About 2 weekends ago, Kyle and I visited Nashville, TN.
Now I’ve been a couple times before, one for a very quick trip to see the Foo Fighters at The Ryman, and another to see Dr. Dog at The Ryman.
And yes- you guessed it- the main purpose of this trip was to see The Arcs, at…The Ryman.
Can you tell The Ryman is Kyle’s absolute favorite venue? I have to say it’s up there for me, as well. While that was just one of the focal points, we were excited to be able to have some time to really explore the ins and outs of Nashville- and not just the tourist traps.
I’d say one aspect of our trip that made it so enjoyable is that we decided to use AirBNB rather than stay at a hotel. This way, we spent about half the cost and had the luxury of very relaxed checkin/checkout times, staying at a trendy spot in town, and just all the amenities you could get at a home. It almost feels like staying with a friend or family…if they were out of town and you were just using their space. While our host was there a lot of the time, we all mainly kept to ourselves. We rarely spent time at the house anyway, since we were out exploring most of the time.
Hattie B’s Hot Chicken
Our first stop in Nashville was Hattie B’s Hot Chicken.
Oh my God. This is the best fried chicken…you will ever eat. I’m not even kidding. It’s just amazing. Yes, there was a line out the door. Yes, it was worth it. (I realized that not every place that claims to have lines out the door is worth it but I won’t name names…)
I feel like Hattie B’s will definitely be a MUST EAT location every single Nashville trip because it’s just that good. The chicken is extremely juicy, crispy, and spicy. You have the option to get Mild, Medium, Hot or Dang Hot. But trust me, you want Medium. Unless you don’t like spicy food at all then get Mild. (Or unless you’re a spice fiend. Then get the hotter ones, by all means!)
Kyle and I are both pretty accustomed to spicy food and love it- and the Medium was just perfect and still made our noses run in the most delightful of ways.
Third Man Records
Jack White’s studio and record shop is a must-visit for any music lover! A super cool vintage-y vibe, a small but well-curated selection of records and some neat things to do like a photo booth, record listening area, and a little recording booth where you can cut your own mini record. There’s a little acoustic guitar on the wall you an use to accompany yourself or just record yourself acapella. We didn’t do that this time, but it’s definitely worth doing if you plan ahead a bit. Would make for a great gift or souvenir!
The Patterson House
The Patterson House is easily one of the coziest, most unique speakeasy type bars I’ve ever been to. The Patterson House is another “must go” type of place. Don’t go if you’re starving- as it’s mainly just a cocktail/small app place, but man- those cocktail/small apps are something else.
Their cocktail menu is incredibly detailed to the point where I wasn’t sure of what half the ingredients even were. (I’m usually more of a craft beer/wine gal myself!) I trusted the bartender, and told her what I didn’t like/liked and she whipped up 2 extremely tasty and refreshing cocktails that were exactly up my alley. She even made me like gin for the first time which I consider a HUGE accomplishment as I generally despise it. And I even warned her about this- but she struck a deal with me. If I hated it, I didn’t have to pay for it. Smart girl, because she was right. It was delicious.
To top that off, we grabbed some fried brie with bacon jam which was amazingly tasty.
The vibe here is great. Go. Sometimes there’s a long wait but I promise it’s worth it, especially if you love carefully hand-crafted cocktails!
“So honky tonk means white people hitting it hard?” – Master of None
Admittedly, I do not like country music, generally speaking. Appreciate it, I really do. Just not my style.
But you have to admit, there’s something about being in Nashville that makes you just want to get down and honky tonk with the best of them.
We had a great time at Tootsie’s- a legendary multi-level honky tonk jamming out to a cover band (who was actually pretty good!) and drinking delicious bushwhackers. Bushwhackers are such a guilty pleasure of mine. It’s a good thing they don’t sell them everywhere.
