Kid Rock bar sign is in ‘bad taste,’ but passes Metro Council vote

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A proposed sign for a bar on Lower Broadway is causing controversy, and it has been approved by Metro Council.  

Kid Rock’s Honky Tonk Bar and Steakhouse is now open, and the sign he wants to construct is generating discussion. 

Right now, a rendering of the sign is hanging in the windows of the bar. The sign shows a donkey, hat and a guitar that doubles as a body part.  

Metro Council vote on the sign at its first meeting of the year Thursday night. It couldn’t vote on the content of the sign, just the aerial encroachment. The sign was approved with a 27-3 vote. Three council members voted against the sign. 

An aerial encroachment is a sign that hangs over a public right-of-way, like a sidewalk. It’s procedure that Metro Council must vote if the owners have proven they will safely construct and hang the sign. 

“The whole reason we vote is primarily procedural,” said Freddie O’Connell, Councilman for District 19. “It is mostly oriented toward the safety of the general public because the encroachment is always over something that is public right of way.” 

All signs on Broadway that hang over the sidewalk must be approved. The owners of Kid Rock’s bar have the proper paperwork. 

Some council members have called it tacky and in bad taste. However, unless it’s obscene they had to pass the sign or chance encroaching on Kid Rock’s First Amendment rights. 

“If we stop something on the principle of taste, we do move pretty quickly into a legal gray area inviting a lawsuit against Metro for saying we’ve infringed someone’s rights,” said O’Connell. 

Most of the council members News 2 reached out to said they will vote “yes” for the sign. 

However, Councilwoman Tanaka Vercher said the sign is “inconsiderate” of the families who frequent downtown. 

“I wouldn’t take the kids, but I think there are some things you’re going to see when you’re walking down here,” said parent Ky Gressman. “You just have to make choices as parents if you want to be down here or not.” 

“My children are too little to understand but I don’t think it’s derogatory or anything,” said parent Megan Goins. “It’s just a tush.” 

Brian Lewis, attorneys for the bar owners said, “No comment at this point but we hope the council does the right thing tonight and approve the sign.” 

Nashville Mayor David Briley also had no comment.

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