In a surprising turn, chef Sean Brock has announced that he will be shuttering the Continental and Vesper Club to pave the way for a new bar and lounge. The announcement, which came via Instagram and a press release, noted that the last day of service for the Continental is Sunday, September 17.
The popular downtown dining destination, which opened May 2021 inside the Grand Hyatt Nashville, began as a flagship restaurant for Brock. It was a space that allowed him to dive into his passion for American culinary history while embracing the aesthetics of mid-century American fine hotel dining. Replacing the Continental is Bar Continental, a hi-fidelity record bar and lounge inspired by the Japanese “kissas” that gained popularity in the 1950s. Kissas served as tea lounges where guests could experience the latest jazz albums through intricate audiophile systems. These tea lounges eventually morphed into cocktail bars, focusing on simple and perfect drinks with only a few ingredients.
“Visiting Bar Continental is like attending a concert, you feel the music — its transcendent, similar to an experience on Lower Broadway,” Brock says in the release. “My hope is that Bar Continental will bring that same kind of memories to this side of Broadway, with excellent service in mind.
The reimagined space will feature seating at two distinct bars — The Wolf Bar and The Onken Bar — in addition to the main dining room, which will be split by large black acoustic curtains designed to improve the sound quality of the audio system. A section of the lounge will be designated for those who prefer to listen at lower volumes.
Bar Continental will also feature vintage McIntosh and Tannoy speakers that allow guests to listen to rare records played through high-quality audio equipment. If all goes as planned, guests will be immersed in a 3D-sound-stage-type experience, listening to the bar’s collection of over 5,000 records spanning a vast spectrum of jazz masterpieces, Mississippi blues, soul, classic rock, British fuzz, and classic honky tonk.
The dining menu will be presented as a card on each table, offering a rotating selection of fresh seafood dishes and classic bar fare. After its first few weeks, Brock and his team plan to add brunch service and offerings from a prime rib cart on Sundays. During the day, the bar will be open to serve coffee, tea, and pastries and play classic jazz records. Beverages include classic cocktails, zero-proof offerings, a curated selection of wines, and local beer on tap.
Reservations for the Continental and the Vesper Club’s last service can be made here. Bar Continental is slated to open this fall.