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KSR’s Guide To Kentucky vs. Western in Music City


We are less than three days from kickoff of UK/Western, which means a good number of you are headed to my fair city very soon. Back in March, I gave myself a crash course in flowcharts and created two in-depth guides to Nashville eating and drinking. I’ve updated those with my latest favorites in Music City. Click on each restaurant/bar name to go to their website. As a general disclaimer, yes, I realize there are tons of restaurants in Nashville, but these are my favorites. If yours isn’t on the list, don’t be offended. Just add it in the comments section.


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* Be sure to read Yelp! reviews for hints on Sam’s Sushi Bar etiquette. I wish I were joking, but I promise it’s worth it.


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Five Off-The-Beaten-Path Places to Try


Tenn-Sixteen is a new Cajun restaurant in East Nashville, a very hip neighborhood about a mile from downtown. And I do mean hip–the East Side is home to Nashville’s “hipster” population, but before you roll your eyes, it’s also home to some of the city’s best restaurants and bars. Tenn-Sixteen is in Five Points, the epicenter of the neighborhood, and has awesome food, along with tons of TVs and a very impressive tap list. FYI, it’s one of the few smoke-free bars in Nashville, and because of that, no children are allowed after 4:30 p.m., which would make it one of Matt’s favorite restaurants if he were in town.


Tavern is the sports bar that Ron Burgandy would go to if he existed in real life. It’s dark, masculine, full of giant televisions, and vaguely smells of rich mahogany…and delicious food. It ain’t the cheapest place on the block, but there are few sports bars in town with this level of food. Try the Sweet Potato Chips with the Bleu Cheese Fondue…I’m drooling just thinking about it.

Two Boots Pizza

Two Boots Pizza is an NYC-based Cajun/Italian pizzeria that recently opened in Midtown. They specialize in crazy pizza combinations, and their local special is “The Kitty,” honoring country legend Kitty Wells; it’s topped with hot chicken supplied by Midtown neighbor Hattie B’s, blue cheese dressing and jalapenos on a white pie. More on that hot chicken later…

Rolf and Daughters

Want to go out for a fancy meal Friday night? Try Rolf and Daughters, which was just named Bon Apetite’s third best new restaurant in America. It’s in Germantown, an up-and-coming neighborhood a mile north of downtown. Along with City House (also in Germantown), it’s considered the best Italian restaurant in the city.

Edley’s BBQ (East or West)

Edley’s is a local BBQ chain that is actually pretty decent. The East location is really nice and very close to downtown, with a great patio that would be lovely if it weren’t supposed to be 95 degrees this weekend. Regardless, if you feel like getting out of downtown for some BBQ, it’s a solid choice.

Four Things To Know

You can’t park at LP Field unless you have a pass: Fortunately, passes are still for sale at the LP Field ticket office for $20, so if you want to be as close to the stadium as you can be, you’re in luck. For those of you tailgating, lots open at 12 p.m. central, which yes, I agree, is not early enough.

There are also several pay lots around the stadium ranging from $5-$10, and a public garage next to the Courthouse where you can park for $3 at night and on weekends. It’s an easy walk across the river to LP Field.

Don’t bring a big purse to the game: LP Field now goes by the NFL’s new safety policy, which means women can’t bring in any purses larger than their hand (seriously). You are allowed to bring your belongings in a gallon-sized Ziplock bag, or a clear plastic, vinyl or PVC bag that does not exceed 12″ by 6″ and 12″. To avoid all of this, wear something with pockets and leave the big purse in the car until after the game.

Alcohol WILL be sold at the game — Since this is a Western home game, alcohol will be sold to all those with a valid ID. Drink responsibly and pace yourself. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and ain’t no shame in drinking water between your adult beverages.

You can still smoke in Nashville bars: And it is still disgusting. That makes Music City one of the last places in America you can smoke indoors, along with New Orleans and casinos. (I have a theory that the people who invented Febreeze are behind all of this.) Fortunately, some honky tonks and bars downtown have gone smoke-free, including Tootsie’s and Robert’s Western World.

