Welcome to day one of our five-day Nashville travel diary! We decided to spend our long Fourth of July weekend in Music City this year, and arrived on Thursday night to our rustic Airbnb, which is literally a converted garage in the backyard of someone's house in South Nashville. We recommend checking out this Airbnb listing if you're planning a trip to Nashville anytime soon. The area immediately around the house isn't the most exciting, but it's so conveniently located (within a 10-minute drive of downtown, the airport and all of the trendy neighborhoods in the city) and affordable that it's easy to overlook the suburban surroundings.
To kick off our first full day of exploring Nashville, we checked out the very trendy and Instagrammable restaurant Biscuit Love for brunch. You can tell how popular this spot is by the line pictured in the photo above. As all of the Yelp reviews note, though, the line does move quickly! And after a 15-minute wait, we were inside and seated.
Biscuit Love began as an airstream food truck, but has now expanded to several full-service restaurants around Nashville, including one in The Gulch, which we visited.
They even have a full section of the restaurant dedicated to selling their merchandise!
As far as food goes, we ordered the Princess sandwich, which includes their take on Nashville hot chicken, pickles, mustard and honey sandwiched in between a flaky, slightly-sweet biscuit.
This was a major winner. It was super flavorful, and the chicken was spicy, but not impossible-to-eat spicy.
We also ordered an egg plate with scrambled eggs, a biscuit, vegetarian cheesy grits (fantastic!) and sausage.
It was a great first meal in Nashville, and we highly recommend stopping by for brunch when you're in town.
Biscuit Love 316 11th Ave South Nashville, TN 37203
Next up, since we were already in The Gulch, we decided to check out some of the local breweries in the area - of which there are a LOT. We kicked things off at Yazoo Brewing Company.
Yazoo was founded by Mississippi native Linus Hall, who, like so many modern American brewmasters, first got hooked on beer through a home brewing kit. After moving to Nashville, he and his wife Lila opened Yazoo in 2003. They initially only sold kegs to local bars and restaurants. But today, they've relocated their brewery operations, opened up a fun, laid-back tasting room in The Gulch, and can be found at virtually every bar and restaurant in Nashville.
During our visit, we spent a relaxing hour sipping and tasting a flight of their classics, as well as a pint or two of their Hoppry beer, which we highly recommend.
Yazoo Brewing Company 910 Division Street Nashville, TN 37207
After Yazoo, we stopped by Jackalope Brewing Company, which was actually started by two women, who became friends after studying abroad at St. Andrews in Scotland. But by the time that we got to Jackalope, around 4 p.m., it was so crowded and filled with the Bachelorette-party types that we quickly drank a beer and left. They did have a cool space in the parking lot, though, with food trucks offering everything from grilled cheese to Rita's Italian ice.
After an afternoon of drinking, we drove to Bastion, one of the most buzzed-about new restaurants and bars in Nashville, where we had a 5:30 p.m. reservation.
Located in a dark and spacious warehouse, it feels a world away from the city. A lot of locals complain that it's too "Brooklyn," but we thought it offered a unique atmosphere that we definitely haven't encountered in New York.
Most people stop by for a drink in the bar area, where they serve a few food items - like their infamous nachos, which, after you order them, you're given a balloon to let the servers know that you're expecting nachos.
But, hidden behind a sliding metal door off to the side of the bar is the small, 21-seat chef's counter and restaurant.
We were only the second group to arrive at the restaurant on Friday night, so it felt extra-special to be whisked away into the hidden space. The dark, moody lighting, exposed-brick walls and the smell of smoked meat in the air completed the experience.
Bastion offers a "Feast" tasting menu option for parties of 4-6, but most parties end up ordering off of the a la carte menu, which features 15 different dishes - three dishes per price point/course - that you can mix and match.
The dishes change every night, but for the evening we visited, we chose 10 dishes total, from Raw Beef + Bottarga and Raw Oyster + Ginger to Goat Cheese + Fennel and Escarole + Hazelnut to Nduja + Fava and Raw Scallop + Celery to Pork Belly + Pickles and Lamb + Potato to Honey + Pecan and Lemon Thyme + Black Raspberry.
The menu doesn't offer much description, so you really have to put your trust in the chefs to deliver spectacular dishes that surprise and delight.
It was an awesome experience watching the chefs at work inches away from you, and chatting with them about their career and what brought them to Nashville.
While we've been spoiled with chef's tables and tasting menus across the world, and didn't think it was the best meal we've ever had, it was still a cool opportunity and well-worth the trip.
Bastion 434 Houston Street Nashville, TN 37203
After dinner, we grabbed a couple of well-made cocktails at the main bar before heading out for a crazy evening on Broadway. We hit Robert's Western World and WannaB's Karaoke Bar. But we're not showcasing any photographic evidence from that part of our evening here...
Stay tuned for part two!