• Mitchell Deli

Totally reviving the East Nashville food scene (and possibly setting the bar for full-service delicatessens all over the US), Mitchell Deli was founded in 2008 with the goal of providing customers with all-natural, all-delicious ingredients made into beautiful sandwiches, and on their first day of service, they ran out of food. If that isn’t enough of an indicator of Mitchell Deli’s greatness, check out their legendary Asian flank steak sandwich (once offered only on Mondays, but now available throughout the week due to high demand), which has been featured on Adam Richman’s Best Sandwich in America and is served on locally made, fluffy ciabatta bread.

  • Fox's Donut Den

Nashville locals have fallen so hard and fast for Fox's, they've even taken engagement photo shoots there. And although both parties in that couple were human, you might be inclined to straight-up propose marriage to a baked good once you've eaten a Fox's apple fritter. Or Simpsons donut. Or hazelnut. Or...

  • Kayne Prime

It’ll be tough to save room for the steaks when Kayne starts you off with its famous bacon-topped maple cotton candy, but make sure you do. Nashville’s premiere steakhouse serves meat from all over the globe, and while nothing on the menu comes anywhere near “cheap,” it’s the rare meal that you won’t mind dropping some cash on.

  • Amari

Nashville finally has the speakeasy-style bar it deserves, to accompany the strongholds of Holland House and Patterson House in the city’s cocktail canon. The entrance is through Savarino’s Cucina, tucked way on the second floor above the restaurant. While you can absolutely get a cocktail that rivals either of those mixed-drink havens or just indulge in the half-priced wine happy hours (and you should definitely do that), the move here is (obviously) amari. There are over 20 varieties of the Italian liqueur available, and since it’s the most in the region, you should probably grab a couch, order a flight, and settle in for a night of tasting.

  • Blackstone Brewing Co.

Top-rated breweries: Yazoo Brewing Co., Wiseacre Brewing Like the hard-drinkin' protagonist of a particularly uplifting country song, Tennessee's beer scene has fought long and hard to get the recognition it deserves. Now, young bucks like Yazoo and Wiseacre Brewing are center stage, but Blackstone's the legend, one of the pioneers who still pumps out remarkable beers like Stephanie's Dubbel -- named for the brewery's late co-founder -- and St. Charles porter. Basically, if they made a movie about brewing in Tennessee, Blackstone would be the beloved but often overlooked legend played by Jeff Bridges, and we'd be barred from visiting for making terrible country-music references.

  • The Grilled Cheeserie

When you think of Nashville's food scene, BBQ and hot chicken immediately spring to mind. And by all means, you should totally gorge on all that stuff on your next Aziz Ansari-style jaunt to the Music City. But please, save a little pocket of stomach space for this gourmet sandwich truck, founded by a husband-and-wife team of LA transplants (one of which happens to be a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef). Their truck is always packing eco-friendly melts like the B&B of Tennessee (Benton's bacon, buttermilk cheddar, and seasonal jam on multigrain), and they're even cool enough to let you build your own sandwich on the fly, with any combo of their 15+ ingredients.

  • The 404 Kitchen, The 404

Why a hotel and restaurant inside repurposed shipping containers? Because it is a hotel and restaurant inside repurposed shipping containers. The 404 is a five-room micro-boutique hotel with an attached restaurant that shows off the possibilities and versatility of, well, living and working in a shipping container. The 404 Kitchen has an intimate six-seat bar (another way of saying it's really small), and an excellent cocktail list that boasts modern twists on classics and an acclaimed lineup of bourbon, rare whiskey, and Scotch.

  • Cash Presley & Beatles Loved It

Music Row Rate: $185/night What you get: Entire apartment (accommodates four): one bedroom; one bathroom OK, so you're not exactly staying Downtown, but you're only about a 10-minute walk from Broadway and all the music/beer/touristy happenings. More importantly, this condo is a CONVERTED MUSIC STUDIO (!), which in Music City is about as cool as it gets. It's unclear whether Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, or The Beatles actually did love this place, or even stepped inside to be honest, but there is a guitar-shaped pool. And that says A LOT. Although, an honorable mention should also go to this other listing, which is rumored to once have been the home of Johnny Cash.

