I recently took a quick excursion to Nashville (or as some call it Nash-Vegas), to attend a Sam Smith concert. This was my first time visiting Nashville. However, I am mildly familiar with the city especially the country music scene. Since I would only be in town for 48 hours I wanted to maximize my time. Here's a recap of how I spent 48 hours in Nashville.
1pm - Flight to Nashville. Wheels up!
2:30 pm - Land in Nashville.
2:49 pm - Board Number 18 bus to Downtown.
3:30 pm - Arrive at hotel Noelle Nashville and check in.
4:30 pm - Head over to Printers Alley for a quick bite. Printers Alley is an area in Downtown Nashville with a handful of restaurants and bars. I see the Fleet Street Pub, it looks like an interesting enough place. I immediately descend the stairs and enter the subterranean environment. Fleet Street pub is a U.K. inspired pub featuring a huge beer selection, mixed drinks and pub food. The atmosphere is lively and decorative but not too kitschy. I pull up to the bar and order a Jameson and ginger-ale to whet my whistle then I look over the menu. I order the Liverpool Street Lamb burger prepared to medium temperature. The burger arrived a little while later and it looks great. The burger was dressed with Moroccan spice, harissa yogurt, sweet-pickled red onion, fresh mint, cucumber and served with fries. The burger flavor has a North African influence courtesy of the Moroccan spice and harissa yogurt and is very delicious. Just a word of caution, Fleet Street allows smoking indoors but there are areas that aren't as smoky as others. I'm not a smoker so I didn't linger too long.
5pm - Stroll around the Lower Broad area (Broadway Avenue between 2nd and 4th Avenues). The Lower Broad area has many bars, restaurants and live music and is the epicenter of nightlife in Nashville. However, since it's early, the area is a little quiet. It get's really bustling around 8pm and goes until about 2am. There are no cover charges to enter the bars and many of the bars feature local, undiscovered country music acts. No worries if you aren't a country music fan, many of the bars have rooftops with DJs playing Pop, Hip-Hop, and other genres of music.
6pm - Walk back to the hotel for a quick nap and shower before dinner.
7:30 pm - Head out to dinner at The Southern to meet with a dear friend who recently relocated to the Nashville area with her family. The Southern is a steak and oyster restaurant featuring classic southern food in a energetic environment located in the South Broadway area which is a short walk from my hotel. Our reservation is for 7:45 pm. After being seated, we order cocktails to start the evening, I order a bourbon cocktail that is reminiscent of an old fashioned and my dinner companion orders one of the gin cocktails. Both were delicious and well crafted. We then peruse the menu to decide what we'd like to order for dinner. I start with the oysters and chorizo appetizer then request the chicken fried chicken for my entrée. The oysters taste great and the ground chorizo is the perfect addition to enhance the flavor of the dish. I move on to the chicken fried chicken entrée and it is flavorful as well. The chicken breast is breaded and seasoned well and served with collard greens and macaroni and cheese. The chicken and greens are the perfect representation of southern comfort food. However, the macaroni and cheese is bland and uninspired, forgo it if offered. My friend has the deviled egg appetizer and hot chicken salad for her entrée. She indicates that both dishes are tasty. Nashville is known for their hot chicken (more on that later). We take our time and order another round of drinks as we catch up. A little while later, we order dessert. I go for the bananas foster bread pudding and my friend orders the cookie plate. Both desserts were rich, sweet and scrumptious. After dinner, I bid my friend farewell and meet up with a different friend for cocktails and conversation.
11pm - Arrive at The Patterson House for late night libations. The Patterson House is located in the West End area of Nashville which is about 2 miles from downtown. There is a long wait but it only heightens the anticipation for the experience. Once you get inside, you wait in the waiting area, which is a small parlor before you are seated. When the host calls your party up, you're ushered through a velvet curtain and transported into a 1920's era speakeasy. The lighting is dark and suggests debauchery but everything is on the up-and-up. The barstaff greets us right away. There is a formal cocktail menu but the real magic happens when the bartender goes off the cuff. I judge a cocktail bar by how well it executes the classics. For my first drink, I ordered the "Remember the Maine" and it tastes great, well balanced and strong. Up next I have an oldie but goodie, the "Vieux Carre" once again, it is another homerun. I actually didn't expect anything less. The positive reputation of The Patterson House is well documented on Trip Advisor and Yelp in addition to word-of-mouth from the locals. I highly recommend stopping in when you visit Nashville. Even if you aren't a cocktail person, there is something for everyone here. The bartenders will happily craft something special for you.
2am - Returned to hotel. Night one done.
8:45 am - Rise and shine.
