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Where to Eat, Drink and Rock Out in Nashville

The rhinestone cowboy rep isn’t the whole story. Music city is also full of innovative restaurants, green hotels, hipster bars and—duh—tons of live music.

Catbird Seat
Everyone—seriously everyone from the concierge at my hotel to Karen Elson (via Twitter, but still)— raves about this new little restaurant, where chefs Erik Anderson and Josh Habiger’s tasting menu changes nightly, and reservations are booked solid a month in advance. Mark your calendar, people.
1711 Division St, 615-810-8200, thecatbirdseatrestaurant.com

Fanny’s House of Music
Named after the all-girl band from the 70s and owned by two women bass players, this East End house turned music shop sells new and used string instruments, LPs by bands with at least one female member (YES, including Salt-n-Pepa) and offers music lessons to Joni Mitchells-in-the-making.
1101 Holly St, 615-750-5746, fannyshouseofmusic.com

Hutton Hotel
This hip downtown hotel fuses eco-friendly elegance with a subtle rock n’ roll flavor (oil paintings of guitars in the lobby, music-themed coffee table books in the rooms). Basically, it’s luxe and laid-back—a combo that attracts pretty people of all kinds, from It-spot-oriented business travelers to celebs (this is where Gwenyth Paltrow lived while filming Country Strong).
1808 West End Ave., 615-340-9333, huttonhotel.com

Manuel Exclusive Clothier
Mexican designer Manuel Cuevas’s blinged-out Western-inspired clothing has been worn by Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and Mick Jagger (to name a few). And his upscale Hillsboro store—filled with hand-sewn rhinestone cowboy shirts, embroidered leather blazers and sequined Elvis-style jumpsuits—is as outrageous and wildly entertaining as the icons he’s dressed.
1922 Broadway, 615-321-5444, manuelcouture.com

Silly Goose
Find delicious couscous, sandwiches, salads and rosemary lemonade served up in a charming Eastland Ave. space complete with chalkboard menu and exposed kitchen. If I lived in Nashville, this is where I’d eat lunch three times a week.
1888 Eastland Avenue, 615-915-0757, sillygoosenashville.com

The Patterson House
Located in an old Midtown residence, this dimly lit, dark-wooded bar feels like a Prohibition-era gentleman’s club. But the people-watching-worthy crowd who comes to sip Whiskey Smashes and Bacon Old Fashions couldn’t seem less, well, old fashioned.
1711 Division St., 615-636-7724, thepattersonnashville.com

Third Man Records
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be inside Jack White’s head, his record label’s trippy red-and-black headquarters is probably the closest you’ll get. The music shop/memorabilia store/recording studio features albums by Third Man-signed artists (Wanda Jackson, The Black Belles and White’s own The Raconteurs The White Stripes and The Dead Weathers), exclusive photo prints, leather LP carrier cases and staffers dressed—of course—in black, red and white clothing.
623 7th Ave. S, 615-891-4393, thirdmanrecords.com

Live Music!
It would take serious effort to avoid the guitar-playing singer-songwriters that dot this city—you’ll find them on street corners, in bars and restaurants and even at the airport. But if you’re deliberately looking to see a show, here are some great spots:

Mercy Lounge
Cheap tickets. Cool local indie acts. Stellar draft beer. Done.
1 Cannery Row, 615-251-3020, mercylounge.com

Station Inn
THE spot in town for Bluegrass.
402 12th Ave. S, 615-255-3307, stationinn.com

It started as a church, then served as The Grand Ole Opry. Now, it’s one of the country’s most famous music venues. David Byrne with St. Vincent, The Shins and Crosby Stills and Nash are all playing soon.
116 5th Ave. N, 615-889-3060, ryman.com

Imogene + Willie
Yep, the store. But the 12 South former gas station hosts awesome Supper & Song events on Thursdays, that include backyard concerts and a taco truck.
2601 12th Ave S, 615-292-5005, imogeneandwillie.com

Keith Urban
Not technically an activity, but he is a resident of Nashville and one of the city’s proudest citizens. I had the chance to see him perform, and let me just say…a-dor-a-ble. If he’s wielding his guitar anywhere within a 50-mile radius, go there.

Image courtesy of Hutton Hotel

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