Investigation Launched Into Luke Bryan’s Bar Amid Search for College Student

Luke Bryan, Riley Strain

Heavy/Getty/MNPD Country star Luke Bryan, inset: college student Riley Strain, who went missing after visiting Bryan's bar.

Country superstar and “American Idol” judge Luke Bryan has broken his silence on the case of a missing college student who has not been seen since allegedly getting kicked out of his Nashville bar on March 8, 2024. Police have been searching for 22-year-old Riley Strain with no luck and now an investigation has been launched into whether Bryan’s establishment overserved Strain illegally, according to local news station WSMV.

Strain is a senior at the University of Missouri, according to Nashville’s Fox17. He was last seen just before 10 p.m. on March 8, his friends told WSMV, after he was escorted out of Luke’s 32 Bridge — a bar, restaurant, and music venue that is owned by Bryan. Hoping for help from the public to find Strain, Nashville police have released surveillance footage of him stumbling along several local streets after leaving the bar alone.

On March 12, Bryan posted a message in his Instagram Stories, according to People, alongside a statement from his bar about the ongoing search for Strain.


Here’s what you need to know:

Surveillance Video Shows Riley Strain Stumbling Along Street After Leaving Luke Bryan’s Bar

Strain, a Delta Chi fraternity member, was in Nashville with a group of fraternity brothers for their annual spring formal, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. His stepfather, Christopher Whiteid, told the paper that Strain contacted his friends after being asked to leave the premises, saying he was heading back to their hotel.

According to surveillance footage that Metropolitan Nashville Police Department released via social media, Strain may have taken a wrong turn when returning to the hotel, per the Post-Dispatch. Fox17 reported that he and his friends were staying at the Tempo by Hilton, located about five blocks away from Bryan’s bar.

The next day, on March 9, his friends “tried to report him missing” at a police precinct and the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office, according to WSMV. Unable to reach Strain or track him down using Snapchat, the students called 911 at 1:40 p.m., 16 hours after his disappearance.

On March 11, police tweeted that they searched downtown via helicopter, including along the riverbank, “but to no avail,” adding that “the investigation into his whereabouts is active.”

Bryan’s Instagram Stories on March 12 included a statement from the company that runs his downtown venue, which read, “TC Restaurant Group, operator, and owner of Luke’s 32 Bridge is continuing to work closely with the Metro Nashville Police Department to provide security camera footage and any other potentially helpful information to aid in the search for Riley Strain. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones for his safe return.”

Bryan also posted a screenshot of the police department’s tweet and wrote, “”IF YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION THAT COULD HELP. PLEASE REACH OUT TO THE NUMBER ABOVE.”

As police continue to search for Strain, WMSV reported that his mom has been in town trying to piece together her own clues on where her son might be.

Investigation Launched & Fans Upset After Luke Bryan’s Bar Let Inebriated Riley Strain Wander Downtown Alone

Luke’s 32 Bridge was featured on a 2021 episode of “American Idol,” when season 20 runner-up HunterGirl performed there and was surprised with a platinum ticket from the judges.

In response to surveillance video of Strain stumbling and even falling as he tried to find his hotel, questions are now being raised on social media about why the 22-year-old was kicked out of Luke’s 32 Bridge without his friends or the establishment calling for transportation.

Bryan has not tweeted about Strain, so people on that platform have begun to comment on his unrelated posts, urging the country star to get more involved and for his venue to explain what happened.

One wrote, “You just hiring bouncers that throw drunk college kids in the street like trash instead of calling them an uber?”

Another fan tweeted, “Luke some bad stories coming out about your bar where that kid Riley went missing. Please take a look into that to prevent more heartache. Those are some serious accusations”

Late in the day on March 13, WMSV reported that the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) has launched an investigation into whether Strain was overserved alcohol at Luke’s 32 Bridge.

‘There are no specific rules or statutes that governs escorting out intoxicated patrons from their businesses or providing assistance in getting someone home,” TABC Communications Director Aaron Rummage said in a statement. “However, state law prohibits serving alcoholic beverages to someone who is visibly intoxicated. A violation is a class A misdemeanor. The TABC has opened an investigation into this matter to see if any violations have occurred.”

On March 13, an unnamed cousin of Strain’s told KCTV reporter Janae’ Hancock that the family was told that when Strain was asked to leave Luke’s 32 Bridge, he was cooperative.

In an excerpt of an interview she tweeted, he said, “We were told even when he had to leave the bar, he wasn’t confrontational there. Just, you know, overserved, had to leave, ‘Okay.'”

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