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Where To Eat And Drink In Nashville

PHOTO: Andrew Thomas Lee

Nashville has long been home to hot chicken shops, honky tonks, and plenty of classic Southern spots. Besides the greatest hits though, you can now find a diverse range of other excellent places to eat and drink across the city. This is great for everyone, whether you live here or are just visiting for the weekend, but it does make deciding where to go out more difficult. That’s where we come in.

Here you’ll find our recommendations for where to eat and drink around Nashville. We’ve included everything from our favorite taco and brunch spots in East Nashville to our go-to date spots in Germantown. This might be our first Nashville guide in a while, but expect plenty more from The Infatuation here soon.

The New-ish spots everyone's talking about

If you only have one night in Nashville, be it for a layover or a 24-hour romantic getaway that seemed like a good idea at the time, Rolf and Daughters is the one place you absolutely need to go. This popular Germantown restaurant serves excellent small and shared plates, most of which are vaguely Italian or Spanish, while others use Chinese and Japanese ingredients. There’s no real theme to Rolf and Daughters’ constantly changing menu, but that, plus the great wine list, is what keeps us coming back. You could bring a date here, but it’s best with a group so you can try more of the menu. They also have a great garden patio, which has a nice summer dinner party feel to it.

Henrietta Red is one of the nicest looking restaurants in Nashville, with two very pretty bars and a dining room that makes you wonder, “Could I go to Ikea and recreate this in my apartment?” Besides it being beautiful though, this Germantown spot has a raw bar and serves a variety of great Mediterranean food cooked in a wood-fired oven. It’s an ideal spot for getting a group of friends together when you need a place that everyone will undoubtedly like. If you are visiting for the weekend and are pressed for time or just come solo, head to the barroom instead for cocktails and oysters. This is one place that we really can’t recommend enough.

Photo: Andrew Thomas Lee

Husk

Rutledge Hill
37 Rutledge St

Husk is the one Nashville restaurant you should make a reservation at before you even finish reading this, both because it’s great and because it books up way in advance. Located in an old Victorian mansion in Rutledge Hill, this very popular spot serves refined Southern food and an all-time great burger. The menu is updated twice daily for lunch and dinner and reflects heavily what’s available from the on-site garden. If you don’t make a reservation, you can try winging it and head to the downstairs bar instead, which serves a huge selection of rare whiskies and the full restaurant menu.

Photo: Andrea Behrends

Unlike everywhere else in this guide, Hemingway’s Bar & Hideaway is located in more low-key Wedgewood-Houston, which lacks all of the bar and restaurant options you’ll find in Germantown or East Nashville. Don’t let that deter you though. Between their wine selection, excellent cocktails, and upscale comfort food, Hemingway’s is one of our new favorite places to eat and drink in town. It’s also open for weekend brunch and serves a small bar menu until 1am, so regardless of when you go, there’s always something good to eat here.

Photo: Abby Demmer

Butchertown Hall in Germantown is a great place to go for a weekend brunch that stretches on through the afternoon. The Tex-Mex menu includes great things to snack on, like queso and guacamole, along with tacos and really good barbecue in case you want something more substantial. Drink-wise, they have a wide selection of German beers and mezcal cocktails, both of which are great for sipping on as you completely bail on whatever else you planned for the afternoon.

Photo: Abby Demmer

Kayne Prime

The Gulch
1103 McGavock St

When you’re in Nashville for work and need to take some clients out, or just have a corporate card at your disposal, go to Kayne Prime in The Gulch. This creative steakhouse serves high quality cuts of meat and has a huge wine list. But along with all of the wagyu you’d ever want, it’s their unique sides and appetizers, like the cream corn brulé and maple cotton candy over bacon, that set this place apart.

Photo: M Street Entertainment Group

If you need a break from the bachelorette parties and bar crawls that take over Upper Broadway, head to Acme Feed & Seed, a four-story restaurant and bar located inside an old factory. The first floor features live music and a wide range of interesting bar food, while the second floor has a more upscale lounge and somewhat random sushi bar. The main reason to go to Acme though, is for the huge rooftop, which has one of the city’s best views of downtown. Acme’s a great spot for laid back day drinking on the roof or stop by later for more of a party-vibe with DJs upstairs and honky tonk dancing on the first floor.

