The greatest show nobody ever saw

I’m convinced that Nashville once had its very own Rat Pack. Vegas show rooms be damned! Music City vaudeville, red velvet and lip-glossed glamour girls had their own place to make a name for themselves, and they didn’t have to Go West to do it!

I would give anything to have thrown on a ruffled shirt and powder blue tuxedo one night and taken it all in…to walk into a club and feel instantly comfortable, no matter what I had on. To be greeted with a genuine smile, a nostalgic song playing on a jukebox nearby. No pretense. No over-done walls and no lights that make you feel like everyone’s eyes are on you. Just a friendly hello, a good stage show, good drinks and good times.

“Everyone is welcome here, no matter what,” the proprietor would say. “Everybody comes here to have fun!” She would be a showgirl herself. Someone that everyone would know and respect. She’d be named something naughty and devilish, in spite of how sweet and business savvy she was.

Maybe out back, there’d be a huge deck, like at a bar on a beach somewhere…volleyball buffs would come play and sip fruity cocktails while the warm winds blow in the summertime. Sand everywhere! A Karaoke machine would challenge Bermuda-shorted patrons. Maybe the B-52s would come sing that song about popsicles and lemonade.

Inside, a huge 28-foot stage would be the main attraction, complete with a catwalk, DJ’s roost and stone-painted walls.

An intimate seating area, with small cocktail tables and those little Vegas-style candles would sideline the stage. They’d have a Cabaret-style show on Friday and Saturday nights. It would be called, “The Greatest Show Nobody Ever Saw.” Maybe even a hamster would dance and sing the world’s happiest song.

There’d also be live jazz, rock & roll, a movie night and an open talent slot where audience members could come up and maybe sing a song, tell jokes or show off another skill just for fun.

The front bar would be the gathering spot for the regulars. Neighbors or friends who drop by to say hello, share sad news, or just welcome someone new. That’d be where Wednesday’s Movie Night would be…Fresh popcorn for everybody, too!

As I reached for the door on my way out, the proprietor would shout out, “I hope you’ll come back regularly,” and she’d mean it.

It’d be a place unlike any other bar in Nashville. A place with a history. A few facelifts. A place with roots and character. It’d be called DeVil’s. And I’d go back. Just like she had asked me to.


339 Wilhagen Road

Nashville, TN 37217

(615) 366-6696

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