The greatest contribution of the Big Bear Cafe (and the Sunday Farmers’ Market) has been its role as a regular congregative arena for the neighborhood. Whereas annual events as community meetings do provide a degree of personal interaction, the BBC is fostering a constant gathering spot for relaxed discourse without agendas or officials. Its open doors, casement windows and ample patio seating enhance such an atmosphere as well as contribute security (loosely, but I feel justly, explained by the “Broken Window Theory“).
While there are plenty of other businesses atop residents’ wish lists, those that continue to open up the neighborhood are the most beneficial to our growth. A restaurant bar with outdoor seating would both fill a void as well as build upon this goal. EC-12 is one of those developments that your Realtor mentions is “about to break ground” when you look in this area (note: press release in December 2003). However, it does not take an historic building and a “LLC” to fulfill this need in a neighborhood that has proven it wants to “come out.”
In our previous home, East Nashville, a popular spot was the Alleycat Lounge. The decor inside was comprised of boxed fans and unmatched vinyl-upholstered seating. Outside, the patio was lined with Christmas tree lights. There’s your overhead. Keep your menu small, tap 3-4 draft beers (with at least one local brewery) and provide outdoor seating.
Depending on your location, you should be able to draw employees and visitors of XM, ATF and other businesses during happy hour (and lunch, if offered); locals from the neighborhood during the evening and weekends (perhaps even a Sunday brunch).