Rumours in 12South To Close Next Month; Owners Hope To Relocate

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Rumours, the venerable wine bar in the 12South neighborhood, plans to close in a few weeks due to lease issues as a large apartment and retail development is poised to go up on the same block.

Christy Shuff, who co-owns Rumours with managing partner Jenn McCarthy, says that ever since word got out about the wine bar closing (via local blogger Kim Green and Twitter) she's been deluged with calls from customers and neighbors.

"We've been here for a decade in 12South," Shuff says. "You can't imagine all the people calling and offering their support."

She adds, "We're just focusing on how Jenn and I can make the most of the next six weeks and move to an appropriate new location to continue to serve our patrons."

Shuff and McCarthy are looking at several possible new locations. The goal will be to keep as much continuity as possible with the original. "We want to keep it a small and friendly environment," Shuff says, adding with a laugh that she did promise chef Jo Ellen Brown a bigger kitchen.

Shuff says that while she still has four-and-a-half years left on the lease for the little house at 2304 12th Ave. S. and the cottage next door, which she sublets to Blackbird Tattoo and Gallery, she reluctantly agreed to a buyout from the landlord. She declined to give details, but it is believed the property is being eyed for parking for a mixed-use development from H.G. Hill and Southeast Venture that is going in next door at 2310 12th Ave. S.

(Shuff opened Rumours as an art gallery in early 2002, adding the wine bar a couple years later. The gallery eventually moved elsewhere, and Shuff sublet that part of the space to Blackbird Tattoo. The East Nashville wine bar Rumours East was originally a sister restaurant, but the two businesses now have separate ownership.)

Ironically, Shuff says the 10-year-old Rumours has been doing its best business ever in the past year-and-a-half. She gives the credit to McCarthy, who joined the team as sommelier, manager and co-owner. Even as Shuff and McCarthy were dealing with the real estate crisis last week, they were preparing to cater a New Year's Eve party for local Grammy-winning rockers The Black Keys.

"What a great party to get to host. It couldn't be a better way to start the year," Shuff says.

The outpouring of support from customers and neighbors includes plans for a benefit concert to help Rumours transition to its new space, Shuff says. We'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, Shuff says Rumours will remain open at least through Valentine's Day, a night when the wine bar traditionally does bang-up business. Watch for updates at Rumours 12th on Facebook or @Rumours12South on Twitter.

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