  • Hops & Crafts

Nashville has been blowing up! Tennessee's beer scene has been blowing up! Hops & Crafts reflects both of these trends, a 36-tap, wonderfully welcoming beer bar and growler-filling station devoted heavily to Tennessee brews and other regional favorites from neighboring states. On the off chance the beer wasn't already filling you with Southern pride, a helping of Daddy Bob's pimento cheese should do the trick just fine. Additional important local-pride note: Tennessee pints are half price on Tuesdays.

#1. THE FOODIE Source: The Hermitage

Where to stay: The Hermitage Hotel is the crème de la crème of Nashville hospitality, and with current rankings on lists such as U.S. News and World Report’s “Top 50 Hotels in the United States” and Travel + Leisure’s “Top 500 Hotels in the World,” not to mention a Forbes’ and AAA five-star rating, you know this place is also going to deliver in the food department. And it does. The Capitol Grille has been around since 1910, and today it is leading the charge with a farm-to-table seasonal menu (all sourced from farms less than five miles away). Even if you never leave the hotel, you can rest assured you'll taste some of the best bounty Tennessee has to offer.

Source: love & olive oil

What to do: For the food-lover, doing is eating in Nashville. So if you’re not stuffed from a night at the Capital Grille, start your day with a fresh cup of caffeine at any number of the coffee hangs. Among locals, Bongo Java is a favorite as is Revelator, while the slightly more mustachioed clientele frequent Barista Parlor or Crema—especially for the avocado or ricotta toast. For something beyond the typical latte, head to Steadfast for their matchless coffee soda—it’s a bubbly concoction of espresso meets fresh orange peel, and will give foodies something to mull over. Don’t forget to stop for a doughnut at Five Daughters or Shipley’s, and get a “Proper” Bagel for a bit of Brooklyn in the south. If you still have room, line up at Pancake Pantry. They have all the classics, but the cornmeal pancakes are especially zesty.

Source: The Nashville Kid

And for lunch? Well, you’re just getting started. You can’t miss barbeque at Peg Leg Porker, arguably “the” place for BBQ in Nashville or—because you have to—the hot chicken at classic Hattie B’s. If vegetarian is more your thing, don’t worry. Hit up the kimchi spring rolls at vegan Avo (and be sure to go back for their avocado margarita at happy hour) or dive into the nachos at vegetarian Wild Cow. For spice? Go for the new Bajo Sexto Lounge in Sylvan Park, some Mas Tacos in East Nashville, or a burger and shake across the street at The Pharmacy—where a killer black bean and chickpea burger make the menu. While you’re at it, stop at Dino’s. Their no-frills burgers have been known to charm everyone from neighborhood regulars to the Biebs and Leon Bridges.

In Nashville, reservations are necessary for dinner, whether you’re hitting Germantown for locally grown deliciousness at Rolf & Daughters (or just their stracciatella) or some rustic Southern-slash-Italian fare up the street at City House. Across town, Adele’s will have you second-guessing Nashville for Santa Barbara, especially when it comes to their kale salad, as will M Street Virago or the new(ish) Otaku Ramen. Le Sel is worth visiting—their raw oyster bar is one thing, but so is the dreamy pink decor. Burger Up and Epice in 12 South are also fantastic, as is southern living-legend Sean Brock’s Husk.

Basically, you can’t eat poorly in this town.

Source: Robbie Caponetto

And finally, you're ready for a nightcap. Oh, do you have your choices! The Patterson House is a favorite if you want a speakeasy with a side of tater tots (read: always). As is Holland House and the serene Bar Luca. Old Glory and Bastion will serve up a mean cocktail with a side of chic industrial grit, but head to “Green Hour” at Tempered for something really unique—it’s where you’ll find Paris’ Belle Époque with a wide variety of absinthe offerings.

#2. THE HISTORY BUFF Source: Aesthetiica

Where to stay: Union Station is a splendor of architecture—it's a boutique hotel nestled inside the remains of a 19th-century rail station. Be sure to schedule your reservation over a Thursday night so you have time to catch Riffs on the Rails, a local music showcase that takes place every other Thursday night in the grand lobby.

