tcr's Guide to Nashville

A non-definitive, Ever-changing compendium of can’t-miss eats, drinks, shops, sites and sounds


EAT & DRINK

CAFE ROZE

CAFE ROZE

CAFE ROZE. This stylish all-day cafe comes to you courtesy of New York City chef Julia Jaksic (Jack's Wife Freda). Julia crafted Cafe Roze to be a  place where she could serve up her dream menu while having regular face-to-face interaction with her customers. We recommend stopping in for an Avocado Shake or the Farro Salad, starring charred green beans. (East Nashville)

mas tacos

mas tacos

MAS TACOS. Step up to the carry-out window and order up a bowl of chicken tortilla soup and one (or more) of Teresa Mason’s tacos on the side (I live for the avocado and pulled pork). Those little cradles of goodness are easily the best three dollars you’ll spend all week. Ridiculously addictive. Note that Mas only takes cash; there's an ATM on the premises for those who come with light wallets. (East Nashville) 

Crema

Crema

CREMA. Despite all the caffeine being doled out, the vibe at Crema is consistently cool and calm. Owners Ben and Rachel Lehman run a tight ship, at both their flagship and their newly redecorated spot inside Pinewood Social. The former also hosts coffee-centric educational programs that consistently sell out. (Downtown)

little octopus

little octopus

LITTLE OCTOPUS. Between this sexy lunch, brunch and dinner joint and Otaku Ramen, both in the Gulch, Sarah and Brad Gavigan have built a little Nashville food empire in just a few years. The best way to tackle LO’s internationally influenced tapas-style menu is by ordering a bunch of dishes to share, ensuring that you get to experience as many flavors as possible. Featured on The Callaway Report. (Gulch) 

DRUG STORE COFFEE / PHOTO: NASHVILLE LIFESTYLES

DRUG STORE COFFEE / PHOTO: NASHVILLE LIFESTYLES

DRUG STORE COFFEE. Barista Parlor maestro (and TCR subject) Andy Mumma’s latest venture is this small coffee shop within the lobby of Noelle in downtown Nashville. More compact than other Barista Parlors, Drug Store maintains the same cool vibe of its brothers. Order a cup to go or have it served to you in Noelle’s grand Trade Room. (Downtown)

Barista Parlor

Barista Parlor

BARISTA PARLOR. There are three Barista Parlors in town, each space more vibrant than the last, thanks to the creative collaboration by BP owner Andy Mumma and his buddy, artist Bryce McCloud, with the décor in each representing a different form of travel: on sea (East Nashville), air (The Gulch, which includes a roaster – an exciting new addition) and land (Germantown). Featured on The Callaway Report. 

Rolf & Daughters

Rolf & Daughters

ROLF & DAUGHTERS. This North Nashville restaurant has gotten big love from just about every food publication of note, and for good reason. Chef Phillip Krajeck’s menu reads as both inventive and familiar at the same time (the pastas are the stuff that carb-loading dreams are made of). RAD frequently hosts events with visiting chefs. (Germantown)

Bastion / photo: Nashville Guru

Bastion / photo: Nashville Guru

BASTION. Another Josh Habiger/Strategic Hospitality joint, this casual bar is playful and laid back without being sloppy. There are bleachers built into the walls, lo-fi bar games, shots and frozen drinks on the menu, and a kitchen that serves only (incredible) nachos - in short, a 180 from the environment these guys created at Catbird Seat across town. (Wedgewood Houston)

MAKEREADY

MAKEREADY

MAKEREADY LIBATIONS & LIBERATION. There are dining options throughout Noelle. But it’s the hotel’s main restaurant, located on Printers Alley, where visitors can get a 360-degree experience that melds the distinctive menu of Chef Dan Herget (previously of Little Octopus, owned by former TCR subject Sarah Gavigan) with Noelle’s art dynamic programming, led by Bryce McCloud of Isle of Printing (and, yes, TCR). (Downtown)

Henrietta Red

Henrietta Red

HENRIETTA RED. Nashville is on an oyster kick lately - and Chef Julia Sullivan's lovely news Germantown digs are home to some of the best in town. (Order the ones doused in green curry. You're welcome.) The space is beautiful and welcoming - at once airy and intimate, shadowy and bright. And friendly, too: I'm looking forward to tucking into a meal at the bar solo soon. (Germantown)

Margot

Margot

MARGOT. A decade before Nashville became an international foodie destination, chef Margot McCormack was here, doing her brilliant Mediterranean bistro thing in East Nashville’s Five Points. Sunday brunches are especially packed; if you don't remember to call ahead for a rezzie, get there at 11 AM sharp to score a table or seat at the bar. (East Nashville)

