Morgan Wallen's Sign For Downtown Bar Rejected In Nashville Council Vote

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Morgan Wallen’s soon-to-open bar will not have a sign bearing the artist’s name when it opens amid the famous stretch of honky tonks on Lower Broadway in Downtown Nashville, Tennessee. Metro Nashville Council members voted down the resolution allowing the sign in a vote on Tuesday evening (May 21).

The resolution to approve the “aerial encroachment” garnered 30 “no” votes and three “yes” votes. Four council members abstained. Metro Nashville Councilwoman at-large Delishia Porterfield posted a photo showing each council member’s vote on X, formerly Twitter. She and other officials cited Wallen’s past controversial behavior — including his use of racial slurs and ongoing court case after allegedly throwing a chair from the rooftop of another bar last month — for voting it down. The Tennessean notes that the council must approve any sign that would be constructed over a public right of way, including the sidewalk where Wallen’s bar is slated to open downtown.

“I could not in good conscience let this one go through quietly. We are working hard on the safety and security downtown, and Morgan Wallen has continued to put others at risk. That said, I appreciate the restaurant group helping with these efforts,” Councilman Jacob Kupin, one of the “yes” votes, wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter, on Wednesday morning (May 22). Kupin, who received the resolution on his desk shortly after Wallen's arrest last month, sponsored the legislation. Though Kupin acknowledged Wallen's actions downtown, the councilman said he supports the restaurant group's efforts to open the establishment. He wanted to remind those listening during the council meeting “whether you’re a celebrity, or someone coming to our town, or someone who lives here, that downtown needs to be a safe place. We need to think about each other, take care of each other. We wanna have fun. We wanna have a good time. We wanna let loose. But we’ve gotta remember that this is a neighborhood. This is a place that people live and work and play. we need to take care of each other. …Just the fact that someone’s name is going up on a bar doesn’t mean we condone all the behavior, but again, I appreciate the efforts to make amends…”

Councilman Jordan Huffman said Wallen “is a fellow East Tennessean. He gives all of us a bad name. His comments are hateful. His actions are harmful. And you don’t belong in this town, as far as I’m concerned. I’m tired of this city bending over to just make anybody happy that makes a comment that they want to. We continue to go down this road. I encourage my colleagues to vote against this.”

Porterfield said she didn’t want to see a sign “with the name of a person who’s throwing chairs off of balconies and who is saying racial slurs and using the N word.” Councilwoman Joy Kimbrough added that she would vote “no” in support of Nashville police officers, after Wallen allegedly threw a chair off of a rooftop bar and nearly hit two officers on the sidewalk below. Councilwoman Antoinette Lee hoped the vote would “help folks who are doing these harmful actions think twice about the actions.”

Wallen announced earlier this year that he would team up with TC Restaurant Group to open his six-story venue, This Bar and Tennessee Kitchen, at 107 4th Ave N, adjacent to the historic Ryman Auditorium. Wallen announced during one of the shows in his three-night run at Nissan Stadium in Nashville that his bar would open on Memorial Day weekend.

This Bar will open near Eric Church’s Chief’s, which marked its grand opening last month. Wallen was arrested and accused of reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct when he allegedly threw a chair from the rooftop of Church’s six-story bar shortly before 11 p.m. on Sunday, April 7. The chair landed just a few feet away from two Metro Nashville Police Department officers who were standing on the sidewalk in front of the bar. Wallen’s attorney previously confirmed that the country singer will be present for his next court date on August 15. 

“I'm not proud of my behavior, and I accept responsibility,” Wallen said, in part, when he posted a statement on X, formerly Twitter, last month. “I have the utmost respect for the officers working every day to keep us all safe.”

This Bar and Tennessee Kitchen will become the latest artist bar to open in Nashville. It joins previously-opened establishments by Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, Dierks Bentley and others. Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley recently confirmed in a statement that Florida Georgia Line’s FGL House has closed after several years in business. In that space, Lainey Wilson is set to open a restaurant and bar at the end of this month.