Nashville

Everything You Need to Do in Nashville This Weekend

Music City Food + Wine Festival
Music City Food + Wine Festival
Music City Food + Wine Festival

Between Pilgrimage Festival in Franklin and Music City Food + Wine Festival downtown, Nashvillians better thank their lucky stars they already live here because hotels are gonna be packed tighter than a tick in a dog’s ear — with corresponding crazy-high prices. That’s not to even mention all those crazy LSU fans descending on Music City to watch their team play at Vanderbilt and drink our fair city dry. If not of that sounds appealing, remember that you can always just eat your way through Nashville.

Get wild with the wild animals at the Nashville Zoo

Thursday, September 19
Nashville Zoo
Sunset Safari is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, and it’s your chance to stroll the grounds with a drink and food from more than 50 local restaurants while peeking at the nighttime activities of many of the zoo’s denizens. Considering most of the animals are nocturnal, it’s the most action you’ll get out of them all year.
Cost: $150-$250

Music City Food + Wine Festival
Music City Food + Wine Festival
Music City Food + Wine Festival

Overindulge at the Music City Food + Wine Festival

Friday, September 20 – Sunday, September 22
Various venues downtown
It’s the biggest foodie weekend of the year as the annual Music City Food + Wine Festival comes back to town with two days of tasting tents in Bicentennial Capitol Mall Park on Friday and Saturday along with cooking demos and panel discussions featuring local and nationally known chefs. Saturday is Harvest Night with an even fancier tasting event and a concert from a group of Chicago blues music legends. Sunday morning’s Gospel Brunch will offer an opportunity to atone for your gluttony on the first two days of the fest.
Cost: $165-$525

Party at the ballpark at Brewfest

Friday, September 20
First Tennessee Park
Now that the Nashville Sounds season is over, First Tennessee Park is free to host the fifth Annual Nashville Brew Fest with more than 150 local and regional brews on tap along with food from some of your favorite vendors. There will also be live music and games to divert attendees between pours, so drink, drink, drink for the home team!
Cost: $45-$60

Drink rosé all day at the Blush Bash!

Friday, September 20
Green Door Gourmet
All hail the pink drink at this evening of wine, cocktails, canapes, and live music that’s a fundraiser for CORE, a non-profit that supports families in the food and beverage industry navigating life-altering circumstances. Several local chefs are kicking in for the cause by hosting a multicultural potluck dinner before the serious late-night partying begins.
Cost: $165

Enjoy an urban oasis on Nashville Park(ing) Day

Friday, September 20
Parking spaces all over town
This event calls attention to the need for more urban public space by inviting local citizens, artists, and activists to collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into precious little urban parks by laying down strips of artificial turf and equipping them with sofas, chairs, and anything else to make them comfortable hangout spaces. All you have to do is maybe put another coin in the meter to extend your stay.
Cost: Free

Pilgrimage Music Festival
Pilgrimage Music Festival
Pilgrimage Music Festival

Experience the biggest music fest of the year with Pilgrimage

Saturday, September 21 – Sunday, September 22
The Park at Harlinsdale in Franklin
Pray for better weather, because last year’s Pilgrimage Music Festival was a total wash-out. That means this year is due to be awesome with entertainment from major artists such as Foo Fighters, The Killers, Keith Urban, and more over the course of the two-day concert. Food, drink, and crafts vendors ring the festival grounds and its multiple stages, so there should be plenty to keep you busy in addition to the jam-packed performance schedule.
Cost: $145-$675

Get a head start on Oktoberfest at Craft Brewed

Saturday, September 21
Craft Brewed
Already known as a bit of a clubhouse gathering spot for serious beer lovers, Craft Brewed is the logical locale to celebrate the official first day of Oktoberfest with an afternoon of German beers, local festbiers, pretzels, bratwursts, and a live stream of Oktoberfest in Munich. It’s free to attend, and you can buy food and drink tickets in advance at the link above.
Cost: Free

Be a better you at the Wellness Block Party

Saturday, September 21
LC Germantown
If you’ve visited The Goat in Germantown, you understand what this lifestyle community is all about. If not, this is the perfect chance for them to introduce themselves and demonstrate their commitment to healthy lifestyles with a day of free public workouts, yoga, and a trade show featuring vendors of wellness products and services. After all that goodness, you can celebrate an early Happy Hour at The Goat restaurant and bar starting at 2pm, featuring live music and drink specials.
Cost: Free

