Blake Shelton’s Nashville Bar Loses Lawsuit Over Red Lighting
Blake Shelton's Ole Red bar and restaurant on Nashville's Lower Broadway will have to change its exterior lighting after losing a lawsuit from the Nashville Metro Historic Zoning Commission. The ruling bars the venue from using red lights to illuminate the outside of the building.
According to Nashville's News Channel 5, a judge on Tuesday (Sept. 3) ruled in favor of the Metro Historic Zoning Commission's lawsuit against Ryman Hospitality Group, which owns Ole Red, requesting that venue only use white lights to light up its brick exterior. The on-brand red lighting currently used by Ole Red is against the commission's policy, passed in August of 2017, that prohibits colored exterior lighting in designated historic areas, of which Lower Broadway is one.
Ryman Hospitality Group argues that Ole Red's design, including the red lighting, was planned before the Metro Historic Zoning Commission's rules were passed. "We strongly believe that our original lighting design, which was planned well before the current lighting guidelines were in place, strikes the right balance between honoring the historic character of our building while also being compatible with its present-day surroundings," a spokesperson for the company says, adding that Ryman Hospitality Group is "exploring and intend to pursue additional avenues that will ultimately allow us to light our building in accordance with the original design."
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Ole Red's Nashville location, which opened in June of 2018, is housed in the Broadway National Bank building, which was built in 1926 and is more than 100 years old. The multi-story entertainment venue is 26,000 square feet in size and boasts a two-story bar and restaurant, retail area, performance space, dance floor and private VIP booths for small groups, as well as a large private-event area and a 6,000-square-foot an indoor/outdoor rooftop bar and restaurant.
The name Ole Red comes from "Ol' Red," Shelton's 2002 hit; "Ol'" was changed to "Ole" to represent Ryman Hospitality and the Grand Ole Opry's involvement. In addition to the Nashville location, Ole Red locations in Shelton's hometown of Tishomingo, Okla., and Gatlinburg, Tenn., are now open, and a new location in Orlando, Fla., is scheduled to open in 2020.
The owners of Lower Broadway bars have criticized the Metro Historic Zoning Commission's enforcement of guidelines, calling their actions an overstep, according to the Tennessean. A 2017 proposal for historic design guidelines for Lower Broadway venues was met with mixed reactions -- support of some of the proposed ideas but not others -- and tabled.
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