What to see: Start your day with a tour of the Belle Meade Plantation. Not only are the grounds of this 1820's estate beautiful, but also the aptly-dressed tour guides will give you a fascinating look at the family history that practically put Nashville on the map. It’s a must for getting your bearings, and the complimentary wine tasting isn’t bad, either.

Next, discover the unbelievable story of Nelson’s Greenbrier Distillery, a former household whiskey name in the pre-Prohibition era. It was all but forgotten after it shut its doors in 1910, until a fateful road-trip in 2006 led the great-great-grandsons of Charles Nelson to rediscover their family’s legacy. You’ll want to get all the details, plus taste their sherry-cask finished bourbon, on one of their tours.

Source: Sarah Joelle Photography

  • After all the wine and the whiskey, take a breather with a stroll through Cheekwood. This beautiful estate and botanical garden once belonged to the Cheeks family, of Maxwell House Coffee fortune, and was modeled after some of Europe’s most pristine residences. This is truly a place to escape—you can wander its many paths so bring a book, leave your phone in the car, and see if you can forget where you are, even just for a little while.
  • The Pharmacy Burger Parlor & Beer Garden

This Tennessee Biergarten also boasts a burger counter, so we’re pretty sure we just found the happiest place on earth. With a stroganoff burger in one hand and imported Kolsch in the other, who wouldn’t be smiling?

  • Santa's Pub

Becoming the most fun bar in a city awash with live music, party people, and copious amounts of cheap alcohol is no easy feat. But the seemingly unassuming Santa's Pub has done exactly that, largely on the strength of super cheap beers, nightly karaoke that inevitably turns into a decibel-shattering sing-along, raucous live bands -- oh, and being situated in a freakin' double-wide trailer stuffed to the gills with Christmas memorabilia doesn't hurt the charm. The tables are plastic. The patrons have zero pretension. And its exceedingly hard not to hang out here all night and have a good time. It's honestly as if your slightly redneck cousin decided to have the world's most fun house party. Every. Single. Night. And keep your eyes peeled for the occasional big-time crooner, showing up late-night to sing some hits amongst the commoners. It happens.

  • The Patterson House

A house full of rules (i.e. no cell phones, no standing, no name dropping, no fighting, no creepin’), Nashville’s Patterson is a bit of an institution. With an apothecary-meets-speakeasy-meets-modern-bar vibe, this is the perfect place to get a really, really good drink in Music City.

  • Springwater

Possibly the diviest of dive bars in the entire country, Springwater’s been serving alcohol legally and illegally since it opened in 1896. Local legend says that Al Capone and Hank Williams have stopped by, while modern celebrities like Taylor Swift, Kesha and Kid Rock have definitely grabbed a drink here. It’s unassuming, small and looks like a shack, but it’s charming.

  • The Flamingo

What: A Miami-inspired cocktail lounge with a zero-waste program and plant-based food menu, located in a renovated church. Why it’s important: The high-volume bar, which will also be home to a sister coffee shop called The Falcon, will produce only biodegradable and compostable waste.

  • Pearl Diver

What: A “relaxed island lounge” located in a former midcentury garage serving tropical inspired cocktails and bites from Jason Zygmont (The Treehouse) Why it’s important: Details are still sparse regarding the menu, but judging from the build-out photos, Pearl Diver is going full-custom on glassware, portholes, tropical wallpaper and a yakitori grill. Look for thoughtful touches like dropper bottles with fresh citrus juice in lieu of cut garnishes.

  • Chopper Tiki

What: Nashville’s first tiki bar celebrating island-centric “tastes, flavors and frozen delights.” Why it’s important: The new bar will fill the two spaces last home to Bar Luca and Moto Moda. If their recent pop-up previews are any indication of their brick-and-mortar menu, expect more frozen Jungle Bird riffs, Sassafras-Falarnum Swizzles and a bevy of tiki deep-cuts.

nov 23 2015 ∞
apr 23 2018 +