I visited Nashville for the first time back in May. It was a hoot to say the least. I had no idea what I was in for. I’d only heard that it was a fun town and that folks are friendly and there is no shortage of bars. It’s only 4 hour drive from Atlanta and once you get up around Chattanooga the hills become much steeper and the road more winding. After you get out of Chattanooga, and onto I-24 for a bit the interstate is often so steep there are runaway truck ramps and rocky embankments on either side. It’s a pretty stretch of interstate, if such a thing exists. The road flattens out a couple of hours before you reach Nashville.
Upon arriving and after checking into our hotel – The Renaissance – I was immediately blown away by the amount of foot traffic around the Broadway area. You don’t see many places where so many folks are walking around. I can only think of a handful places similar – Venice Beach, Ocean Drive in Miami, NYC, San Francisco, etc.
Apparently, Nashville is the new capital for bachelorette parties. I never knew, but once a few people told me – I was a believer. I had never seen so many tiaras and t-shirts proclaiming the name of the bachelorette group and their raucous, catty meandering through the streets from bar to bar. We met bachelorette parties from California, Vancouver, Wisconsin, and various other parts of North America.
Hattie B’s was the first restaurant we went to. Up until then, the only “Nashville Hot Chicken” I’d had was KFC’s version, and although it was satisfying it had nothing on this place. We had to stand in line for 30 minutes or so before getting to order but, luckily you could get a drink at the bar while you waited. I ordered something local, but cannot remember what it was. Was good though.
My buddy warned me against it, but I ordered my chicken with medium heat and he went with the mild. He claimed that last time he was there the medium was too much. I wasn’t convinced and wanted nothing to do with “mild” Hot Chicken.
I opted correctly. Our Chicken with pickles and sides of coleslaw, baked beans came to the table and devouring this spicy, but not unacceptably so, chicken was not a challenge. My fellow traveler was surprised. I loved it, though I think had I gone any hotter I’d have had trouble eating it. The sides were good, too. Nothing incredible to mention necessarily, but still, well executed.
That night we bounced around the never ending selection of bars and honky tonks and listened to some live music and, at Tequila Cowboy watched an absurd amount of people get thrown from the mechanical bull. I don’t think even one stayed on for more than maybe a minute. It was entertaining to observe the wide array of techniques and positions employed by people who thought they actually had a chance at staying on this thing very long. We then moseyed over to Honky Tonk Central for more beers and then onto another place I don’t know the name of where we met a bachelorette party from Vancouver. They were a delightfully pretty bunch, but they all had on either wedding or engagement rings. No luck.
The next day we wandered around for a bit and ended up at The Southern Steak & Oyster. The Place was, as they say in West Georgia, covered up. We got some Bloody Marys at the bar and waited for a couple of spots to open up. The staff behind the bar was attentive and as friendly as ever and made sure we were well taken care of. We started off with oyster from up north somewhere and I got the crab cakes. My friend got the burger. Both main courses were excellent. The crab cake portion was a little puny, but still tasty.
After having lunch and chatting with some nice folks visiting from Wisconsin we hit the Nashville streets, which, again, were full.
I never even knew Nashville had a river. At least they embrace it. Atlanta has a river, but there’s nothing built around it except for houses and industrial sites.
An ocean of musicians in this town. We didn’t hear a one that wasn’t on top of their game – great singers, bands performing in ever bar you step in.
We were good and drunk off beer and whiskey by the time we made it, but the Johnny Cash Museum was something to see. Thorough.
Johnny ate off these dishes, apparently.
No shortage of friendly folks in this town. At this point of the night, as a friend used t0 say – we were “shit canned to a monkey’s asshole”. Whiskey shot, beer, whiskey shot, beer; over and over again. It’s a miracle we made it back to the room.
Even the homeless folks are well taken care of and friendly in Nashville.
Adele’s was a real treat. I felt like steam-rolled shit, but slowly, surely by way of the hair-of-the-dog via Screwdrivers I recovered my wits and and physical prowess. The Sunday buffet was comprehensive and spectacular. There were your standard options like scrambled eggs and sausage which were great, but there was also a pork carving station (pictured below). They also had potato hash, buttermilk biscuits, gravy, a sort of Nova Lox station, salads and more.
If you haven’t already been, put Nashville on your list as place to eat, drink and be merry in style and mingle with friendly folks, listen to great music and get a new take on a Southern Charm with folks from all over the world.