“I have a lot of people ask me, ‘Where do I go when I come to Nashville?’ and my answer is always, ‘Well, what are you into? Music? Food? Underground sex scene?’ I don’t know much about that last one there, but there sure is a lot to do in Nashville these days. Top-notch dining, a bunch of clubs and bars, and spectacular musicians of all types.” – Chuck Mead
You have to see Lower Broadway at least once during your visit. This is where honky tonks line both sides of the street and the people and music spill out onto the sidewalks. Robert’s Western World is the must-stop on the street. It’s my old stomping grounds where my old band BR5-49 got our start. Traditional honky tonk played the way it’s supposed to be — with heart. Layla’s next door is an excellent place to be as well.
These honky tonks are all in the shadow of the Mother Church of Country Music, the Ryman Auditorium — another must-see downtown. And while you’re in that neck of the woods, see The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, where you can follow the progression of country music from the beginning right up to today’s stars.
Honky Tonk Tuesday at American Legion Post 82
If you’re around on a Tuesday night, go to the American Legion Post 82. Just driving into the parking lot takes you to another world. Make your donation at the door (unless you’re a veteran), grab a nice cold, cheap beer, go dance your ass off to some really fantastic old school country music, and don’t forget to tip the band!
The Grand Ole Opry
It pretty much goes without saying that if you come to Nashville, a visit to the Grand Ole Opry should be on the itinerary. It’s the show that made country music.
Third Man Records
But it’s not all hillbilly music – there’s Jack White’s Third Man Records for a killer record store experience and it’s always great to go see Thee Rock n Roll Residency at the Mercy Lounge whenever they’re in town.
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They don’t F around in Nashville 🔥🔥🔥. I was on a mission for hot chicken, and Prince’s was closed that day, so I went to Bolton’s (the next traditional place in town). I can generally handle spice, ordered Mild (I read it was equivalent to Medium at other places), and was coughing and had a runny nose 😪 but it was worth it! I also ate fried chicken 3 days in a row, and my arteries would have given out if I went to Hattie B’s. Where’s your favorite place to get hot chicken? #hotchicken
Bolton’s Spicy Chicken & Fish
Nashville is pretty famous, food-wise, for its hot chicken. There are a few ways to go — Prince’s is the original and is great of course (if you order the hot – you have a stronger constitution than me.) But my favorite hot chicken in town is Bolton’s. I suggest a taste test!
If you’re looking for a world-class dining experience, may I suggest Margot Cafe in Five Points in East Nashville. Margot serves up fancy French-type food combined with down-home Southern heart; fresh, local cuisine with a menu that changes all the time, and a terrific bar as well.
Also on the Eastside is Mas Tacos. This is my go-to place for times when I say to myself, “Man, I sure could use some more tacos.” Great food. Great vibe. Groovy courtyard.
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#tbt Dylan LeBlanc played a lovely set in the shop last Friday to celebrate the release of his new record, Renegade. If you haven’t heard it, check it out! And hey, he’s playing @thebasementeast on Saturday, 6/29, so next time you’re in the store, you should enter to win tickets to the show. It’s gonna be super fun and super good. 🖤🖤🖤 #dylanleblanc #renegade #nashvillerocks #supportyourlocalmusicscene
Here are other places I recommend: Grimey’s Record Store (made by record people for record people); The Basement and The Basement East – always a variety of different kinds of great live music both places; Germantown Cafe, fresh and modern American cuisine; First Tennessee Park, right across the street, where you can take in a Nashville Sounds baseball game (if it’s in season, of course); and many others you can look up on your phone yourself. Check out the music listings and see if I’m playing anywhere. If you see me, say “Hey!”
Photo credit: Joshua Black Wilkins