Get a skillet full of learning about Southern food culture

Saturday, September 21
Tennessee State Museum
As part of the programming associated with their big “Let’s Eat! Origins and Evolutions of Tennessee Food” exhibition, the Tennessee State Museum has invited some special guests for a conversation about Southern food, heritage, and culture. City House chef Tandy Wilson will be joined by author Erin Byers Murray and Keitlyn Alcantara of Vanderbilt University for what should prove to be a tasty talk.
Cost: Free, but RSVP at the link above

Nashville Predators
Nashville Predators
Nashville Predators

Cheer on the Preds at their home preseason opener

Saturday, September 21 
Bridgestone Arena
The Nashville Predators begin their quest for Lord Stanley’s Cup with this preseason tilt against the Tampa Bay Lightning, which is sure to feature some young stars from both teams. It’s worth it just to experience a little chill from the ice while we wait for fall to arrive. Since it’s just preseason, tickets are cheap and plentiful. 
Cost: $10 and upSign up here for our daily Nashville email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun the Music City has to offer.

Chris Chamberlain is a food, drink and travel writer based out of his hometown of Nashville. Find him on Twitter @CeeElCee.

Nashville

How to Get into Nashville’s Best Speakeasies and Secret Bars

Nashville's speakeasies have impeccable cocktails and even better vibes.

One More Cocktail Club
One More Cocktail Club
One More Cocktail Club

It’s not like it’s difficult to find a spot for a proper cocktail in Nashville, except when it’s intentionally hard. Some of Nashville’s finest bars are a little more hidden away, to create a sense of exclusivity and limit crowds so that talented bartenders can offer the sort of individualized attention that their inventive drinks deserve. Besides, it’s nice to have a conversation at a bar where you don’t have to yell to be heard. Here are some of our favourite places to chill.

The Fox Bar & Cocktail Club
The Fox Bar & Cocktail Club
The Fox Bar & Cocktail Club

The Fox Bar and Cocktail Club

South InglewoodThe talented mixologists at The Fox are a big part of the attraction, and some of their novel takes on classic cocktails have actually won national awards in recipe contests. But even if all you want is a proper gin and tonic, you’ll be delighted by the cozy library vibe of the East Nashville emporium. The bar staff insists on seasonal, locally sourced ingredients, so the drink menu changes frequently. Don’t worry if your favourite rolls off, because there’s sure to be something new to delight you.

Danielle B. Atkins
Danielle B. Atkins
Danielle B. Atkins

Attaboy

East NashvilleAn outpost of the James Beard Award-nominated NYC cocktail bar, Nashville’s version of Attaboy is no slouch either. Well, the building is kindy slouchy, a cinderblock edifice hidden away in an alley where guests are invited to “knock gently” to gain entry. If the bar is full, you’ll have to wait outside, but once you gain entrance, the fun really begins. Bartenders interview patrons about their drink preferences and then compose cocktails on the fly to fulfil their wildest dreams. Sit at the bar or settle into a blue velvet booth to enjoy a completely crafty cocktail or two.

Hidden Bar
Hidden Bar
Hidden Bar

Hidden Bar

DowntownThis subterranean lair in the Noelle hotel downtown is intentionally difficult to find. The entrance is through a door you’d probably never pass through unless you work for the hotel cleaning staff, but it’s a passage to something wonderful. Hidden Bar often stages thematic pop-ups that extend to both the riotous decor and the drink list, and large-format drinks are designed for sharing, so bring a few friends.

Skull's Rainbow Room
Skull’s Rainbow Room
Skull’s Rainbow Room

Skull’s Rainbow Room

Printer’s AlleySkull’s has been a Printers Alley institution since the middle of the last century, except for the few years it was closed when notorious club owner David “Skull” Schulman was murdered, reportedly by someone that knew he always kept the evening’s cash receipts in the top pocket of his trademark overalls. Since reopening, the showroom has revived the old-school vibe with nightly jazz and burlesque shows, classic cocktails served from an elaborate wooden bar and a restaurant that features an excellent chophouse menu. It’s easy to forget the time during an evening at Skulls. Heck, it’s easy to forget what decade it is.

