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Nashville dining & good spots for music

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Feb 21st, 2012, 06:12 AM
  #1
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Nashville dining & good spots for music

We are planning a trip to Nashville and are looking for places to eat and places to be festive.

We will be staying at The Hermitage and prefer walking distance. Price is not a factor.

For dining would like to find good breakfast and lunch places as well as dinner. For dinner good wine list is a big plus. Would prefer places with local flare and what could best be described as American Continental cuisine.

For music...prefer smaller places with up and coming or local acts with a fun atmosphere (I'm assuming that won't be hard to find in Nashville).

Thanks for your help!
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Feb 21st, 2012, 10:31 AM
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The Bluebird Cafe is my favorite venue for up and coming. Bluebird performances have a strong emphasis on song writers, many of whom perform their own material. Often you will have a promising new talent backed up by a couple of Grammy winner players. The audience frequently has recognizable country misic icons. If I have been to the Bluebird 25 times, I have enjoyed every show. You can buy very moderately priced tickets well in advance on line. The room is intimate and the first-come seating is limited. If you want to be sure and have a comfortable seat, arrive early. Have fun!
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Feb 21st, 2012, 10:37 AM
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We had fun at the Wildhorse Saloon. The bands were very good! DD even ventured out of her culinary comfort zone and tried the deep fried pickles!
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Feb 21st, 2012, 11:31 AM
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I second the vote for the Bluebird, but it's not that you *can* buy tickets online early, you almost must go online when the sale starts for a given night/performance if you want a seat at a table. It's been a while since I did it, but it used to be something like at 8 AM two weeks (or three or four) before the date. Or, you can get there very early as stumpworks73 suggests and hope to get one of the bar seats.

We also like the Station Inn, and there's always Tootsie's Orchid Lounge.
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Feb 21st, 2012, 01:55 PM
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It's not walking distance, but the Pancake Pantry is very good for breakfast. It's in the West End, not that far from Vanderbilt University.

You may not be up for classic Southern style "meat and three," but two places to consider for this are Monell's (family style service) and Arnold's Country Kitchen (cafeteria style service, open for M-F lunch only). Excellent of their kind. Both are a bit past walking distance from where you're staying, the former to the north, the latter to the south. A good BBQ joint within walking distance is Jack's Bar-B-Que (on Broadway). There are also two dumpy dives that do "hot chicken" that are very good, again not within walking distance, Prince's Hot Chicken Shack and Bolton's Spicy Chicken and Fish (can vouch for the latter, haven't been to the former). None are remotely fancy, sorry to report.
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Feb 21st, 2012, 04:59 PM
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I line danced at the wildhorse saloon with my DDs. We had appetizers and took in the atmosphere of the whole country western theme of nashville.
DH was in Nashville on business and we tagged along.

We went so many years ago, I can't remember the restaurants we dined in. We did stay at the Gaylord Opryland hotel.
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Feb 21st, 2012, 06:38 PM
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I remember a great meal at a Steakhouse-type place called Sperry's, but it was not close to downtown.

Are you familiar with Yelp? You can search all the eateries within 4 blocks or your hotel, or 1 miles, or whatever you filter down to.

http://www.yelp.com/search?places=&c...show_filters=1
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 05:46 AM
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Not a big fan of Yelp I've also responded to a timely post on Chowhound and getting good restaurant info there.
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 05:12 PM
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My sister enjoys spending time on Music Row during the day. Up and coming singers/bands play starting mid morning but it's not your typical bar scene during the day---very laid back. My sister is someone who would never hang out in bars at night.
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 06:18 PM
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Merchant's would be walking distance. Haven't eaten there in ages -- but it used to be good. http://www.merchantsrestaurant.com/

FYI, the food at the Bluebird is "bar" food (sandwiches, appetizers, desserts ...)--not fine dining. Most people drink their minimum.

