Travel

The top five places to eat and drink in Nashville, Tennessee

Home to more than just legendary country music venues, Nashville also features some of the best food and drink in Tennessee

  • May 29, 2023
  • 768 words
  • 4 minutes
Guests enjoy pints of beer at Von Elrod's. (Photo courtesy Von Elrod's)
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On Nashville’s Broadway, a major downtown road called the Honky Tonk Highway, the smell of beer fills the air as throngs of tourists in cowboy hats crowd the sidewalk. Outside of Boot Country, a local family-owned boot store, sightseers take selfies next to a seven-foot cowboy boot while others take in the live music pumped into the streets. The sound of steel guitar and electric violin seeps out of bars, and although it’s only just past noon, it’s never too early for socializers at Honky Tonk Central – a burnt-orange, three-story country music mecca to start revelling. 

If the pandemic left lasting damage on some tourist destinations, in Nashville, known by some as “Nashvegas,” the party is back in full swing. 

When it comes to dining, there is plenty to choose from in the Broadway and Third area, the beating heart of Music City, but some of the finest options are found a short distance from the action.

Von Elrod's is well-known for having 38 beers on tap. (Photo courtesy Von Elrod's)
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Fable Lounge

For those looking to get away from the crowds and partying on Honky Tonk Highway, check out Fable Lounge, a unique restaurant in the West End with an intimate ambience, a humidor and 60 kinds of cocktails (try the Last of the Oaxacans). Located in a former family home, Fable opened in January 2020, just as the pandemic was spreading alarm. Against the odds, Fable not only survived, it thrived. Standing in front of a well-stocked bar, co-owner Ben Powell explains the secret to Fable’s success. 

“It was March 2020, and the mayor announced it wasn’t safe to go out because of COVID-19, but a charter bus of 60 tourists rolled in. We served them green Chartreuse, a green liquor made by monks on the French-Swiss border that dates back to 1605.” 

Far from being a super-spreader event, the guests returned to the restaurant the next day, convinced the Chartreuse, with its 120 botanical ingredients, was an elixir against COVID-19. 

“The tale started to spread, and we began selling out of Chartreuse,” says Powell. Fable now hosts an annual “Emerald Ball” in the Spring and attracts customers who appreciate Fable’s smoky décor —  with winking references to the classics of Aesop, Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear — and delicious food to help the cocktails go down. Try the Kraken fried calamari with hot sauce, pickled banana pepper; Duck fat Brussels sprouts; mozzarella-stuffed meatballs and pomegranate balsamic glazed salmon. Stretch out on the comfortable leather couches upstairs.

The Electric Jane is a premier dining and live music venue aiming to deliver the finest and most evolved entertainment presentation in food and beverage hospitality. (Photo: Nathan Zucker)
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The Electric Jane

The Electric Jane was named for the piercing eye colour of the co-owner’s mother, which tells you all you need to know about the elegant venue, a modern-day take on a dining and live entertainment club. The menu is at once sophisticated and down-home, with selections like Jane’s “family meal” with hot and cold appetizers, small plates like “cheese on fire” (halloumi, walnut pesto and flatbread) and a divine supper club burger. You know the live music is equal to the menu by the presence of music industry types who are at home here.

Assembly Food Hall

Located at 5055 Broadway, right in the thick of things, Assembly Food Hall is a massive culinary complex with 30 eateries, bars, and Nashville’s largest rooftop. It’s the ideal place for lunch or a quick bite when soaking up the music and reverie of Nashville, bringing together countless food options, from Chilangos Tacos, with their handmade tortillas, to Prince’s Hot Chicken, a local favourite.

The Bavarian pretzel from Von Elrod's. (Photo courtesy Von Elrod's)
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Von Elrod’s

This beer garden in Germantown is as well-known for its house-made wood-grilled sausages, Bavarian pretzels, and Carolina pulled pork as it is for its astonishing 38 beers on tap. From Belgian and German classics to an outstanding selection of local brews like Wiseacre Tiny Bomb Pilsner and Jackalope Snowman Stout, Von Elrod’s will have a beer for anyone. The place is massively popular, and why wouldn’t it be when every day is Oktoberfest?

Elliston Place Soda Shop

This legendary soda shop appears little changed from its heyday, although it has undergone a makeover intended to restore it to its former glory. The fast and tasty food, especially the soda shop burger and the meat & three with chicken, dumplings and cornbread. The milkshakes are the stuff of legend and passed the test with the banana shake having actual banana in it. Elliston Place Soda Shop has excellent service and all the character and ambiance you would expect of a historic diner. 

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