experience nashville

your insider guide for a local perspective on Nashville, Tennessee.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Best Bars in Nashville

urban cowboy public house nashville
Urban Cowboy's Public House, image via Urban Cowboy
I always have visitors (and locals) looking for recommendations of places to grab a drink in Nashville, and realized I haven't updated the blog with my favorite bars in town in some time. The last few years have been quite good to us with the food and drink scene here, and we now have a handful of spots that rival pretty much any of the hottest bar scenes you can find. 

So let's get straight to it, and, CHEERS y'all.

Best Bars in Nashville 

Old Glory

Hands down my favorite place to get my cocktail on in Nashville. An expertly crafted and always evolving cocktail menu, housed in an old factory boiler room --  making it the most fabulous atmosphere to drink in all of town. You 100% cannot miss this spot.

1200 Villa Pl #103, Nashville, TN 37212

Urban Cowboy Public House

The newest bar on my list and I can't speak highly enough of it. The vibe is ridiculously cool, the cocktails divine. Make sure and go hungry, because the wood-fired menu is insane: next-level in fact, truly raising the bar.

1603 Woodland St, Nashville, TN 37206

308

If you're looking for me in Nashville, likelihood is high we'll bump elbows at 308. My favorite happy hour ($5 bourbon + ginger with the most delish house made ginger ale), fab tacos, and on the weekends -- dance parties. 

 407 Gallatin Ave, Nashville, TN 37206

Dinos

Dive-y + cozy bar, burgers, hot chicken, and fries with Velveeta cheese? Sold. If it's hip enough for Justin Bieber, it's probably hip enough for you, too. 

411 Gallatin Ave, Nashville, TN 37206

Patterson House

New Nashville's original "speakeasy"-type bar, Patterson is known for the chic-yet-classic vibe and incredible and inventive cocktails. 

1711 Division St, Nashville, TN 37203

Hop Stop

Tucked over on the East side, Hop Stop offers one of the most extensive beer lists in town (36 on tap), serving up all the local-favorite brews. Pop in for that beer, pair it with a gourmet hot dog and a game or two of darts.

2909 Gallatin Pike, Nashville, TN 37216

LA Jackson

Get your bougie on at LA Jackson, the Thompson Hotel's stylish rooftop lounge. Offering an incredible view of the city, bites by Chef John Besh, and perhaps the hottest people watching in Nashville. 

401 11th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203

Be sure to shoot me your thoughts and follow me on instagram @ experiencenash.

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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Valentine's Day in Nashville

Heyyyy Nashville lovers. And singles. Are you looking for some last minute Valentine's Day Ideas? Don't worry -- as per usual, I've got you covered. Let's take a look at what's happening in town.

FLWR Shop


FLWR shop flower shop nashville


You might think flowers are a cop out for Valentine's, but I'm going to have to disagree , if you're going with an arrangement or succulent from FLWR Shop in East Nashville. Your significant other deserves the best and most beautifully arranged flowers in town. The #NSFW box shown above comes with a flower arrangement in your choice of 4 sizes, two mini cocktail mixers from Nashville based Drink With Company, handmade aphrodisiac chocolate chili truffles from Utterly Nashville, Pink Love bath salts from Fig + Yarrow, a massage oil candle from Even Keel Soap of Brooklyn, and some rose petals to top off the romance. 

Whistle Punk Gift Box


whistlepunk mens grooming


He doesn't want a heart shaped box filled with chocolates. Okay, maybe he does, but that's not all he wants. This year give him something he'll really love: Gift set includes a Death Before Dullness snapback trucker cap, Bottle of Natchez Whistle Punk Beard & Shave Oil, Hand-made folding beard & moustache pocket pocket comb made by Kent and imported from the UK, 1 Whistle Punk Key Chain, 1 "Timber!" Valentines Card, and 2 1-inch "Dangerously Handsome" buttons.


Datebox


datebox


Not looking to go out on the town? You could always enjoy date night at home with Datebox -- a monthly delivery designed for you and your significant other (or even besties) to have a fun night in. From cooking classes to candy, Datebox offers  so many budget-friendly, unique, and always fabulous ideas for date night.

Rhapsody Spa


nashville valentines day


Spa days are simply the best. Whether treating yourself or someone else, you don't want to miss Nashville's newest and sexiest spa in the Westin Hotel. Because we all deserved to be pampered, right? Right.

