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2 Places to Drink This Weekend in Nashville

Last-minute dining/drinking inspiration for the indecisive

Cheers to Friday, and to Nashville’s new bi-weekly weekend planner, where Eater Nashville’s editors and contributors recommend a few restaurants or bars to explore. The list incorporates a mix of newer restaurants, old standbys worth a revisit, and fun under-the-radar finds around town.

Got a restaurant recommendation? Send a message with a brief description as to why Eater Nashville should check it out for inclusion in the next weekend planner.

December 21/December 28

For basement bar cocktails and holiday splendor in an iconic Nashville setting

The Hermitage Hotel’s Capitol Grille’s Oak Bar is the old school antithesis of the Nashville rooftop bar craze, and as a lifelong rebel, I really love that. Take a seat in the cozy bar to enjoy history-inspired cocktails by Freddy Schwenk — based on classics created in hotels across the world. They’re also got new bar bites and serve classic Capitol Grille favorites. Try the double H meatballs — some of the best I’ve had in the city — they’re served atop whipped local goat cheese and drenched in a bourbon smoked paprika glaze. And who can resist those fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese? And of course, sneak a peek at the men’s bodacious bathroom at some point: the art-deco, lime green-heavy space has been named “America’s Best Restroom”, after all. The Hermitage Hotel, 231 6th Ave N, Nashville — Delia Jo Ramsey, Eater Nashville editor

For some good ol’ country-style day drinking (and eating)

Got to hand it to Kix Brooks. Wine isn’t exactly top of mind when I think of brand extension opportunities for country music stars. Whiskey, sure. But vino? Well, Mr. Brooks makes a strong argument for it at Arrington Vineyards. I took a trip there with the fam this weekend and was pleasantly surprised to find a sprawling wonderland of vines, rustic barns and appropriately placed fireplaces and pits all decked out for the holidays.

And the wine, well, it was pretty darn legit. I knew the warm Tennessee climate would make the sweet blackberry and raspberry wines jammy winners, but I was surprised to find that Arrington’s red wines held their own—especially the cola-and-berry flavored Antebellum. There was a nice crowd gathered in the main cabin on Saturday, all cheerfully sipping their juice on the covered outdoor deck while a fire roared behind them. Some brought their own picnic spread, but others took advantage of Simply Living Life’s catered picnic baskets stocked with meats, cheeses, fruit and rustic slices of grilled farm bread. Then, a food truck showed up with tender plates of brisket that paired beautifully with just about every bottle they had in stock. Let’s just say there are definitely worse ways to kill a day. 6211 Patton Rd, Arrington — Jackie Gutierrez-Jones, Eater Nashville contributor

December 7/December 14

For winter comfort food and heated igloos with spiked hot chocolate

In addition to the incredibly festive rooftop holiday vibes at the Bobby Hotel with heated igloos, spiked hot chocolate, and two curling lanes, chef Jeff Axline unveiled a new winter menu at the hotel’s first floor restaurant, classic American Tavern at Bobby. Warm up with rich, comforting flavors from dishes like duck confit and braised rabbit rigatoni or quiche Lorraine with bacon, caramelized onions, and Gruyere. Then head up to the rooftop for a nightcap in an igloo (first come, first served, but available via reservation with a hefty food and beverage minimum). Bobby Hotel, 230 4th Avenue North — Delia Jo Ramsey, Eater Nashville editor

For a chance to see Santa giving back on the cookies for once

Yes, Santa is working the walk-up window at the 12 South Christie Cookie location on Saturday, December 8. From noon until 5 p.m., let the kiddos deliver those letters to Santa in person, and use that errand as an excuse to snag some of their limited edition cookies — the peppermint delights are cocoa-based and filled with chocolate chunks and crushed peppermints. You’ll get doubly added to the nice list, because Christie Cookie is donating a percentage of proceeds from all sales during that time to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. Christie Cookie 12 South (2606 12th Ave South) — Delia Jo Ramsey, Eater Nashville editor

For proper pupusas

You know by now (I hope) that when you need to find something new and escape the sticker shock at many restaurants in town, you only need to head to the treasure trove of restaurants on Nolensville Pike. Restaurant and market Las Americas serves a selection of seven pupusas, all priced less than $3 a piece. Menudo is also served daily, plus pozole Fridays, caldo de res on Saturdays, and caldo de mariscos on Sundays. 4715 Nolensville Pike, Ste A — Delia Jo Ramsey, Eater Nashville editor

