I’ve been dreaming (some would call it scheming) about taking advantage of British Airways’ new direct flights to my spiritual hometown, Nashville. Social media feeds are currently adding to the obsession by providing a constant stream of friends’ photos from CMA Fest. The logical reaction, of course, is to start to plan my own fantasy Nashville nights out.
Nashville’s Broadway doesn’t lack watering holes and honky tonks and I’m pretty sure you’d have a good night in any one of them. But, inspired by the songs and the artists themselves, here’s a round up of country music artist owned (or themed) bars and restaurants I’ll need to check out (for research purposes, of course) when I finally book the next trip
Jason Aldean’s Kitchen + Rooftop Bar
The newest addition to lower Broadway [pictured above] opened on 6th June 2018 to nicely coincide with the influx of fans for CMA fest. Jason Aldean’s eponymous venture is a three floor restaurant, bar and event space adorned with vintage signs and paraphernalia including a 1961 John Deere “Big Green Tractor”. Its lengthy menu is apparently made up of Jason’s own southern food favourites.
What I’d order: Since it’s his momma’s own recipe I’d betray my usual chocolate cravings and try the peach cobbler.
Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row
Recently opened with live performances from friends Thomas Rhett and Maren Morris amongst others covering 90’s country classics, this is the third in the franchise and first in Tennessee (the other two are in Arizona, Dierk’s home state). Spread over three floors, this restored guitar shop (how apt!) looks like a pretty upmarket honky tonk with its original South West menu given a Southern spin – meaning that catfish and grits have been added to the menu … mmm, not so sure about that … but the craft cocktails menu more than makes up for that.
What I’d order: To start, a Pretzel, followed by the Creole Fettuccine, finishing with the Warm Skillet Brownie and Dierk’s Lemonade to drink
Last month saw the opening of the enormous Nashville branch of the Ole Red chain named after Blake Shelton’s 2002 hit . The chain’s been described as ‘not your great uncle Merle’s honky tonk’, though with a tractor hanging from the ceiling, it still sounds pretty red neck to me (in the best possible way, of course!). Like many of its fellow bars along this strip, the Nashville Branch has live music every day from mid morning until the wee hours.
What I’d order: The menu includes a few vegan options – Gwen’s influence? – so out of curiosity I’d try to ignore the hot chicken biscuit and maybe find out what a cauliflower steak tastes like.
AJ’s Good Time Bar
If anyone knows how to have a good time, it’s going to be the man, Alan Jackson, himself. Surrounded by country music history and based in the oldest building on Broadway, this place looks like everything you expect and want a honky tonk to be. Every floor has its own theme based on different eras of Alan Jackson’s career and personal life and has live performances by a whole slew of talented young and upcomers.
What I’d order: I can’t tell you as there is no menu on the website but I can tell you after the inevitable JD’s & cokes, I’d probably be on the 3rd floor for the karaoke …
Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville
Margaritaville isn’t just a song anymore. With all the drinking spots (not to mention resorts and casinos, and don’t forget the musical …) in the international empire under this name, it’s almost guaranteed to be five o’clock somewhere. The Nashville location boasts, somewhat bizarrely but probably not out of place, a stairway with real piano keys for steps and the Chill Bar’s license plate walls providing ample character and atmosphere. No, Margaritaville isn’t only a song anymore, it’s a state of mind!
What I’d order: Well, it seems rude not to have a margarita and I can’t resist a good pun-titled cocktail, so I pick a Last Mango in Paris
FGL House and Cruise Rooftop Bar
Just off of Broadway, we find the Florida Georgia Line’s bar and kitchen that offers daily live music, obviously, a Southern style menu with a Californian twist and cocktails featuring their own whiskey Old Camp Whiskey (CJ, I’d like my own whiskey …) Another multi-storied building, it sounds like the third floor “Cruise” Rooftop is a non-stop New Country party while the basement-level lounge, Little Red Corvette, offers visitors a more relaxed atmosphere with its own baby grand piano, cocktail menu inspired by ‘90s pop culture and specialty martinis.
What I’d order: How many pieces of ‘Holy’ Chocolate Cake would be unholy?
Check out the map of these star owned joints here to plan your own night out on Broadway. But be warned, unfortunately the famous proprietors aren’t guaranteed to make an appearance… Which one would you visit?
Post by Judi
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