Proper Saké opens Rice Vice Bar in East Nashville

Artisanal sake The Rice Vice bar is now open in East Nashville.

  • Rice Vice will be the new tasting room for owner Byron Stithem’s award-winning Proper Sake, which closed its previous location in the early months of the pandemic. Stithem will also curate a list of sake from Japan.

Why is this important: There’s a craft brewery in almost every micro-neighbourhood in Nashville you can think of. But Proper Saké is the only sake brewery in town and one of only 24 in the country.

Driving Alcohol: Stithem is a fermentation nerd who rose through the ranks of the Nashville restaurant scene before launching Proper Sake.

  • Its Koji Gold rice beer is particularly popular and can be found in Nashville-area bars and liquor stores.

What he says : Stithem tells Axios that his vision for Rice Vice was to create the “bar of my dreams” that reflects his drinking experiences in Japan.

  • “That means I can’t just make sake. There’s that component. But I think it’s really great to serve sake to people that they’ve never had before.”

Details: Launching Rice Vice and reviving the Proper Sake brewing operation was as easy as it gets. The bar is located at 3109 Ambrose Avenue, a mostly industrial strip off East Trinity Lane.

  • Stithem and his father-in-law hand-built the bar and lounge area. Along with a few components, Stithem also hand-built their four-tank brewing system.
  • Rice Vice will also offer frozen highball cocktails and beers in addition to craft-brewed Proper sake, which won two gold medals at last year’s prestigious New York World Wine and Spirit Awards.

Rollback: Proper Saké closed its previous Pie Town tasting room in the spring of 2020, as Stithem sought a new, expanded location.

  • The process has been delayed for at least a year by the pandemic, Stithem believes.

And after: Stithem says he has two of his four brewing tanks running. The goal for the rest of the year is to ramp up production and begin deliveries of bottles, which will be available in 48 states.

  • Rice Vice will have several food trucks this week in conjunction with its grand opening. The bar also has a solid vinyl collection that will provide the soundtrack to Stithem’s vision.

  • “I’m really super passionate about this multitude of articles,” he says. “One way or another, whether it’s the wisest business decision or not, something like this is what I’ve always wanted to do.”

If you are going to: Rice Vice is open at 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

👋 Nate and Adam’s take:

  • We couldn’t resist visiting Rice Vice on opening day.
  • We opted for crispy and refreshing highballs, the perfect antidote to the heat wave.

The plot: We first became regulars at Proper Saké in 2018. The unique menu drew us in, but the warm, laid-back vibe kept us coming back.

  • We made ourselves at home and regaled our very patient bartender Courtney with long, winding inside jokes and stories.

Editor’s Note: Nate and Adam befriended Stithem through a weekly happy hour tradition.

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