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Sisters Alexis and Britt Soler earned the reputation of being world-class bartenders at their first spot in East Nashville, No. 308, which they opened with Ben Clemons in 2010. When the time came to consider expanding, the Solers began to look for a space where they could execute their own vision. They discovered the former boiler room of the White Way Cleaners facility at the corner of Edgehill and Villa Place, and immediately they knew that they had found their new home.
“As soon as I walked in, I fell in love,” Alexis recalls. “Lots of folks had looked at that space, and I’m so glad that no one else executed on that vision. It really is my dream bar.”
With 60-foot-tall ceilings, an original chimney stack still in place, and a grand staircase curving down from the main entrance to the bar, Old Glory is certainly a dramatic space.
But, even with its industrial vibe, the Solers have managed to introduce some softer details. A wall of plants hangs several stories off the floor, irrigated from below and tended by an employee with a handy talent for rock climbing. When the daylight streams through the tall windows onto the green wall, it introduces a lovely, organic element to the room. Custom tiles repeat the “OG” motif for Old Glory—and also for “original gangster,” a tongue-in-cheek reference to the Soler sisters’ dedication to keeping it real. The look of the place offers an Art Deco-esque nod to the Solers’ hometown of Miami.
Parts of the room were barely touched during the renovation, Alexis explains. “It was very raw, but we knew exactly what it would look like. We tried to build within the existing space. My favorite things are the little details, like the colors in the exposed concrete pillars.”
The philosophy behind the bar is equally unfussy. Old Glory’s cocktails certainly feature quality ingredients and clever recipes, but they are not intentionally convoluted. “Complex doesn’t mean better,” Rachel Tumerman, head of the food program, admonishes, and Alexis agrees. “We stay away from that. I prefer to use fewer ingredients, but [ingredients] that are that are complementary, rather than relying on six to eight ingredients to make a cocktail.”
Plus, emphasizing simplicity makes more convenient busy times. “Every second counts when you’re four deep at the bar,” Alexis jokes. Old Glory is open from noon until late night seven days a week, so there are indeed times when it can get crazy-busy, but there are also plenty of opportunities to enjoy the peaceful ambiance over a well-crafted cocktail accompanied by a small plate of smoked baby potatoes or other menu items, prepared by Tumerman.
This is exactly what Alexis and Britt Soler were hoping for when they planned this grandiose venture.
“We designed this bar for us. We wanted something different and cool for the neighborhood, and it’s already attracting an interesting mix of patrons,” Alexis says.
After only being open a few months, Old Glory has quickly earned a place at the very top of Nashville’s cocktail scene.
1200 Villa Pl, Nashville, TN 37212; 615-679-0509; facebook.com/oldglorynashville