by Chris Chamberlain, Condé Nast Traveler
Whether you're in town for a layover or you only have time for one amazing meal, here's an easy way to get the most from Music City.
If you only have a day to spend in Music City, leave the hordes of tourists behind on Lower Broad and venture instead a couple miles across the Cumberland River to East Nashville's Five Points neighborhood. Here, you'll get a sense of Nashville--with all the shopping, eating, drinking, and music you could want--in a much less frenzied environment.
Rumours East is a favorite neighborhood spot for wine, cocktails and Southern food with international twists such as Crawfish Gyoza and a Steamed Biscuit Bahn Mi. Make your way to the backyard garden to dine under a wooden pergola accented with diaphanous curtains, or cocktails and cigars from the bar enjoyed around the sociable fire pit.
For a more lowdown good time, visit 3 Crow Bar for a cold PBR and a shot from the extensive whiskey collection. If excessive smoke bothers you, there's a smoke-free back patio that might save you a trip to the cleaners to air out your party clothes.
The 5 Spot offers live music--primarily local country and rock bands--and fans of the ABC television show Nashville will recognize the 5 Spot as a frequent venue for fictional performances by the main characters. The real bands are even better.
Marché Artisan Foods is an anchor restaurant of Five Points with a modern European bistro-style menu. Regulars clamor for one of the cozy eatery's four-tops (there are a handful) or a seat at the family-size wooden farm tables, especially popular for weekend brunch. Pro tip: If the line looks long, head around the corner to Chef Margot McCormack's other restaurant, Margot Café & Bar, where the food is just as good.
For a quick snack, look for the converted VW microbus that marks the location of I Dream of Weenie, a quirky hot dog stand with plenty of inventive toppings; try the Rebel Yelp, dressed with Tennessee chow chow (a mix of pickled vegetables), mustard, onions, and jalapeños. (There's also an excellent tofu dog for non-carnivores.) Let it be known: Everything's better with pimento cheese on top.
The Treehouse is more of a late-night hang with a constantly changing menu of creative cocktails and and global small-plate cuisine; think sharable fried rice dishes and a wildly popular queso appetizer served in a hollowed-out, edible acorn-squash bowl. And yes, there is an actual treehouse in the backyard that management claims "seats ten football players or 14 cheerleaders."
The Shoppes on Fatherland describe themselves as "an eclectic community of shopping, artistry, and entertainment." Just a short stroll from Five Points, amble over to this district to discover quaint craft stores, clothing boutiques, antiques, and home-furnishing shops.
Bret and Meg MacFayden own the Art & Invention Gallery where they showcase fun fine art, jewelry, and pottery from local craftspeople, many of whom live in the neighborhood. The MacFaydens are also the landlords for the residents of the Idea Hatchery next door to their gallery, a business incubator where small local businesses can showcase their wares in Lilliputian storefronts. "Shoptions" include a boutique candy store, fine leather goods, art prints, and East Side Story, a book shop exclusively featuring works by local authors.
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