Country stars opening their own bar/restaurant/music venue has become a big trend over the last decade, with everyone from to Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Alan Jackson and Miranda Lambert opening their own places. But while those stars have all focused on Nashville, Chase Rice is thinking outside the Music City box.
This December, Rice and his partners at Forward Hospitality Group are set to open a brand-new entertainment venue called Welcome to the Farm, and it will make its home in Cleveland, Ohio.
Announcing the plan Wednesday (October 27), the new bar and music space will be housed in a brand new, 5,000+ square-foot building in Cleveland’s growing entertainment district, the bustling Flats East Bank. Offering a what is described as a glimpse into Rice’s Tennessee lifestyle, Welcome to the Farm will feature a large center stage and room for 280 people overlooking the urban Cuyahoga River, and Rice says he’s not just an investor, he’s been taking an active role in the design process.
“We’ve been working on this for a while and I’m excited to finally let everyone in on the secret,” he says. “I’ve had a blast learning about another side of the entertainment and hospitality industry and getting to put my stamp on things at Welcome to the Farm. I can’t wait to welcome y’all in December!”
Fans might wonder why Rice chose Cleveland, since his work is based in Nashville and he’s long been connected to North Carolina, where he played college football for the University of North Carolina. Apparently, it’s a mix of family history — his late father was from the Columbus area and played football for the Ohio State Buckeyes — and Ohio’s longstanding musical fandom.
“Not only is Ohio special to me as an artist and because of my dad’s connection to the area, but Cleveland itself is also a really inspiring city as a musician,” Chase Rice explains. “It’s awesome to know that we’ll be just a mile down the road from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, which is home to people like The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Nirvana, Tom Petty and so many more who have all had a huge impact on my career.”
Rice’s new venture may be more proof of country music’s growing presence in mainstream culture, but he’s not the first country artist to open a bar outside the Music City area. Stars like Blake Shelton and Dierks Bentley currently have Nashville locations of their self-branded venues, as well as other spots around the nation (Oklahoma and Gatlinburg, Tennessee for Shelton; and two spots in Arizona plus one coming to Denver, Colorado for Bentley). And Toby Keith arguably kicked the modern trend off with his I Love This Bar and Grill chain,