Our History

The Listening Room Cafe was founded in 2006 in historic Franklin, Tennessee. Our founder and owner, Chris Blair, is a singer/songwriter himself. As he played around town, he realized he couldn’t find a local venue that he felt had the sound and atmosphere that Nashville artists deserved.

The Franklin location quickly became a local favorite, pulling in huge award-winning songwriters from Music Row that started calling it “the Bluebird Cafe outside of Nashville.” As the venue gained traction, Blair decided to move the location closer to downtown Nashville and Music Row. He opened the new location inside the historic Cummins Station building in September of 2008 and it was there that The Listening Room really built its name and started attracting even more songwriters and artists in the industry.

After four successful years in Cummins Station, Blair realized that the space needed to grow so he began a six-month build out in an up-and-coming neighborhood off of 2nd Avenue in the heart of downtown Nashville and moved to that larger location in February of 2013. As Nashville continued to become the “it city” and growth quickly took over downtown, Blair found out he had to move once again in 2017 because that 2nd Avenue location was going to be demolished for a high-rise hotel.

The move was not something that Blair wanted, but after months of searching he found what is now the permanent long-term home of The Listening Room – Nashville in the historic International Harvester Tractor building located at 618 4th Avenue South. Build-out began in that new location and the last show was played on a Saturday night on 2nd Avenue, and the doors opened back up in the permanent location on 4th Avenue the following Monday. Our current location opened in 2017 and has proven to be a blessing in disguise and has been listed as a must-see spot and voted Best Singer/Songwriter venue in Nashville.

Blair always had the plan of expanding into other cities and growing his brand. In 2020, in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, Blair set out to do just that. He fell in love with the beauty of the Smoky Mountain areas of Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg. And in July of 2021 after a long build-out, he opened his second location in the vibrant Mountain Mile area off of Teaster Lane.

Plans to open more locations are already in the works and we look forward to continuing to grow our reputation as a destination for great food and drink in a true listening atmosphere where you can hear the stories behind the songs and make memories you’ll never forget.