Karaoke at Troubadours
After said Bushwhacker, karaoke was a must. Actually, though, I really don’t need a sip of alcohol to do karaoke at all. I’d really been planning on doing karaoke since we got to Nashville because I just felt like it was a must for some reason.
And of course, I had to go with some Carrie Underwood since her songs are some of the only country ones I really know, not really being into country music! I also love the sass-factor her songs have. I know it’s technically like pop-country but just bear with me here.
Admittedly this was not my best performance. Turns out cocktails and bushwhackers are something I should stay away from if I want to stay on-key. Duly noted.
The Arcs at the Ryman
I didn’t know too much about the Arcs before this show. Kyle had played them a bit, and I knew the Black Keys frontman was in charge of this group as well. Other than that, though, I went in to this concert fresh- which is actually nice sometimes.
I have to say, the openers, Mariachi Flor de Toloache, were exceptional. They are an all-female Mariachi band. And I know- at first the concept seems more novelty than anything, but their talent really was outstanding. Their vocals were powerful and impressive. The musicianship was tight and together.
A highlight for me was when they started covering some Nirvana songs-it all seemed to just work without seeming comical- it was their own flavor and it was awesome. I think most of the crowd from that point on was pretty floored and engaged with them totally. I have to say I think the reaction from the audience to an opener was the most enthusiastic with this band than from most any other opening acts I’ve ever seen.
Mariachi Flor de Toloache also served as the background vocals on all The Arcs tracks including some instruments as well, so it was nice to see them part of the mix the whole time.
The Arcs put on a very cohesive, pleasing show. I think if I could pick one word to describe the show, it would be “groovy” in the literal sense. There was definitely lots of groove to their show. And excellent musicianship of course. The space also just has amazing acoustics. It’s hard for anything to sound bad, really.
One thing I found interesting is that a lot of the crowd was a bit older- and they seemed to not want to stand up. So half the show, we were all seated, which a few people seemed pretty distressed by. But I understand- it’s tough to be that one dude standing in front of people seated behind you…so it was just a weird dynamic. Obviously I enjoy standing up at concerts- but every once in awhile I don’t hate being seated, because being 5’2″- it kind of evens the playing field a bit and I can actually see for once which is a revelation. I don’t know why but every concert I go to I always get that one 6’4″ dude standing directly in front of me. The Struggle.
But have no fear, at one point in the show, Dan said “We’re at a rock show- stand up- it’s ok!” And everyone couldn’t say no to that.
Maybe it’s just the nature of The Ryman- the wooden pews lend itself to seating more than at a standing-only venue, naturally. The groove factor seemed to significantly increase from this point on.
All in all, an excellent night of music. And we were lucky to grab a Hatch Show Print to hang up on our wall, too. (below, on the right.)
Other notable highlights:
-The Cat Shoppe: a cat store that not only sells lots of fun cat toys/cat themed gifts and supplies- but also has literal cats roaming freely available for adoption. A veritable cat lady’s dream. I was in heaven to say the least.
-Record Store Hopping– we received a record player as an early Christmas present from our friend- so we naturally had to pick up tons of records while we were there. It was a satisfying experience and a first for me to dig through records and experience the thrill of finding one of your favorite albums on vinyl.
-Crema Coffee: I was actually still on the clock for work on the last day of our trip, so what better place to get some web designing done on a rainy Monday than at Crema Coffee? I enjoyed a delicious latte and an avocado toast and got some work done. We also grabbed some coffee beans to take home, which we enjoyed so much that we’ve since ordered 2 more bags.
–Drifters: It was about midnight one night and we were starving- so after doing some yelp searching, we came across Drifters where we had some delicious BBQ/Mexican fusion food. It was clear this was a locals type of joint as there were only a few people there. It was nice to get away from the whole downtown Broadway craziness and just have some good food in a relaxed, low-key environment. Kyle particularly enjoyed his BBQ nachos with pulled pork and brisket. Yum!
Nashville- you’re awesome.
See ya next time!