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A Four ‘Layer’ Bar and Restaurant Designed With Instagram in Mind Opens Downtown

Layer Cake Social Kitchen, now open in Nashville, aims to offer a different experience on each of its four floors

A slice of blue, yellow, and red layer cake
Layer Cake’s rooftop offers bottle (and cake) service.
Mandy Reid/Milkshake Concepts

An admittedly social media and bachelorette-friendly, four level bar and restaurant has opened in Sobro — or at least, three of its four “layers” have opened. Layer Cake Social Club’s ground floor bar, rooftop, and the Cherry Lounge, an invitation-only cocktail lounge, are now open at 127 3rd Avenue South, with the dining room to follow on Monday, June 6.

Layer Cake is from Dallas-based hospitality group Milkshake Concepts, the team behind a number of stylized bar-restaurants there including Citizen, Stirr, and Vidorra. The restaurant group’s CEO Imran Sheikh is calling Layer Cake a “choose-your-own adventure,” with each floor serving a different menu and setting. The laidback ground floor bar serves a fairly large, straightforward bar food menus of items like a smash burger, French dip, duck fat tater tots, and pulled pork sliders. This floor promises a “rotation of artists performing fresh takes where the variety of genre knows no limits,” which would seem to mean it will host various forms of entertainment and performances.

Pulled pork sliders
Mandy Reid/Milkshake Concepts

Next up, directionally, is the dining room (which opens Monday, June 6), the full-service restaurant serving modern American fare in a “more refined” setting. That menu offers a hodgepodge of cuisines, with sections for steak, wok dishes like Kung Pao chicken and Mongolian beer, and flatbreads. Among the main entrees are mushroom parpadelle and Cajun Chicken Frites, an interesting designation for a dish comprised of blackened chicken, lemon buerre blanc sauce, capers, and tomatoes. The wine list here is extensive, with bottles that range from $47 to $553 (glasses range from $13 to $25 (a glass of Meiomi Pinot Noir goes for $14).

Mushroom parpadelle.
Mandy Reid/Milkshake Concepts

The rooftop, which is marked by neon signs that read, “Til Death Do Us Party,” and “Wish You Were Here,” is the clubby level, hosting live DJ sets nightly and offering bottle service, top-shelf spirits, and “a dedicated staff to cater to every whim,” which seems like a dangerous promise. Food from the ground floor menu is available, and the bar menu adds a few more frozen drinks and large format cocktails like the Broadway Girl, which is served with a cotton candy topper.

The Broadway Girl.
Mandy Reid/Milkshake Concepts

The Cherry Lounge, which has its own separate website, is meant to be shrouded in mystery. “Moody and intimate,” as the restaurant group says, it will offer “custom” front-of-house experiences and private parties, and though it’s supposedly invite-only, it appears customers can inquire about VIP table service by texting a phone number.

All throughout, the “layers” are dotted with murals and what the company calls social-media friendly sayings illustrated in neon “that encapsulate the spirit of each layer.” Milkshake Concepts has in-house artists that create this work, apparently, an interesting extension of the model many hotel groups use for their art.

Layer Cake is just the beginning of Milkshake Concepts’ rollout in Nashville, the first city Sheikh has expanded to outside of Dallas. It has plans to bring three additional restaurants to the city: Harper’s, a steakhouse to open behind Pinewood Social; the Finch, which will open in the former home of the Flying Saucer; and a location of Vidorra, a Mexican restaurant that was the company’s second to open in Dallas. The company is one of many restaurant groups currently flocking to Nashville from cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta.

Layer Cake’s ground floor bar and the rooftop are both currently open daily from 11 a.m. to midnight during the week and until 2 a.m. on weekends. Cherry Lounge is open Thursday through Saturday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., and when the dining room opens on June 6 it will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the week and until 11 p.m. on weekends.