Josephine

Josephine

JOSEPHINE. Yes, it's a real cluster to get in and out of the 12th Avenue South area. But a meal at Josephine is most definitely worth a few frazzled nerves. Chef Andrew Little's menu is elegant but satisfying, with comfort dishes like steak and spaetzel, as well as some amazing vegetables (the Brussels sprouts are insane). It's really great for weekend brunch. (12South)

PINEWOOD SOCIAL

PINEWOOD SOCIAL

PINEWOOD SOCIAL. Come for the food – chef Josh Habiger’s menu is filled with new takes on old-fashioned comfort food (the burger = beyond) – and stay for the bowling. There are six lanes in the back of this expansive hang out, as well as a karaoke bar and wading pools outside. Despite the delightful distractions, it’s a great place to have a casual meeting. (Downtown)

city house / Photo: Andrea Behrends

city house / Photo: Andrea Behrends

CITY HOUSE. Request a stool at the counter in front of the kitchen to supervise chef Tandy Wilson’s crew as they crack a fresh egg in the middle of your pork belly pizza before sliding it into the enormous fire oven. Or get a table and tuck in for CH's beloved Sunday Supper, when each week the kitchen goes rogue and ditches the regular menu in favor of a list of delicious one-offs, including a whole section devoted to pork treats. (Germantown)



SEE & HEAR

THIRD MAN RECORDS

THIRD MAN RECORDS

THIRD MAN RECORDS. Jack White fans will be in hog heaven in the shop of this primary-colored rock clubhouse, which also features a company distribution center and public performance space (TMR offices in the back are off-limites). Don’t leave without buying a single from the in-house lable, which has recorded everyone from Courtney Barnett to Tom Jones, not to mention the Insane Clown Posse. (Pie Town)

ROBERT'S WESTERN WORLD

ROBERT'S WESTERN WORLD

ROBERT’S WESTERN WORLD. This Lower Broadway institution is open during the day, but it really comes alive at night, when the PBR is as cheap and cold and as the crowd is sweaty and hot. And yes, ordering a fried bologna sandwich at 2 am is always a good idea. (Lower Broadway)

THE RYMAN

THE RYMAN

THE RYMAN AUDITORIUM. Dolly Parton. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds. REM. Gillian Welch. The National. Over the years, we’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy performances by them all seated in the wooden pews of the Mother Church of Country Music. And yes, the acoustics really are as awesome as folks say they are. (Downtown)

grimey's/ Photo: Doyle Davis

grimey's/ Photo: Doyle Davis

GRIMEY’S / THE BASEMENT. Grimey’s is the OG of local record stores. It's a popular spot for touring bands to hold intimate in-store performances prior to gigs (that's Margo Price's spring '16 appearance above) at much larger venues or even downstairs in The Basement, a small, low-ceilinged rock club with a new-ish sister space in East Nashville. (8th Avenue South)

THE FRIST center for the visual arts

THE FRIST center for the visual arts

FRIST CENTER FOR THE VISUAL ARTS. Nashville’s preeminent art museum is known for hosting a rotating cast of world-class international exhibits, including some blockbuster fashion and vintage car shows. Get a taste of the local scene with a visit to the Wedgewood Houston district, where galleries like David Lusk and Zeitgeist have lovely spaces. (The Gulch)

COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAMe / Photo: CVC

COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAMe / Photo: CVC

COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME. If you love country music, you’ll never want to leave. But even those who don’t are bound to dig the CMHOF, home to such iconic visual delights as Gram Parsons’ infamous Nudie suit, embroidered with pills, pot leaves and naked ladies - you know, necessities. (Downtown)


SHOP, SEE & STAY

WILDER

WILDER

WILDER. The aesthetic topography of Nashville was changed notably with the 2014 arrival of Josh and Ivy Elrod, a pair of New York creative, now based here, in Josh’s hometown. Come for contemporary homeware, fragrances, custom furniture, art and textiles (including pillows by Electra Eggleston) – and stay for one of the couple’s great parties. Featured on The Callaway Report. (Germantown)

TWO SON

TWO SON

TWO SON. Two creative couples with four sons between them (and a few daughters, too) came up with the concept for this multi-brand boutique, which also features its own in-house collection of basics. Come for men’s wear, women’s wear and home goods, all with a chic, minimalist appeal. (East Nashville)

HERMITAGE HOTEL

HERMITAGE HOTEL

THE HERMITAGE. Elegance, thy name is Hermitage, the overnight choice for VIPs and other luxury-driven folks. Even if you’re not booked in one of the rooms, you can get a great feel of the place having dinner at the Capital Grille or a bourbon at the famed Oak Bar. Hit the men’s room on the way out. Trust us. (Downtown)

HIGH GARDEN

HIGH GARDEN

HIGH GARDEN. You can buy pre-mixed tea bags sold in hand-lettered brown paper bags or have the team mix up something for what ails you. If you need any proof that the brews and tinctures here work, just take a look at owners Joel and Leah Larabell’s glowing skin and sparkling eyes. (East Nashville)

