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Jun 11, 2009 04:10 PM

Nashville - 4 July weekend - food, music and fireworks ?

Dear all

As per my last post I am in town on 3 & 4 July, at the end of a long baseball road trip. Am going to the Oprey Friday night and to see the nashville Sounds on Saturday.

Looking for recs for

-Pre Oprey Chow on 3 July
-Post baseball chow on 4 July
-Best bars for music ( thinking like Felice Brothers, Old Crow Medicine Show, Gillian Welch kind of vibe )
- Best places for bar hopping - we are two straight guys late 30's early 40's if that is a factor
- Any 'do not miss' places not in the guidebooks ?

Also any comments on the following recs from Frommers

- Dos Locos
-Chappy's on Church
- Margot's Cafe
- Loveless cafe
- Bluebird Cafe ?

We have no real preference re cuisine though one of us is a vegetarian.

Thanks for any help you can give...

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  1. Of those places recommended by Frommers, I think the only real standouts are Margot and Loveless (never even heard of Dos Locos).

    Margot (or its practically-next-door sister restaurant Marche) will be an outstanding meal, and it is very veg-friendly. Chef Margot McCormack was nominated for a Beard award this year, yet neither of her restaurants are very pretentious or stuffy.

    Loveless is great and is a local institution, but it is also quite a drive from downtown and is often very very crowded. As an alternative, I would suggest Monell's in the Germantown neighborhood, which is very near to downtown. The food is southern home cooking at its best and most excessive.

    Part of your bar-hopping should definitely be the honky tonks of Lower Broadway - that is an essential Nashville experience. There are plenty to choose from. If you want more of a local bar-hopping experience, you could head to East Nashville (same neighborhood as Margot) - the Red Door East, Beyond the Edge, 3 Crow Bar, and the 5 Spot are all within walking distance of each other. Or there's Midtown, with The Red Door, Patterson House, Virago, Broadway Brewhouse, and others.

    If you are going to the Friday night Opry, then it starts at 7:00, so it might be kind of early to eat dinner beforehand. It should be over by 9:15 or so - I would suggest that rather than eating in the Opryland area, you come back into the city and find something there. Some favorites that are frequently mentioned here are Flyte, Watermark, Capitol Grille, Midtown Cafe, The Acorn, the Bound'ry, South Street, Cabana, PM, ChaChah, Park Cafe, Rumba, Mirror, F. Scott's, etc. Any of these would be good.

    July 4 might be kind of a challenge. Not sure what will be open that night. Maybe some of the above. One really neat local thing that you should check out during the day on July 4, though, is the Nashville Hot Chicken Festival.


    Even if you don't go to the festival, you should consider eating at Prince's Hot Chicken while you're here. It's a unique food experience and a true Nashville treasure.

    3 Replies
    1. re: jamiecarroll

      Hi Thanks for this reply.

      Would we need to book to eat at Margot's post Opry on the Friday ? is it open late ? Also, is it near to downtown bars etc ?

      You say 4 July may be a challenge - is that due to crowds, or cover charge or something else. As we will be at the ball park on 4 july is there anywhere near there ?

      1. re: willowan

        You should consider F. Scotts on Friday after the Opry. The food is up there,. It's the best jazz room in the city and there are some great players in this city and finally, for some mysterious reason food is half price after 9. Fireworks on the river on the 4th are very impressive. We saw Michael McDonald and Phil Vassar there last fourth and it was free. Music downtown is almost exclusively country. In East Nashville it's anything but. Enjoy your visit. This is a great city.

        1. re: willowan

          Re: Margot, I would just call and ask. I am certain that they will be open late on a Friday night, but not sure about whether or not you'd need a reservation. Margot is not downtown, but is very close - about 5 minutes by car.

          Holidays are just funny when it comes to locally owned restaurants. The issue is what their hours will be. Some close early. You will just want to check. Crowds should not be much of a factor unless you are downtown, as that is where the festivities are. Of those listed, Flyte is relatively close to Greer Stadium.

      2. Lived in Nashvegas for 7 years and agree on the Loveless being a MUST. For breakfast, get there before 9am to avoid a wait. Their biscuits and pork products are divine.
        For a midtown breakfast, hit the Pancake Pantry near Vanderbilt. You will wait in line, but if you LURVE pancakes - it's worth the wait!

        The Bluebird Cafe is a great place to hear local songwriters - but they are very strict with the rules. Don't expect to have any conversation because you'll get "shushed" and potentially asked to leave (I've seen it happen).

        For music, you might try the Bluegrass Inn, or else I agree to hit the honky tonks on lower Broadway. Don't go in anywhere you have to pay a cover! Just duck in for a beer & if you like the music, stay. Robert's is my personal favorite. It just doesn't get any better than the Don Kelley Band rocking out to Orange Blossom Special!

        Since you're a music fan and will be in the area for the Sounds game, definitely check out Grimey's New & Preloved Music. They're on 1604 8th Ave South - right near the ballpark. Grimey's stocks local and independent music that's hard to find elsewhere. Plus, their used music selection can't be beat. Phonoluxe is also a great music store - located at 2609 Nolensville Pike - but their selection isn't as offbeat as Grimey's. If you do find yourself at Phonoluxe, hop down the street to La Hacienda for some incredible authentic Mexican food.

        Hope you have a great trip!

        1 Reply
        1. re: neenaj

          I think you mean the Station Inn, not the Bluegrass Inn. Anyway, yes, the Station Inn is fantastic, especially if you can catch the Time Jumpers.

        2. Personally, I think the Loveless is pretty overrated. Food just as good and better is avaliable at better prices. Try Monell's (on 6th Ave N) for Southern staples. Or, if you want to take a drive out into the country, pass the Loveless and head out to the Beacon Light Tea Room in Bon Aqua. It's a hike but they do have the best fried chicken and biscuts I have ever tasted, bar none.

          There is little good food in the Opryland/Opry Mills complex, but there are two bars up there, outside the complex on Music Valley Road that I like that are doable if the vegetarian friend eats seafood. One is called John A's with delicious catfish and sweet potato fries. I also think that another bar up there called Scoreboard (behind Nashville Palace & The Wax Museum) has about the best hamburger I've had in Nashville, yummy ribs, and strangely delicious shrimp cocktail (good catfish as well, but not as good as John A's). Both places are dives, neither is at all trendy or fancy. If you're in the mood for something like that, they are both pretty great.

          When I travel, I tend to avoid the trendy and/or tourisy places and concentrate on places where you find more locals. I'd avoid Chappy's. I do like Margot's. If you want a place with terrific music and yummy food, I like the 12th Street Taproom. If you are around during the day and want a snack, you should make a point to stop at Las Paletas on 12th Ave South and get one of their homemade popsicles.

          Sarah M.

          3 Replies
          1. re: StrandedYankee

            Heard some rumors lately that the Beacon Light has been slipping. Not been in a while, but word to the wise...

            1. re: grundoon

              I made the trip out last month and it was wonderful. Still the best fried chicken by far I've ever tasted.

              Sarah M.