Thistle Farms

thistle farms nashville

Give to your love and give back with a gift from Thistle Farms. All of the products are handmade by women who are survivors of prostitution, trafficking, and addiction. Each time you purchase from Thistle Farms your contribution goes towards helping women heal. Products span from chocolate facial masks, body butter, and soaps to lip smoothies. 

Nashville Science Center Romance in the Stars

Wait, what? Yes, you read it right! Join the Adventure Science Center to explore romantic stories from the ancient past in the Planetarium. With 6.5 million stars and stunning visualizations of the night sky, an evening under the 63-foot dome will certainly make this Valentine’s Day unique. Tickets are $18 per couple for Adventure Science Center members, $25 per couple for non-members, and include two planetarium tickets for the Romance in the Stars live planetarium show + a box of assorted chocolates, custom made in Franklin by Paul’s Chocolate Gallery.

Restaurant + Activities Round Up

Punch Bowl served this Valentine's Day at Salt & Vine
So many restaurants in town are featuring special menus for Valentine's Day. Check out a few of my faves:

Sinema

Fest on a fabulous 3 course pre-fixe menu ($85pp) which includes decadent items like Champagne and Saffron roasted lobster, New York Strip, Macadamia crusted elk filet, crab cakes, and cherry stuffed chocolate cake. Good food paired with one of my favorite restaurant ambiances in town = a Valentine's Win.

360 Bistro

West siders -- if you haven't checked out 360 Bistro in awhile, you're missing out on one of the best spots in your neighborhood. To the rest of us: it's worth the drive out West! Valentine's Day will feature a four course, pre-fixe menu for $70pp. Courses include Maine lobster salad, blood orange and champagne zabaione; Short rib boudin balls, red aioli, chicory; and Filet, roasted mushrooms, foie hollandaise, and Chocolate Decadence.

ACME Rooftop Dance Party

A free Rooftop Valentine’s Day show for those single and lookin’ to mingle. ACME's Valentine’s Day dance party with Myzica will certainly be filled with the hottest folks taking in the hottest view in Nashville. Did I mention it was free? Oh yeah. Have fun.

Fin & Pearl

A special Valentine’s Day prix fixe menu designed by Chef de Cuisine Dale Levitski and Executive Chef Matt Farley. $65/pp special three course, prix fixe menu which includes Popcorn Scallop: Sweet corn, peanut, bacon & potato hash, salsify purée, sage peanut pesto; A fresh catch with lobster popcorn rice, wilted greens, truffle cream; and chocolate cherry fudge torte, caramel and brandied cherrie.

Etc.

Have you been to Deb Paquette's newest venture in Green Hills? Well, here's the perfect opportunity to spoil yourself along with your love with a choice of four starters, two salads, four entrees and two desserts to build their own four-course meal. Chef Deb's globally-inspired options include snapper crudo with pink peppercorn vinaigrette; roasted cauliflower with pea pesto (which so happens to be my favorite appetizer in Nashville); grilled tuna and octopus with quinoa and smoked lima bean espuma; filet and short rib with pesto potatoes; and chocolate-peanut butter mousse with milk chocolate crunch. $80pp.

At one of Nashville's most fab spots this Vfalentine's Day, choose from four starters, two salads, four entrees and two desserts. Dish selections include smoked duck and parsnip bisque; non-conventional Caesar salad with poached farm egg and oysters; grouper and clams escabeche with cana de oveja ravioli; chuck filet with celery root griddle cake; and lemon tart with brown butter shortbread crust. $90pp.

Salt & Vine

This one is for you, ladies. If you'd prefer to ditch the fancy prix fixe Valentine’s Day menus and celebrate all the single ladies of Nashville this year -- Salt & Vine is the place to be. They’ll be bumping Beyonce radio, Prosecco will be flowing, and  handing out complimentary, house made chocolate covered strawberries for the hell of it. But that’s not all, what better way to applaud the evening than with a boozy punch party? Discounted punch bowls all. night. long.
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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Salt & Vine's Mattie Jackson Discusses the Hottest Wines in 2017


salt and vine nashville
Mattie Jackson, Salt & Vine | photo: Hannah Schneider
Y'all. I love love love wine, but often can be intimidated by the sheer amount of selection when heading to pick up a bottle at my two favorite stores in Nashville, Salt + Vine bottle shop or Woodland Wine Merchant. 

Thanks to sommelier and Salt + Vine owner Mattie Jackson, I have a list of the hottest wines in 2017 -- not only can you show up to your dinner parties in style, but also impress your friends with your abundance of wine-expertise. Cheers!

