For the most part, folks that visit Nashville expect line dancing, watering holes, mechanical bulls and cowboy garb flooding the streets. While there’s no doubt these stereotypes envelop downtown Nashville, there are plenty of locales that surprisingly go against the country-grain.
We narrowed down five experiences for the everyday revelers and curious rovers alike. No boots required.
This spot doesn’t want frequenters to leave, ever. Using a one-stop-shop tactic, the space is designed to accommodate everyone’s needs whether it’s morning, noon or night.
From a cup of coffee in the AM to a celebratory night filled with booze and dinner, the buck doesn’t stop there. Visitors can blow off steam at the bowling alley, bocce ball court or billiard station.
Pinewood not only offers fun activities, but it fills up bellies with tasty American fare: fried chicken, meatloaf and fried catfish. Everything is made fresh and developed by nationally acclaimed chef, Josh Habiger.
Between playtime, drinks and delicious food, leaving isn’t really an option here.
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This Gulch neighborhood staple takes inspiration from contemporary French and Italian cuisine, using local ingredients and serving it all up inside of a cozy, converted shipping container.
For locals who crave a casual, chill vibe, the 404 Kitchen is where they usually end up. They know it for it’s delicious farm-to-table food, high ceilings and exposed concrete, but the cocktails here also leave a mark.
On the beverage menu, a laundry list of imbibes will surely whet any appetite. Whether it’s the strong “Mayor’s Lament” or the sweet “La Fashionista,” the beverages are made to impress.
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Contrary to its name, there isn’t skiing in Nashville but this place will make you feel like you’re hanging out in an après-ski joint in Aspen, Colorado.
Although this strays away from the typical Nashville bar, it does offer the largest whiskey selection in the area.
In true (or rare) form, you can expect to find “shotskis” along with a menu to mimic a long day out on the slopes.
For the timid drinkers, the “Mulled Very Cherry Sour” and “Gingerbread Old Fashioned” will warm you right up!
A photo posted by Cory Bond (@thecorybond) on
If you’re in the mood for a French scene, head over to the Bar at Le Sel in The Adelicia. It’s the place to be and there are no cowboys in sight.
Le Sel means “salt,” but the establishment is anything but. Overall ambiance here is whimsical and bright with a lovely array of New French cuisine, a raw bar to die for and a full-bodied cocktail and wine list.
Swig down some oysters with a New Orleans-inspired Le Sazerac or perhaps a refreshing bourbon libation, Byrrh de Garde.
Last, but certainly not least, is this gem tucked away in Nashville’s historic Melrose Theatre.
Paying homage to the 1942 hotspot, the revamped restaurant and bar does a good job at preserving its old Hollywood glamour while keeping it modern.
The space is plush with a grand lobby that includes a curved staircase, exposed brick walls, velvet-tufted booths and legendary music photography donning the walls.
Besides the selfie mirror in the bathrooms, the food and drinks are top-notch. Pork chops with a root beer glaze and their brandy-infused “There’s Something About Rosemary” drink is the way to go here.
Although these are only five places to try out while in town, they barely scratch the surface.
Remember: Don’t get caught up in the tourist traps on Main Street. Try something outside the norm, but don’t leave without trying at least one run-of-the-mill saloons in Nashville.