While I never imagined myself falling in love with country music, it happened somewhere in the mountains of Tennessee after a five day backpacking trip in North Carolina. Weeks later, I found myself back in Tennessee, but this time headed for Nashville. I was glad that I had a little country music knowledge under my belt, but if anything, my one night in Nashville made me love it even more.
After an early start of running errands in Asheville, we loaded into Christy’s car, and she bid adieu to the city that she had called home for the past few years. As we headed west towards Oregon, we had no idea exactly where our trip would take us, but we were both excited for our first stop: Nashville.
After checking into the Aloft Nashville West End, we admired the view, got dressed, and made our way into town. Our time was short, but we wanted to take advantage of it all. We were hungry and a bit travel weary, so we didn’t anticipate a long night; little did we know how wrong we were!
Based on the suggestion of a friend, we found ourselves at The Patterson House, a speakeasy that serves delicious craft cocktails. It was ideal, as it was close to our hotel, and I loved the space, but it probably wasn’t the best place for us to start our night, as the menu wasn’t very extensive. We each had a drink, and then decided to move on to the next spot so that we could experience as much of the city as we could and fill up our stomaches for a night of fun.
We continued walking toward Downtown and found ourselves in a neighborhood known as the Gulch. Our stomaches were growling, so we headed into the first restaurant we saw, Whiskey Kitchen. Since there was a long wait, we walked around the corner and made our way to instead to Saint Añejo. There, we split the carnitas tacos and each got a cocktail. Saint Añejo has a great vibe and menu, so we were easily satisfied and ready to continue our night on the town.
While we were planning on walking into Downtown, our waitress informed us that it would be wise to take an Uber or a Joyride at that time of night. The hostess was even kind enough to call and get prices for us, and we discovered that Joyride ran solely on tips, so we took that option.
Our driver, Brian, texted to let us know when he was outside the restaurant, and we loaded onto the golf cart looking vehicle. Then, he took us to Broadway giving us a tour along the way. Brian made sure to point out the hot spots and took us down to the Cumberland River, where we saw the Titans’ stadium. Here, I learned that the Titans were Tennessee’s football team; not a proud moment, but what am I supposed to know about Tennessee’s sports teams?
After a good laugh, he took us down 2nd Avenue, which was decorated with lights, and we knew that was where we wanted to kick off our night out. Lured into Big Shotz by the music that was playing, we weren’t impressed by the bar, but the draft beer was cheap, so we decided to stay and enjoy the show since the music was exceptional. We grabbed a table near the stage, and on a Tuesday night, we had our very own private show.
After playing, the guitar player, Will, came over to talk to us. From there, we became fast friends, and he gave us a tour of the city he’s called home for the past nine years. He even introduced us to some of his friends, who like Will, are involved in the music scene in town. While I didn’t recognize any of the names of bands or famous musicians, Christy did, and her excitement about it was good enough for me.
While we loved hanging out at the local bar Will took us to, we also wanted to experience the tourist side of the city and that meant heading to Broadway. But, before we did, Will and his friend, Keio, took us to The John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, which gave a perfect view of the city.
After admiring the view of Nashville from the bridge, we found ourselves back on Broadway, which is exactly the experience Christy and I were looking for. Even though I’m not a fan of touristy spots, especially those with bright lights, there was something I couldn’t help but fall in love with about it.
We made our way into Legends Corner, listened to some live music and had a few drinks before heading to neighboring Tootsies Orchid Lounge. The vibe here was about the same, as we continued to listen to the music and our new friends hopped up on stage to play for us.
After a lot of dancing and drinking, we were hungry again, so Will took us to Cafe Coco, a twenty-four hour cafe, where I had a delicious bagel sandwich. We parted ways and headed back to the hotel, finally getting in at 5:30am.
It was a huge night out, and I’d like to think we did our time in Nashville justice. Our first night didn’t exactly set the tone for the rest of trip, however, since aside from Denver, it was the only wild night we had. But, most of the other nights we found ourselves in small towns across the United States. Even though we were still exhausted days later, this was the ideal kick off for our road trip across the country, and it has me looking forward to getting back to the city sometime soon.