One can hardly say Nashville without thinking hot chicken, therefore our first hot spot on the list has to be Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack, where the fiery fowl phenomenon began over 70 years ago when, as legend has it, Thorton Prince’s significant other doused his chicken with cayenne pepper while seeking revenge for cheating on her. Alas, Prince not only prevailed, but fell in love with his punishment, and the Nashville delicacy was born. Prince’s continues to be a crowd favorite among hot chicken lovers, with new players like Hattie B’s, Bolton’s Spicy Chicken & Fish and Party Fowl giving a good go at the iconic dish.
Another icon among Nashville’s southern food scene is Monell’s, known for their all-you-can-eat, family-style restaurant with an after-hours Midnight Country Breakfast available on Saturdays from midnight to 3 a.m.
For something other than traditional Southern food, Two Ten Jack in East Nashville opened as the city’s first izakaya serving Japanese-inspired comfort food and tasty ramen.
When in Nashville, hitting up a bluegrass brunch is a must. Despite its notorious waitlist, we love The Sutler Saloon. Grab a (bottomless) mimosa or Bloody Mary while you put your name in and enjoy the live music while deciding between hot biscuits, brisket hash and fried chicken and waffles.
Christmas never ends at Santa’s Pub, one of Nashville’s best dive bars crammed into a double wide trailer on Branford Avenue. Serving cold beer only in cans, this cash-only establishment is known for its good times, karaoke and unannounced appearances from the likes of Marcus Mumford, Kacey Musgraves, Gavin DeGraw and others, who Santa himself (the bar’s owner, Denzel Irwin) will more than happily name drop while you get your ID checked at the door.
For fun and games, Pinewood Social has a little bit of everything from coffee and cocktails to a bowling alley, dipping pool and yard games. East Nashville’s Smith & Lentz brewery also offers a spacious dog-friendly back patio with corn hole and a liberal food policy allowing beer patrons to bring their own food to the brewery.
It’s not a proper visit to Music City if you don’t catch a show. The Ryman Auditorium is a classic and reverently referred to as “the Mother Church of Country Music.” Putting on some of the best shows in the city, we recommend keeping an eye on their lineup of upcoming shows whenever a trip to Nashville is on the horizon.
Bluebird Café is another beloved Nashville institution, known for hosting up-and-coming songwriters and national acts with no advance notice.
For that honky-tonk, only-in-Nashville vibe, The Station Inn is a truly historic bluegrass venue at home in the Gulch. And, if you’re in the market for a pair of Western boots, not far from The Station Inn lies Nashville Boot Co with a wide selectin of styles and brands to comb over.