Originally published by the Reno News & Review
New music venues are always welcome, as you can never have too many good places to enjoy live music.
However, the Nashville Social Club in Carson City is more than your average music venue.
The Nashville Social Club, which opened in July, combines Southern food with intimate Americana entertainment. The venue aims to channel the vibe of Nashville’s historic venues and replicate it in Carson City. The “spirit of Music City” is spread across two stages—the Swan Music Hall and the Soft Note Stage—and the venue has recently hosted acts including Tom Rigney, and the John Doe Folk Trio.
“I have a 43 year history in live entertainment as a production manager and tour manager for some of the world’s largest legacy acts—the likes of Frampton and the Doobie Brothers and Sammy Hagar,” said John Procaccini, owner of the Nashville Social Club, during a recent phone interview. “I always love presenting live music. My wife, Kitty McKay, who is an executive with the Carson Tahoe (Health) hospital system, is an expert in hospitality, so in combining the two passions for music and hospitality, we came up with the idea of a music venue that was a social club.
“The Nashville theme comes from our love of Nashville—and not south of Broadway, or ‘NashVegas’ as we call it. There are about four blocks that appeal to the millennials there, and it’s Nashville as people get to experience it as tourists today. I’m not by any means demeaning that; I’m just saying that’s wasn’t the drive for our theme of Nashville. Our theme for Nashville Social Club was the Southern roots, the eclectic type of food availability, the lifestyle, and the almost-melting pot, where everybody can belong.”
While many venues try to create larger-than-life experiences, Procaccini and company are trying to celebrate the close-knit concert.
“We are passionate about boutique presentations as opposed to the masses,” Procaccini said. “Also, it’s what the market will bear. We’re surrounded by large venues, with casinos and theaters who all do a pretty good job of attracting larger-scale shows and attractions and artists. We wanted to stay boutique. There are a couple of venues in Nashville, like the Bluebird (Café) and 3rd and Lindsley, which are classic, iconic music venues that are very small. Everything’s up close and personal, so that’s what we try to mimic as opposed to large-scale stuff.”
Procaccini also said he wants to introduce audiences to musicians they may not have previously known.
“The Music Discovery program is where we present Americana-style singer-songwriters from the area, local and regional, and that single/duet kind of stage runs three nights a week,” Procaccini said. “That keeps the music discovery going, and that keeps us presenting really cool attractions, the key being Americana. Americana could be anything from an Austin/Memphis/Nashville sound, to even old Chicago blues or even a little bit of American jazz. That keeps us, I would say, relevant in the local and regional music scene.
The Nashville Social Club also prides itself on its food.
“It’s Southern—what we call hip Southern, not Paula Deen Southern,” Procaccini said. “It’s not lard and butter, and you need a nap and a defibrillator after lunch. It’s hip Southern, traditional Southern dishes, mostly deriving from the Nashville area or Alabama, or somewhere in Mississippi. It’s fun; it’s light.
“For instance, fried green tomatoes: We do a couple of different dishes with fried green tomatoes. All of our dishes have gluten free-options and keto-options. … It’s almost California-esque in its presentation of the food. We do a ‘meat and three,’ which is derived out in Nashville, where you pick a protein and three sides, so it won’t weigh you down. Between that in the dining room and the music, we have been getting great results with this combination.”
The Nashville Social Club strives to have a welcoming and cordial staff, too.
“Kitty, my wife, has been very instrumental in our training programs, because her experience at the hospital for the last 14 years has been very much on the hospitality/patient-experience role,” Procaccini said. “She is just a genius at getting our staff to understand what customer service is all about. When you combine the food and the customer service, we have a really hip kind of service team. The way they’re dressed is very casual; then they look our customers in the eye and they speak to them. They learn their names, and our team wears backstage passes around their neck so you know their name. … Now we’re starting to weave in some special-event types of things, like whiskey tastings on Wednesday, where we pair different foods with whiskies, and our chef/mixologist talks about them.
“We’re very community-oriented. We’ve done probably three different events already in our Swan Music Hall that are supportive to different community-service organizations. The concerts are held there, and the capacity there is 225, so it’s still small and intimate.”
Procaccini said the Nashville Social Club is all about a welcoming Nashville-style vibe.
“There’s a big piece of wall art: The first thing you see when you walk in on the back wall over the kitchen is ‘Love all, y’all,’ Procaccini said. “There are no boundaries in terms of who our customers are, who we want to feel comfortable there, and who we want to serve. There’s absolutely no boundaries.”