 

HEY ROOSTER

HEY ROOSTER

HEY ROOSTER. Courtney Webb provides independent minded Nashvillians with beloved home provisions they never knew they couldn’t live without. Especially appealing: artisan pantry and apothecary provisions from near (Handy Dandy, Golden Apothecary) and far (Brooklyn’s Claudia Pearson, Austin’s Wildsam). (Hillsboro Village)

URBAN COWBOY

URBAN COWBOY

URBAN COWBOY. Save for some killer AirBnBs, East Nashville has long suffered from a dearth of charming overnight accommodations. Enter UC, the southern outpost of the popular Brooklyn b&b, located in a stately Queen Anne manse conveniently kitty-corner from the fabulous Lockland Table. Owner Lyon Porter aims to open in early March. (East Nashville)

I+W

I+W

IMOGENE + WILLIE. The popular scope of Nashville’s fashion offerings stopped at Western boots and cowboy hats before this denim company came to town five years ago. Go to the flagship for terrific blue jeans as well as legendary backyard parties featuring excellent live music: more than one Grammy winner has played Supper & Song. (12South)

HIGH CLASS HILLBILLY

HIGH CLASS HILLBILLY

HIGH CLASS HILLBILLY. Nikki Lane, Americana’s most fetching chanteuse, spends free time on tour hitting up antique stores for vintage scores. Her taste is distinctive – and right on target for anyone looking to add fringed and  spangled Western wear or a perfectly worn-in moto jacket to their closet arsenal. (Inglewood)

Photo: Elephant gallery

Photo: Elephant gallery

BUCHANAN STREET. Nashville’s most vibrant new shopping destination, Buchanan is the retail home of native brands including Emil Erwin, Salt Ceramics, Nisolo and Salemtown Board Company. Also there: the new pizza joint Slim & Husky's and Elephant Gallery, the quirky project by beloved local artist  Alex Lockwood. Featured on The Callaway Report. (North Nashville)

THE 404 HOTEL

THE 404 HOTEL

THE 404 HOTEL. There are five immaculately appointed rooms here, each with 22-foot ceilings and sweeping white walls graced with the photography of local artist Caroline Allison. “Invisible service” means you don’t have to see anyone unless you want to. Have dinner at The 404 Kitchen, home of chef Matt Bolus. (The Gulch)


LOCAL MAKERS 

CONSIDER THE WLDFLWRS

CONSIDER THE WLDFLWRS

CONSIDER THE WLDFLWRS. Established in 2013, this small but growing jewelry company designs “instant heirlooms” that are strikingly beautiful in their minimalism. The CTW HQ on Buchanan Street offers a complete selection of their collections and also offers custom jewelry design. (North Nashville) (www.considerthewldflwrs.com)

TENURE CERAMICS / PHOTO: NASHVILLE LIFESTYLES

TENURE CERAMICS / PHOTO: NASHVILLE LIFESTYLES

TENURE CERAMICS. TCR subject John Donovan worked as a college professor for almost two decades before leaving academia to pursue his passion project full-time. John’s first commercial client for his tableware was City House; today, he provides ceramics for local restaurants including Bastion and Makeready Libations & Liberation. The rest of us can shop for plates and serving pieces on his website. (www.tenureceramics.com)

Otis James

Otis James

CERI HOOVER. Ceri Hoover entered the fashion world in 2013, with no formal training, but armed with great ideas for handbag designs and an unwavering devotion to American manufacturing. Today, all Ceri Hoover bags and shoes are designed in Nashville and made in Los Angeles. The best place to buy the collection - and to get the full-on Ceri Hoover Experience, including designer collaborations and highly edited selections of apparel - is in her namesake flagship, located on buzzy 12th Avenue South. (www.cerihoover.com

CLARY COLLECTION / PHOTO: MOON BODY SOUL

CLARY COLLECTION / PHOTO: MOON BODY SOUL

CLARY COLLECTION. Jen Auerbach and Adriel Denae are the brain trust behind this small-batch skincare collection. Made entirely in Nashville – in Jen’s backyard barn, no less! – Clary uses custom blends of 100% organic oils to make products including a soothing Clary Balm and the divine smelling Renew & Repair Oil, which is a truly magical potion we use from top to toe. (Select Local Boutiques) (www.clarycollection.com)

ONA REX

ONA REX

ONA REX. Designed by O’More College of Design alumnae Ashley Balding, this Nashville-based womenswear company is known for styles that are both bold and utilitarian, not to mention colorful: think acidic lilac and neon orange. Known for her frequent visual collaborations with photographer (and TCR subject) Brett Warren, Ashley is the recipient of the Nashville Fashion Alliance’s 2017 Womenswear Designer of the Year award. (Select Local Boutiques) (www.onarex.com)