November 16/November 23

For the best eggplant dish you’ve ever had in your life

Ask yourself this: If Café Roze’s weekend breakfast isn’t on your radar, are you really on Instagram? In fact, you probably have a picture of their stout waffles perfectly aligned with a streaming beam of morning sunlight ready to upload. Well. While you were making plans for their weekend breakfast and prepping your filters (along with hordes of IG brunch warriors around the city), I snuck in on an assuming weeknight for dinner. No lines. No wait. Just me and a CBD-infused cocktail cozied up in the corner of a long banquette surrounded by dreamy, candle-lit ambiance. Which, incidentally, is not conducive to any kind of appetizing food photography. But that’s okay. In fact, it’s exactly as it should be. It allowed me to give Chef Julia Jaksic’s chili eggplant my undivided attention. The smooth, silky eggplant was almost custard-like, with pops of bright salsa and a charred orange vinaigrette punctuating each mellow bite. It’s not overcomplicated — and it doesn’t have to be. It’s begging you to put down your phone and lose yourself in the dish (and dinner) at Café Roze. Your Instagram has earned itself some time off. 1115 Porter Rd, Nashville — Jackie Gutierrez-Jones, Eater Nashville contributor

For fellow carb-lovers who are cold

The Westin’s ground floor restaurant Decker & Dyer just rolled out a new fall menu, and while there are a few standouts I’d definitely return for, the cold snap this week has me craving a return visit for the short rib stroganoff. Fun word nerd fact: the word “pappardelle” derives from the verb “pappare”, meaning “to gobble up”. And gobbled up is exactly what happened to that short rib stroganoff dish shortly after it was placed in front of me. The velvety wild mushroom cream and tobacco onions give such richness and texture to the already-texturally-pleasing al dente pappardelle noodles. It is like a blanket for the taste buds, and I mean that in the very best way possible. Stay warm, Nashville. first floor of The Westin Nashville, 807 Clark Place — Delia Jo Ramsey, Eater Nashville editor

For hungry Black Friday shopping participants and boycotters alike

Starting at 8 a.m. Black Friday (November 23), Bavarian Bierhaus at Opry Mills will unlock the doors to their giant 15,000-square-foot mall space for a special German brunch. Don’t feel like shopping? That’s okay. Park thyself at one of their large wooden tables with a beer-mosa and tell your significant other you’ll “watch their bags” while they shop. Brunch items offered include Munich weisswurst, leberkäse, and schnitzel, then the full wurst, spaetzle, and sauerkraut-studded Bavarian menu rolls out at 11 a.m. The restaurant can be accessed directly from the mall through a hallway between the Levi’s and Gymboree outlets, but there is also an exterior entrance with ample parking just outside its doors. 121 Opry Mills Drive Suite 315 Nashville — Delia Jo Ramsey, Eater Nashville editor

November 2/November 9

For those gray, blustery days

“It’s getting a bit nippy out there.” — Captain Obvious. Well, Cap’n, not only are temps steadily falling, but we’ve got the dreaded end of daylight savings time creeping up on us this weekend. Which means it’s about to get a whole lot darker and whole lot less sunny-with-a-99.5%-chance-of-frosé. But it’s not all doom and gloom—it’s soup and stew season. And that can be quite glorious, y’all. My go-to: the pho at Vui’s Kitchen. (And for the love of all things lemongrass, it’s pronounced “fuh” not “foh.”) Vui’s version features a generously plated bowl of nourishing bone broth layered with tender slices of beef, crunchy green scallions, rice noodles, fragrant hers, spicy punches of jalapeno and a hint of lime. All of those warm, bright flavors mixing and mingling in peace and harmony are everything that’s right with the world. It’s hearty. It’s filling. Plus: that jalapeno knows how to clear a sinus or two. And this Saturday, Vui’s is teaming up with Juice Bar for a family-friendly Fall Fest with live music, raffles, and samples. Good excuse as any to get your pho on. Not that you need one. Locations in Berry Hill and Germantown — Jackie Gutierrez-Jones, Eater Nashville contributor

For nigiri, sake, and any Japanese market needs

I’m mad at myself that it took a year of living here to try Sonobana. It’s been a task to find places I enjoy where I can also get out the door spending less than $50 for date night—but it finally happened at this little strip mall spot. That night we stuck to simple and had vegetable gyoza, cucumber salad, a spicy shrimp roll, and some assorted nigiri (good portions), and couldn’t have been more pleased with the quality and affordability. Also, definitely going back to try the eel bowl. 40 White Bridge Rd, Nashville — Delia Jo Ramsey, Eater Nashville editor

