, The Sutler will be a two-level space. The main level will be reminiscent of the original Sutler, according to a release. However, the new-look venue will  feature craft beer and “Nashville-style cuisine.” Like the original venue, live music will be offered regularly. 

The basement level will house a speakeasy-inspired cocktail lounge. 

Austin Ray is owner of M.L. Rose Craft Beer and Burgers, which is located across the street from The Melrose . 

Native Nashvillians, both Ray and Parkes were former patrons of the original Sutler and are part of the changing arts, dining, and urban living revival of the Melrose neighborhood and the Eighth Avenue corridor. 

“There’s always been an entertainment component to this neighborhood,” Ray said in the release.  “People who have been in Nashville long enough love this area for the decades of history. And people newer to the city are discovering it.”

Country radio personality Johnny Potts opened the original Sutler in 1976,  operating the venerable venue for almost 30 years. During its lifetime, The Sutler played hosts Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle, Don Everly, Buzz Cason, Emmylou Harris, and Johnny Cash. It would close in 2005.

“We started our business in 1978 and our office was across the street from The Sutler, above where M.L. Rose now sits,” said Parkes.  “We’d have some late nights, and after shutting the office down we’d come over to The Sutler for schooners of beer and food.  The commitment to preserving the history — not only of the original Sutler — but also the entire Melrose complex, is something that’s been a crucial part of this project.”