Southeast Trip 2016 – Nashville

the Stacy Mitchhart band playing live music at Bourbon Street Blues Bar in Nashville

I was very excited to show my travel squad around Music City, and check out some new places as well.  Let’s get right to it!

Priorities:

  • Hot chicken
  • Live music
  • BBQ
  • New neighborhoods

Day 5 – Wednesday (cont.)

We had worked up quite the appetite on our Fiery Gizzard Trail hike, and I couldn’t think of anything that I wanted to do more than get some Nashville hot chicken.  We pulled directly into Hattie B’s at around 4:30pm, delighted to see that we had timed it perfectly and there was actually NOT a line out the door and around the building!

hot chicken at Hattie B's in Nashville
Hot chicken (level “Hot” – wouldn’t dare do “Shut The Cluck Up”), collards, and pimento mac.

We weren’t the only ones in on this secret quiet time at Hattie B’s – when we sat down we noticed some bodyguard type figures roaming around the restaurant looking shady.  We looked to our left, and at the table across the aisle from us sat Chris Chrisley (I think his name is actually Todd – of Chrisley Knows Best on USA Network).  It pleased us that we had chosen a place where the stars dine…

I had been to Hattie B’s before a couple of times, but this was the first time that I ventured above the medium level of spice.  It was an adventure for sure, but I’d do it again!  The travel crew, however, was shocked at how hot the medium and mild levels were.  Luckily, a kind staff member brought over complimentary banana bread pudding to cool down the taste buds 👍.

After some logistics time (checking into the Airbnb, returning the rental car, shower, blah blah blah), we headed down to Broadway to take in some live music and see the sights.  We took a stroll up and down the main drag, observing the hordes of bachelorette parties and tourists, before popping into Layla’s to catch some bluegrass music.  After  a couple of Dos Perros (my favorite local drinkin’ beer), we decided it was time to head to the Nashville tourist’s Mecca: Tootsie’s.  With three floors of live music, plenty of cheap beers, and swaths of sweaty dancin’ boot-wearin’ toursits, it really is a must-see.  We spent the better part of three hours with the 2nd floor band, which was playing a good mix of stadium country, real country, and 90’s hits.

After Tootsie’s, we stumbled across the street to Paradise Park for some pretty gross but good drunk food before heading back to the Airbnb for the night.

Day 6 – Thursday

Thursday morning started with a late morning run and workout at the apartment complex gym to shake off the prior night’s activities.  By the time everyone was showered and ready to get back at it, lunch time was right around the corner.  So we chose to forego brunch and went straight to the 12 South neighborhood for some solid barbecue at Edley’s, which we confirmed with some locals is definitely among the top three BBQ joints in Nashville.

From there we walked to Frothy Monkey for a coffee, and then across the street to Five Daughters Bakery, where we tried a couple of famed 100-layer donuts.  We definitely did not have room, but we had to try ’em.

two croissant donuts from Five Daughters in Nashville
100-layer donuts from Five Daughters Bakery. This was not breakfast, it was lunch dessert.

After all that eating, we needed to walk around for a bit.  We decided to head over to the up and coming Germantown neighborhood to walk about and explore.  It was an interesting stroll, with some nice little houses interspersed with some run down homes, and some nice looking buildings and businesses mixed in with some rundown old warehouses.  Your classic mid-gentrification scene.  We popped into a few small shops along the way and just enjoyed the weather for a while, before hopping in an Uber back downtown en route to the Pinewood Social.

bowling alley at the Pinewood Social in Nashville
Old school alleys at Pinewood Social.

As I mentioned with regard to the Southside Social in Chattanooga, I love this kind of place.  The Pinewood Social seemed to be on the classier side of socials – with a more refined look, a quieter coffee shop area, a beautiful bar with a refined cocktail menu, some private dining rooms, the alley area, and bocce and a pool – and, of course, an Airstream – outside.  We tried a few of their fantastic cocktails and rolled a couple games of bocce before heading back to the Airbnb to get ready for dinner.

Rachel and I got ready first, and while the others freshened up we headed over to Yazoo Brewing Company for a flight (Dos Perros is still my favorite!).  From there, we were a short walk through the Gulch to our next destination – dinner with my long lost cousins!  We met them and the rest of our crew (plus Alena’s boyfriend, who had recently arrived) at Saint Añejo, a trendy Mexican restaurant.  The food and the margaritas were splendid, as was catching up with family that I hadn’t seen in years!

After dinner was one of the things I had been waiting the entire trip for.  During my previous Nashville trip, myself and a coworker stumbled upon Printers Alley, specifically the Bourbon Street Boogie and Blues Bar.  There, we saw one of the most entertaining live bands I have ever experienced – The Stacey Mitchhart Band.  Bourbon Street is their home venue, so I made sure to check on when they were playing this time around.  Stacey Mitchhart is fuego on the guitar, the rest of the band is filthy good, and they play great music – a good mix of originals and classic blues/rock jams.  The venue itself is very small and intimate, pretty divey, and when the band turns it up, it is bumpin’ in there!!  I was in my element.

travel companions watching a live music show at Bourbon Street Blues Bar in Nashville
Travel squad enjoying the music at Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar.

After a few hours (and a few jello shots) there, we had to take Alena’s boyfriend over to Tootsie’s.  Which we did, followed by a stop next door at Legends Corner for another live band, before calling it a night and ordering some late-night pizza back at the Airbnb.

Day 7 – Friday

Friday started with another morning run and workout, before heading to the famed Pancake Pantry for breakfast.  If going here, make sure you block off at least 45-60 minutes of wait time!

sign outside of Pancake Pantry
Waiting in line for Pancake Pantry on Belcourt Ave in Hillsboro Village.

We waited outside in the chilly morning air as the line slowly inched forward, until we were finally in.  And oh boy, was it worth the wait:

crepes with raspberry, chocolate, and whipped cream at Pancake Pantry in Nashville
Yup.

Next on the agenda was a trip out to the Gaylord Opryland Resort, preceded by a cup of joe at the hip Cafe Coco while we waited for our Uber.  Walking around the resort ended up being a pretty good activity in the crappy rainy weather that we were experiencing.  Not sure I would recommend it if the weather was nice and you were only in Nashville for a few days – it is a bit of a drive outside the city.  But it certainly was impressive.

By the time we got back into the city it was almost time for supper already.  I had intentionally left this night open for improvisation, thinking that we would have spotted or thought of something that we wanted to do or eat.  It turns out we were not inspired to do anything specific, so we just headed back down to the Gulch where we were the night before, and popped into a bunch of the numerous restaurants in the area to check on the wait time.  We ended up landing at Virago, a trendy sushi/Asian fusion place.

After a very tasty dinner and a few drinks, we went to check out the truly impressive beer selection at Flying Saucer, where we met up with an old friend from college who happened to be visiting from Memphis at the time!  We drank the night away, reminiscing and catching up until the place closed down, before we reluctantly went back to the Airbnb, depressed that our trip had come to an end.

Day 8 – Saturday

Back to reality 😢.  Saturday morning we packed up our things, and had time for one final meal.  We again found ourselves in the the same cluster of restaurants in the Gulch, with another college friend this time at The Whiskey Kitchen.  After one last fried chicken, it was time to head to the airport for our flights back home…

Stay tuned for lessons learned from Southeast Trip 2016!

Highlights:

  • Stacy Mitchhart Band
  • Seeing my cousins!
  • Hattie B’s

Next Time:

People are flocking to Nashville and the city is changing rapidly.  What’s new?  What did I miss?  Add a comment!

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