Fri 26 April 2019

Mood: Excessive

Want everything to be “too much” and go “too far?” Head to Nashville. The neon is overwhelming, the clothes are classic country and there is too much food in every damn portion. By the end of your trip you’ll be craving a kale salad.

What to Expect:

Photo Kyle Taylor

Nashville is the undisputed home of country music and that’s pretty much all you need to know. While it’s properly “the South,” it’s location at the “north of the south” and its links to the global music industry – it’s the nation’s second largest music city – make it truly unique. It is also America’s “boomtown,” with 100 people PER DAY moving to the growing metropolis. It’s more diverse, more progressive and more fun than you could ever imagine and this writer had the time of their life. Great coffee, great food, great bars and America’s best live music scene guarantee a good time. But get their quick. It also has those tell-tale signs of “too much, too fast” and inevitably risks going “full Vegas.”

Before Sunset:

Start your day off right with a coffee from Steadfast, easily the fanciest coffee shop I’ve ever seen. The espresso machine is directly into the counter – literally merged as one with the building. Get yours to have in and enjoy the sprawling garden area. While the food will tempt you, don’t indulge! You need to save room for a proper southern breakfast at Nashville Biscuit House. The “bowls” are divine. They start with tater tots then cover them in cheese, plop on two fried eggs and smother the whole thing in country gravy. A biscuit and gravy on the side is also a must. By now, you’ll need to walk it all off so head to the Country Music Hall of Fame, which is home to one of the world’s most extensive music collections. It’s 325,000- square metres of history, memorabilia and interactive exhibits. You won’t find anything like it anywhere else on earth.

In the home of country, the music never stops!

Now it’s time for lunch! Head to Edley’s BBQ on 12 South for the ultimate BBQ experience. While plates are classic, the “Tuck Special” sandwich (smoked brisket, pimento cheese and an over easy egg on brioche) is one of the most delicious things I have ever put in my mouth. Make sure mac and cheese is one of your sides and get a basket of brisket fries for the table. Wash it all down with a local Nashville beer. The 12 South location is great because the area has exploded as one of the best shopping districts in town. Have a little explore before heading to your hotel to recover before dinner. The 404 Hotel has character for days with its funky music theme. If you want to splurge, the Gaylord Opryland Resort is unreal. The entire thing is set inside a giant glass atrium that has to be seen to be believed.

Before Sunrise:

Hattie B’s Photo Kyle Taylor

After you’ve recovered, get all gussied up in your cowboy boots and head to Hattie B’s for some of Nashville’s best famous hot chicken. While served literally hot, the “hot” here refers to spice and my god, is it HOT. Definitely wash it down with more beer or a Tennessee whiskey. Having sampled several, I can definitely vouch for Dickel. This should have you full and ready to dance, which means onward to Broadway, a neon-light mecca of bars all hosting live music.

Broadway – Photo Kyle Taylor

Robert’s Western World Photo Kyle Taylor

It’s like Dublin on steroids. The live music of musicians all vying for fame pours from every venue. None can quite compete with Robert’s Western World. Yes, you read that correctly. The bar is called Robert’s Western World. They also sell boots. Live music goes all night but treat Robert’s as your home base and explore as you see fit.

If you’re really after a treat, coordinate your visit with pre-purchased tickets to the Grand Ole Opry – which features weekly live radio shows – or a gig at The Ryman Auditorium – a truly special live performance venue.

But get their quick. It also has those tell-tale signs of “too much, too fast” and inevitably risks going “full Vegas.”

Have no fear – the live music goes until 3am and from there, ask one of the artists where the after-after-after party is. In the home of country, the music never stops!


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