9:30 am - Hustle over to the Patsy Cline Museum which is a short walk within the downtown area. I'm a big Patsy Cline fan and this visit was right up my alley. If you're looking to get a more complete picture of Patsy Cline's life, artistry, accomplishments and background then this museum is for you. It takes about an hour to get through the complete museum but it's definitely worth it. The museum houses the largest collection of Patsy Cline artifacts including clothing, furnishings, and photos and letters. Willie Nelson claims Cline's version of "Crazy" is on more jukeboxes and remains the #1 song on jukeboxes everywhere! The Patsy Cline Museum is located right above the Johnny Cash Museum in the same building. There is discounted admission if you visit both museums in the same day.
10:45 am - Arrive at Another Broken Egg for brunch. Also in the Downtown area, ABE is a popular breakfast destination for locals and tourists alike. We waited about an hour before we were seated. The food is worth the wait. I enjoy the Louisiana Crawfish Skillet, it is rich and hearty. I sip on a strawberry and St. Germain mimosa which is refreshing and light.
12:45 pm - Stop by Woolworth on 5th to take in some local history and enjoy a quick cocktail. This particular location was integral in the desegregation of lunch counters in Nashville. Since the Jim Crow laws of the 1890s prohibited African Americans from eating at these public lunch counters, generations of African Americans grew up without being able to enjoy this popular American ritual. That changed as African American students attending college in Nashville in the 1960's sought to challenge this decades-old practice of segregation at lunch counters. One of the original “five and dime” stores, F. W. Woolworth became the site of some of the first lunch counter sit-ins during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement in Nashville. Through a massive restoration effort, much of the original architecture was preserved, including the upper level mezzanine, gilded handrails and wall accents, and hand-laid tile. Parts of the cavernous 18,000-square-foot space that could not be preserved were recreated to echo the style of the past: flowing staircases, the rebuilt lunch counter, wood-paneled walls, turquoise colors and an art deco-inspired vibe. The menu offers southern favorites as well as some modern additions. I will go back for a meal on my next visit.
1:30 pm - Jump in an Uber to check out the Gulch area. The Gulch area features restaurants and high-end shopping in a more laid-back atmosphere and is just a few miles from Downtown.
3pm - Back to the hotel to unwind before dinner and Sam Smith.
5:45 pm - Meet with my friend for pre-dinner cocktails at The Hayes Hotel.
6:30 pm - Dinner at Saltine. Saltine is a modern American restaurant with seafood, steaks, and po'boys. The portions are generous and enticing. The space is open and airy and features a raw bar and outdoor patio. I keep it simple and go with the Cajun burger: 2 patties, andouille sausage and chili aioli. My friend had the fish-n-chips. Both entrees are savory and appetizing.
7:45 pm - Scoot over to Bridgestone Arena for the Sam Smith concert. We arrive just in time to catch the opening act, Cam, who is a Nashville resident and country music artist. Cam has written for several artists including Miley Cyrus and Sam Smith. She was entertaining and her voice was clear and resonant. After a half hour intermission, the main event begins. Sam looks and sounds great. He makes really good use of his background singers, band, staging and lighting. He even has a few choreographed dance steps. It is a great show and the audience looks to be at capacity.
11:30 pm - Reach Hattie B's for hot chicken for a late night snack. The chicken has 6 heat levels: southern, mild, medium, hot, damn hot, and shut the cluck up. My friend and I try the "hot" level, and it doesn't disappoint. My nose runs and eyes water very quickly after the first few bites. The chicken is brined then dredged in a batter featuring their proprietary blend of seasonings and spices before it's fried. You also have a choice of sides ranging from fries to greens. It's a counter style restaurant where you order then your food is brought to you at your table. Typically the wait time to order is 1 hour but you can skip the line by ordering ahead online. The staff is friendly and helpful. Check them out when you visit Nashville. Great chicken!
12:30 am - Back to the Lower Broad area to check out the scene there. This is where the Nash-Vegas comparisons come to life. The streets are flooded with people, the music is thumping, lights are flashing, beer is flowing, and a light breeze is blowing. I think it's the perfect setting for 20 somethings. I also notice a large contingents of bachelorette parties populating the area as well. I lost interest after half an hour then head to Skull's Rainbow Room for a nightcap. Skull's features live music and burlesque shows, the shows have already ended by the time I arrive so I enjoy an Old Fashioned. My drink is strong and effective. Bartenders are personable and knowledgeable. The dark paneled walls evoke a prohibition era speakeasy. The crowd is lively and personable.
1:45 am - Back to hotel. Night two down.
Sleep in for most of the morning.
11am - Check out of hotel.
11:15 am - Board express bus to airport.
11:30 am - Stop by Tootsie's in Terminal C. Tootsie's is the airport outpost of the famous honky-tonk bar. True to the original, live country music is played in a bustling setting with standard bar food like burgers, fries and such. The wait staff is friendly and attentive and filled with Southern hospitality, a nice send off for my first trip to Nashville.
12:40 pm - Board plane.
1:10 pm - Wheels up! See you next time Nashville.