Americans have long known Nashville to be one of the most exciting cities in the country. It’s not called ‘Nashvegas’ for nothing. Now, with it’s first direct flight to Europe, it won’t be long before the secret gets out. Most guides will give you the obvious things to do. Here’s my alternative guide on how to avoid the crowds and make the most of your Nashvegas experience.
Music in Nashville
You’ve heard of – Bluebird Cafe
Also check out – Santa’s Pub
“If music be the food of love, play on”, and what a selection of ‘play on’ you have in Nashville. Dubbed ‘Music City’, this is the home of country music. Many a star act have been discovered in the bars and club of this city, the most famous of the lot being Bluebird Cafe. This intimate venue lays claim to the discovery of artists such as Taylor Swift and Garth Brooks.
However, due to its limited capacity, getting a ticket can be nigh on impossible. If you don’t fancy waiting hours for a drink, head down to Santa’s Pub. A little further off the main Broadway drag, Santa’s is fast becoming an institution of it’s own. However, don’t be expecting fancy cocktails or plush toilets. You come here for cheap cold beer and a good sing-song.
Yes, there is a live house band every Saturday night but what most people come for is the karaoke. The atmosphere is super relaxed so don’t be surprised if you see the odd celebrity slide through the door and sit down next to you. Only recently did Ed Sheeran do himself some damage whilst joining in the karaoke with Gavin DeGraw.
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Drinking in Nashville
You’ve heard of – Roberts Western World
Also check out – Rooftop at Acme Feed & Seed
Wherever you are in town, you’re never far from a watering hole, the main strip on Broadway has more bars than you can shake a banjo at. Most people will find themselves in Robert’s Western World at some point during their stay, it’s a Nashville institution. However, if you want something a little more banging, head to the roof top of Acme Feed & Seed.
Every weekend there is a DJ pumping out the tunes as the crowds pulse to views overlooking the river and the impressive Nissan Stadium. The drinks, like many things in this town, are simple and uncomplicated. There’s a great selection of American Pale Ales and the enough cocktails to keep the raucous hen parties going.
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Eating in Nashville
You’ve heard of – Hattie B’s
Also check out – Skulls Rainbow Room
The southern states of the USA are famous for their fried chicken. When you’re in Nashville, the place to go is Hattie B’s. However, due to its popularity, the queue can extend well around the block. Not ideal if hanger is starting to take over.
If you’re looking for a slice of nice with a dash of naughty, Skull’s Rainbow Room is the place for you. Situated down a side alley between 3rd and 4th Avenues, Skulls serves up some great southern dishes. Grab a seat at the bar and tuck into the crawfish tomato risotto with gorgonzola and the crab cakes. You won’t be disappointed.
If you’ve come for the food, you’ll stay for the entertainment. With live music every night, artists such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan have graced the stage in the past. Furthermore, Thursday to Sunday nights feature their famous burlesque shows. Just make sure you turn up early to ensure you get a good view.
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Visiting in Nashville
You’ve heard of – Country Music Hall of Fame
Also check out – Johnny Cash Museum
As you’ll know by now, Nashville is the home of country music. The Country Music Hall of Fame is a venerable collection of all things country from artists cars to original scraps of paper with penned lyrics. To the country music fan, I imagine this is heaven but I must admit that my country music knowledge is’t that great.
One star of country music I am familiar with though is Johnny Cash – admittedly in part due to the great 2005 film that is Walk the Line.
The Johnny Cash Museum may be small but it has a real closeness to it. The displays go into great detail of his life, charting his transition from the cotton fields of Arkansas to world fame and the rare feat of being inducted to the Country Music Hall, Rock and Roll and Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
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Shopping in Nashville
You’ve heard of – The same old souvenir shops
Also check out – Two Old Hippies
Pretty much everywhere you go in the world, you run into the same old souvenir shops. You know the ones I mean – the ones with flimsy baseball caps, tacky fridge magnets and screen printed t-shirts. Do yourself, and your loved ones, a favour and ditch these stores on Broadway and head to Two Old Hippies in the lively Gulch area.
Founded by Tom and Molly in 2011, this is more than just a gift shop. Yes, they sell a eclectic selection of clothing, books and unique jewellery but they also host live music 5 nights a week. Also, if you’re a guitar lover, then you’ll be in your element.
As a 14 year old, co-founder Tom started his entrepreneurial career by importing and selling guitars from Japan. In store you can visit ‘The Vault’, which is home to their premium selection of guitars. This provides a sanctuary for those who wish to appreciate the craftsmanship and play in a quiet space.