In the Field

The Kitchen Playlist

By: tate.jacaruso

Chef Sean Brock on spinning beats at Nashville’s new listening room, Bar Continental

Records played at Bar Continental
Image courtesy of Bar Continental

Sean Brock is stepping out of the kitchen for a change. The Nashville-based chef isn’t just creating shareable dishes at his new concept, Bar Continental; five days a week he’s also spinning records. “I spent the last 30 years on the other side of the wall,” says Brock. “[As DJ] I get to spend so much more time with the guests.” The high-def, vinyl-only listening room opened last year, replacing The Continental and The Vesper Club. Brock was inspired to switch gears by his time spent at Japanese jazz kissas, where he was surrounded by high-quality sounds “for the price of a cup of tea.”

Bar Continental houses thousands of rare and vintage records across genres with a mix of new and vintage sound equipment, lately playing albums from 1960 to 1985. “Music comes from the same place food comes from,” says Brock. “It’s a combination of geographical realities and cultural influences.” The small menu of bites, cocktails, and tea was influenced by Japanese and French cuisine and designed to not distract listeners—but good food is hard to ignore. Brock remembers passing a table laden with Japanese pizza, burgers, grilled oysters, wings, and pâté en croute. “I was like, wow, you guys have a table full of all the greats. They were like, this menu is a greatest hits album.” Bar Continental’s menu reflects that ethos, with Brock’s “spin,” of course.

Brock says the listening experience is pretty special, not only for guests but for himself. “You really are able to escape for a few hours and just bathe in sound.”

5 Albums on Bar Continental’s Rotation

  • Hard Promises by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
  • 5 by JJ Kale
  • More Songs about Buildings and Food by Talking Heads
  • Led Zeppelin II (Robert Ludwig) by Led Zeppelin
  • Song for My Father by The Horace Silver Quintet
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