Roughly eight months after opening Nations’ hot spot Nicky’s Coal Fired, husband and wife team Tony and Caroline Galzin are moving forward with their next venture, a Belgian-inspired neighborhood cocktail bar called The Cardinal.
Located at 1410 Fifty First Ave. in a corner space directly behind Nicky’s in Phase 3 of the Stocking 51 development, Caroline Galzin tells Eater that this will be their version of their favorite Chicago neighorhood watering holes:
“Having worked for years in Chicago’s hospitality industry, Tony and I had our go-to spots: Sportsman’s Club, Bar DeVille, The Matchbox, Hopleaf Bar. And we want to bring that style of neighborhood cocktail bar to Nashville. We’ll focus on Belgian beers, classic cocktails and a kitchen menu to complement that, as well as making sure the space feels comfortable as soon as you walk in the door.”
The bar program, led by Nicky’s beverage director Tracy Ardoin-Jenkins (who is being brought on as a partner in The Cardinal), will focus heavily on Belgian beers, a style that’s lacking in Nashville. Whiskey, gin, rum, tequila and aperitifs will be highlighted, with a menu featuring 40-plus cocktails, leaning more on the classics but also offering house drinks as well. A handful of wines by the glass will also be available, as well as a few by the bottle options.
As at Nicky’s, Tony Galzin will be overseeing the food, offering a menu with a Northern European influence. Planned dishes will range from chicken liver paté with sourdough bread (baked fresh each morning) and a wood-fired burger to smoked fish, poutine and moules frites. There will also be a small rotating selection of sandwiches.
Design duties for the 3,500-square-foot space are being handled by Jamie Pfeffer and Evan Gibbs of Pfeffer Torode Architecture, who previously teamed up with the Galzins on Nicky’s Coal Fired. The Cardinal will give a heavy nod to 1920’s Art Deco design, with the focal point being a vintage 1930’s 25-foot mahogany and brass bar salvaged from a tavern in St. Paul, Minn. The 70-plus seat space will also include high-backed dark wood banquettes and a wood tile ceiling, as well as bar rails for those standing. Covered and partially enclosed outdoor seating will also be available.
“We spent a lot of time in neighborhood bars in Chicago,” says Tony. “That city, along with Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Cleveland, they’re all drinking towns. They are immigrant cities that experienced a lot of growth in the early 20th century, and the neighborhood bar was a big part of their culture. We miss that part of Chicago, and have wanted to bring it here ever since we moved.”
Adds Caroline: “We could not be opening less of an innovative concept, but it’s just a place that we really want to go to.”
The Cardinal will be 21 and up only, with the bar opening at 4 p.m. and the kitchen at 5 p.m. The plan right now is for the kitchen to stay open until 11:30 p.m. during the week and 12:30 a.m. on the weekends.