If you’ve ever spent any amount of time at all with John Rich, you know how possible it is for the man’s mind to go in many directions – at one time. He can be recording a hit single as part of Big & Rich, writing a hit song for artists such as Faith Hill and Gretchen Wilson, or coming up with his own lifestyle brand – as he did with Redneck Riviera in 2014. He says the term has always intrigued him.
“As it turns out, people have been using that phrase since early 1960s,” he says. “It could be in reference to a lake or a beach. I remember being in Gulf Shores Alabama in 2008, and wondered if anyone had ever taken the phrase and worked with it on a national level.” Once he realized that nobody had, he went to work.
“I started working on the idea of how you build products and experiences around the phrase Redneck Riviera, and what does it really mean. To me, it’s about people who work hard all week long, and they’ve got a little left over, and how are they going to get the most of that before they go back to work?” He says the line has been a success. “It’s been resonating with people across the country. We’ve sold a little bit of everything, such as footwear and apparel in all fifty states. Redneck Riviera is a place of mind, whether you’re on the Gulf Coast or your own backyard. Anyone can have that atmosphere at a moment’s notice.”
This week, that atmosphere took a giant leap forward with the announcement that the company would be opening two Redneck Riviera bars later this year. Both on famed city strips, the Las Vegas location will be at Grand Bazaar Shops and Nashville’s location will be on historic Lower Broadway between Second and Third Avenue.
Rich says he plans on being a regular at both establishments. “With it being open in Vegas, I can’t put a number on it,” he said, in reference to how much he will be in Sin City. “But, you’re probably going to see me there a lot.” Rich admitted that the city is more of a haven for the format than a lot of people realize. “I don’t think that a lot of people realize is there is such a huge Country presence in Las Vegas. There’s two major country stations, and a lot of bands actually live there,” he says, with hopes that some of them might have a local place to play. “One thing that I’m always looking for when I’m there – say it’s on Tuesday night, and I’m looking for a great Country band, there’s just not hardly a lot of great live music there. So, when the doors open. I’m very excited to bring that element to Las Vegas. I think they have every element covered, but I don’t think they have one covered as least not well enough. We’re going to fill that void,” he says with confidence.
The same plan goes for Nashville, with Rich stating that he and his team would be aggressively booking name artists for appearances at both locations. Outside of the annual CMA Music Festival, it’s pretty rare for there to be name acts playing the club scene in Music City. He wants to change that.
“People come to Nashville, and think they are going to see name acts in the bars, but there’s not really one except the Wild Horse Saloon with ticketed national names. We are definitely going to be doing that.”
Rich says one aspect of the Redneck Riviera clubs that he is particularly excited about is both locations will have a special designated spot called “The Heroes Bar,” which is his way of giving back to a special group of men and women.
“In addition to having a main bar, there will also be an interior bar called ‘The Heroes Bar.’ That is going to be built for our veterans and active duty military personnel. If you come into either location, or any other one we open, you sit down, an we’re going to hire veterans to work there. Your first drink is going to be on the house,” he says humbly. “That’s going to be our way of saying ‘Thank you, and job well done……’ I just think that’s an incredible element to it, which is more exciting to me because we’re doing something that nobody else has done. It will also be outfitted with memorabilia from various conflicts from over the years. They’re going to have their own spot.”
Community leaders in both cities are excited about having new businesses in their downtown districts.
“Redneck Riviera, is going to bring a one-of-a-kind entertainment venue to the heart of the Las Vegas Strip where families and friends can enjoy great music in an incredibly fun atmosphere,” says Larry Siegel, chairman of the Juno Property Group and developer of Grand Bazaar Shops. “There will be a lot of action at Redneck Riviera and the attraction will complement our center’s food and beverage offerings, including Wahlburgers, Giordano’s and Starbucks.”
“I love it when artists and musicians like John Rich who have found success in Nashville turn around and invest back in our community,” said Nashville’s Mayor Megan Barry. “John’s Redneck Riviera will be a great addition to Lower Broad and fun for visitors and Nashvillians alike.”
Both bars are expected to open in late 2016.