It’s the latest from Hell kitchen and Bar rescue Star chef Jason Santos.
A bit of Broadway comes into Boston’s Theater District. no, not that Broadway.
It’s true that big budget musicals from Manhattan are already touring again with their shows in hub locations like the Wang and Shubert theaters. However, when the lights go on in the neighboring Nash Bar & Stage in a few weeks’ time, the restaurant – which happens to be the latest project by one of Boston’s most famous chefs – will instead take inspiration from the Broadway entertainment district in (drumroll, please) Nashville, Tennessee.
Between southern-style vittles, live country music, and cowgirl murals adorning the interior, Nash Bar will look like something out of Music City when it officially opens to the public around Jan. 7, in the meantime also host a New Year’s Eve party with tickets.) It takes over the space on Tremont Street that used to belong to chef Jason Santos’ midsize restaurant Abby Lane and replaces it with a more energetic concept that feels a bit more in line with that Hell kitchen Sternes other energetic Boston restaurants: Buttermilk & Bourbon, Santos’ playful nod to New Orleans, and Citrus & Salt, his boisterous Baja California spot. Both are in the Back Bay.
This new downtown venture, on the other hand, aims to meet a need in the neighborhood, says Erica Dorsey, operations manager for the Santos restaurant group. “After the cinemas close, there’s not much to explore here other than the late-night clubs,” says Dorsey, who joined the chef’s team last year to help find Santos’ seafood restaurant, Marblehead, B&B Fish, to open. and a second, larger Buttermilk & Bourbon location in Watertown. She previously worked with Boston’s well-known Lyons Group, whose portfolio includes Loretta’s Last Call, a moonshine and live music venue on Boston’s Lansdowne Street with a spirit not dissimilar to Nash Bar. Dorsey says she has a soft spot for rural soulfulness, having grown up on a farm herself (albeit in rural Maine, not the Appalachians).
How will all of these country vibes manifest on the menu? In this case, Santos will put his stamp on all creative, South-inspired food: cast iron pans with hot Nashville-style chicken dip, blackened catfish pusher, green onion groats, and chicken and waffles with whipped jalapeño butter and lavender syrup are all on the agenda. The cocktail menu, meanwhile, offers options such as a rum-mixed punch made from pomegranate and cheerwine (a cherry lemonade popular in the south) and a slushi-like “cotton candy mimosa”: Prosecco-laden soft serve you write accompanied by a push-pop of spun sugar.
In addition, a built-in takeaway window on the side of the restaurant makes it easy for passers-by on the street to get late-night food, including a choice from a nightly changing selection of funky grilled cheese sandwiches.
As for the interior, Nash Bar & Stage has a bar on both floors and – surprise! – a stage. A small stage downstairs is used by acoustic acts during dinner, says Dorsey. On the flip side, you might find some of the tables cleared on the weekend so the larger stage can host local bands and touring acts in a barroom-like setting. Colorful wall art with Instagram selfie appeal has been added everywhere.
The real star of the space, however, is the city that inspired its name.
“There’s no place like Nashville,” says Dorsey. “The creativity comes from the live music and restaurant scene. There is so much passion in the city. We wanted to do something like that here. “
235 Tremont St., Boston, 617-420-9756, nashbarboston.com.