New Melrose Billiards Will Still Be 'Gritty, Well-Loved, Worn-In Bar'

New owner of Melrose Billiards says closure will be temporary.



Longtime basement billiards hang out and dive bar Melrose Billiards in Berry Hill will soon close its doors – but only temporarily.

Melrose Billiards has been operating at 2600 Franklin Pike for 70 years, but A. Ray Hospitality, which owns M.L. Rose and The Sutler, was offered a new lease on the pool hall space. The lease begins in October 2016, according to an open letter written by Austin Ray of A. Ray Hospitality.

Ray stated that he does not own the building, but “was presented with the opportunity to take over the space, and my decision to take it on has not been an easy one.”

In the open letter, Ray squashed rumors that the new space would be a tiki bar and provided a few details on the concept he plans to bring to Melrose Billiards.

“You’ve undoubtedly heard that Melrose Billiards will close next month. That’s a bit misleading. It will close temporarily for some building updates and careful tweaking, and then reopen. As funny as I think the tiki bar rumor is, it isn’t true. It will be a gritty, well-loved, worn-in bar where you can still drink cold beer out of a plastic cup, play ping pong and pool, listen to great music, and get a decent drink (served by someone who will pay attention to you, but not wearing suspenders). We want you to walk down those stairs in a few months and still get that soothing feeling that you are “home”, leaving the surface world behind,” Ray wrote. 

Nashville Scene editor Steve Cavendish broke the news of the pool hall’s closure last week. According to the Nashville Scene, the pool hall’s owners had been operating on a verbal agreement and “without a lease for years.”

The owners of Melrose Billiards, Jim and Jerry Chandler, are looking for a new location, according to the Nashville Scene. 

Ray wrote that he plans to pay homage to the pool hall’s history as he did with The Sutler, “which was dead and gone for 8 years before we took a chance on that project.”

“When you do anything to a long-beloved dive bar it will set some people off, and I get that,” Ray wrote. “I’m willing to take the hits. It’s that important to me.”



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Collin is a storyteller, journalist, creative and the founder of Noble. Prior to founding Noble, he was a reporter for The Tennessean and editor for a hyper-local publication with His work has been featured on media outlets such as USA Today, Huffington Post and AOL On.