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A Big Blue Guide to Nashville

If you’re lucky, you can get a kiss from “Dolly.” But not if you have a Tarheel-blue UK hat on. Shame.

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.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

20 Comments for A Big Blue Guide to Nashville

  1. PatPattersonISwalkingthruthatdoor
    5:23 pm August 31, 2011 Permalink

    I’m not totally confident that that’s a woman in that picture…

  2. Nashville_CAT
    5:44 pm August 31, 2011 Permalink

    Pretty solid write up. I agree.

  3. Sexington
    5:44 pm August 31, 2011 Permalink

    B.B Kings is awesome guys… AWESOME

  4. Lex07
    5:46 pm August 31, 2011 Permalink

    What game are you talking about?

  5. kevinlw1974
    5:48 pm August 31, 2011 Permalink

    First, you should not pay one penny for a cover. If the place you goes is about to, keep walking. The bar next door probably won’t and the music will be just as good. Also, be sure to check out Robert’s Western World on lower broad near Second Fiddle and Tootsies. You won’t hear this kind of traditional country music often. Whether you like it or not, it is pretty nostalgic.

    Most of your bands playing will cover the same songs. And honestly, all of them that will be performing in the evenings will be very good. Many of the musicians you will see play and tour with some big names.

  6. Grab a brew, don't cost nuthin'
    5:52 pm August 31, 2011 Permalink

    It’s kickoff time in a little more than 24, let’s get this partay started.

  7. Will W
    6:00 pm August 31, 2011 Permalink

    As far as the choice of best BBQ it has to be Jack’s BBQ great atmosphere and great food to boot

  8. Boom
    6:02 pm August 31, 2011 Permalink

    How about where do I park because I will get there 5 minutes before kickoff?

  9. Robby
    6:58 pm August 31, 2011 Permalink

    There is an amazing cheeseburger place for late night. It’s called paradise something. Ask the writer of this post and she should know but it is one o the best “late night” spots I’ve ever been to.

  10. Jay Pope
    7:14 pm August 31, 2011 Permalink

    BTW, the best coffee house in Nashville by a long shot is very close to the stadium. It’s called Crema, and it is located at 15 Hermitage Ave. My wife and I found it on when we were driving out from CA and are thankful that we did. I am not a fan of Starbucks and generally prefer the mom and pop and local type places. This one is just as good as any you’d find in SF, Seattle, or NYC.

  11. BowelMovement
    7:44 pm August 31, 2011 Permalink

    Typical, hick UK fan. Is that cooter Davenport?

  12. Oblivious B.I.G.
    8:40 pm August 31, 2011 Permalink

    has the Nashville mayor said to “come out and see our Mexicans and Chinese!”? at least ours didn’t say ‘chineses’ although that would have been nice

  13. Ms. Tyler Thompson
    8:50 pm August 31, 2011 Permalink

    8 – There are still parking passes available for $20/piece that you can buy on-site from the attendants. If that’s too pricey, visit There are also a few pay lots close to the stadium (Shoney’s, Gerst House parking lots) that probably run $5-$10. Hope this helps.

    9 – You’re thinking of Paradise Park. It is awesome! They have beer pong on the weekends if that’s your thing.

    10 – I love Crema! I also love the Hermitage Cafe, the all-night diner next door. Some of the best stories in Nashville come out of that diner.

  14. Ron Mexico
    9:19 pm August 31, 2011 Permalink

    Who knew Russell Crowe was a fat UK fan

  15. BleedingBlueInTexas
    9:28 pm August 31, 2011 Permalink

    Hey Ms. Tyler…I’ll buy you several drinks if you sing “Oh Vandy,” and wear nothing but a bow tie!

  16. Pabloco
    9:45 pm August 31, 2011 Permalink

    No mention of hot chicken in Nashville? Bolton’s Hot Chicken and Fish, Main Street.

  17. Ms. Tyler Thompson
    10:02 pm August 31, 2011 Permalink

    16-Good call! I’m partial to Prince’s, but didn’t want to send people out to Dickerson Pike. If you’re interested in Nashville’s famous hot chicken (spicy fried chicken), try Bolton’s or 400 Degrees, which is just south of downtown at 319 Peabody Street.

  18. tyrus
    10:16 pm August 31, 2011 Permalink

    Honestly, after reading Rob Bromley on the living room floor, I got this mental picture that prevented me from reading any further.

  19. Brandon
    10:39 pm August 31, 2011 Permalink

    Best microbrewery in town IMO is Bosco’s in Hillsboro Village. Also I recommend Yazoo beer, a local on tap at many establishments. And for breakfast hit up Pancake Pantry (also H’boro Vill) or go out west to Loveless Cafe. Have fun!

  20. shendo
    9:35 am September 1, 2011 Permalink

    man i miss nashville…lived there for 13 years. broadway brewhouse…the original one near vandy is one of my favorite places in the whole world. the wings are unlike anything else i’ve been able to find and the cajun burrito….ummmmmm