For a double-stacked burger served on, yep, a doughnut

If you’re tired of eating basic burgers and drab doughnuts alone, fear not, because Nashville now has a doughnut burger. I know what you’re thinking—but give me a second. The Donut + Dog’s brioche doughnuts are the real deal (hey look at our doughnut map) and now they’ve married that with two beef patties to create the Left Coast Burger. Sealing the deal for me was the melty Swiss cheese, avocado, tomato, and a healthy drizzle of basil sriracha aioli. 2127 Belcourt Avenue, Nashville — Delia Jo Ramsey, Eater Nashville editor

Because why try just four restaurants this weekend when you can experience 12?

Because this is a bi-weekly series, pencil in next Saturday, November 10, (or just go ahead and grab tickets) because Nashville Lifestyles is coming in hot with their Brunch + Bloodys event from 10 a.m. to noon at Union Station Hotel. Live music, bloody mary in hand, and brunch bites from 12 Nashville restaurants: True Food Kitchen, Adele’s, Butchertown Hall, Sunda New Asian, Tavern, Kitchen Notes, Barcelona, Oak Steakhouse, Chauhan Ale & Masala House, Capitol Grille, Carter’s, and Makeready Libations & Liberation. See? Good places where you can flit around tasting some of Nashville’s top brunch spots in one fell swoop. Tickets are $30 in advance and $40 at the door and proceeds benefit Jobs for Tennessee Graduates. Union Station Hotel, Autograph Collection 1001 Broadway, Nashville — Delia Jo Ramsey, Eater Nashville editor

October 19/October 26

For those in favor of cognac-spiked cereal

When I wake up, I need food immediately in my face. That’s why breakfast and I are ride-or-die homies. While brunch sounds great in theory, it’s really just an agonizing waiting game for my first meal of the day thanks to my way-too-early-rising four-year-old. Walden’s brunch is one of the best justifications for delaying that first meal satisfaction. Once I start popping those savory sausage balls and fluffy cinnamon waffle bites into my mouth, there’s no stopping this train. Oh, you’re more of the cereal type? Walden sees you and raises you the Magically Delicious, a cognac-based cocktail made with Lucky Charms-infused milk. Does it do the body good? Probably not. But that’s not the point, Teetotaler Tania. They recently launched bottle service with their brunch (every Saturday and Sunday starting at 11 a.m.), which gets you a couple carafes of Prosecco with orange juice and apple cider. So go and carpe diem that sucker. Breakfast can wait for Monday. 2909 Gallatin Pike B, Nashville — Jackie Gutierrez-Jones, Eater Nashville contributor

For solid sushi you probably haven’t tried before

There are some times I don’t want to tell people about a place because I want to keep it my little secret. Until now I haven’t told many other than close friends about our go-to sushi spot on 8th Avenue, tucked away in a strip mall by a Las Palmas and Kroger. I can’t vouch for the pho, but Hai’s Sushi & Pho’s sushi offerings are consistent and good, and service friendly and quick (I always sit at the sushi bar). Order the chef’s choice of sashimi, choose a roll or four, and your sushi situation is all set. Ample parking options and fast Wi-Fi are just added bonuses. Just don’t take my seat at the sushi bar, okay? 2617 8th Ave Suite 112, Nashville — Delia Jo Ramsey, Eater Nashville editor

For top-notch steak that won’t hurt your wallet

The first time I walked into Plaza Mariachi, I got giddy. It was a few months after we moved to town and I had had some lackluster dining experiences here. Plaza Mariachi was a breath of fresh air. I grabbed a Cuban coffee from one vendor, elotes from another, and headed to Tres Gauchos for the steak my friend told me about. Ordered the ojo de bife (boneless ribeye) cooked medium rare, asked for one of each of the sauces to try (I can’t help it, I got that from my Mama), added some papas fritas on the side and it was still to this day one of my happiest moments in Nashville. The show including fire, ribbon-dancing, and live music only added to my level of giddiness. Bring the whole fam and check it out. 3955 Nolensville Pike #306, Nashville — Delia Jo Ramsey, Eater Nashville editor