Photo: Emily B. Hall

When you plan a date, sometimes you want to do more than just have dinner or get drinks. For instance, seeing a movie is perfect for when you don’t feel like talking and bowling is a good opportunity to show off how “athletic” you are. But a museum trip is a great option for something in the middle, which is why we like Gray & Dudley, located inside the 21c Museum Hotel. This downtown, all-day restaurant serves seasonal Southern food and has a great selection of wine and cocktails. After dinner, or breakfast if you’re the rare morning date person, take a trip around the three floors of galleries located above the restaurant and discuss with your date how neither of you knows anything about contemporary art.

5th & Taylor

Germantown
1411 5th Ave N

Most restaurants aren’t designed with bachelor/bachelorette parties in mind. However, if you find yourself on one in Nashville, 5th & Taylor is here to make your crew’s life a lot easier. Housed in an old Germantown warehouse, this spacious restaurant has banquette-style tables and a huge menu of Southern shared plates and entrees, along with enough beer, wine, and cocktails to please everyone in your group. It’s a great dinner spot, but even better for brunch - partially because of the sausage cheddar biscuits, but also so you can spend a few hours on their big patio afterward.

Classic establishments

Mas Tacos Por Favor is a small, cash only taco shop in East Nashville that you’d think was in coastal California, if it weren’t for the lack of ocean and surfboards lined up outside. Along with the super colorful interior and overall beachy feel though, they also serve the best tacos in the city. You can’t go wrong with any of the tacos, but make sure to get some tortilla soup too, along with at least one elote - grilled street corn - per person. Stop by for lunch while exploring East Nashville or after you’ve had a few drinks at The Pharmacy beer garden next door.

Photo: Abby Demmer

There’s no food more synonymous with Nashville than hot chicken and there are lots of places to get it around town. If you only go to one spot though, it should definitely be Hattie B’s. The menu is simple: order a two, three, or four piece, or a sandwich, along with some sides. There are six heat options to choose from, starting with no heat at all and going all the way to “Shut The Cluck Up.” We can’t recommend the latter, but in case you tempt fate, each of Hattie B’s three locations sells iced tea by the gallon, so at least you can get some temporary relief.

Photo: Joseph Woodley

For a taste of nostalgia and the best biscuits you’ve ever had, head to the Loveless Cafe 30 minutes southwest of Nashville. Open since 1951, people come here at all hours of the day for huge plates of chicken-fried steak and smoked country ham, but it’s their legendary biscuits, which they bake more than 10,000 of daily, that turned this place into a local institution. By all means take a picture of their giant neon sign out front, but if you need another souvenir, make sure to buy some biscuit mix to take home. Future you will be very happy.

Photo: Laura Leatherman

neighborhood standbys

City House

Germantown
1222 4th Ave N

City House in Germantown combines two things we really like: Southern ingredients and Italian food. Two of our favorite examples of this are the belly ham pizza and the catfish and sausage stew with fennel and focaccia, both of which we strongly suggest you try the next time you eat here. Get a reservation if you can, but in case you don’t think ahead, they also have a pizza counter, bar, and screened-in patio if you decide to drop in last minute.

Photo: Andrea Behrends

Burger Up

12 South
2901 12th Ave. S

There isn’t really a wrong time or place to eat a burger, but Burger Up in 12South is great for when you want to sit down for one and have a good cocktail too. With large communal tables and a huge bar, it works just as well for a casual date as it does for dropping in for a solo burger and a drink. Burger-wise, we’re partial to the Woodstock, which comes with bacon, white cheddar, and their strangely addicting Jack Daniel’s maple ketchup. If you want something that won’t knock you out though, order the Troyathlon quinoa burger instead.

Photo: Jon Fenn

Between the very attentive staff and its location on a residential street in East Nashville, Lockeland Table almost makes you feel like you’re eating at a friend’s place rather than a restaurant. The key difference being the food, which is far beyond anything you expect any of your friends to prepare at home. Start with the empanadas before splitting a few entrees and a pizza. Also, make sure to order the banana foster bread pudding. Frankly, it would be rude not to.

