Nashville Beyond the Crowds
Nashville; the name alone takes you back to another time. Smoky pool halls with Johnny Cash blaring from the jukebox, honky tonk bars filled with two-step dancing, and cowboys in big hats and pearl snap shirts. Beyond the famous attractions that you always hear about Nashville is full of underground restaurants, bars and shops that are off-the-beaten- path. Here a few must-visits that you normally wouldn't find on a must-visit list.
Crema is the best place to start your busy day in the music city. Good coffee and fresh, simple food in a sleek and modern atmosphere. Another coffeeshop option is Barista Parlor, which has three locations spread throughout the city.
After a bite to eat and some coffee, walk around the corner and pop into the shops that are on the same block as Barista Parlor. Moto Moda is focused on retro motorcycles and gear and is filled with the kind of vintage bikes that'll make your mouth water. Even if you aren't into riding the shop also houses clothing and jewelry from local Nashville artists.
Right next door to Moto Moda you'll find Fuselage, which could best be described as a hip curiosities shop. Need a cowboy hat? They have it. Need a handmade bolo tie? They have it. Need a giant neon Nashville sign? They have that too.
Imogene + Willie is heralded for their denim all over the world and their shop just happens to be in Nashville. Their jeans are expensive, but they'll last you a lifetime.
Experience a little bit of country while you're in the South by taking a short drive to the outskirts of the city where you'll find rolling hills, farms, ranches and Juro Stables. I had never been on the back of a horse in my life but the folks at the stable made it an easy and enjoyable experience. After an hour-long trot down tree-lined paths I felt like a pro and have been itching to try it again ever since.
After sometime in the country side come back to the city and grab lunch and relax at Pinewood Social. Award-winning food and a great lounge make for destination-chilling. Be sure to invite your friends: this place has a full six-lane bowling alley, bocce ball court, and a pool (yes a pool, you read that right).
Nashville is, and always has been, a music town. One walk down Broadway and you'll see how it lives up to its name with bands playing in nearly every bar. This main drag is a mad house once the sun goes down, but you can beat the crowds and head to Layla's early in the day. Grab a drink and tap your toes to authentic country tunes as early as 10:30 in the morning.
Jack White is keeping nostalgia alive and well in this world with his old school take on recording and manufacturing vinyl records. His record label, Third Man Records, calls Nashville home and established it first physical store in 2009. Stop in and take a look at what is known as the "Novelties Lounge" complete with a video jukebox and photo booth while you peruse the incredible selection of rare and limited release records the store holds.
New to the East Nashville scene is the Crying Wolf which opened its doors in 2013. Get one of their house ground burgers for a gourmet taste in a setting that won't make you feel out of place whether you're wearing a tank top or a cowboy hat. Swing by the Crying Wolf if you're looking for some of the best burgers in town along with straight talking bartenders who won't steer you wrong when it comes to what to drink.
After a full day you'll want to stop by what pegs itself as the oldest dive bar in Nashville; Dino's. You would probably just walk right by this place if you didn't know what you were looking for. On the outside of this unassuming brick building you'll find the words "Ice Cold Beer, Fine Food" painted on a dingy window. Step inside this dark bar and the smell of fried food permeates the air, and a small beer list is written on the wall. There are a few seats at the bar and a couple of booths to sit in as your day melts away into late night. Open until 3 a.m., Dino's is a true hole-in-the wall bar, with simple food, simple drinks, no theme, and no frills. Just the way we like it.