Exploring Nashville

After a restful night’s sleep at the Aloft Nashville West End, we were ready to start our weekend. Our first stop of the day was the 12 South neighborhood, a place that I had visited frequently during past trips to town. After a 15 minute Uber ride we arrived in the neighborhood and set out in search of coffee. We walked about a block and found ourselves in front of the Frothy Monkey. They had a long line but it moved quickly and, once properly caffeinated, we headed out to explore.

Frothy Monkey Coffeehouse 12 South Nashville

Mrs. ATX Jetsetter did some window shopping and we strolled up and down 12th Avenue until we were ready for brunch. We didn’t have a reservation or any real plans so we were happy to find Emery Wood Fired could seat us right away.

a group of people walking on a sidewalk
a group of people walking past a mural on a building

The waiter grabbed us some water and a carafe of mimosas while we perused the menu, which read as follows.

Emery Wood Fired Brunch Menu Nashville

For our mains, I had the Sausage Gravy Bowl which was delicious while Mrs. ATX Jetsetter had the Chicken Waffle.

a bowl of food on a table
a plate of food with a sauce and a pitcher of butter

After brunch, Mrs. ATX Jetsetter had scoped out Draper James and wanted to do some shopping. Thankfully, they had some comfortable chairs where I hung out while she shopped. We managed to leave with only limited damage to our American Express card which is always a plus!

a row of cars parked on the side of a street
a group of women in a store

From Draper James, we decided to make one more stop at a cool little bar and restaurant we saw earlier that morning to plan out the rest of the day. Bottle Cap Nashville is located towards the northern end of the 12 South area and we found a table outside. We sipped on a beer and decided to head to The Gulch for our next stop.

a group of people standing on a street corner
a sign on the sidewalk

We hopped in an Uber and in 10 minutes we were dropped off curbside in The Gulch. We wandered past a gaggle of people waiting to take their picture in front of a butterfly wing mural and headed to the Thompson Hotel to check out the rooftop bar, La Jackson.

a group of people standing on the sidewalk
a black sign with white letters on it

We made our way upstairs and to the outdoor terrace overlooking downtown Nashville. The patio was fairly busy and most of the outdoor seating and standing areas were taken. Thankfully we met a nice couple from Chicago that had extra space at their table, and they offered to share it with us. The menus were on QR codes located on the table and the cocktail list is below.

a building with a pool in front of it
a screenshot of a menu
a screenshot of a menu

We chatted with our new friends for over an hour and had a few beverages before deciding to move to another bar. We walked over to Saint Anejo which was one of my regular spots when I was a frequent visitor to town many years ago.

Saint Anejo Nashville The Gulch

We grabbed a couple of seats at the bar and checked out the menu. We weren’t really hungry and instead just got some chips and salsa.

a menu of a restaurant
a menu on a table

Our new Chicago friends were big tequila fans and, after looking over their available tequilas, we ended up doing a couple of shots before going our separate ways. We needed to get back and change before heading out later that night.

two bottles of alcohol on a bar
a plate of orange slices and a glass of alcohol

After changing clothes, and a short nap, we headed out to start our evening. Our first stop was dinner and we made reservations at The RiverHouse, located downtown on the ground floor of Bridgestone’s North American headquarters and a block off of Broadway. We arrived a couple minutes early for our 8:00p reservation and were immediately shown to a table on the second floor which overlooked the lower bar and seating area.

The RiverHouse Nashville

We started with the crab cake which was good before moving on to the main courses.

The RiverHouse Nashville Crab Cake

One of the reasons for choosing this place was the variety available on the menu. I had a steak and a loaded baked potato while Mrs. ATX Jetsetter opted for some sushi. While not what you would consider a normal combo it was quite good and we were fueled up and ready to hit Broadway.

The RiverHouse Nashville Steak

We made the short walk to Broadway from the restaurant and found ourselves in a sea of people and police cars. As far as I could tell, nothing out of the ordinary was going on and this was just Nashville on a Saturday night. Having gone to school in Baton Rouge and lived in Austin I’m no stranger to busy, crowded streets but this put Bourbon and 6th Streets to shame as far as crowds.

a crowd of people on a street with police cars and buildings
a crowd of people walking down a street at night

Our first stop was Johnny Cash’s Bar and BBQ, as all of these places seem to double as a BBQ restaurant during the day. There was a band playing and it was more laid back than some of the other bars given it was tucked on the corner of 3rd and Broadway and not facing the main strip.

Johnny Cash's Bar and BBQ Nashville

After spending some time at Johnny Cash’s, we headed further down Broadway and ended up at The Stage which had a great band playing. We hung out there for a little over an hour and a half dancing and listening to the music.

a crowd of people walking in a crowded city
a group of men on stage with microphones and instruments

Finally, to end the night, we headed to Pushing Daisies for a nightcap. Mrs. ATX Jetsetter had made a reservation for midnight which I was thankful for as the line to get in otherwise was long! Unfortunately, I didn’t grab any pictures from inside the bar and after a drink we headed back to the hotel to get some rest.

Pushing Daisies Nashville

The next morning I woke up before Mrs. ATX Jetsetter and headed across the street to pick up coffee and doughnuts from Parlor Doughnuts. The place was packed and the line wrapped around the inside of the building. There was a 25 minute wait from when I arrived to when I ordered but the doughnuts looked delicious. The staff working were apologetic and informed me that they had two people no-show and you could tell they were just trying to do the best they could. Doughnuts in hand I headed back to the hotel where we finished packing and got ready for the day.

a building with glass doors
a display case of pastries

Our last order of business in Nashville was brunch. We found a cool place called The Mockingbird located across I-40 from our hotel and left the hotel at 11:15a for our 11:30a reservation. The walk would have been pleasant if a wind storm hadn’t been unleashed on the city, made worse by the funnel effect created by the buildings, but we made it to the restaurant without blowing away.

Mockingbird Nashville Exterior

We were seated immediately at a cozy table upstairs near the bar. The menu featured a variety of items, all with fun names, and can be seen below.

a hand holding a menu
a hand holding a menu
a menu with black text

For starters, Mrs. ATX Jetsetter got the ‘Bubbles in a Bag’ which was basically a mimosa served in a gimmicky fashion.

The Mockingbird Nashville Bubbles in a Bag

For our mains, I had the ‘Havana Great Time’ which was a Cuban sandwich and Mrs. ATX Jetsetter had the ‘Hot Brown!’. Both of these were delicious and extremely filling. If it weren’t for the wind blowing you probably could have rolled me back to the hotel.

a plate of food with a sandwich and fries
a plate of food on a table

After brunch, we returned to the Aloft, grabbed our bags, and called a Uber out to the airport to pick up our rental car after 36 hours of exploring Nashville.

We had a great time in Nashville and I really enjoyed hitting some of my favorite old spots as well as seeing all of the new places that have opened over the past six years. Much like Austin, Nashville is experiencing a boom and new, fun restaurants, bars, and shops are opening every day. We’d definitely take another trip back to visit!

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