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Mar 17, 2011 08:00 AM

Craft beer & worthy chow in downtown-ish Nashville?

Any such places, a la gastropub style?

I see Arnold's looks great for lunch, anything to satisfy both my urges? :)

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  1. I don't think of Arnold's-type traditional food (meat & 3) as gastropub food. Places that serve that type of food typically don't serve alcohol.

    For brewed-on-premises beer, the two to look at are Bosco's (Hillsboro Village) and Blackstone Brewery (West End.) Both are close to downtown but not IN downtown. The food at Blackstone's is OK. I much prefer Bosco's on food, and it's good, but not OMG.

    Lots of places in town serve Yazoo, a local beer. They are in the process of opening a cafe but I don't think it's open yet. Still, you could look at their taproom hours where you can drink. Often a food truck called The Grilled Cheeserie will park there during taproom hours, and their stuff is really great. (Follow them on Facebook and/or Twitter for their sched.)

    When you say "gastropub" I think "12South Taproom." Again, not too far from downtown and I've enjoyed everything I've ordered there. There are also some interesting burger places popping up, such as The Melrose, Gabby's, Burger Up. You could also look at Flying Saucer, which has a stunning number of beers on tap. The food is OK but I think if it more as a place to drink than a place to eat.

    I haven't been to Broadway Brewhouse or its outposts, but it gets some good reviews. Just be aware that ANYTHING in the central downtown tourist zone is geared to tourists.

    17 Replies
    1. re: TLF

      Nice, Boscos is only a mile from my hotel (staying at the Vanderbuilt) and Flying Saucer looks amazing. Thanks for the input!!

      1. re: TLF

        What would your reco be if I were trying to impress a client? Just creative food and nice place, not stuffy joint / steakhouse, been to too many of those to count. Price not really important.

        1. re: askdrtodd

          City House, hands down. Be aware it's noisy, though -- all hard surfaces.

          Also: ChaChah, 1808 Grille, Boundr'y, Virago, Eastland Cafe, Flyte, Sunset Grill, Cabana, Germantown Cafe, Margot, Yellow Porch, Watermark.

          1. re: TLF

            Damn TLF, you da man! Thanks for the heads up!

            1. re: askdrtodd

              Well, I'm da WOMAN, but ... I'll take the compliment. ;)

            2. re: TLF

              Boundr'y looks right up my alley, ever been there?

              1. re: askdrtodd

                Many many many many times. I actually haven't been for a while -- but it used to be my regular hangout. Great bar downstairs and upstairs in addition to the restaurant itself. Food is very good, although I confess I usually made a meal of apps & dessert rather than indulging in entrees. It's an older restaurant that was groundbreaking when it opened, and has been eclipsed in the public mind by newer, shinier places. But, it's still as good as it ever was.

                1. re: TLF

                  TLF- you've really thrown me for a loop with these awesome reco's (totally a good thing)

                  OK so I only have two dinners and two lunches and all the places I want to go don't do lunch (except grille 1808) I can't decide between

                  City House (I hear nothing but amazing things but I'm not huge on Italian food...)
                  Virago (I absolutely love Japanese food, especially authentic)
                  Watermark (diggin the menu)
                  Tayst (I also absolutely love sharing small plates)

                  And for lunch I was thinking 1808 and Blackstone?

                  Also for drinks I'm thinking the Saucer and Bound'ry.

                  Whatcha think?

                  1. re: askdrtodd

                    City House is the best one on that list. I love Virago, but I would not describe it as very "authentically Japanese". It's more of a modernized take on sushi/Japanese, actually. But very good. Watermark is also very good, though more upscale than the others on the list. Tayst has never really done it for me, but a lot of people really love it.

                    1808 and Blackstone are very very different. 1808 is very food oriented, while Blackstone is more of a brewery that also serves passable bar food. On West End, I love Tin Angel, Bricktops, and even J. Alexander's.

                    Tayst Restaurant
                    2100 21st Ave S, Nashville, TN 37212

                    City House
                    1222 4th Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37208

                    Tin Angel Restaurant
                    3201 W End Ave, Nashville, TN 37203

                    1. re: jamiecarroll

                      Hm. Where would you go for lunch within a mile (or less) of Vanderbuilt? I can scratch Blackstone off the list...

                      Really wish some of those other spots were open for lunch!

                      1. re: askdrtodd

                        What do you guys think is the coolest lunch spot by Vanderbuilt there? I definitely want to try out 1808, looking for other possibilities too.

                        San Antonio Taco Co?

                        San Antonio Taco Co
                        416 21st Ave S Ste B, Nashville, TN 37203

                        1. re: askdrtodd

                          It's Vanderbilt, not Vanderbuilt.

                          SATCO was a revelation when it first opened in the '80s, it's not worth anything now, hasn't been for years.

                          If you hike down to Hillsboro Village, the coolest lunch for my money in the area is Fido, followed by Sunset Grill and Provence. If you want to stay tighter to campus ... hmm ... that's tougher because so many of what's there is geared towards serving students and office workers, and there are a lot of chains. Lots of good restaurants that don't do lunch, too. What springs to mind is Bombay Palace, Bricktop's, Midtown Cafe, Hog Heaven, Calypso Cafe (maybe), but even those are really off the edge of campus

                          P.S. City House is "Italian" but it's not what you're thinking. No red sauce, no fettucini alfredo, etc. It's Italian like you'd see Lidia Bastianich prepare, maybe. I promise you will never have had anything like it.

