Travel

What’s New in Nashville, Tennessee

Seven recently opened hot spots in Music City

photo: Erica Griffith


Last year, 14.5 million visitors drank PBRs at Robert’s, braved the hot chicken at Bolton’s and Prince’s, caught a set at Station Inn, paid homage at the Mother Church, and toured Music Row recording studios. And if you ask any Uber driver in Nashville, they’ll tell you about the hundred people moving to the Tennessee capital every day or how the Gulch, now bursting with trendy restaurants and doorman-fronted luxury lofts, was an industrial wasteland just a few years ago. All over town, construction cranes cast long shadows, and the volume of new bars, restaurants, shops, music venues, and hotels can be dizzying for locals and visitors alike. Here are seven of our favorite recently opened outposts—add them to your next itinerary.

 

MUSIC

 

Analog

The nightly lineup at the Hutton Hotel’s new 5,000 square-foot music venue and cocktail lounge is kept hush-hush. You’ll have to stop in to find out who’s playing. But don’t expect all twang. Since the living room-like space opened in December, acts have included soul artist Allen Stone, Americana singer-songwriter Josh Ritter, as well as the Grammy-award-winning country star Maren Morris. Snag a drink and a spot at one of the leather couches, high top tables, or bar stools—there’s seating for 160, but max capacity is 300. Most shows are free. The booze is on you. huttonhotel.com/eat-and-drink/analog

photo: Tim Williams

The stage at Analog.


Rudy’s Jazz Room

Sure, Nashvillians love a honky-tonk, but the Kickstarter-funded Steinway Model B grand piano sitting on stage at Rudy’s Jazz Room, which opened in May in the Gulch, is proof Music City music lovers crave diversity. Owners Adam Charney and Michael Braden worked closely with acoustic designer Michael Cronin to ensure there’s not a bad seat in the house—in this case, a circa-1800s, stone-walled basement with space for just fifty. Wander in and you’ll find local and national jazz acts seven nights a week with bonus late-night shows, beginning at 11:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. rudysjazzroom.com

 

FOOD

 

Geist

The newest kid on the block in restaurant-rich Germantown debuted in mid-March. Named for the German immigrant John Geist, Sr., who built the circa-1886 blacksmith shop that the tavern now occupies, Geist is helmed by chef Josh Stockton, formerly of Blackberry Farm, and serves up comforting, creative dishes like the burrata with winter squash and grilled rye-seed sourdough. “It’s a wonderfully simple dish,” Stockton says. “My guys and I hand make the burrata and bake the bread daily. It’s smokey and creamy. What’s not to like?” The historic space is divided into three sections along with a garden patio, compete with a working fireplace, that’s so inviting you’ll want to stay the entire day (and night). geistnashville.com

photo: Courtesy of Geist

Burrata with winter squash and grilled sourdough at Geist.


Mockingbird

“We take familiar, diner-esque dishes and give them a re-imagined life with influences ranging from Mexico, Italy, Spain, France, and Asia,” says Mikey Corona, co-owner of this modern global diner—and the newest addition to Maneet Chauhan’s growing restaurant empire. From chef Brian Riggenbach’s bulgogi-style hanger steak with a fried egg and potato latke waffle to the architectural dulce de leche-draped ice cream sundaes, meals at Mockingbird are fun. So are the cocktails. Served in a plastic bags with brightly colored bendy straws and your spirit of choice, the Punching Bags reference the aquas frescas (water, fruit, lime, and sugar) sold by street vendors all over Mexico. mockingbirdnashville.com

photo: Emily Hall

Hot plates—and cold drinks—at Mockingbird.


Woolworth’s on 5th

The downtown lunch counter where Congressman John Lewis and other civil rights activists peacefully protested during the 1960 Nashville sit-ins is open for business again—and, this time, there’s a seat for everybody. Though the historic building was most recently a Dollar General, many of the period details remained—from retro wall tiles to terrazzo flooring to wrought iron railings. The lunch counter unfortunately did not, but the local restaurateur and Woolworth’s new owner Tom Morales recreated it. On weekends, beginning this month, you can head downstairs to the basement after dinner to dance with the Downtown Dippers, the sixteen-piece house band. woolworthonfifth.com

photo: Danielle Atkins

The counter at Woolworth on 5th.

STAY

 

Fairlane

Located between Union and Church Streets, the 81-room Fairlane Hotel, which began welcoming guests in early March, is close enough to walk to downtown’s main attractions but far enough away from Lower Broadway that the carousing bachelor and bachelorette parties won’t disturb your sleep. But that doesn’t mean the folks at the Fairlane don’t know how to let loose. “Every evening at 5:00 pm, the vibe of the hotel shifts to signify the end of the workday,” general manager Ben Webster says, “when our resident Governor begins circulating the lobby with a vintage bar cart serving local spirits.” Upstairs, the 4,000-square-foot, 1970s crash pad-inspired penthouse is available for private parties complete with an in-room band or DJ and a 3:00 a.m. breakfast delivery. fairlanehotel.com

Courtesy of the Fairlane


Noelle

Thanks to a talented group of locals, including architect Nick Dryden, letterpress artist Bryce McCloud, and creative consultant Libby Callaway, the sumptuously revamped 224-room Noelle hotel, is peppered with surprising Nashville details—from the original portraits of city notables painted by area artists to the Music City makers represented in the hotel’s lobby Keep Shop. There’s also a large-scale installation of employee silhouettes by McCloud that lines an entire wall at Makeready, the hotel’s subterranean restaurant with a killer burger. And the rooftop bar Rare Bird, which is slated to open March 29, is done up with textiles from Nashville artist Andrea Eggleston. noelle-nashville.com

photo: Caroline Allison

A guest room at Noelle.


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