In the Details // The Fox Bar & Cocktail Club
At The Fox Bar & Cocktail Club, the beauty is in the details (and we're not just talking about their handcrafted cocktail list). From the lush, indigo velvet booths to the carefully selected hardware, walking into this East Nashville bar is truly an experience in its own. Owners Bryan Rushton and Andrew Cook have curated a space where visitors can wind down and feel as though they've been transported to a reality a little (or a lot) different from their own.
Tucked behind an Italian restaurant, you might initially have to make a U-turn if it's your first time visiting. But the anonymity is part of what makes The Fox Bar & Cocktail Club that much more interesting. We promise you'll forget that there’s a Taco Bell down the street (though that might come in handy when the time for fourth meal hits). Andrew Cook sat down and gave us some insight into what gives The Fox Bar & Cocktail Club it's undeniable edge.
How would you describe your personal style?
Subtle, understated, and detail-oriented. Both of us [Bryan and Andrew] wear a lot of black. We both have a lot of tattoos, which kinda serve as a fashion accessory in their own right, so there’s no need to overdo it with what we wear!
How does that style come through in the design of The Fox Bar & Cocktail Club?
It’s all about the details. The little things are what people remember, whether it’s the vintage brass sculptures in which we store succulents, the drinks presentation, the sliding scales and funny quips in the menu or the hand-stitched velvet booths.
Where did you find inspiration when designing and curating the space?
For me [Andrew] personally, the inspiration had been building for years, thanks to my other career as a touring musician. I’ve been lucky enough to travel the world and experience a lot of great (and not so great) bars. I’ve also lived in New York and L.A., both of which are known for their presence on the world cocktail scene, so I’ve been exposed to a lot of really cool stuff. For our place, our mission was simple: open a cool, comfortable bar with great drinks, where we’d want to hang out all the time if we weren’t the owners.
The little things are what people remember.
How do you want your customers to feel in the space?
At home, but also not, if that makes sense. We want people to feel the sense of comfort and familiarity they feel at home, but we also want them to feel like they’re stepping into an experience of sorts, into another world that isn’t their normal one. A place where they can leave their troubles at the door and enjoy a nice environment with friendly, like-minded people, and a great staff that will serve their needs and give them an experience to remember.
What aspect of the interior design do you feel is the most important factor in facilitating those feelings for your customers?
It’s a mix of everything. 1767 Designs did a remarkable job in designing and building the space with us. Their use of wood from in and around Nashville ties the bar to the roots of the city and creates a “home”-y vibe, and the brass harkens to a bygone era of art deco architecture, prohibition, and speakeasies. Everything down to the glassware is designed to give the customer a memorable and unique experience.
What was the biggest design challenge you faced when opening your space and how did you overcome it?
The size of the space was the biggest challenge. When we acquired our space, it looked TOTALLY different. It was painted bright orange and yellow, was laid out differently with walls and plumbing in different places, and the floor was so sloped and warped that we had to pour a new one. We didn’t have much room to work with so we had to maximize space without creating a cramped environment for customers, while also giving the staff enough room to do their jobs comfortably.
Don't be afraid to take chances.
Did you have any go-to stores when furnishing the space?
Bryan and his wife Lindsay do a lot of antique hunting, so we relied heavily on their abilities to find good deals and rare items that would stand out in the bar. We still frequent All Seasons on 8th Avenue to get our succulents and air plants. They have a lot of cool stuff there.
What design project are you most proud of?
The bar front, I have to say. 1767 really knocked it out of the park with that one.
What is your favorite element of the space?
The brass partition between the bar and server’s station. My eye is always drawn to it, and it’s one of the things people ask about most frequently.
What’s your favorite part about owning/operating your own business?
Bringing friends and family in to experience it for the first time. It’s a really cool feeling to share something you worked tirelessly to build with people you care about. Next to that, it’s seeing positive reviews from strangers that had a great time. Your friends and family can lie to you to protect your feelings, but strangers will tell it like it is!
If you could give your younger entrepreneurial self a piece of advice, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to take chances, and trust your instincts.
If you weren’t running your own business, what would you be doing?
Making art and playing drums!
Bonus Question! Where are your favorite hangout spots in Nashville?
There are so many! Gosh. We are super excited for Pearl Diver, which is about to open. We love hanging at Mickey’s, Duke’s, Dino’s, 308, Crying Wolf, and more. The East Nashville bar community is a great and supportive one, and we’re lucky to be a part of it.