                          1. re: TLF

                            Wouldn't say "anything", I've eaten at Babbo, Del Posto, and Torrisi in NYC, Scarpetta in Miami, Spiaggia in Chicago, etc, but if this is on par with them, I'm there!

                            If time permits I'll head down to Hillsboro Village, but will more likely will try your other recos in the area. I think we have a Hog Heaven down here in FL.

                            (Sorry about the Vanderbilt mis-spelling)

                      2. re: jamiecarroll

                        I agree about tayst. I've been 3 times and I never understood the love. Not bad, but sooooo many other places I'd rather go for the money.

                1. re: TLF

                  Have you tried that place out? People on urbanspoon are bashing the heck out of it...

                  1. re: askdrtodd

                    no haven't been, just saw the review this morning.

            3. I don’t recall reading anything about the newly opened Tavern in Midtown next to Broadway Brewhouse. Initial reactions seem to be fairly positive about the place. Here’s a link to the menu.


              I’ll also add another rec for City House.

              City House
              1222 4th Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37208

              7 Replies
              1. re: pete k

                That looks solid Pete! Are they open for lunch?

                1. re: pete k

                  oops never mind that's a couple miles from the hotel, I was shooting for walking distance for lunch. still looks good though!

                  1. re: pete k

                    Man, everyone is just raving about City House, but damn if the menu just isn't doing it for me. Maybe I just like my food too eclectic. Reallllllllly wish some of these places were open for lunch!

                    1. re: askdrtodd

                      I won't try to convince you to go somewhere you seem adamant not to visit, but ... I don't understand how you can say you're interested in Bound'ry but not City House just based on reading the menu. Honestly, the Cauliflower, Wheat Berries, Orange, Red Onion, Lemon, Almonds app was one of the best things I have ever put in my mouth. Ever.

                      It may come down to, do you want what people are telling you is some of the best food in the city, or do you want to go somewhere that satisfies your concept of what should be offered? I would be interested in hearing what your definition of "eclectic" is and why CH doesn't fit that bill. Again, NOT trying to convince you to go there since you obviously don't want to, but I'm puzzled.

                      You want eclectic? Go to ChaChah. Heck, go to Rumba or Mambu. Cabana sidesteps into that category sometimes, as does Flyte. Or Margot.

                      Also, at this point I have to say ... on a thread like this, you get to the point where you are overthinking it. I love food, I love restaurants, I love trying new places and getting the best of whatever an area has to offer. But ... dude, it's just a few meals. Chill. :)

                      P.S. You also need to choose between sticking with that "walking distance" criteria for lunch, and ponying up $5 for a cab ride. You never told us what hotel you're staying at so it's hard for us to judge what's close/not close, with just "Vanderbilt" as the pushpin. We're telling you what's in the area, you knock them all down. So ... yeah.

                      1. re: TLF

                        TLF- sorry, I know I'm a PITA. I'll be going to City House and then Watermark or Virago the next night, I'll flip a coin. We have a car, I just like walking :)

                        Thanks again for the input, I really appreciate it! I'll keep an eye open for the Cauliflower app, looking forward to it.

                      2. re: askdrtodd

                        I think I understand what you're saying. City House's philosophy seems to be choosing exceptional, fresh ingredients, and letting them shine with simple, straightforward preparation. There is nothing very flashy or glamorous about what they do. But my philosophy on food is the same, so I love what they're doing.

                        If you're looking for more pizazz or a "wow factor", you would probably be better off at one of Arnold Myint's restaurants, or Tayst, or Mambu, or Cabana. These are not necessarily better or worse restaurants, just different. Good luck!

                        Tayst Restaurant
                        2100 21st Ave S, Nashville, TN 37212

                        City House
                        1222 4th Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37208

                        Mambu Restaurant
                        1806 Hayes St, Nashville, TN 37203

                    2. So I got to try City House, Watermark, 1808, and Ken's Sushi (needed something really close and really quick). Also went by Mojo/Broadway bar (or whatever it's called), Flying Saucer, and Mellow for brews.

                      City House I thought was good but not worthy of the praise it receives, although it was a really cool space and had great energy, the best thing we had was the pizza, the other dishes were unimpressive and the pasta dish my friend had was something I would expect to find at olive garden.

                      Watermark was beautiful, well decorated, with polished servers and a pretty view. Just a smidge shy of being stuffy, but not bad by any means. Food was excellent, some dishes spectacular (the escargot and marrow, the beet salad, the monkfish, and WOW the charcuterie). Only complaint is we ordered a bunch of small plates at the server's reco, he said he'd course them out, and all 5 small plates showed up at once, which made them difficult to fit on the table, let alone share.

                      1808 was a really pretty space too, decent service, tasty burger, yummy yazoo lager.

                      Ken's sushi was quick, tasty, and reasonably priced. Had the Chirashi (yum) and the squid salad app (decent).

                      I didn't dig the saucer, too smokey, couldn't enjoy my beer. Mojo/Broadway had a good selection (70+ taps!) and cool bartenders, and Mellow had great happy hour specials, $2.50 for a craft beer pint from 5-8.

                      Thanks all for your recommendations!