Johnny Cash Museum Founder Bill Miller is set to honor classic country music tailor Nudie Cohn with a concept restaurant, dubbed Nudie’s Honky Tonk, in downtown Nashville.
As previously reported, Miller acquired Lawrence Records Building, located at 409 Broadway, in February 2016. The $10 million establishment will undergo renovations and will reopen as Nudie’s Honky Tonk this summer.
The three-floor, 12,000-square-foot space will be decorated with vintage “Nudie Suits,” including suits and clothing that belonged to artists including Hank Williams, Sr., and Johnny Cash. The venue’s walls will be adorned with music memorabilia and rare instruments.
The restaurant will include three stages for live music, and several bars, including one bar that checks in at over 100 feet long. The venue’s fare will be based on Southern comfort food.
Nudie Cohn was a Ukrainian-born American tailor who designed rhinestone-covered suits, known popularly as “Nudie Suits,” and other elaborate outfits for some of the most famous celebrities including Gene Autry, Johnny Cash, John Lennon, Elvis Presley, Robert Redford, Porter Wagoner, and John Wayne.
Cohn also had an affinity for garishly decorated automobiles. Between 1950 and 1975 he customized 18 vehicles, mostly white Pontiac Bonneville convertibles, with silver-dollar-studded dashboards, pistol door handles and gearshifts, extended rear bumpers, and enormous longhorn steer horn hood ornaments. They were nicknamed “Nudie Mobiles,” and the nine surviving cars have become collector’s items. One of the “Nudie Mobiles,” Cohn’s personal Cadillac El Dorado, which is valued at $400,000, will be suspended on the honky-tonk’s interior entrance wall.
Bill Miller said, “Nudie Cohn is to country music what Edith Head and Bob Mackie are to Hollywood: legendary and definitive. His artistry went beyond the country genre. Everyone from Hank Williams, Sr. to Elton John and Bob Dylan to Johnny Cash wore Nudie. We will showcase his absolute mastery as the true king of rhinestone cowboy couture. Nudie’s Honky Tonk will be a shrine to country music history and will feature live music, food and drink in a fun, and energetic museum-quality setting.”
Cohn’s granddaughter Jamie Nudie added, “I’m thrilled to be working with Bill. My Grandparents would be so excited knowing their artistry will now be on display in Music City for so many people to enjoy! It’s been my mission and pleasure keeping the Nudie legacy alive. I have always said for years I want our younger generation to be educated on the Nudie story. Like Nudie they can come from nothing, work hard, be creative, and live their own version of the American Dream.”
“I’m big on Nashville,” Miller continues. “We’ve purchased two significant buildings on lower Broadway in 18 months. We’re not done with acquisitions. Nashville and the tourists who come here deserve more world-class establishments. There’s a bit of a void downtown, and we’re committed to helping fill that void.”
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