When you walk into Rudy’s, it’s like you’re walking back in time to the 1940s. Its dark, cool and hazy ambiance promising respite from these long summer days lure in passerby. Smooth jazz pours out from the stage in the back, while delicious pre-prohibition cocktails pour from the bar. Find a seat—or grab a dance partner—and stay awhile. It’s Nashville’s coolest new spot.
Rudy’s Jazz Room is the brainchild of Adam Charney and Mike Braden, two childhood best friends who were looking for something more beyond their cubicles.
“After college, we both ended up in Nashville working at the same software company for 16 years. For the first nine years it was run by a great CEO and had awesome employees, and then it just started crumbling,” Charney explained.
The duo took their side passions, (for Mike it was New Orleans food and for Adam it was music), and came up with something Nashville was truly devoid of.
Before Rudy’s opened up two months ago, Nashville was a jazz club wasteland. And it’s not for lack of musicians.
“There's so many jazz players here but they're all session players or playing country and other gigs. They're jazz musicians at heart but they live in Nashville because it's a good place to make a living at music,” said Charney.
There have been attempts at jazz clubs in the past, with one of the most notable being F. Scott’s in Green Hills, which closed in 2013. While it did offer live jazz, it’s claim to fame was its upscale dining aspect. Other clubs have come and gone, but what’s working for Charney and Braden is the timing.
“Now’s the right time to do it. Nashville's grown so much and it's such a hot city and with so many more people here, it can support a real jazz club.”
The club, which is named after jazz legend Rudy Wooten, has already been getting noticed by people across the world, and regularly draws in full houses. And it’s proving that jazz is not just for older people anymore. Charney admitted that a huge chunk of their customers were hipsters in their twenties and thirties.
The duo is very hopeful and excited about the future of jazz in Music City.
“Having a jazz club will spur jazz growth and put us on the map as the real Music City. We have all music, which we always did, but I don't think a lot of people knew.”