48 hours in nashville
full disclosure: i’ve lived in nashville my whole life, so this 48 hours is not necessarily how i would do a weekend in nashville, but i’m happy with it. maybe there will be a part 2 in the future. i like that idea.
we had a guest in town this past weekend and we did our best to cover as much ground as humanly possible in 2 days. many drinks were consumed and many ubers were taken. i’m still tired…and full.
somewhere over the last 4 years nashville became the “it”city which means every single person in the entire world wants to be here on the weekends. it’s insane. the airport on friday afternoons looks like a la guardia or lax except it’s full of bachelorette parties and bros in flat brimmed hats looking to get absolutely obliterated on broadway. honestly, if i didn’t live here and visited for a weekend, i wouldn’t want to leave. it’s an amazing city.
first things first, if you’re coming here for a weekend, you need a place to stay. i’m a hotel kind of guy, so i would prefer to stay somewhere like the hutton, the omni or the hermitage. the hermitage has one of my favorite bars in the entire world, the oak bar. it’s the one with the crazy art deco green and black bathroom. (google it and you’ll see what i mean.) if you’re coming in a big group, it makes more sense to air b&b. hotel prices are crazy right now – crazy as in pricier than new york. not kidding.
shopping in nashville hasn’t really caught up with the booming food scene, so don’t leave a lot of room in your suitcase for new stuff unless you want some cowboy boots. imogene + willie is a cool store, but that’s really about it. there’s a mall (green hills) and some boutiques for da ladies. let’s be honest though: no one comes to nashville to shop. with that said…
husk – i started the weekend off right with lunch at husk on friday. husk is one of my favorite spots in nashville. i usually go with the pimento cheese sandwich, but this week i went with the burger. i’m trying to find the best burger in nashville. thrillest declared husk’s the best, but i’m not so sure. we also got the pimento cheese appetizer and the wings. good start to the weekend.
bastion – we went here for drinks. another favorite of mine. the only food they have on the bar menu is nachos and they are damn good. get them even if you’re not hungry. the staff is super friendly and helpful when trying to decide what to drink (great cocktail menu). they also have a restaurant component that i’ve never tried. it was just named a semi-finalist for the james beard best new restaurant award. pretty damn cool if you ask me.
chauhan ale & masala house – for obvious reasons, indian food was an interesting choice before we went out on friday night, but it’s hard to get a reservation in nashville and we lucked out even getting this one. appetizers were the tandoori chicken poutine (above) and the gol guppa shots (below). the gol guppy is a popular indian street food. it’s a cilantro cocktail in a fried circle thing. no other way to describe it. they were very very interesting. i got the chef’s meat & 3 which i don’t recommend because they didn’t please the pallet this particular night. i want to go back and try something else, because my girlfriend’s desi fare was really good.
crazy town – we went downtown (broadway) after dinner to meet up with some more out-of-towners. bloody hell. downtown is miserable. i would rather get a root canal. every single honky tonk is now three stories of nightmares. our particular nightmare was the hick dj section. it wasn’t even live music. the patrons of crazy town didn’t care though as they were drunkenly humping whoever would accept their pelvic advances. i used to love downtown. legend’s corner, the stage and robert’s were my go-to’s in my early to mid 20’s. i still stand by robert’s western world. if you have to go downtown, go to robert’s and stay away from everything else. you’ll thank me later.
neighbors – this could be my favorite bar in nashville. it’s a true neighborhood bar in the sense that it’s the most eccentric group of people you’ll see in one place. i used to keep a note in my phone of things i overheard at neighbors. it’s r rated, so i won’t share. rarely do i go there when something weird doesn’t happen to me or someone in my group. it’s the perfect neighborhood bar and the perfect spot to end the night. they’re open until 3 or 3:30 i think.
pinewood social – thank god for brunch and thank god for pinewood social. my egg sandwich (above) was f**king awesome. i love this place. it’s a frequent weekday meeting spot for me. they have excellent coffee courtesy of a partnership with nashville coffee shop crema. they even have a bowling alley and a tiny baby pool (only open in the summer). in fact, anthony bourdain stopped by here on his recent trip to nashville to film parts unknown. that’s boss.
