Story by Justin Goldman |
Rhapsody April 2017
You're in town for business, but you have the day off. Go!
8 a.m. “Mind your own biscuits, and life will be gravy," sang Kacey Musgraves, and you can't start a day in the South better than with those two ingredients. There's always a line at Biscuit Love, in the trendy Gulch neighborhood, but the wait is worth it for the Southern Benny, a flaky biscuit topped with eggs, smoky ham, and gooey sausage gravy.
9:30 a.m. “Nashville Skyline" was the title of Bob Dylan's 1969 country album, and the best place to take in that cityscape is through the panoramic window of your suite at the Thompson Nashville. The hotel, which opened across the street from Biscuit Love in October, is a 12-story swoosh of glass with an industrial-by-way-of-Deco feel and an über-hip rooftop bar.
11 a.m.“I got them ol' South Nashville blues again," Steve Earle sang about his vagrant days—except now the Gulch and the adjacent 12 South neighborhood are more SoHo than Skid Row. Buy LPs cut on-site at Third Man Records, the store and studio Jack White opened in 2009, and then dig through the racks of clothes and knickknacks at Savant Vintage. (Pass on those snakeskin boots and you'll regret it.)
12:30 p.m. “I'm an Indian outlaw," sang Tim McGraw, and although he wasn't talking about the subcontinent, Maneet Chauhan can probably relate. The Food Network star and chef/co-owner of Chauhan Ale & Masala House, tucked among warehouses and train tracks just across Broadway from the Gulch, turns the classic Southern meat-and-three lunch on its ear with a thali platter featuring an Indian-style meat and three sides, such as raita, daal, and chutney.
2 p.m. “No letter in the mail today," sang Bill Monroe. There actually is still a small branch office in the old Art Deco post office building on Broadway, but the draw here is the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. The former sorting rooms are now gallery spaces that host rotating shows—recent exhibitions have included works by Harmony Korine, Irving Penn, and Michelangelo.
5 p.m. “You're as smooth as Tennessee whiskey," sang George Jones, and for the smoothest of the Volunteer State's brown ambrosia, take a tour of the Corsair Distillery, which opened in the Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood in 2008 and has since won a barrel full of awards for its creations, including a quinoa whiskey and a pumpkin spice moonshine. Be careful during your tasting—the tour guides are generous with their pours.
7 p.m. “There'll be guitars and fiddles and banjo pickin' too … At the Grand Ole Opry ev'ry Saturday night," sang Jimmy Martin. Even if you're not in town on Opry night, catch a show at the concert series' traditional home, the Ryman Auditorium. The church-pew-seated venue, which celebrates its 125th birthday this year, has hosted everyone from the Carter Family to Ke$ha.
9:30 p.m. “Those Carolina stars are shining bright," sang Tony Rice, and you'll surely agree if you eat at Husk. James Beard Award winner Sean Brock expanded here from Charleston in 2013, and his locally driven cooking—the menu changes daily based on available ingredients—is still the talk of the town. It's impossible to go wrong here, but you really can't go wrong with grilled White Stone oysters, Cheerwine-glazed pork sliders, and blackened catfish with rock shrimp étouffée.
11 p.m. “Drink a round to Nashville before they tear it down," sang Gillian Welch, and you should do so at Patterson House. The cocktail lounge is in an old Craftsman house, but with its tin ceiling, dim lights, and inventive drinks it feels like a place you'd find behind an unmarked door on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Tilt back a barrel-aged Whiskey Smash and toast to Music City.