The second incarnation of the beloved East Side music venue, the Radio Cafe, has officially closed its doors. Owner and manager Mac Hill, cancelled all scheduled shows this weekend and has already started moving fixtures out of the building at 4150 Gallatin Pike in Inglewood.
“The music business is always tough,” Hill says. “We got priced out. My landlord went up on the rent $900 a month, and I couldn’t afford it. That’s really the gist of it.”
Hill says he knew about the rent increase for several months but was hoping to work out an arrangement with the landlord. Any such options ran out last week. “He finally said this is the money I want if you want to stay here, so that was it,” Hill says. “It’s a hot piece of property. People were knocking on my door almost every day wanting to buy it. I don’t know what the plans are, but the landlord said they’re going to try and improve it.”
In 1995, Hill opened the original Radio Cafe in the former Hooser’s Pharmacy building at the corner of Woodland Street and 14th. One of the first revitalized music venues to open in East Nashville, the Radio Cafe survived the 1998 tornado and several ups and downs before closing in 2007 when Hill sold the building. After almost a decade of retirement from the live music business, Hill opened the new version of the Radio Cafe in 2016 as detailed in the March-April 2018 issue of The East Nashvillian.
While Hill has no plans for a third incarnation of the Radio Cafe at this time, he has learned from past experiences. “I am keeping the P.A. equipment, so that may tell you something,” he says. “Right now I’m at a crossroads, I can’t say never, but I will say, not now.”