Nashville isn’t new to most Kentucky fans. In addition to annual games against Vandy in November and February, the Cats have made themselves mighty comfortable in Music City for several bowls and SEC Tournaments. Despite it’s familiarity, some of the oh, 20,000 or so of you coming to the game may have some questions about Nashville. Since I live here and all, I appointed myself as the person to do it. Legggoo!
Where do I stay?
Well if you haven’t figured this out, you better get on it, fast. I’ve already promised my living room floor to Rob Bromley. Obviously, if you want the full Nashville experience, stay downtown. Downtown Nashville is small enough to travel across on foot, so any hotel will be within decent walking distance of the stadium and every little honky tonk you can imagine. If you’re looking to get away from the tourists and be closer to Vandy, try searching for rooms in the Midtown area. Warning: the Vandy kids are pretty and shiny, but incredibly annoying upon contact. Be prepared. Oh yeah, don’t stay at the Stadium Inn. Like it’s name implies, it is next to LP Field and it is scary as hell; think of the scary motel room in Hangover 2, minus the monkey. They do, however, host midget wrestling on Friday nights. You’re welcome.
Where do I eat?
Well, what do you want?
Ribs and atmosphere? Rippy’s
Any type of BBQ you can imagine, cafeteria style? Jack’s
A patio, burger, and a beer? Big River Brewery
Cheap and delicious sushi? Sam’s Sushi Bar (although, Sam has a reputation as the “Sushi Nazi” of Nashville…he can be cranky, but $5 for two huge sushi rolls is too good to pass up)
Italian over candlelight? Sole Mio
Chili in 96-degree weather? Varallo’s
Best wings in town? Broadway Brewhouse
Crazy German restaurant complete with Polka band? The Gerst Haus (conveniently next to LP Field)
Cigars and oak-paneled ambiance? The Oak Bar at the Hermitage Hotel
Date night for you and the Mrs.? Past Perfect
All of these places are downtown, so your chances of chowing down amongst your Big Blue brethren is high.
Where do I drink?
Anywhere. Seriously, Nashville is a drinking city. If you don’t have fun here, it’s your own fault. Stand on Broadway, close your eyes, spin around and point. Open your eyes. Start there. If you’re adventurous, check out the Five Points area on the city’s East Side, approximately one mile east of downtown. Lots of cool bars and restaurants. If you’re around on Saturday and want to spend the day watching football in a bar, go to Sam’s in Hillsboro Village. Try the white pizza and chuckle at the Vandy fans, who will stumble in after their game in sundresses, stilettos, and bow ties. Try your hand at being a true Nashvillian by #sydreads and saying this phrase: “Oh, Vandy.” Oh wait, that’s universal.
Where do I hear country music?
Everywhere. Bands play in the honky tonks on Broadway from dawn till dusk till dawn again. Even if you don’t like country music, your foot will be tapping, especially if the band plays the UK fight song, a likely occurrence if the crowd is blue enough. See, another reason to come to Nashville for the game: so I can hear the UK fight song in Tootsie’s. A word to the wise if you plan on honky tonking after the game: use the alley entrances instead of the street entrances. Lines are shorter and sometimes cover charges are lower.
Hey, do you like Laura Bell Bundy? You should, since she’s performing a special pregame concert in Riverfront Park starting at 5:30 p.m. (central time). Somebody named Brittini Black will open for her. And it’s all FREE. Laura grew up in Lexington and is a huge Kentucky fan. Now she’s one of those “slashes,” straddling careers in music, theatre, television, and film. Oh yeah, she also did this.
What do I do the rest of the weekend?
I just found out that Nashville’s hosting The National Folk Festival this weekend, which is apparently kind of a big deal. The festival celebrates all kinds of folk music, crafts, and food. No, not just folk like the Forkland Festival…think bigger, like blues and roots, Irish-American, cajun, East African, bluegrass, Indian, you know, all kinds of folk. It looks like a cornucopia of global fun. The festival starts on Friday, takes place on the Bicentennial Mall, and, it’s FREE!
Or, you can hang out on Broadway with Cat fans and party. Look for me, I’ll be the one in blue.