Robert’s Western World
416B Broadway, Downtown
Our favorite honky-tonk for dancing, this low-key bar has live music every night, bringing couples young and old out to showcase their skills on the dance floor. It’s a great place to go on weeknights since it gets rowdier on the weekend as it is located right on the main strip. You can also buy cowboy boots here; one of the walls is lined in shelves full of pairs in every shape and size imaginable.
402 12th Ave. S., The Gulch
Located in the up-and-coming Gulch neighborhood, the Station Inn is a vestige of another time. Don’t be fooled by the bare-bones exterior, this is the best venue for bluegrass. Period. They don’t take reservations and it’s first come, first serve—doors open at 7 p.m. so be sure to line up early. When it fills up, they stick a paper plate on the door that says “Sold Out.” One of the nights GP went, she saw Jim Lauderdale, one of the best and most well-respected local singer-songwriters, and his band play some rockin’ bluegrass (she was in the company of a bunch of musicians that night and they were truly blown away by the music). The Time Jumpers, who play there on most Monday nights, are also worth catching if you get a chance.
Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge
422 Broadway, Downtown
The lovely Reese Witherspoon, a born and bred Nashville girl, gave us a list of some of the places she likes: At the top, the orchid-hued Tootsies, which is apparently the #1 honky-tonk bar in the world! (A fun historical fact: Artists performing at the Grand Ole Opry used to sneak to Tootsie’s through the alley connecting it to the Ryman Auditorium during the show.)
2106-B Acklen Ave., Hillsboro Village
After a decade in New York, Arcade founder and Nashville native Genie Lockwood moved back home and set up a kids’ shop. It’s the kind of place she always wanted while raising her own two little boys. You can pick up beautiful children’s clothing, whimsical bath toys (we love the forest mushroom and seahorse variations), and maybe even a chic diaper bag (yes, they really exist).
The Loveless Cafe
8400 Highway 100, West Nashville
Another institution, the Loveless has been around since the 1950s when it began as a motel. Refurbished and expanded in 2004, it is now a restaurant. GP had dinner here, and the food was delicious. The supper platters (grilled catfish, fried chicken, homemade meatloaf) are served with hot biscuits and sides like turnip greens and creamy coleslaw.
434 Houston St., Wedgewood-Houston
Bastion is the place to head when you can’t decide between a really fun bar, or a really great restaurant. That’s because it offers both, separated by a sliding door that creates two distinct spaces. Start in the bar with one of their specialty cocktails (we’d go for the Rosemallow Daisy, made with tequila, lime, and hibiscus), and follow it with the five-course tasting menu in the 24-seat restaurant. Helmed by chef Josh Habiger, it’s hard to predict what you’ll get, but part of the joy of a meal here is seeing your dinner prepared in the open kitchen, just beyond where you’re sitting.
2905 12th Ave. S., 12South
Southerner Ceri Hoover founded her eponymous label in 2013 but only recently opened a brick-and-mortar shop in 12South. Hoover’s leather handbags and shoes are coveted in the city, and in addition to these, the boutique carries incredibly unique jewelry and clothing from independent labels like Reifhaus and Samuji.
Christie Cookie Co.
2606 12th Ave S., 12South
For a sweet treat in 12South, this new outpost of Christie Cookie’s offers fresh-baked cookies, brownies, and cakes, as well as ice cream sandwiches. We love the integrity with which their goods are made—they don’t use preservatives and use ingredients like chocolate made from sustainably-farmed cocoa beans.
823 Meridian St., East Nashville
Chef Philip Krajeck (of Rolf & Daughters) opened Folk earlier this year in McFerrin Park, an up-and-coming area of East Nashville that’s currently booming. First impressions are striking, with an interior that features custom artwork from local artists Alex Lockwood and Paul Collins, exposed brick walls, and plenty of light wood accents and potted greenery for that indoor-outdoor effect. As for the food, you can’t go wrong with one of the wood-fired pizzas, which are topped with ingredients like kale, fermented potato, pickled chilis, and preserved peppers.
3912 Hillsboro Circle, Green Hills
This past summer, local interior designer Sarah Bartholomew opened SB in Green Hills, a leafy, residential neighborhood south of the city center. It’s a reflection of Bartholomew’s impeccable taste and her vision of what today’s classic décor should be, which often involves a mix of bold patterns and bright, floral-inspired colors. You’ll find a tightly edited selection of handmade and artisan textiles, tableware, antiques, and home accessories (like brass match strikers, vintage mercury glasses, and hand-poured candles).
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