Very full day in Nashville where we arrived at about noon ( we could have arrived about two hours earlier if we had opted for a 45 minute connection at ohare…which we could have made, as it turns out.) we spent much of our time driving around in a light drizzle ( but hey it was almost 70 degrees!) trying to get our earrings. We had an excellent lunch at hipster hangout Marche artisan foods, ( photo below) cheerful, unpretentious, good food in east Nashville. Then we drove around the touristy section of the downtown district but couldn’t find a place to park. So we drove onto the gulch glitzy new lofts, the west side (end?) near vanderbilt university and then to fancy belle Meade (expecting Nicole Kidman to drive out of one of the mansions) and then down to the Loveless Cafe (see photos below), which was as I remembered it from 24 years ago but less remotely located ( alas, development nearby.)
We are in the enormous Gaylord opryland hotel and very pleased to have a room that actually looks out on the real world, not like the countless other rooms looking out at a simulated indoor world of gardens and mock courtyards. Then room is spacious, great beds, linens. No complaints ( though this is never a place I would have picked to stay. We are here because Dirck has a conference.)
Dinner was at prince’s hot chicken shack, a beloved hole in the wall with very spicy chicken (the mild was hot so can’t imagine what the higher levels do to your mouth) and very slow service. But quite a scene and good people watching. A mix of black people presumably locals and a few white college kids and tattooed people and tourists like us. !next stop, live music at the Family Wash, a fun place in east Nashville that I am guessing is a former laundromat. We heard an excellent set by a guy anted Cary Ott who sounded at times like James Taylor, Jeff tweedy, Bruce Hornsby and even boz Skaggs but mostly like himself. The signature shepherds pie looked great but we were too full of hot chicken to try it. But I did have an excellent local beer…chase pale and Dirck had yazoo.
By the time I remembered to try to reserve a table for this Saturday night’s shows (both the 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. shows) at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville (10:40 a.m. on the preceding Monday) the show was already sold out (reservations were accepted as of 8 a.m.). Wow – that was fast. Maybe we’ll try for Sunday or Monday – which don’t have advance tix sales from what I can tell. But other places sound like they have great music – and music that’s probably more my cup of tea (alt-country vs. country) including the 5 Spot in East Nashville. (Other options: Family Wash (alt-country), Layla’s Blue Grass Inn or Wildhorse Saloon – for line dancing and lessons at 9:30 p.m.
I’m starting to develop a game plan for our visit: we arrive Saturday – and since that’s the one day my husband is conference-free, I figure we’ll do some of the famous country music sights, try to catch some live music Saturday night in East Nashville and eat at Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack (since that’s the only day it’s open that works for my husband’s schedule.) Not sure about dinner. There’s a few places with potential in East Nashville, including a vegetarian restaurant Wild Cow and Marche Artisan Foods. I had hoped to eat at a bunch of down home rib and/or fried chicken southern cooking spots but some are only open for lunch or are closed on Sunday/Monday. And one can only eat fried chicken so many times during one day (or one weekend). Sunday seems like the day to explore the shops and galleries in East Nashville, since they’re closed on Monday. (And I’m hoping to go to the gospel country music service at the Cowboy Church Sunday morning.) Then maybe dinner at the The Loveless Cafe (more fried chicken) or Monell’s (ditto)
Monday seems like the day to go on a tour of Belle Meade Plantation and it’s the only day I can have lunch at Arnold’s Country Kitchen (which is only open on weekdays for lunch). There are live music options Sunday and Monday nights at the 5 Spot (especially it’s Monday night “Movin’ Dance Party”) and the Bluebird Cafe….
This is the blurb to go with the photo above:
GQ Calls The 5 Spot’s Keep on Movin’ Dance Party ‘the Most Stylish Party in America’
Posted by D. Patrick Rodgers on Mon, Mar 19, 2012 at 5:50 PM
Don’t adjust your monitors: The 5 Spot’s little old Monday night Keep on Movin’ Dance Party — a weekly soiree I once referred to as Nashville’s “Best Hipster Meat Market” — can be found gracing the pages of the April 2012 issue of GQ. A featured called “The GQ 100″ (billed on the cover as “your ultimate source for the best clothes, shops, trends and smart tips on how to pull it all together”) doesn’t appear to be online anywhere, but in the picture you see above, you’ll find that The 5 Spot’s parties landed at No. 92 on the list: