Flashback: Nashville

It’s hard to believe Alex and I went to Nashville for a long weekend three and a half years ago. It feels like it was just yesterday! We went up to Nashville to cheer on the Gators while they played the Vanderbilt Commodores and decided to spend a long weekend vacationing there!

Nashville has several areas which all have distinct personalities. We explored three of them. Midtown/West End is near the Vanderbilt campus. The Gulch is an up and coming area outside of downtown. Downtown/The District is where all of the great live music is and is also home to the Country Music Hall of Fame. I’ve noted which area is home to each of my recommendations below.

Note: All recommendations have been verified to be open. Also, I apologize for the picture quality, my camera wasn’t very great at the time!

Eat:

Midtown: We had lunch at Rotier’s, which is the cutest little diner and is a Nashville institution for burgers and beer. It is a hole in the wall, but is a very enjoyable local experience.

front-of-restaurant
via tripadvisor.com

We had dinner at Taco Mamacita’s, a great “fresh-Mex” restaurant right in the heart of the Vanderbilt neighborhood. Taco Mamacita’s offers delicious gourmet tacos at basic taco prices. There is a lively atmosphere from the great bar and the location near campus. If you happen to be headed to Chattanooga, Tennessee or Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, both cities also have locations.

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Gulch: We stopped for coffee at the coziest little coffee shop in the up-and-coming Gulch area called Casablanca, but unfortunately it has since closed. I am recommending it to you because it was reopened by the same owners and is now named Bond. They still sell many of the same drinks and menu items, but the atmosphere is a bit different. It is now a sleeker, more modern atmosphere that caters to young professionals. If our experience at the former Casablanca is any indication, I am sure Bond is just as great!

The Gulch has several other bars and restaurants. I wish we had more time there, so if you go to Nashville and hang out in the Gulch, please let me know what you recommend!

DowntownRippy’s is a great Tennessee barbeque restaurant on Broadway just across the street from Tootsies. I highly recommend Rippy’s because you can listen to live country music with your ribs and beer. Rippy’s is a great place to stop and get a meal to take a break from bar hopping.

Drink:

Midtown: The Vanderbilt area has several fun bars located within walking distance of each other. Perfect for bar hopping, pub crawling, or a bachelor/bachelorette party!

Here are our favorites:

Patterson House: Located in an unassuming house, Patterson House is a hidden gem. It has a speakeasy vibe, where you can order artisanal cocktails while surrounded by books. Very limited space, possibly celebrity sightings.

Red Door: Full bar, hot dogs, sandwiches, pizza, and unique decor.

Losers and Winners: Two dive bars right next door to each other. Both have live music, cold beer, and bar food.

Tin Roof: Dive bar atmosphere, live music, great food.

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Alex and I at Red Door Saloon

Gulch: If you know me or read my blog, you are very aware of my love of craft beer, so it should come as no surprise that Alex and I visited Yazoo Brewery (which had only recently opened at the time!). Unfortunately, we weren’t able to take a tour. However, we were more than happy to spend a few hours in the taproom tasting everything and snacking on a cheese board. Even if you don’t make it to the taproom in Nashville, do yourself a favor and order Yazoo whenever you see it. It is excellent and the owners have a truly inspiring story of building their company from the ground up.

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Downtown: Of course, Nashville is the country music capital of the US and boasts more live country music in a small radius than anywhere else I have ever been. So without any exaggeration, I recommend almost any bar on Broadway for a great live country music experience. You can walk into any bar on Broadway and have a great time listening to live music and people watching. It can be a bit touristy, but is a great time that you can’t miss! And you never know if you are witnessing the next Taylor Swift or Jake Owen!

Our favorites were: The StageTootsies, and Big Bang (a dueling piano bar with a handful of locations across the country).

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Alex and I at the Stage
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Tootsies
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Hanging out on Broadway

Do:

MidtownCentennial Park is a great place to walk around. The park features a replica of the Parthenon, walking trails, the Centennial Art Center, historical monuments, a sunken garden, band shell, and dog park.

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At Centennial Park in front of the Parthenon replica

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Playing in the fall leaves
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Lake Watauga

Vanderbilt: The Vanderbilt campus itself is just beautiful, so you could explore the campus a bit if you are interested. The stadium, however, is the size of my high school’s. Not something I expected from an SEC team! There are also several cute shops nearby and great restaurants, as I mentioned above.

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Gulch: The Gulch is a very fun place to spend an afternoon. There is an opportunity to do a lot of damage to your credit card shopping at some of the many boutiques. When you are done, there are several bars and restaurants where you can refuel.

Downtown: The downtown bars are great during the day if you want to sit and enjoy some live music without all of the crowds. If you are a country music fan, you will want to stop at the Country Music Hall of Fame where you can learn all about the history and stars of country music. When you are done, stop at Mike’s Ice Cream for some coffee and handmade ice cream where countless Nashville royals have eaten before you.

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We were just one day early for the CMA awards, but we did see some of the setup!

And before we recap, I have to include a link I found to some of the best places to spot celebrities, if you are a country music fan!

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RECAP:
Eat:
Taco Mamacita, 1200 Villa Pl, Nashville, TN 37212
Bond, 602 12th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203
Rippy’s, 429 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203
Rotier’s, 2413 Elliston Pl, Nashville, TN 37203
Mike’s Ice Cream, 208 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37201
Drink:
Patterson House, 1711 Division St, Nashville, TN 37203
Red Door, 1816 Division St, Nashville, TN 37203
Losers and Winners, 1911 and 1913 Division St, Nashville, TN 37203
Tin Roof, 1516 Demonbreun St, Nashville, TN 37203
Yazoo, 910 Division St, Nashville, TN 37203
The Stage, 412 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203
Tootsies, 422 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203
Big Bang, 411 Broadway #201, Nashville, TN 37203
Do:
Centennial Park, 2500 West End Ave, Nashville, TN 37203
The Gulch
Country Music Hall of Fame, 222 5th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203

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