Bar Sovereign
Bar Sovereign
Bar Sovereign

Bar Sovereign

SoBroTucked away in a nondescript strip mall among the towering hotel buildings of SoBro, Bar Sovereign’s entrance is marked only by a small golden plaque that is fortunately close to eye level. Inside is a wonderland of bold artwork covering the walls, a sculpture created from a disassembled piano behind the bar and a menu of interesting and affordable cocktails that is rare to find amongst the nearby tourist destinations. The atmosphere gets a little wilder late at night when DJs spin tunes for the party people and industry folks looking to blow off a little steam at the end of a shift.

Bay 6
Bay 6
Bay 6

Bay 6

East NashvilleThis microbar has a double punny name. First of all, it is, indeed, crammed into the sixth bay of what used to be a self-service car wash before the building was converted into an elevated food and drink court with international carryout restaurants occupying the other quintet of stalls. Secondly, the menu is intentionally basic, with simple, well-made cocktails designed to be served quickly so that guests can enjoy them in one of the very few seats in Bay 6 or carry them out to the lively outdoor patio where patrons enjoy their food from one of the options at The Wash.

Green Hour
Green Hour
Green Hour

Green Hour

GermantownBy day, Tempered Fine Chocolates occupies this space, but on Thursday through Saturday evenings, they unpack the bottles, build a bar and flick on the green light that lets tipplers know that Green Hour is now in session. Dedicated to the exotic “Green Fairy,” absinthe, the bar offers pours of more than a dozen versions of the anise-flavoured spirit. Enjoy a classic absinthe service with drops of water to open up the aromas and flavours or order a flight of three for comparison. The bartenders also employ absinthe in an array of exotic cocktails, but if you don’t like licorice, you might want to pass.

Never Never
Never Never
Never Never

Never Never

Wedgewood-HoustonIt’s not like they’re trying to hide Never Never. It’s just that the former welding shop is so non-descript and hidden away next to the railroad tracks, you might need someone to show you the way to the front door. It’s worth the hunt, though, because the cocktails are both clever and cheap. Enjoy small bites, beer, wine and cocktails at the amiable dimly-lit bar or discover the patio oasis out back that feels like being a guest at a friend’s house party.

Minerva Avenue
Minerva Avenue
Minerva Avenue

Minerva Ave

North NashvilleDress to impress at this Tennessee State University neighbourhood cocktail lounge. A tall fence surrounds the compound to provide privacy, but once you knock for admission, you’ll encounter an expansive outdoor deck with cabanas, fire pits and an outdoor bar. Inside, it’s a little more vibey with plush booths, dramatic lighting accents as well as nostalgic music and artwork. Smokers can enjoy hookah service and cigars, and bottle service is available for high rollers.

One More Cocktail Club
One More Cocktail Club
One More Cocktail Club

One More Cocktail Club

DowntownTucked away in the hallway outside of Level 3 South at the Assembly Food Hall, One More Cocktail Club feels like worlds away from the tourist throngs below. There’s only room for a couple of dozen guests in the chic lounge, so everyone is treated like a VIP. The menu is a mix of new craft cocktails and classics, with special attention paid to creating beautiful works of art including appropriate garnishes. A tight menu of red, white and bubbly wines is also available for those in the know.

Pushing Daisies Underground Margaritas
Pushing Daisies Underground Margaritas
Pushing Daisies Underground Margaritas

Pushing Daisies

DowntownIf you park on the top deck of the garage below the Fifth + Broad retail/dining/entertainment complex across from the Bridgestone Arena, you’ll actually have to walk down to get to Pushing Daisies, home of “underground margaritas.” Named after the class of cocktails that feature citrus, sweet and sour, this hot new lounge concentrates on the tequila version of the whiskey sour or daiquiri. Margaritas are crafted using luxury ingredients and quaffed by a hip crowd of guests enjoying pumping music and dramatic lighting. It’s definitely a scene to be seen.

The Late Great
The Late Great
The Late Great

The Late Great

Demonbreun/Music RowFor the first year this cocktail lounge at the Virgin Nashville was open, it wasn’t really open. Instead, it was a private membership club with an entrance hidden away even from hotel guests. Now, we civilians can make reservations for a three-cocktail “experience” in this shrine to music and creativity, decorated like the writers’ lounge outside the legendary recording studios on nearby Music Row. Private memberships are still available if you’re so inclined and still flush with those songwriter royalty checks.

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Sarah Carter is a writer and country music lover living in Lebanon, Tennessee. Follow her (mostly southern) regional exploits and stories on Instagram.

Chris Chamberlain is a food, drink, and travel writer based out of his hometown of Nashville. Find him on Twitter @CeeElCee.

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