Bar Continental, A Hi-Fidelity Record Bar and Lounge, Set to Open in Music City

Renowned chef and restaurateur Sean Brock opens Music City’s first vinyl listening bar concept in downtown Nashville this fall.

Nashville, TN (September 7, 2023) — Following the successful opening of four Nashville-based concepts over the past three years, Joyland, The Continental, Audrey, and June, Executive Chef and nationally acclaimed restaurateur Sean Brock is thrilled to announce the opening of Bar Continental, a vinyl bar and lounge, this fall.

Bar Continental’s inspiration is derived from the Japanese “kissa” concept – combining Brock’s love of music, Japanese culture, and food. “Kissas” are tea lounges found across Japan that gained popularity in the 1950s, where guests could listen to the newest jazz albums, played through extraordinary audiophile systems. These tea lounges eventually morphed into cocktail bars, focusing on simple and perfect drinks with only a few ingredients, and quickly became one of Brock’s favorite places to visit during his Japan travels. Bar Continental’s bar service and dinner menu will offer classic cocktails, a curated wine list, local beer on tap, and a menu of simple dishes showcasing the best seafood available. During the day, pastries will be served alongside Japanese coffee and tea service. Bar Continental will be located in the former location of Brock’s fine dining concept, The Continental, which will have its final service on Sunday, September 17.

“Bar Continental is my interpretation of the Japanese “kissa” concept, done the Nashville way, and it’s one of my favorite projects that I've ever worked on,” Brock said. “Visiting Bar Continental is like attending a concert, you feel the music – its transcendent, similar to an experience on Lower Broadway, and my hope is that Bar Continental will bring that same kind of memories to this side of Broadway, with excellent service in mind. We want to be the place you take your friends visiting from out of town, who may not want to deal with the crowds on lower Broadway. A place for those who appreciate the extraordinary sound and the pursuit of sonic excellence.”

The Menu

Focusing on the freshest seafood and classic bar items, the approachable menu will be presented as a card on each table, offering a daily and rotating selection of bar items and dinner service. Shortly after opening, Brock and his team will serve brunch and offerings from the Prime Rib Cart on Sundays. During the day, the bar will be open to serve coffee, tea, and pastries and play classic Jazz records in full length.

The beverage menu will feature classic cocktails, including zero-proof offerings, alongside a thoughtful selection of wines and local beer on tap.

The Concepts and Space

Located in the Grand Hyatt hotel in downtown Nashville, Bar Continental will have seating at two distinct bars, The Wolf Bar and The Onken Bar, in addition to the main dining room. Designed for guests to enjoy rare records played through the highest quality audiophile equipment, the bar will feature vintage Mclntosh and Tannoy speakers.

The dining room will be split by large black acoustical curtains designed to improve the sound quality of the audio system, and a section of the restaurant will be designated for those who prefer to listen at lower volumes.

With a warm ambiance and wood finishes, the two bars will feature an assortment of bar seats, bar stools in select sections, spacious tables, and leather banquets. Focusing on the bar and lounge elements, guests will be immersed in a 3D-sound-stage-type experience, listening to records that are otherwise not easily accessible through rare and vintage hi-fidelity equipment. Designed for guests to feel the music, they will be able to discern the individual instruments and performers, as though they were sitting in the control room while the music is being recorded – a transcendent experience.

With a collection of over 5,000 records, Bar Continental’s record library, sourced by Brock himself (many of which stem from his personal collection), spans a vast spectrum of Classic Jazz masterpieces, Mississippi Blues, Soul, Classic Rock, British Fuzz, and Classic Honky Tonk. The collection predominantly features music of the 1960s,1970s, and mid-1980s.

The Onken Bar seats up to 21 guests, the Wolf Bar accommodates 24 guests, and the main dining room seats 46 guests. Additionally, Bar Continental can also be sectioned off for private parties.

For more information, follow along at @barcontinentalhifi on Instagram.