Bobby’s Idle Hour, the last standing neighborhood bar on Nashville’s Music Row, is set to be demolished. The beloved dive bar on 16th Avenue South has been a second home to countless country music songwriters and performers over the years. Now, the Music City staple is the latest casualty of Nashville’s redevelopments. Bobby’s Idle Hour, along with Warner/Chappell Music, the Rhinestone Wedding Chapel and the former offices of the Ed Bruce Agency and Creative Soul Music Academy, will be torn down to make room for a new office building proposed by Panattoni Development Company, Inc.
The Tennesseean reported that Bobby’s Idle Hour owner Thom “Lizard” Case was evicted this week and has until early next year to leave.
On July 24, preservationists and longtime Bobby’s Idle Hour patrons gathered at the bar for a rally to save the venue and legendary Music Row history. Hit songwriters, including Dave Gibson and John Scott Sherrill, performed and spoke out on the importance of saving Music Row’s identity and preserving historic landmarks of Nashville’s music industry. Money raised at the event went to the Music Row Preservation Fund.
This isn’t the first time a piece of history on 16th Ave. has been threatened. Over 40 buildings on Music Row have been demolished to make way for new apartments and office buildings. In 2014, preservationists saved historic RCA Studio A from demolition.
Carolyn Brackett, the senior field officer for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, told The Tennesseean that preserving Music City’s historic properties will require putting preservation tools into place before the next building is threatened.
“Nashville doesn’t have preservation tools that other cities use as a matter of course,” Brackett said. “There are practical solutions that would balance development with the preservation of Music Row’s historic fabric and retain the music businesses that fill them. We urge Mayor Briley and Metro Nashville leaders to adopt them before it’s too late.”
While other areas of Nashville, such as the famed lower Broadway, are becoming more known for bachelorette parties and pedal taverns than music history, it remains to be seen whether the tavern known for its no frills atmosphere and songwriting legends can be saved.