Group Therapy 

The Chu Crowd

The Chu Crowd

Let me describe my perfect crowd. Ideally, it’s evenly split guy-girl, with the social demographics as follows: one quarter politicos and artistes, one quarter hipsters, one quarter well-dressed and one quarter well-heeled. My perfect crowd is a brave new mix of tony threads, calculated irreverence, tricked-out cell phones and fat wads of cash. Such mixes are rare, as each group is habituated to its preferred social arenas.

So it was sheer delight to join the Thursday night pre-opening of Chu’s and find the essential elements of the ideal crowd. Co-owner Brian Lewis and general manager Robin Lee put on an amazing fete. While saying hello to Billy Ray and Joanie Hearn, I was interrupted by the somewhat shocking sight of George Barrett playing puppeteer with a whole Peking duck. “Quack, quack!” he mouthed, whilst nodding the duck’s crispy head. Someone tell the senior partner to keep his day job; ventriloquism is not his forte.

The downstairs of Chu’s features a curvy bar, several café tables and a separate dining room. The wide wooden stairs pass over a waterfall and lead to a second bar and large dining area. Upstairs was bustling. It was too crowded to properly make the rounds, though I did see Betty Malo, Todd Smith, Tony Baker, Regina and Jason Knoll of Park Cafe, Michael and Colleen DeGregory of Mirror, Austin Ray of Bar Twenty3, Trevor Mikula and Chaz Langley. While the exterior of Chu’s is very stucco, the interior is a sexy Shangri-la filled with intricate details and exotic decor. OK, here’s the part you’ve been waiting for: Come 11 p.m., the cozy, round booths roll away, opening up a dance floor and a late- night nirvana. From what I hear, there will be velvet ropes and Go-Go girls! Hopefully, the beautiful Ohm and smiling Buddhas will encourage Brian, Robin & Co. toward a well-proportioned crowd and good nightlife karma.

The downstairs of Chu’s features a curvy bar, several café tables and a separate dining room. The wide wooden stairs pass over a waterfall and lead to a second bar and large dining area. Upstairs was bustling. It was too crowded to properly make the rounds, though I did see Betty Malo, Todd Smith, Tony Baker, Regina and Jason Knoll of Park Cafe, Michael and Colleen DeGregory of Mirror, Austin Ray of Bar Twenty3, Trevor Mikula and Chaz Langley. While the exterior of Chu’s is very stucco, the interior is a sexy Shangri-la filled with intricate details and exotic decor. OK, here’s the part you’ve been waiting for: Come 11 p.m., the cozy, round booths roll away, opening up a dance floor and a late- night nirvana. From what I hear, there will be velvet ropes and Go-Go girls! Hopefully, the beautiful Ohm and smiling Buddhas will encourage Brian, Robin & Co. toward a well-proportioned crowd and good nightlife karma.

More often than not, my perfect crowd is found outside of bars and clubs. The Frist Center for the Visual Arts not only provides excellent eye candy through ever-changing works of art, it continues to draw an eye-popping crowd. Friday marked a special opening for the Phillips Collection. With communications director Ellen Pryor as my personal guide, I was introduced to works by artists such as Darren Waterson and patrons such as Spencer Hayes, John Baeder and Trey Lippman. I was stuck in perpetual awe, first gazing at a van Gogh, then at an exquisite pair of vintage Chanel earrings. High art, indeed! The van Gogh was of course part of the Phillips collection, while the earrings belonged to Daisy King.

Last weekend, everyone was buzzing about the Super Bowl and Mindy Smith. The industry-heavy crowd at Mindy’s show was enthusiastic, yet respectfully reserved. Between songs, you could hear Deanna Bruton, Kristi Karter and other supporters yelling “Yeah, Mindy!” As for the Super Bowl, house parties were the place to be. After drinking champagne with Jim, Heather and Ann Loden, I headed off to the house with the biggest TV. I don’t know anyone with a bigger screen than my future father-in-law Ray Bell. Sometimes, there’s no place like home.

Ready, set, party! Chu’s officially opens Tuesday, while Friday brings us the re-opening of Reverb (promises of surprises and treats), a “Live at the Frist” and a visit from Kid Rock. Got a Beatles fetish? Check out the Beatles memorabilia and screening of A Hard Day’s Night at the Belcourt Feb 9.

Ready, set, party! Chu’s officially opens Tuesday, while Friday brings us the re-opening of Reverb (promises of surprises and treats), a “Live at the Frist” and a visit from Kid Rock. Got a Beatles fetish? Check out the Beatles memorabilia and screening of A Hard Day’s Night at the Belcourt Feb 9.

—By Amy Waddell

Send tips and happenings to awaddell@nashvillescene.com

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