Ah, Nashville. The home of honky honk, hot chicken, and the even hotter hit series starring Hayden Panettiere. (RIP). This past October, I ditched Chicago for a few days to head south and explore the city everyone’s currently talking about. Armed with a list of recs, I made it a mission to hit as many spots as possible. Here were my faves, broken down by region.
Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge – Although not necessarily my scene, (3 floors, 4 stages, think MAJOR party), it’s an iconic Nashville spot and can you really hate on any place with three bars? Even if loud crowds and louder music aren’t your thing, it’s still worth checking out.
Acme Feed and Seed – Another multistory place with a whole lot to offer. Their self-described “eclectic southern fare” has something for everyone and can only be described as “pretty damn amazing”. With a great selection of classic cocktails and rooftop views of the river, this place is a must.
Merchants – Great place to go if you’re feeling just a little more fancy. The former hotel-turned-restaurant offers a great bistro vibe on the first floor with upscale dining on the second. Their third floor also offers private dining options, which is a great idea for any visiting bridal parties or the like (I say this because I must have seen at least 15 groups of women in “bride tribe” tank tops throughout my visit). While Merchants food is delicious, their drink menu really stole the show for me. It may be 9am in the city but just thinking about their Gin Gin Mule has me ready for happy hour.
Tavern – If you’re looking for a place to instagram, this is one. Sleek dark brick, outdoor seating, ambient string lights, the works. Combine all of that with a blood orange mimosa to die for and you’ve got yourself the perfect Sunday brunch spot. My advice, if you have a sweet tooth like myself, is to go with the red velvet waffle. Trust me, it’s worth it.
Three Brothers Coffee – Another super Instagrammable spot (come on, I know that’s what people read these posts for and it’s only right of me to deliver). In addition to the basics, they offer a number of seasonal specialty drinks that bring Pokemon to mind (aka gotta have ’em all). I’d recommend any caffeine-loving, social-media-using millennial make this spot a priority. Do it for the gram.
Hattie B’s – What’s more Nashville than hot chicken? I really don’t have a lot to say about this place other than go, experience the heat. Be happy.
Biscuit Love – Okay, now we’re getting serious. This place is totally worth the long line that spills around the block if you get there any time after they first open their doors. My advice is to look up their hours and make it an early morning unless you’ve got an endless reserve of patience or you’re still very full from dinner the night before. I urge you to learn from my mistakes and order the Bonuts. The table next to us ordered them and I suddenly didn’t feel so smug about having ordered a healthy entree when they arrived. Save yourself a kick in the ass and enjoy every delicious bite.
Saint Anejo – I will likely come back to this place each time I visit Nashville for the rest of my life. A Mexican restaurant with a prime location, indoor/outdoor bar, and incredible homemade guacamole is basically all I need in life. Despite making the rookie mistake of filling up on chips and guac, I still managed to eat my entree because it was just that good. Also, I need to make mention of how incredibly accommodating the staff is. The only Michigan fan in the entire bar during a series of major games and they very graciously put on the Michigan vs. MSU game when I asked. Here’s to more margaritas and less losses next football season.
Edley’s Bar-B-Que – Southern barbecue, need I say more? If the smell alone isn’t enough to entice you in, perhaps the following will. Edley’s featured on Cheap Eats on the Cooking Channel and for good reason. You can’t find better barbecue for a better price. I’d definitely recommend making this your lunch spot in between browsing all of the super cute shops down 12 South.
5 Daughters Bakery – I’m almost ashamed to admit the sheer joy I felt biting into the glazed donut from 5 Daughters but that little bit of pastry is pure heaven so I’m really not that sorry. Do yourself a favor and order several of these bad boys in an array of flavors. You’ll be thanking yourself later when the drunchies hit and you’ve secured yourself a delectable snack that tastes like happiness.
Obviously there is more to Nashville than food and drink but if I included everything in this post, we’d be here all day. So here are some honorable mentions of attractions I’d recommend checking out.
Judith Bright Jewelry – Adorable jewelry and great for gifting!
Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum – Definitely a tourist attraction but totally worth a visit.
Two Old Hippies
Centennial Park – Absolutely beautiful and great area for a walk on a nice day. Also has a Parthenon replica that’s worth checking out.