Mignon and I took a long weekend in Nashville recently — a city I had been meaning to visit for years. We kept the visit very high/low: a mix of great food and greasy eats, perfect cocktails and cheap beers, and good live music everywhere.
Food & Drink
Cafeteria-style, gigantic portions of down-home food; fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and pie (always pie!). The menu features 4-5 mains each day and they’re only open on weekdays.
We’d read about this burger spot on pretty much every list. Delicious and very reasonably priced.
In the 12 South neighborhood of Nashville, this is a good spot to end up at after shopping. Great meat and sides.
Rolf & Daughters
Upscale casual Nashville vibes in Germantown, where I had a delicious bowl of pasta and some delicious drinks.
We might have ended up here more than once.
And ate fried food.
The Patterson House
Top-notch cocktails in a speakeasy setting; good food, too.
Our dive bar indulgence. Locals told us about this place, and after hearing about how weird it was (they claimed there was karaoke around the clock, and always someone singing) we had to know. So we stopped in at 11pm on a Sunday to smattering of regulars singing their usual country love songs. Strange and intimate. The kind of bar where the bartender has no qualms about giving you two cigarettes, and you feel that you’ve walked into someones private living room party. My favorite moment was a very small, shy woman with an unassuming voice beautifully rendering Patsy Cline’s “Crazy.”
Delicious. Pro tip: There is also a location inside Pinewood Social.
Other than a peek inside on a rainy Saturday afternoon, we couldn’t get down with this place. Really cool but lots of hungover bros and bachelorettes. On second try, I came again on a Monday afternoon and it was freelance city. I snagged a cozy chair and nursed a coffee for hours.
To be clear — this place was not what we expected. I’m sure serious coffee fanatics go wild for it, but we were not their customer. Go here if: you like all the coffee shop hip souvenirs, you like a chemistry lab setup, you enjoy Americana, you don’t mind paying (a lot) more for good coffee, you can handle a very in-depth, unconventional menu, you have seven minutes to spare while the barista explains all the jargon, your drink is not one with steamed milk, you are okay going on a scavenger hunt for all your coffee dressings (milk) and accessories (lids/straws) after you receive your order. Hint: they might be hiding near a record player. (At one point I looked to the ceiling, threw my hands in the air and muttered “I HATE THIS PLACE.”)
(Disclaimer: Once we got through all these annoyances, and after I accidentally threw their credit card reader across the room because it wasn’t attached to the counter when I swiped, the coffee was really, really good.)
The Station Inn
Live Bluegrass Jam on Sunday nights that is not to miss; an intimate space with musicians of all ages and all instruments rotating eight until late.
Acme Feed & Seed
We ended up here twice, and saw great live music both times. One night our table was crashed by a group in town for a propane convention, which made for an interesting twist to the evening.
The 5 Spot
I came here on my first evening in Nashville and caught the end of nice local set. During my taxi ride there, I asked the driver if the venue I was going to was the right choice. His response: “Oh yes. Lady Gaga went there when she was in town.”
The Family Wash
We stopped in here for a couple sets on a Saturday night. Lovely and calm. Great venue.
Robert’s Western World
Trashy. Touristy. Essential.
$3 High Lifes
Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge
Trashier. Touristy. Essential.
$7 High Lifes
Unfortunately we didn’t see a show at the Ryman while we were in town (we really tried), but we DID take a backstage tour and learn some history about the “mother church”. One of my favorite parts of the venue was all the incredible costumes and clothing from famous Ryman performers. (PS: I would honestly skip the additional $10 backstage portion of the tour — the performer dressing rooms were disappointing and sadly renovated to the point that they look like a crying room in a church.)
Hatch Show Print
Obviously come here to see the amazing old show prints, and new prints as well.