You guys know I love Nashville (and honestly, if you've visited, you know there are so many reasons to love it). When Ben isn't on the road making music, Nashville is his home base, so I've had the serious pleasure of getting to make it my home too.
Disclaimer, this list is of the caffeine, sweets & treats and late night hangin' variety - I could and will do a post of where to shop - the vintage and local designer scene is killer in Nash - and I'm overdue on a post about the parks, hikes and outdoor places to explore. So, without further ado, here's my short list of great places to dine and hang if you've got 24 hours in Nashville.
In the a.m.:
Yep, it's on every list. And for good reason. It's like some hottie hipster club was founded and they hold all their meetings at BP. I mean, go here for coffee too, but also go here if you want to analyze the newest all the hip trends. And you won’t just want to hang here because of everyone’s good looks - the staff is as Southerners should be, generous and friendly.
To place your order, step past the vintage motorcycles and peruse one of the hand-carved menus. As the counter barista pauses to flip whatever the vinyl of the moment is, take note of the pastries and cookies displayed in the front counter’s glass casing (and order one of course)... Be sure to pop around the corner and check out the shops next door, vintage, antiques and indie designer things galore.
Also a "best of" featuring quite possibly my favorite avocado toast in Nash and to die for donuts. It's walking distance from Ben's current apartment so I also like meeting friends on the front patio for late afternoon coffee catch ups.
Bobbie’s Dairy Dip
1950’s Americana throw back at it’s best. Outdoor seating, doo-wop music on rotation, and on a rainy day listen to rain dancing on the roof. And of course the ice cream… soft serve, sprinkles - catch a photo with your instax camera, it'll rival something your grandmother snapped hanging with her girlfriends decades ago.
It's a Nashville staple, on every menu it seems, like gumbo is in New Orleans - there's even a festival devoted to it. I personally like Pepperfire the best, Ben took me there first and despite the lines you'll find out the door at other Hot Chicken joints, this one remains my favorite.
On my first visit I got the fanciest mimosa, a bowl of fried broccoli, marveled at the bowling alley and number of people snapping instagram photos (and did the same myself later) and then discovered the pool and vintage airstream out back. I promptly hustled into my bathing suit and spent the rest of the afternoon cooling off. For you road trippers - locations with free pools and places to bathe, coupled with cocktails and cutesy eats… well there really isn’t anything better.
Cheap dinner best bets:
5 Points Pizza
You’ll know you’ve found the neighborhood when all the usual signs appear: bikes and perfectly groomed beards, plus gorgeous nuevo hippie girls in Gladys Tamez hats popping in and out of vintage and floral shops. I love the pizza and I swear, every band that’s on the brink of serious stardom is catching a post rehearsal meal. This has become our date night spot, cheap wine, delicious pizza, yep, our favorite things.
Mas Tacos Por Favor
These tacos originated in a 1970s Winnebago and now reside in a storefront curated by what was surely a roving band of hippies who’d recently scored big at the flea market. Mexican street food inspired, the carnitas are a draw and the tortilla soup is perhaps best in show.
Late night hangs:
One of the coolest bars over in East Nashville. Try their straight up ol' school cheese tots (I'm a cheese addict) with your High Life and enjoy some of the best tunes in a chill atmosphere.
A great neighborhood dive bar. They specifically market themselves as having no DJ’s, no karaoke, no trivia, just solid hangs. When we visited the juke box went from a Sade song to a Led Zeppelin song. (FTW!) Once the owner was asked about his possible Irish heritage (hence the name of the bar) his response: “It’s just a name I picked. Besides, all the cool names are already taken by the other bars in east Nashville... this building is rumored to have been a bar since it was built in 1950, I thought I’d name it something like the bars were named back then. Names like, Dino’s or Betty’s.”
Robert's Western World
This place, my friends, is the world of the Honky-Tonk. Fried bologna sandwich, real deal boots, dancing cowboys and cheap beer down on Broadway.
Of course, I'd be remiss without mentioning that Nashville is nothing without live music. While I’ve only been to a few of Nashville’s historic live music venues, I did have an opportunity to explore backstage at the Opry. WHAT A F'N DREAM.
The Basement is always a good bet too, and if you can make it happen catch a show at the Ryman Auditorium, a former church, the birthplace of the Grand Ole Opry, and “the Carnegie Hall of the South.” Not only have the famous feet of Elvis and Johnny Cash grooved on the stage of the Ryman, the stunning acoustics of this Nashville landmark make it one of the best places in the country to see live music.
So there you have it. 24-48 hours in Nashville. And, btw, for those of you in Nashville! I can't wait to make friends, drop me a line and share your personal faves! Can't wait to get there.
opening photo credit here, Bobby's Dairy Dip via FB