For as much as Nashville’s food scene has changed, barbecue remains a constant. There’s no shortage of options for it around town, but Edley’s is our favorite because everything from the pulled pork to the cornbread is prepared in-house. Bring some friends and/or your family and order as much of the menu as you can, but make sure to include some BBQ nachos. Their three locations all have great patios and Happy Hours, so if you want to drink a bourbon tea outside to work up an appetite first, that works too.

Photo: Abby Demmer

Marché in East Nashville is a great place to go for a low-key brunch. This bistro serves excellent pastries, crepes, and omelettes, along with a really good Croque Madame. If you can’t make it to Marché early enough, their sister restaurant Margot is located next door and serves really good French and Italian food for dinner, along with a wide variety of wines.

Photo: Bob Delevante

Something casual

This downtown meat and three (an entrée plus three sides) spot serves a rotating menu of classic Southern dishes, like meatloaf and chicken and dumplings, along with lots of Thanksgiving sides that you probably only eat once a year. When you order at the counter, make sure to grab a slice of chocolate pie for dessert too. Arnold’s is only open on weekdays between 10:30am - 2:45pm and there’ll be a line out the door whenever you go, but it moves fast and there’s pie available once you get through, so just know it’s worth it.

Fido

Hillsboro Village
1812 21st Ave S

Located between Vanderbilt’s campus and Music Row, Fido serves locally roasted coffee, all-day breakfast, and really good homemade pastries. It’s a great place to stop by on the weekend before doing some shopping in Hillsboro Village. However, they stay open until 11pm most nights and serve beer and wine later in the day, along with more dinner-friendly food, in case you’re not in the mood for breakfast for dinner.

Photo: Victoria Miglets

If there’s one place to see live music in Nashville, it’s Ryman Auditorium. However, if the Ryman is sold out that night or you’re after something more low-key, head a block and a half down the street to Puckett’s instead. This place started simply as a general store with a stage, but now it’s turned into one of the best venues in town with live music seven nights a week. They also serve really good food, like shrimp and grits and Cajun chicken and waffles, all of which you can enjoy while catching a show.

bars

MAP

Drinking and dancing at Robert’s Western World is a Nashville right of passage. This honky tonk on Lower Broadway has live music seven nights a week and serves fried bologna sandwiches and moon pies for whatever reason. You’re probably not going to spend a whole night here, although you certainly could, but any night out on Broadway is incomplete without a stop to dance to country and rockabilly at Robert’s. Whether that happens at 2pm or 2am, you won’t forget it.

MAP

There’s nothing flashy about Duke’s in East Nashville, which is exactly why we love it. The beer is cold and cheap, drinks are named after regulars, and it’s just the right amount of divey without making you wonder when the last time they cleaned the bathrooms was. Local DJs spin vinyl after 10pm seven nights a week and there’s also a sandwich counter that makes different creations each night. Go dance, drink far too many High Lifes, eat a sandwich, and be very happy that Duke’s exists.

Photo: Angelina Castillo

L.A. Jackson

The Gulch
401 11th Avenue South, Rooftop of the Thompson Nashville Hotel

Located atop the Thompson Hotel, L.A. Jackson is an indoor-outdoor rooftop bar that’s a great starting point for a night out. Besides great views of downtown Nashville, this very swanky spot in The Gulch has lots of comfortable outdoor seating and serves really good cocktails and snacks. If you want a break from the rooftop scene, head down to the hotel lobby, where you can spin vinyl from Jack White’s record label and browse work from local artists.

Photo: Andrea Behrends
MAP

The Patterson House is a great cocktail bar in Midtown with some very specific rules. For instance, no phones are allowed near the bar, except for a quick text, and you can only order drinks from a server. Also, the bar only lets in so many people so that the servers can easily handle all of your drinking requests in a timely fashion. As a result, it’s a place you should go with friends when you want to drink some cocktails, eat some tater tots, and have a conversation without having to yell.

Photo: Ashley Hylbert

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