NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A downtown Nashville business owner is moving to the 8th Avenue South area after five years in their original location. Pancho and Lefty’s Broadway location opened across the street from Bridgestone Arena in 2017 and the cantina expanded to Sylvan Park the following year.

“Five years ago, we were just coming off of the Preds run for the Stanley Cup, and the energy and the fun and feeling of being downtown was so fun. It was intoxicating. It was clean, it was safe,” said Pancho and Lefty’s founder Will Newman.

“Downtown to us just evolved into something that wasn’t fun anymore for Nashvillians. And we wanted to be a refuge downtown for Nashvillians – people with offices downtown, people that came to Bridgestone, people that came to the Ryman. Obviously, people still do those things but now they’re kind of in and out. It’s become just a tourist Mecca, which has many positives for the city. But for this Nashvillian, it ceased to be fun downtown.”

Pancho and Lefty’s closed its doors downtown on July 10 and is in the process of moving to 2600 Eighth Ave. S. Suite 109, the space previously occupied by The Sutler. The cantina was founded and owned by Will and Catharine Newman, who are also the founders of Edly’s Bar-B-Que.

According to Will Newman, there are public safety and cleanliness issues downtown that need to be addressed.

“Enforcing some of our basic laws of public drunkenness. We have lots of vagrants. And just, you know, we’re slowly evolving into Bourbon Street and the strip in Vegas. And that’s not what Nashvillians want our core to be, right?” said Newman. “This is now the engine of the Nashville economy but we’re quickly losing control of what we were, we’ve kind of sold our soul for tourist tax dollars, and that might be good in the short term. But long term, I just don’t see how we can keep that if we’re not focusing on public safety, and making sure Nashvillians want to go downtown. If Nashvillians aren’t going downtown, then we’re just a tourist trap on Broadway.”

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He said the Melrose area is experiencing growth like other parts of Nashville and is close to 12th South as well, making it an ideal location to foster their goal of being truly a part of the community.

“Moving Pancho and Lefty’s from downtown to a neighborhood like Melrose allows us to do what we do best,” said Newman. “We love being in neighborhoods, we love creating community. We love making a positive impact in our neighborhood and community.”

Pancho and Lefty’s promises to bring their unique, new NashMex twist to the special Melrose neighborhood with a focus on community, family and Southern hospitality for locals and visitors alike.