Eric Church Preaches To The Choir With New Nashville Venue

EC To Beat The Devil 040524 Credit John Shearer for Getty Images 2
CHURCH IN SESSION: Chief’s on Broadway opened April 5 with a 19-night residency by its founder and namesake, Eric Church.  (John Shearer / Getty Images)

Nashville’s neon thoroughfare is lined with honkytonks connected to some of the biggest names in country music. The chart-topping performers have been known to make special appearances at the music venues that bear their names, but Eric Church takes it to a new level at his brick-and-mortar incarnation, Chief’s.

The six-story bar, named for his multi-platinum 2011 album Chief, opened April 5 with the launch of an unprecedented 19-night residency through June titled “Eric Church: To Beat the Devil.” On opening night, Church delivered a two-hour, solo set for his most ardent supporters known as the Church Choir.  

Ben Weprin, CEO and founder of AJ Capital partners, is an investor and partner with Church for Chief’s. He would not disclose the project cost. It took three years to repurpose and rebuild the historic, 19,350-square-foot building at 200 Broadway. AJ Capital Partners focuses on the hospitality, mixed-use and residential sectors. Its portfolio of more than 100 properties in more than 50 markets is valued at $5.3 billion.

“Eric is my closest friend; it was an honor and privilege,” said Weprin, whose investment in Chief’s is independent from AJ Capital Partners. “He is a world-class artist and storyteller. Translating his songs and stories into a physical space to share with his fans was a gift.”

Church said, “Chief’s as a whole is a celebration of the fans that have been with us every step of the way for two decades now. The building is dedicated to them and that journey, so we wanted to create a show that was also a celebration of the road we’ve traveled together to reach this point. The residency show is a way to mark this moment in time of opening Chief’s and to share stories and perform songs that I’ve never done live before and probably never will again.”

The multi-level venue includes Chief’s Tavern, a first-floor, live entertainment space papered with thousands of concert posters from Church’s career and a broadcast studio for Eric Church Outsiders Radio on SiriusXM. The second floor features the Friendly Shadows Dueling Piano Bar. 

COUNTRY KALEIDOSCOPE: Chief’s first floor is papered with with thousands of concert posters from Church’s career. (Wade Hall Photography / Chief’s)

“When you walk into Chief’s, every intricate design detail you see is a product of Eric’s vision,” Weprin said. “The six floors are a physical manifestation of Eric’s evolving career. From 5,000 concert posters covering every surface of the first floor, to vintage Field & Stream artifacts on the second floor and the iconic Fiddle & Steel sign where Eric got his start in The Neon Steeple, the comprehensive space reflects Church’s journey from a young musician with dreams and determination to the celebrated artist he is today.”

Chief’s taps into Church’s Carolina roots in partnership with James Beard award-winning pitmaster Rodney Scott, whose Hell of a Q location, sits on the fifth and sixth floors overlooking downtown Nashville.

Food and beverage aside, the central feature in Chief’s is The Neon Steeple, a 400-capacity ticketed performance hall on floors three and four.

“We designed Chief’s around the idea of a two-story theater being at the heart as we wanted a performance space that allowed for a conversation just for the people in the room,” offered Church. “I was nervous as hell on the opening night, yet that kind of energy does something to me creatively. It’s a room we hope brings original music back to the heart of downtown Nashville.” 

Chiefs Facade Credit Wade Hall Photography Courtesy of Chiefs 2
(Wade Hall Photography)

 “We didn’t want Chief’s to be something we just attached Eric’s name to,” Weprin said. “While the behind-the-scenes involvement was obvious to us, his To Beat The Devil residency is a great example of what makes him, and Chief’s, stand out on Broadway —  he is intricately committed.” 

 Music curation mattered as much as the folklore décor. 

“We wanted this to be a place where musicians could make a name, which once was the intention of Broadway,” Weprin said. “Sure, there will be covers, but we also wanted original songwriting and to be somewhere where musicians strive to play and get to debut their music to the world.” 

 A 10-time Grammy nominee and multiple award winner including the 2020 CMA Entertainer of the Year, Church has a critically acclaimed catalog of music and a reputation as a dynamic live performer. His recent The Outsiders Revival Tour” was his first fully outdoor tour following his 55-city, in-the-round arena show “The Gather Again Tour.” Church is a minority owner of the Charlotte Hornets, a co-owner of the iconic Field & Stream brand, has his own SiriusXM music channel and his own liquor Whiskey JYPSI. 

“This building is a lot like the songs I write. They’re mine until I release them, and then they’re not mine anymore, they’re yours,” shared Church.

This story first appeared at