Connie: the area you're referring to is probably "Lower Broadway." That's where Tootsie's and Robert's, and a few other clubs are located. That area caters to tourists -- and it's fun. "Music Row" is comprised of office buildings that house record labels and music publishing companies. No clubs or entertainment there.
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 08:19 PM
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Thanks for correcting me Songdoc. My sister was just there last weekend and that is what she was calling it. Glad to know the correct term.
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Feb 23rd, 2012, 09:14 AM
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Don't know anything about Nashville, but it's good to hear you are traveling somewhere. : )
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Feb 23rd, 2012, 09:52 AM
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I live in a suburb of Nashville, so I drive anywhere I go. You are staying, obviously at a fine hotel, in walking distance of our capitol and the TN state museum which are fine. You are in walking distance of a host of restuarants, which actually are not the first choice of locals when food quality is the issue. Alas, most of the restaurants I would recommend are just beyond walking distance. Nashville has recently developed an area to the south of downtown called the "Gulch" and they have really good restaurants there, in particular "Sambuca" that has good music. also West of your hotel, on the other side of the interstate, is "Chappie's" run literally by a Katrina transplant that has as good of Cajun cooking as you can find in NOLA. Further west - just beyond the Vanderbilt campus, are a Fleming's and a Stoney River steakhouse that are far superior to the downtown steak places. Finally, anywhere on broadway are all kind of C&W music joints with very talented folks, nothing wrong with that, but the Nasville Jazz scene is also quite impressive, but not as obvious. Suggest asking your hotel front desk people on music and transportation suggestions.
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Feb 24th, 2012, 09:59 AM
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LOL...thanks tom42

And thanks docdan....we would not rule out a cab ride for good eats and jazz.
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Feb 24th, 2012, 10:55 AM
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The restaurant in your hotel is a good one and it's worth eating there.

Best-known breakfast places in Nashville are (1) Pancake Pantry near Vanderbilt and (2) Loveless Cafe waaaaay out.

Provence Breads & Cafe is a nice place for sandwiches and salads inside the building of the downtown library, which is not far from your hotel.

The best restaurant in the Gulch area is Watermark.

City House is well known as the "foodie" place. When Nashville chefs are asked their favorite restaurant, they often cite City House.

The relatively new "Catbird Seat" is a fun though pricey dining experience above the Patterson House, itself a unique experience. Up to 32 people have dinner at a U-shaped bar, watching and interacting with the chefs, who determine the meal. It's $100/person, plus drinks. It is open Wednesday through Saturday nights, and they take reservations on a rolling 30-day basis. Patterson House, below it, is very popular for cocktails and small, unusual bites of food. Very trendy and popular, it gets crowded so go early to get a table.

A little farther out, near the Sylvan Park neighborhood, is a lovely restaurant called "Park Cafe." Nice atmosphere in an old house, and delicious food.

Have a great trip!
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Feb 24th, 2012, 02:04 PM
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City House sounds right up your alley; check out Germantown Cafe as well. Patterson House goes for kind of a speakeasy vibe and is known for its drinks. The Catbird Seat just got nominated for Best New Restaurant in the Southeast (or something like that), I think by GQ. I haven't been as it's quite out of my price range, but it got a nice writeup in the local paper a month or two ago.

http://www.tennessean.com/VideoNetwo...e-Catbird-Seat
https://thecatbirdseatrestaurant.com...eviewJan12.pdf

For other restaurant ideas, check nashvilleoriginals.com. It has a selection of local independent restaurants of several different price levels and cuisines. Unfortunately, as mentioned above, most of these are a little outside the downtown area.

As far as music, the honky-tonks on Lower Broad are in walking distance of your hotel, but most locals I know rarely go there. In addition to the Bluebird, check venues like the Ryman (I'd see just about anyone play at the Ryman), 3rd & Lindsley, the Belcourt Theatre, Exit/In, Mercy Lounge/Cannery Ballroom (those last three are standing room only).

If you have even the slightest interest in the history of country or bluegrass music, the backstage tour at the Ryman is really fun. The Country Music Hall of Fame is also great (and I say this as someone who rarely listens to current country music - just the history aspect is fascinating to me).
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Feb 25th, 2012, 11:35 AM
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My goal is to get reservations for Catbird seat and City House is definitely on the list as well. I have my reminder set up 30 days in advance in the hopes of getting a reservation.
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Feb 26th, 2012, 10:36 AM
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Concur with recommendations for Watermark and seeing a show at the Ryman, if available.
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Feb 26th, 2012, 02:46 PM
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Janet - just wanted to give you a heads up on City House. Some friends of mine made a reservation for Friday night; the restaurant requires a credit card number for reservations in case of a no-show. One of their flights was delayed by 2.5 hours, so they called to cancel or change the reservation, at which point they were told that no later spots were available and $20 per person would be charged to the credit card - no small amount when there were five or six of them going. City House ended up getting a call from someone who could take the reservation, so the card wasn't charged, but if no one had taken their spot my friends would have been out over $100. I had no idea City House did that, and don't know of another restaurant in town which does (especially at their price range). At any rate, if you make a reservation there, make sure it's on a night where you're not likely to need to change plans!

They ended up eating at Park Cafe, by the way, and said it was fantastic. Further from downtown in the Sylvan Park neighborhood, but gets consistently good reviews.
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Feb 27th, 2012, 05:01 AM
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Thanks for the heads up on that jent!!!
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