Hot Wine + Trends to Look for in 2017 

Non-Champagne Sparklers – With sparkling wine at a near 40% increase in sales in 2016 and Millennial consumers surpassing Boomers as the primary demo for wine consumption, value bubbles will be the name of the game in 2017. Frothy French crémants and boutiquey Proseccos will continue surging as the younger crowd brings bubbles out of the celebration only category and onto their daily tables. 

Recommendations: Simonnet-Febvre Brut Rosé & Sommariva Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene Superiore Brut.

“Alt Whites” – The ever disparaged “Altnernative Whites” category that I hate on lists but love in my glass. This ubiquitous catch-all for white grapes other than the big 4 – Chard, Pinot Grigio, Sauv Blanc, Riesling – proves vastly over-looked and undervalued. Not only does it tend of unveil value to big boys can’t, but the breadth of styles here is endless. Txakolina from Spain. A spunky, edgy white born and bred for sushi lovers. Gruner Veltliner. A vegetarian’s dream that makes the most bitter brussels taste sweet.  Roussanne. Chardonnay with flavor. 

Recommendations: Saline Txakolina, Gobelsberg Gruner Veltliner, St. Cosme Cotes du Rhone Blanc.

Unoaked Chardonnay – In the wake of the 90s gargantuan Chardonnay trend, modern consumers are now saying, “I’ll take the Chard, hold the butter.” Despite much common assumption, the creamy, buttery, rich experience is not inherent to Chardonnay itself, but simply to how and where it’s made. For bright, clean, mineral driven styles, seek out French Macon Cru or Macon Villages as well as select stainless steel versions from California. 

Recommendations: Henri Perrusset Macon Villages & Riverbench Bedrock Chardonnay (Santa Maria Valley).

Low-Alcohol Domestics – It’s hard to speak low-ABV domestics without sharing the story of Broc Cellars. This young Berkley-based producer preaches the ultimate antithesis of loud, boozy California style wines with a movement toward delicacy and balance that the younger market is thirsting for. Gentler alone and a more gracious partner to food, watch for a cleaner, “hands-off” winemaking movement to sweep in 2017. 

Recommendations: Broc Cellars Zinfandel.

Loire Valley – Red, white, sparkling. Lusciously sweet to bone dry. France’s Loire Valley offers a variety of styles equally as wide as the 170 miles of vineyards that snake along the banks of its own Loire River.  Whites of Muscadet show a light, spritely Summer wine. Sancerre and Pouilly Fume, the edgy, mineral face of Sauvignon Blanc. And Vouvray a dynamically plump but refreshing white, not to be missed during fall root veggie season. Cabernet Franc and occasionally Pinot Noir lead the bright, tart, food friendly reds of the region. Value and versatility is the name of the game in Loire. 

Recommendations: Michel Brégeon Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine, Reverdy Sancerre, Charles Joguet Chinon.

Beaujolais Cru – Beaujolais, the historical bastard of Burgundy, will continue to gain market speed in 2017 as one of the wine world’s best kept secrets. Pinot Noir lovers of both French and New World affinity seem to find common ground in this fruit driven, playful red with its subtle mineral backbone. The 10 Cru, or premiere village sites, for Beaujolais’ Gamay grape, range between $18-30 with equal if not greater depth than Pinots at comparable price points. 

Recommendations: Domaine Chanrion Cotes de Brouilly.

Vermouth – While some may project the nation-wide cocktail resurgence as a bridle for the wine industry, ancient fortified wines and wine based cordials should expect a consequential resurrection. And vermouth may be this category’s dark horse.  Whether classically bittered with Piedmontese wormwood, or sweet and barrel aged to counter smoky mezcal or scotch-based cocktails, vermouth will be this year’s chameleon cordial

Recommendations: Bèrto Ross da Travaj (red) & Baglio Baiata Alagna Bianco (white).

Thanks, Mattie, for all the info!

salt and vine nashville
Interior of Salt & Vine | Photo: Josh Gilmore

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

2016 Nashville Gift Guide


The holidays are upon us y'all.

In 2015, I created my first local-to-Nashville gift guide to give my readers a handful of gift ideas of my favorite Nashville products for loved ones. It was so much fun playing Oprah, and there are so many fabulous local products, I simply had to bring it back for 2016.

So without further adieu, I present to you my top choices for gifts during the 2016 Holiday Season.

(Yay!)
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Friday, September 30, 2016

Pilgrimage Festival -- Music. Food. Celebs.