HAN STARNES / Photo: Laura Dart

HAN STARNES / Photo: Laura Dart

HAN STARNES. There is nothing fussy about designer Han Starnes' wonderful women's wear, sewn from specially-made textiles and hand-knits. Last year, Han moved from a shared work space in Germantown to a backyard studio at her home in East Nashville. There, she and a small team fill orders for an international roster of small boutiques and an online clientele who look to her for comfortable, chic separates that are designed to last a very long time. (www.hanstarnes.com

 SERAPHINE DESIGN / PHOTO: STYLE BLUEPRINT

 SERAPHINE DESIGN / PHOTO: STYLE BLUEPRINT

SERAPHINE. Brooke Seraphine uses raw and semi-precious stones in her designs, which are minimal yet bold and often feature her signature crystal, Peruvian pyrite. Her love of stones and dramatic accessories comes naturally: her dad was a geologist and her uncle was a jewelry designer in the disco-era ‘70s. (East Nashville) (www.seraphinedesign.com)

NEW HAT

NEW HAT

NEW HAT. Many of the coolest rooms in Nashville share a common factor: their walls are covered in paper by New Hat. Founded by artists Kelly Diehl and Elizabeth Williams, the quirky wall-covering company has created custom projects for the likes of Lemon Laine, Henrietta Red, and Makeready Libations & Liberation: you’ll definitely want to take a peek inside the women’s room next time you’re having dinner. (Select Local Boutiques) (www.newhatprojects.com)

Emil erwin

Emil erwin

EMIL ERWIN. Emil Erwin is not a person. Emil Congdon, however, is. He and his wife Leslie run this high-end leather goods company, which came to national attention  when it nabbed G&G's Made in the South award in 2010, the same year the company's collaboration with Imogene + Willie hit J. Crew stores. Today, Emil produces his bags, belts and home goods out of a white, minimalist studio/boutique in North Nashville. (www.emilerwin.com)  

PORTMANTEAU

PORTMANTEAU

PORTMANTEAU. Self-described “Alaskan hippie child” Blaque Reilly’s jewelry is full of surprises. Designed with simple lines and excellent craftsmanship, her limited-production jewelry collection is intentionally asymmetrical, adding a bit of chaos to its minimalist style. Recycled and conflict-free materials are just a bonus. (Select Local Boutiques) (www.port-manteau.com)

SALT CERAMICS

SALT CERAMICS

SALT CERAMICS. One of the many artists working out of TCR subject Alex Lockwood’s 1411 Buchanan Street creative space, ceramicist Jess Cheatham specializes in practical shapes finished in a soothing neutral palate. In just a few short years, her work has garnered the attention of Rolf & Daughters, Cafe Roze and Noelle, which have all commissioned custom projects. (Select Local Boutiques) (www.saltceramics.com)

elizabeth suzann

elizabeth suzann

ELIZABETH SUZANN. Just three years ago, Elizabeth Pape was sewing her sophisticated women's wear, made from high-quality all-natural fabrics like silk and line, out of her guest bedroom. Today, she has a staff of 15 that operates out of a 10,000-square-foot production studio/showroom in South Nashville and has a worldwide following. The company is undisputedly one of local fashion's great success stories. (www.elizabethsuzann.com

J+TJ

J+TJ

JAMIE + THE JONES. TCR has a soft spot for Jamie Frazier and Hannah Jones, the two BFFs who started J+TJ when they were seniors at O'More College of Design - the same year that the two longhaired lovelies did their joint internship with us. Their designs are notable for being tactile and, in many cases, hand-marbled. Their Nashville-made separates are sold locally in East Nashville at Sisters of Nature and Two Son.  (www.jamieandthejones.com

Isle of printing

Isle of printing

ISLE OF PRINTING. Artist Bryce McCloud is a beloved and respected pillar of the local creative community — and not only because he's a kick-ass artist with a seemingly endless amount of energy and a limitless imagination. The love folks have for him and his team at Isle of Printing comes from their choice to pursue projects that encourage communication and stir compassion. (See: the Our Town project.) He's currently in the process of adding a retail component to his studio in Pie Town (a name he coined); it should open this summer. Featured on The Callaway Report. (www.isleofprinting.com)

Cavanagh baker

Cavanagh baker

CAVANAGH BAKER. Only a few years out of SCAD, this young Birmingham native designs upscale ladylike ready-to-wear that appeals to the toast of Nashville’s society, as well as more than a few country music luminaries - Kelsea Ballerini and Karen Fairchild among them. Her gorgeous atelier in downtown's Cummins Station is open during the week for drop-ins, and by appointment for custom orders. (www.cavanaghbaker.com)