An underground speakeasy-styled margarita bar in Nashville sounds like a brilliant idea so it makes sense that it came from hospitality innovator Sam Fox—who is responsible for other wildly popular concepts such as True Food, Culinary Dropout and Flower Child. Indeed, Fox has created more than 100+ restaurants over his award-winning 25-year career and this new margarita destination, called Pushing Daisies, will be his first-ever bar concept.
Fox came up with idea during the first phase of the pandemic, when everyone was working from home and staying put. “We noticed the number one to-go cocktail order from our restaurants was the margarita. I also took note of the fact that when we would sit out on our lawn during the lockdown days neighbors would stop by and everyone wanted a margarita. People are happy when they have a margarita. It’s just that kind of drink.”
Located at the intersection of Fifth and Broadway, Pushing Daisies sits directly underneath Fox’s two other recent smashing success: The Twelve Thirty Club (which he opened in partnership with Justin Timberlake) and Blanco Cocina + Cantina.
The idea takes its name from the margarita’s original moniker, The Daisy, and given the underground location Fox thought Pushing Daisies summed things up nicely. The atmosphere is celebratory, but distinctly intimate. Fox retained Atlanta-based design team Smith Hanes to cultivate a singular aesthetic to suit the space. “It’s a glowing, warmly lit interior with an unpretentious vibe—as if you stumbled into an old Spanish casa in Mexico City—one with a crazy sound system.” The daisy motif populates the space, from intricate floral patterns adorning the walls and seating to the daisy patterned penny tile floor encircling the bar. Plush elevated banquettes, leather channeled walls and heavy curtains made of plum-colored velvet round out the experience, creating a sanctuary from the Lower Broadway buzz and bustle.
The focus is on drinks here; it’s a true destination bar. Says Fox, “I wanted to create an authentic place in an area of Nashville that needs some authenticity, and who doesn’t love a great margarita? Margarita just says FUN to me; I want to do a place based on that vibe. If you are breaking up with your boyfriend you don’t have a margarita. That is our energy for this bar concept.”
The initial vision was to offer over 100 margaritas, but Fox and his bar team have since polished that idea into a menu of unique, one-of-a-kind offerings that include riffs on the margarita, large format cocktails, agave aperitifs, and a list of close to 100 tequilas. “We also plan to offer a big mezcal selection; there are so many layers to that spirit, we’ll offer expressions that run the gamut from bold to mild,” says Fox. Expect drinks such as Poncho’s Bliss created from clarified coconut milk punch, dragon fruit tea and reposado tequila or The Sunkissed Caballera (recipe below) which brings together fresh lime, agave, coconut, bitter orange, reposado tequila and from-scratch citrus bitters.
Fox has enjoyed the chance to channel his creative energy into a bar experience, especially the chance to elevate his bar team. “Sometimes they take second billing to chefs. It’s fun to highlight them, the team is really into the concept and I love stretching, going beyond the expected and doing new things.”
Expect live music a few nights a week as well as a DJ. And, as for the target audience? Fox declares, “In my mind anyone who likes a margarita— a bunch of guys going to the hockey game, a couple on a date night, or a group of friends out for the evening.” Stay thirsty Nashville and mark your calendars for an autumn opening.
Sunkissed Caballera Recipe Courtesy of Pushing Daisies
Altos Reposado, 3 Citrus Bitters, Naranja Agria, Giffard Noix de Coconut, Lime Sour
• .75oz Fresh Lime
• .25oz Agave
• .25oz Giffard Noix de Coconut
• .75 Naranja Agria
• 1.5oz Altos Reposado Tequila
• 2 Dashes House Made Citrus Bitters
Directions: Place all ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake very hard. Double strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a Dehydrated Lime Wheel.