Kid Rock's Nashville Bar Faces Suspension After Violating Social Distance Rules

'The Nashville government is, like, communist'

June 19, 2020

Back in March as the coronavirus was just rearing it’s ugly head in the United States, Nashville restaurant, Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk and Steakhouse, chose to defy local government orders to shut its doors, one of a handful of establishments that chose defiance over compliance.

At the time, Kid Rock’s business partner and owner of a few other eateries on the Downtown Nashville strip, Steve Smith, said:

“We appreciate the efforts of Mayor Cooper to combat the COVID-19 virus, but unless there’s a statewide mandate that directs all bars and restaurants to be closed, the request made by Mayor Cooper is unconstitutional as he is targeting a select group of businesses.

We are compassionate with those who have contracted the COVID-19 coronavirus and all who are helping to manage the crisis as the entire world addresses the outbreak. However, a Tootsie’s patron as immediate as last night, mentioned having lived through the polio epidemic and didn’t recall such extreme measures being handed down in history.

In response, Tootsies Orchid Lounge, Rippy’s, Honky Tonk Central, Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk & Steakhouse and The Diner will continue to remain open to serve the public until such statewide mandate is issued from the Governor of Tennessee.”

That statewide mandate was eventually issued and the owners decided to keep paying the staff through the shutdown.

This week upon officially re-opening, the beer permit for Rock’s watering hole, as well as two others on the strip, were quickly suspended for violating social distance guidelines. Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk and Steakhouse, Broadway Brewhouse, and Nudie’s Honky Tonk each were spotted serving alcohol at their bar counters over the weekend – a no-no as part of Phase 2 of Nashville’s re-opening plan which bans people from sitting at bars.

“They were in violation of two points of the order that states bar areas must remain closed to the public,” inspector Melvin Brown explained. “No interaction with the public is allowed, and alcohol can only be served at tables and booths.”

Now the restaurants have five days to think about their actions and how they may be affecting the greater public, with Inspector Brown promising to return to ensure further violations are not being committed.

Restauranteur Steve Smith told the Tennessean, “The Nashville government is, like, communist. They’ve got us behind a Berlin Wall. We met with Mayor Cooper and the doctors weeks ago and explained how having bar service is safer than table service.”

But wait, there’s more -- Kid Rock’s bar may have already stepped over bounds. Nashville Metro Public Health Bureau Director Hugh Atkins added, “[Public Health Director] Dr. Michael Caldwell conducted a walk-through at Kid Rock’s and received a subsequent complaint. We have, in daily press briefings from the mayor’s office, emphasized the requirements of the orders.”

Besides the five-day suspension of their taps, each business faces up to a $1,000 fine. Nashville ‘s Phase 3 re-opening plans begin on Monday, which allows seating at bars at 50-percent capacity.

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