Nashville Comes to Times Square

I went to an open house at the new Opry City Stage venue in New York. The live music and dining space, a joint-venture project between Ryman Hospitality Properties (owner of the Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium and WSM 650 AM in Nashville) and SPK Hospitality Group in New York, opened its doors in December.

It’s a 28,000 sq.-ft. complex with a two-story restaurant, bar and performance stage that occupy the second and third floors, an intimate concert space on its fourth floor–The Studio at Opry City Stage–and a ground-floor retail space. In addition to a full slate of live music, performances from the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville are live-streamed to New York. Programming from Nashville’s songwriting epicenter, the Bluebird Cafe, will headline several nights of shows in The Studio at Opry City Stage.

Rhonda Vincent and the Rage with Rudy Gatlin

Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, with Rudy Gatlin.

Who did I see there? Country music legend Vince Gill came out and did a few songs. Bluegrass band Rhonda Vincent & The Rage did several numbers, joined by Opry star Bobby Osborne and then Rudy Gatlin of the Gatlin Brothers. (Rhonda Vincent and the Rage would go on to win a Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album two nights later.) A New York-based cover band CC & The Boys was the closing act and a lot of fun.

What did I eat? A sampling of Opry City Stage’s elevated, Southern comfort food, including brisket, cheddar sausage, pulled pork, chicken, skillet corn and mac & cheese. I didn’t get a sense of the cocktail program—I had a “bartender’s choice” whiskey drink and a glass of wine—but Opry City Stage will be the exclusive restaurant offering the Grand Ole Opry inspired beer, “Hopry,” created by Nashville’s Yazoo Brewery. Cheers!

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