Max & Ben Goldberg - The Dynamic Duo 

Mothers of sons, take heart. Your stair-step children might be beating each other over the heads with Legos today, but in less than 30 years, they could turn out like brothers Max (pictured left) and Ben Goldberg, whose friendship and shared vision are the cornerstones of a quietly growing entertainment empire. Their company, Strategic Hospitality, includes Paradise Park Trailer Resort restaurant and bar, Aerial event space and The Patterson House artisanal cocktail lounge. They also consult on projects such as Diana's Sweet Shoppe, which Gibson Guitar recently opened on Lower Broad.

Elder brother Ben, a graduate of University of Miami, started things off in 2003 with City Hall and BarTwenty3, which he co-founded with Austin Ray. When the leases expired after five years in the Gulch, Ben took a 180-degree turn from the sleek, cosmopolitan bar and opened Paradise Park — a tongue-in-cheek homage to Southern culture on the skids.

Meanwhile, Max had graduated from University of Denver and was embarking on a consulting career in New York. "[Ben] had the choice to go with someone with a lot of experience in the industry, or someone that he had complete trust in," says Max of his brother's invitation to join him in the business. "It was one of the hardest decisions — leaving a great career path in New York City — but the opportunity to work with my brother and own my own company was a dream."

Like any family business, the partnership has built-in drawbacks. "When you work between 12 and 16 hours a day, six-and-a-half days a week, it's hard to disconnect and just enjoy each other as family," Max says. So the boys build in some "brother time," which usually involves a round of golf, a meal or a cruise in their 1984 Chevy El Camino, which Roberts Brothers Coach Co. in Springfield, Tenn., customized in a Paradise Park theme, with a P.A. system, Astroturf floors and "Max" and "Ben" embroidered in the orange leather headrests. (Max is the driver.) In their few hours outside the bars, Max — aka Coach G — coaches basketball at KIPP Academy, and Ben serves on the alumni board of University School of Nashville. While both brothers are still bachelors, their significant others are significant enough to have a signature drink on the Patterson House menu. (The Terra-Rica is a combination of both girlfriends' names.)

So far, the brothers' business partnership appears to be paying off, especially at The Patterson House, whose speakeasy-style menu of hand-crafted cocktails commands constant lines at the unmarked building on Division Street.

"My only rule for moving back and partnering up is that our business could never interfere with our brotherhood," Max says. "When we opened up The Patterson House, I gave Benjamin an antique pocket watch. I had it engraved to say, 'You are my best friend, my brother and my business partner. Let us never forget that order.' " —CARRINGTON FOX

Photographed by Eric England, assisted by Sinclair Kelly, in the Paradise Park parking garage.


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