October 5/October 12

For ‘unlimited’ brunch in the Gulch

Want to make it rain brunch on your table after a long night out on Broadway? Little Octopus’ answer to indecisive bachelorettes and everyday brunch enthusiasts alike is the new ‘Everything Brunch’. The premise is — you sit, the servers start dropping plates of everything on your table, then reorder your favorites — as much as you’d like. Tennessee-native and Little Octopus owner Sarah Gavigan is now in the kitchen, which means new flavors and fresh insight for the brunch offerings, and I’m a big fan of the cool things she’s bringing to the table, literally. At brunch, there’s a tomato toast with a zippy jalapeno pebre, a mascarpone and sage French toast, vegan chilaquiles, and in true Nashville fashion a hot chicken and waffle dish, made global with miso butter. To participate, everyone at the table must opt for the everything brunch, and it’s $45 per person for the food, or $60 including bottomless mimosas. If you’re more of a dinner person, don’t miss the Koji chicken, the snapper with agua chile, or the mushrooms with Sichuan peppercorns. So many layers of flavor. 505 12th Avenue South, Nashville — Delia Jo Ramsey, Eater Nashville editor

For those who think they can’t cook…

Fact: scrambling eggs is pretty much the extent of my cooking skills. And only because I failed to properly turn them into an omelet. If you’re anything like me, the thought of a cooking class intimidates the living bejesus out of you. Especially when it’s led by a celebrity chef. But if that celebrity chef happens to be Maneet Chauhan, take a breather—you’re in for a good time. The chef hosts a monthly cooking class at Tànsuǒ, her contemporary Chinese concept. After a glass of Champagne and a brief welcome from the chef, the class was split up into four groups, each one tackling a different course on the menu. We stuffed dumplings. We chopped veggies in prep. We even got to stand in front of a wok and try our hand at some fancy tossing skills over a roaring flame. I know. It sounds stressful. But not when you have Maneet helping you with your technique and cracking jokes like a seasoned stand-up. The free-flowing beer and wine definitely help—the staff is there to make sure your glass never gets empty. Afterwards, you’ll enjoy a family-style luncheon and perhaps attempt to put your newfound knowledge to work for dinner. Or… maybe you’ll just opt to wait for the next cooking class. 121B 12th Ave North, Nashville — Jackie Gutierrez-Jones, Eater Nashville contributor

For Nashville hot chowder, or for late night cocktails in a restaurant with a former prohibition-era tunnel...

Nashville hasn’t always had solid seafood options. In fact, when I first moved here I stayed away from seafood for a bit. But thankfully today the city has a handful of chefs in town doing fish dishes proper justice, and Chicago-native executive chef Mike Haggerty is one of them. I’m a lover of all things spicy - and there are two notable things for people like me on the menu at Sea Salt — his Nashville hot chowder is a fun Nashville take on a trout and mussel chowder, and the new salmon dish has a bright green drizzle of chimichurri and a nice kick. Late night visitors should check out the new Sea Salt speakeasy — something they’ve just introduced where you can enter from the back Printer’s Alley entrance on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 p.m. until 1 a.m. for cocktails and wine. 209 3rd Ave N, Nashville — Delia Jo Ramsey, Eater Nashville editor

For budget-friendly authentic tacos and Oaxacan fare

Yes, Nolensville Road is home to dozens of great little taquerias, but this West Nashville one is also worth a visit. Cash-only La Juquilita (you can’t miss the bright orange storefront) is owned by the Cepedas — Jose Cepeda greets customers, takes order, and takes payment after the meal’s completion, and his wife Maria works wonders in the open kitchen. Several bottled non-alcoholic drinks are available for purchase. Don’t miss the tip jar on the counter when checking out. 5913 Morrow Rd, Nashville — Delia Jo Ramsey, Eater Nashville editor

For a Saturday in Franklin with matcha, poke, and more

Chef BJ Lofback has grown from a food truck to a cool outpost at the Factory at Franklin, and draws crowds for his poke, crack fried rice, and Korean fried chicken — and rightly so, because it’s all the real deal. He’s also making matcha drinks — a huge trend in bigger cities that hasn’t really hit Nashville yet, proving once again he’s ahead of the game. Lofback is well-studied on Korean cuisine, and thoughtfully executes each and every dish. Well worth a journey south, Funk Seoul Brother at the Factory opens Tuesday through Friday, from 11a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. 230 Franklin Road, Franklin — Delia Jo Ramsey, Eater Nashville editor