By KENDALL GILFILLAN
The Fox Bar and Cocktail Club has officially opened its doors and established itself as East Nashville’s new go-to spot in no time at all. A small, yet spacious space tucked away behind Nicoletto’s Italian Kitchen on Gallatin Pike, the old-school glamour sets the scene for enjoying signature cocktails unique to the Art-deco-inspired bar.
Initially born out of a conversation over the holidays between long-time music industry friends Andrew Cook and Bryan Rushton, the Fox now stands as the well-executed dream of the two Massachusetts natives, both now Nashville locals.
With managing partner Kevin Sanders making the space feel like a home to all newcomers, Will Benedetto dreaming up cocktails (the two agree he is a “mad scientist” behind the bar), Laura Gillway heading up the dreamy food program (friendly to both meat-eaters and vegans), and a staff that immediately feel like friends, you’re likely to make The Fox your new “spot.”
Anyone visiting would be immediately blown away by the design of The Fox’s interior, the creation of local 1767 Designs and Rushton’s affinity for antique finds. Sitting down to talk with Cook and Rushton, I was impressed by the attention to detail that characterizes every aspect of the business concept and plan— as well as the food and beverage programs.
With Rushton as the self-proclaimed “paperwork guy” and Cook the “creative, forward-facing one,” the business-venture partners have come together to offer Nashville an unparalleled cocktail and food experience. Boasting a foundation of thoughtfulness towards both its customers and community, the bar maintains environmentally friendly practices that leave you feeling good about your night out in more than one way.
Discussing their ethos, Cook shares, “Part of our initiative was to be as green of a business we can and to reduce our footprint. I’ve worked in a lot of bars and restaurants and just seeing the amount of waste that’s produced is tough. We want to do as much as we can to curb that.”
And rest assured that The Fox is the type of place that actually walks the walk. Replacing plastic straws with metal straws (with a bamboo straw option for those unable to use metal straws), supplanting cardboard coasters with custom leather coasters from Lockeland Leatherworks, and trading paper towels for individual cotton hand towels are just some examples of how the partners have decided to make a difference.
Their resolve to be a green business doesn’t stop there, however. Working with nearby No. 9 Farms, The Fox is able to keep up with what’s local and seasonal in a way that eliminates importing and reduces waste. “Rather than using imported citrus fruits, we’re using lemon oil from No. 9 Farms and spritzing a glass in place of a lemon twist. It’s the same experience—with a spin on it—and it’s much less taxing on the world around us,” shares Cook.
If you’re not impressed yet (how could you not be?), you will be once you lay eyes on the menu and all it has to offer. Designed by Cook in such a way as to let you know exactly what to expect—down to the type of ice and glass for each drink—there may be adventure in the menu but there is no uncertainty.
The drinks menu consists of Specialty Drinks, TN Whiskey Drinks, rotating wine-on-tap (again a decision to eliminate waste in the form of glass bottles), a selection of local craft can beers, and non-alcohol selections.
When asked about their personal favorite drinks on the menu, Rushton and Cook decided on the Late Nite Tip and the October Old Fashioned, respectively. Both featured on the TN Whiskey Drink menu, The Late Nite Tip is a concoction of Collier McKeel whiskey, Amontillado sherry, Amaro Montenegro, Amaro Averna, and pimento bitters. The October Old Fashioned combines George Dickel 8, brown butter, Amaro Meletti, and apple.
And yes, the whole menu is that mouth-watering—especially the food. You’ll have access to both meat and vegan options for design-yourself-charcuterie boards in addition to the small-bites such as Avocado Caprese toastines.
While the menu is great as-is, Cook and Rushton were quick to share that they intend to introduce changes regularly to “spice things up” and keep things seasonal.
“I’d like to change things every once in a while—from the books on the shelves to the menu itself—so that when you’re coming in regularly to a place you really like and then you come in a month or two later, it’s different and offers you a new experience,” Rushton shares.
“We have a lot of repeat people (customers) already who will cycle through the menu of the different cocktails, and we want to get new stuff out there for them. One of the things we’ve both always wanted to see is constant change and constant growth,” he elaborates. One such change you can expect soon is an expansion of the menu and the addition of a Happy Hour menu next month.
The constant growth Cook and Rushton strive for seems likely. The opening weekend far surpassed their expectations—and the excitement hasn’t died down. While they regulate the crowd size in a desire to preserve the experience of the carefully-crafted-cocktail club for those inside, they are cognizant of wait time and are very reassuring about keeping lines outside to a minimum.
Chances are you’ve heard the buzz about The Fox Bar and Cocktail around town by now. If you haven’t had the opportunity to go yet, we suggest an immediate promotion to the top of your to-go list.
Go in at 5pm to sit back and read a book in one of the leather chairs or show up in the early morning to close out your night. The Fox is eager to accommodate as wide an array of experiences as it is to offer a fantastic cocktail selection.
Rivaling the atmosphere and aesthetic of London and New York’s best cocktail clubs whilst maintaining Nashville’s warmth and appreciation for community, The Fox is sure to be what makes you believe in love at first sight.
You can find The Fox located at 2905 B Gallatin Pike in East Nashville. Look for this mural!
Open Monday-Wednesday 5pm-12am, Thursday-Saturday 5pm-2am.
Follow the Fox on instagram: @thefoxnashville.
Check out their website HERE.
Kendall Gilfillan is the Associate Editor of Style Home Page. A Nashville native recently returned from London, she is excited to explore and empower Nashville with a new eye. Follow along with her adventures at @kmgilfillan.