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Melrose Billiards, Nashville, TN. October 28, 2009.

Written by Chris

December 28th, 2012 at 11:20 am

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2011-01-20-1521

Melrose Theatre, Nashville, TN. January 20, 2011.

A new development is revamping the complex containing Nashville’s historic Melrose theater, although the exact wording was that there will be “adaptive re-use” of the theater, turning it into a “resident amenity area”, whatever that is. Color me skeptical, but perhaps I’m just still bitter about what giarratana and co. did to its sister, the Belle Meade Theater.

Written by Chris

October 31st, 2012 at 12:42 pm

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long night

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2010-04-24-706

April 2010, Melrose Billiards.

Who among us has not had a night like this at Melrose?

Written by Chris

February 28th, 2012 at 2:53 pm

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2010-05-11-915

Melrose Billiards, 2010 — a few days after the flood.

Yesterday I posted about the Melrose Theatre. Located in the same building, Melrose Billiards (sometimes called Chandler’s) sits in the basement, a few doors down. In the face of the more serious destruction of the flooding in Nashville this year, it was hard to get too upset about the smaller casualties — but they were sad, nonetheless.

Melrose Billiards was among them — it took a pretty bad soaking in the floods, with water nearly up to the ceiling (I’d guess around 7-9 feet, judging from the floodline). This is surprising, because it’s nowhere near any major body of water. There is a small drainage creek behind it that terminates north in the river, but I suspect the flooding mostly came from runoff on the hill, and the bar just had the misfortune of being in an unusually deep basement. But I digress. Fortunately, due to the owners’ determination and a grassroots community effort, the bar was quickly drained, dried and renovated and is back in operation. (and by “renovated”, I mean “looks pretty much the same”, i.e. 40 years old and vaguely smelly).

The bar keeps a relatively low profile, with nothing but the above door/sign indicating there’s anything present. Although it can get packed on the weekends, it still mostly serves regulars and other assorted locals. Melrose Billiards was opened in 1969 by the Chandler brothers (hence the alternate name and the sign above the bar), who also went on to open or buy many other Nashville establishments including the Sportsmans’ Grilles, and the Gersthaus. This is the reason you can still find $3 Gerst on tap — a nice perk. While I do love the bar, it has its downsides quaint charms: foremost among them, a nearly impenetrable haze of cigarette smoke that probably dates to 1969 itself. You don’t go to this bar wearing anything you don’t plan on immediately washing or drycleaning. What can you do? The bar is a throwback to a different era in more ways than one. Check it out sometime. It’s a Nashville establishment worth protecting and patronizing.

Written by Chris

December 2nd, 2010 at 1:45 pm

melrose theatre

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2010-11-29-1252

Melrose Theatre, Nashville, TN.

Built in 1942, the Melrose theatre was one of three grand theatres in Nashville that shared a similar design — the other two being the Belle Meade Theatre and the Inglewood Theatre on Gallatin. Sadly, the Inglewood theatre was closed in 1977 and demolished sometime thereafter — a shuttered drugstore now occupies the spot. The Belle Meade theatre fared much better, operating as a theatre well into the late ’80s before Bookstar turned it into a book store, with minimal remodeling. Sadly, in a move so crass and lacking in historical sensitivity that it could only happen in Nashville, the Belle Meade Theatre was recently gutted and turned into a grocery store by Tony Giarratana, leaving (I believe) only the facade and the projector room intact.

For its part, the Melrose Theatre has been remodeled a few times, but still remains relatively intact as a theatre (at least on the outside). I recently saw it all lit up for an event recently, and it was quite spectacular — sadly, I didn’t have a camera with me (weird, I know). This picture from 1984 (when the theatre was still in operation) will give you some idea of what it looked like. I don’t know the state of the interior, but perhaps the Melrose can be revived as a theatre some day.

Written by Chris

December 1st, 2010 at 11:12 am

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melrose

I am pretty sure the guy on the right there has been at Melrose every time I’ve ever been there. Including, like, 10 years ago.

Written by Chris

July 12th, 2009 at 2:06 pm