Timmy Harkum sells Stirrup Nashville bar

Way back in 2008, a new LGBT bar opened in Nashville. Timmy Harkum and Mikey Fields, former employees of the Chute, renovated a building at 1529 4th Avenue South and opened Stirrup Nashville (named for the piano lounge at the Chute). Since its opening Stirrup has been a Nashville off-Church favorite, especially amongst a clientele who prefer a Levis-and-Leather sort of environment.

Over the years some things have changed: Harkum has been the sole owner of the bar since Fields’ departure, and Harkum recently did some renovations in the main bar. But for the most part, Stirrup has remained much the same as when it opened. But on October 22, 2016, at a much-hyped customer appreciation event, Harkum announced a major change at Stirrup.

For the last few weeks, a new face had joined the staff of Stirrup—Ryan Brown. Harkum said he listed the Stirrup for sale about a year ago, feeling it was time after being on-call 24/7 for the last eight years. Brown saw the listing about four months ago, and the two began negotiating until things all came together.

Harkum promises that the handover will be smooth. “We didn’t sell it out of necessity. It was just time. It won’t affect any of the groups who have regular beer busts and fundraisers here. The staff will remain the same—he likes the staff and they like him—so it’s going to be a smooth transition. I know Ryan plans to continue what’s working, even while he brings some new blood to the place, maybe have some new events once he’s fully learned all the ropes!”

Brown, who has spent the last sixteen years with Publix is excited about the change. He said that he loved his job, and he’d always said it would take something great get him to leave the company. “I had a great job. Publix is always listed as one of the best places to work in the country. But I’ve always said if I left my job it would be to own and run my own bar. That’s always been a dream.”

“The important thing for me,” Brown said, “is keeping bars like Stirrup in the family. Timmy told me that when he opened there were over a dozen gay and lesbian bars in the Nashville area. At the end of this year there will be six. It’s a big deal that with Nashville growing like crazy that we are dropping our bars.”

Asked how he’s going to help Stirrup thrive, Brown said, “The first part of making this gay bar continue to be successful is holding on to what Timmy has built, a great clientele. But you have to expand its reach. It’s really about growing it, and there’s plenty of room in this city. This whole neighborhood is set to expand, and so this bar is set up for growth for at least the next twenty years.”

“The people who come here are the best people. I just did it because I was ready,” Harkum said. He also added that he’ll still have his regular bar shift, as well. “I just won’t have to go to Sam’s every day, go to the bank, or write the checks!”

For Brown this is like an insurance policy. “I’m sure there would be some trepidation among the regulars if Timmy just disappeared, but with him here three nights a week people will realize this change really is just an additional face at the bar.” Having Harkum around also provides Brown with a built-in tutor as he learns the business.

So, it looks like Stirrup Nashville has a long and happy future in store: check it out if you haven’t been recently and welcome Brown as Nashville’s newest bar owner!





Photo courtesy of Joe Eats World

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