tennessee brew works – when the weather’s good or bad or neutral or it’s the weekend and i want to drink beer, you can find me here. their “southern wit” witbier is a personal favorite of mine. they also have big tables and games. we played an epic game of giant jenga. you can’t go wrong.
clydes – whatever. some of the crew we were with wanted to go to this place. it’s a large bar with games and a wide variety of drinks. it’s ok. i don’t mind it, but can’t recommend it unless you’re trying to be a team player because you have a guest in town.
jack brown’s beer & burger joint – this is my girlfriend’s favorite cheat meal in nashville. it’s exactly what you think it is: it’s a beer and burger joint. they have an excellent selection of beers and several unique burgers. i usually get the “greg brady” which is a burger topped with mac & cheese and bbq potato chips. it sounds disgusting, but it’s not. it’s heaven. they’re also on the smaller size, so you don’t feel like shit when you leave. get the sweet potato fries as well and if you’re feeling super adventurous, treat yo self to a fried oreo.
rebar – this is an old haunt on division st. it used to be super crowded all the time because of the overflow at all the other bars on division, but kung fu took a big portion of their crowd. they do have skee-ball which is nice. really no reason to go here unless the weather is good and you want to sit outside and chug bushwhackers.
kung fu – the new kid in town. it’s a “barcade” right next to rebar. holy shit. it was packed with college kids and older dudes trying to prey on the younger ladies. at 10, they turned the lights down and the club music up. no thanks. i’m out. i’m sure it’s fun in the day time when you can jump on super mario cart. i guess that gives me something to look forward to. i can always fucks with ms. pacman.
five daughters bakery – oh man. what can i say about five daughters? i avoided this place for a while because of the hype. i was wrong to do that. it’s amazing. the donuts are $5, but they are worth every penny. be careful though because most are creme filled. they also have a nice selection of paleo and gluten free donuts if you’re into that kind of thing.
the nations bar & grill – this is a brand new neighborhood bar in the nations area. it looks like an old school diner. we didn’t try the food, but the beer was cold and the darts were darts. i’ll definitely go back sometime and try some of the bar food. i live down the street, so any neighborhood drinking hole is good by me.
hattie b’s – you can’t leave nashville without trying hot chicken. it’s suddenly become the dish that we’re known for. prince’s may have started the trend, but hattie b’s perfected it. i usually go with 3 fried tenders, fries and pimento mac & cheese. i changed it up this week with 2 grilled and 1 fried. it was still damn good. make sure you get hot. it’s called hot chicken; not mild chicken.
the pharmacy – we went to east nashville after lunch to show our guest a different side of town. the pharmacy has great burgers and a good selection of beers. they also have a beer garden in the back. it was the perfect day to sit outside and knock back a couple. don’t let the wait scare you. this is a good spot.
east nashville beer works – here’s another new brewing company in nashville. i’m not crazy about the beer, but the hang is great. it’s very open with a huge patio. you can also bring dogs. oh, and they have games. we played a not-so-competetive game of cranium. when’s the last time you played cranium? that’s what i thought.
belcourt taps – our guest wanted to see some live music while she was in town, so we took her to a writer’s round at belcourt taps. if you have to hear songwriters while you’re in nashville and can’t get into the bluebird (no one can these days), then check out belcourt taps or the listening room – both are songwriter friendly and loaded with talent.
wow. that’s it. that was 48 hours in nashville. we hit a lot of spots and i feel like we only touched the tip of the iceberg. i guess i’ll save the rest for part 2. if you need any recommendations on anything nashville related, don’t be scared to hit me up. firstname.lastname@example.org.
below are a couple of extra recommendations that i would try to fit in while you’re in town.
little octopus – i mentioned trying to find the best burger in nashville. this could be it (below). i didn’t even need ketchup. it’s incredible. you can only get it at lunch. it’s worth popping by there. the brussel sprouts (above) were amazing as well. it’s a small plates kind of place, so try everything and don’t be scared. the menu is intimating for a first timer.
city house – i hate that this is so far down the list, because it is hands down my favorite restaurant in nashville. i’ve never had a bad meal or bad experience there. get the belly ham pizza with an egg on top. it will change your life. i dream about it on the reg. city house, i love you.