Pilgrimage Festival Nashville
Touring the art vendors at Pilgrimage Festival -- thanks for the photo, Kristin Luna @ Camels + Chocolates.
Last weekend was certainly a hot one, but it did not keep fans from across the country from making the pilgrimage to Franklin for the second annual Pilgrimage Festival. Two days of music, art, and food -- and attended by over 15,000 folks. It was my first year attending, and y'all -- I LOVED it. Despite the heat, the festival was incredibly well executed, from the art vendors, to staff, to the top-notch talent.

Speaking of talent, this year's lineup included Daryl Hall & John Oates (!!), Beck, Jason Isbell, Grace Potter, Kacey Musgraves, Violent Femmes, The Arcs, Cake, Anderson East, and more. Only in Nashville.


Ms. Kacey Musgraves killing it on stage, per usual. 
Speaking of Nashville... In typical Nashville fashion, celebs abounded. Lily Aldridge and Caleb Followill were there to catch Beck, Miranda Lambert danced side stage during boyfriend Anderson East’s setand Haley Williams of Paramore hung backstage to support friend Kacey Musgraves. N’Sync’s Chris Kirkpatrick (!!) and GRAMMY-Award winning producer Dave Cobb were also spotted partaking in festival fun. Sadly, I heard of no (Pilgrimage Festival partner) Justin Timberlake sightings... There's always next year, I suppose?

Did you #MakeThePilgrimage this year? What was your favorite part?


Pilgrimage Festival Nashville

High school/college me was freaking out about Better than Ezra.

Pilgrimage Festival Nashville

The art vendors were incredible, and the locale of the festival was stunning.

Pilgrimage Festival Nashville

The Park at Harlinsdale, where Pilgrimage Festival is held, is stunning.

Kacey Musgraves Nashville Pilgrimage

Speaking of Ms. Musgraves, this happened. I love her. The perfect way to cap of a perfect weekend.

(Thanks to George Dickel for having us out, and for the VIP treatment. I do love your whisky.)



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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Music City Food + Wine - Nashville's Ultimate Foodie Weekend

music city food and wine nashville
Held at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, Music City Food + Wine Festival is my favorite festival of the year.
Y'all. Last weekend was perhaps my favorite weekend of 2016.
...and 2015.
...and 2014.

Notice the trend?

Hanging with mah boos, Maneet Chauhan, Beth Sachan of Eat. Drink. Smile. and Kristin Luna of Camels & Chocolate
Music City Food + Wine Festival, one of Nashville's premier foodie events put on by Food and Wine magazine and the Kings of Leon. Mingle and meet with your favorite chefs at the Grand Tasting (unlimited bites and drinks), attend culinary demos, boozy tasting sessions, and listen to the best music in town. Food + Booze + Music = my absolute favorite kind of combination.

Let's get to it the best way I know how to recap: via a photo round-up of the weekend.
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Thursday, August 25, 2016

CONTEST TIME! Meet / Workout with Erin Oprea + Shawn Booth!

erin opera shawn booth nashville celebrity trainer citystrong
You too, can look this good whilst working out with CitySTRONG
Y'all, it's time for a fun giveaway!

What is it? TWO VIP passes to CitySTRONG, an innovative outdoor workout led by celebrity trainers Erin Oprea and Shawn Booth, September 4 at 9:30AM! Your VIP pass includes a premier spot for the workout, a meet and greet with Erin and Shawn, and a swag bag.

Erin's clientele includes Carrie Underwood, Kelsea Ballerini, Kaitlyn Bristowe, and Jana Kramer. Shawn, well, you all mayrecognize Shawn as the winner of the Bachelorette season 11, and fiancee to Ms. Bristowe.

A fabulous way to stay fit, take in the beautiful sights of Nashville, all while being led by (+ getting to meet) these two beautiful humans? Sounds like a win to me.

Here's how you enter:

(Choose one, or do them all! Winner will be chosen at random + you will receive one entry for every task completed.)

1) Leave a comment on this blog post and let me know why you want to win (i.e.: I need legs like Carrie Underwood, or, because Shawn Booth's abs are so inspirational.)

2) Follow @experiencenash on Instagram.

3) Tag a friend in the comments section of Erin + Shawn's photo on @experiencenash's Instagram. For every friend you tag, you'll receive an additional entry.

4)  Follow @experiencenash on Twitter.

Winners will be notified Sunday, 8/28. Good luck!

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