Known for its music scene, whiskey and of course, good ol’ southern charm, Nashville has been getting a whole lotta love lately. More than 13 million people visited the city in 2015, and that boom is likely to continue. It’s understandable; the city has long been touted as a prime destination for musicians, music lovers and those just generally seeking a good time. The downtown area is a veritable paradise of live music venues and the atmosphere is that of a never-ending party, with music venue crowds overflowing into the street at what feels like every hour of the day. And what better way to enjoy music than with good company, food and drinks? For those planning to visit Music City, check out some of our favorite local gems to find the best whiskey.
Get acquainted with Nashville at Pinewood Social, one of the best spots for getting a lay of the land. The venue seamlessly transitions from a daytime area that’s perfect for an office-space-away-from-your-office into a nighttime venue to meet up with friends. A combination bar and food venue, Pinewood Social also features an outdoor bocce court and a bowling area with six restored bowling lanes from Bowl-a-Rama in Indiana. The lanes go for $40/hour (six person maximum), which can equal out to less than $7/hour per person. In addition to the recreational fun, Pinewood offers an extensive bar menu of cocktails, beer, and wine and after-dinner coffee drinks.
LA Jackson at Thompson’s Hotel
A new contender in the Nashville scene, L.A. Jackson seamlessly combines Nashville’s music and art heritage with an elegant and unique approach. Located in The Gulch, one of Nashville’s most popular neighborhoods, the rooftop bar highlights incredible downtown views while serving up a menu created by John Besh, a James Beard award-winning chef. We recommend finding seating outside, where you can enjoy the skyline view of the city while taking advantage of their bar menu (which includes sipping cocktails, 20 regional brews and a global wine menu). The hotel and bar is located within a five minute cab ride away from iconic landmarks like the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Ryman Auditorium.
The George Dickel Distillery
For those seeking a whisky-inspired day trip out of the city, look no further than George Dickel Distillery in the charming and picturesque town of Cascade Hollow. Located just outside of cell phone reception (don’t panic!), the distillery is the perfect excuse to check out for a day and enjoy life’s simple pleasures. The distillery has tours on Mondays through Saturdays, an adorable tasting room and a charismatic gift shop (including a dedicated mailing section for writing and sending postcards to friends and family). The distillery boasts being the largest in the USA that doesn’t use computers in the distillation process, and you’re sure to learn a thing or two about whisky that will impress your friends at home. Housed in a stately building originally constructed in 1958 and surrounded by well-kept grounds, this venue is a must-visit.
Rolf & Daughters
A hipster’s paradise, Rolf & Daughters is industrial chic at its finest. Filled with repurposed wood and exposed brick, the venue specializes in simple indulgences and utilizes local meats and Tennessee produce. Included in Bon Appetit‘s 2013 Best Restaurant list, it lives up to its reputation. The bar menu features inventive cocktails, including the “Whiskeytown” and the Burton, two top recommendations for whiskey drinks.
For a quintessential Nashville experience, Winners is a must-visit. The dive bar vibe has a similar feel to the venues on the Strip, but feels more like an authentic, local find. A classic bar and grill experience, it serves up down home food and has intimate live shows by local artists. Try the “Sinatra” (Philly cheesesteak) or the “Freddy Fender” (southwestern burger), and don’t forget to chase it down with a drink or two.
Hungover? The brunch at Party Fowl is your cure. The establishment serves up Nashville staples like hot chicken — a local specialty of fried chicken cooked in spices, including cayenne — accompanied by southern favorites like beignets (their chef is from NOLA). Also on the menu are gems like a 55 ounce Bloody Mary, which includes two whole Cornish hens and two scotch eggs, along with fried okra and avocado, chicken gumbo and also beer-fried potato chips. If you manage to save enough room for dessert, order the banana pudding.
If you enjoy farm to table dining (because let’s be real here — who doesn’t?), Silo is the place. Located in Germantown, this southern-influenced bistro’s claim to fame is its sophisticated farm food. Pro tip: Try the mac & cheese. Local influence is found beyond the menu, and the interior decor includes pieces from local artists, including tables and chairs made by a local Amish craftsman. The bar is worth a visit on its own, and has a dizzying array of spirits, including 47 different types of whiskey. Peak times begin around 7pm, so it’s recommended to head in for a happy hour beforehand and beat the crowds.
Nashville is one of the best cities in the south for great food, music, and of course, good ol’ Southern whiskey. With hundreds of venues to choose from, it’s a prime destination if you are looking for non-stop diversion, so grab some friends and let the good times roll.
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This post originally appeared on Epicure & Culture.
View it here: 8 Awesome Whiskey-Focused Watering Holes in Nashville
I went to Nashville as part of a press trip with George Dickel Distillery.
All opinions are my own.