Night Owls, Nashville Past

By Betsy Thorpe


Robert and Rachel, January, 1991

In the 1990’s there was an all night gathering place in Nashville Tennessee that hosted numerous and diverse urban groups.

Students from Nashville’s five major colleges and universities studied throughout the night. Dancers, bartenders and servers from Nashville’s various clubs and restaurants unwound after working all evening. Lonely hearts were soothed. Skinheads, Goths and Vampires shared meals. Policemen, Fort Campbell soldiers and late night entrepreneurs dined with beauty “queens” and cross dressers. Well known actors, athletes and musicians were spotted there. Scholars, songwriters, poets and comediennes found inspiration sipping endless cups of coffee. Romances blossomed and faded,lasting friendships were forged, theology and politics were explored, and closet doors were opened wide in the dark uneasy hours before dawn.


During my years as a “graveyard shift” server I learned to recognize and appreicate the cultural nuances of the various groups and individuals I encountered every night. I look forward to learning what happened to these Night Owls after their late night haven closed, and to sharing their stories with the readers of Nashville Past And Present.

Betsy Thorpe
Former Perkins Server

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