Three Sure Bets Near the Stadium

Broadway Brewhouse: Plenty of TVs, beers, and decent bar food. One of the best places to watch a game downtown, aside from Bailey’s, which has seen better days. Do as I do and sit in the window and randomly high five people as they walk by while drinking a Bushwhacker.

Puckett’s Grocery: Family friendly, good down home southern cooking. Awesome breakfast, live music at night.

Riverfront Tavern: Great sandwiches, not super touristy. Lots of TVs and a good beer list.

Two Nashville specialties

Hot Chicken — If there is one thing you do in Nashville besides watch the game, let it be hot chicken. Hot chicken is a Nashville staple. What is it? Essentially, really really really spicy fried chicken, thanks to the cayenne pepper and other spices added to the buttermilk before frying. People swear by it here and the best place to get it is Prince’s Hot Chicken, which, in full disclosure, is in a sketchy part of town. If you’re not up for the risk, here are some other hot chicken haunts:

400 Degrees
Hattie B’s

Whichever place you choose, keep in mind that hot chicken can come back to bite you the next day…if you know what I mean. Pack the Pepto.

Fireball — For one reason or another, Nashville has become the home of the cinnamon whiskey, which is actually made in Louisiana at Buffalo Trace. “Nashville” star Hayden Panettiere said that she became a Fireball fan after moving to Music City, where it is pretty much the shot of choice. As Kentuckians, nothing beats bourbon, but if you want to make terrible decisions live it up on Labor Day, do as the Nashvillians do. And buy Kristen Geil a shot while you’re at it.

This seems like a great time to remind you that KSR always wants you to drink responsibly.

One can’t-miss event bluegrass-takeover

The Tin Roof “Bluegrass Takeover” event the night before the game. We’ve publicized it a lot on the site, but it really will be the place to be the night before the game. The college football kickoff party will feature music from 64 West (they’re UK fans, too) and the crowd will be dominated by Cats fans, including myself, Mr. TT, Aaron Flener, Kristen Geil, Nick Roush and other KSR celebrities. Tin Roof is located at 1516 Demonbreun Street, a $7.50 cab ride from Broadway (according to Drew), near Vanderbilt’s campus.

See you guys soon.

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.

26 Comments for KSR’s Guide To Kentucky vs. Western in Music City

  1. spud
    9:18 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

    Germantown Cafe!!!

  2. CVFutrell
    9:25 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

    Have to throw Paradise Park in there for both bars and late night eats. It’s on Broadway and the burger stand is open til 4am.

  3. Zach
    9:25 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

    Anyone staying at opryland? They have a great sports bar that I will be at Friday night

  4. Very nice!
    9:31 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

    Appreciate your effort, Mrs. TT. Any Indian restaurants around?

    • Mrs. Tyler Thompson
      9:38 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

      Sitar is my favorite Indian restaurant in town–it’s on 21st near Baptist Hospital. Woodlands is also an excellent vegetarian Indian restaurant.

  5. The Voice of Reason
    9:32 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

    FYI, Fireball is made in Kentucky at Buffalo Trace Distillery. BT is owned by the Sazerac company which is “based” in Louisiana.

    Notable omissions:

    Twin Kegs (burger)
    Las Americas (Mexican)
    Athens (late night)
    Santa’s pub (karaoke in a triple wide trailer)

  6. nashcat
    9:36 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

    Bourbon Street on Printers Alley!! Looks like you covered everything else though. Good post!

  7. btowncatfan
    9:44 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

    Mrs. Tyler, Drew won’t be happy, no Margaritaville. I assume chain joints were not considered.

  8. Section 135
    9:50 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

    Browns Diner? 12 South? McDougals Chicken? Elston Place Soda Shop? You need to get out more Mrs TT

  9. TuckyGirl
    9:57 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

    Great info Tyler! You really nailed this and I will use for future visits.

  10. TuckyGirl
    9:59 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

    Whoops, Mrs. Tyler!

  11. GoBigBlueSusieQ
    10:03 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

    Hey Ms TT! We ate at Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack tonight! We get carry out from there every time we are here in Nashville. It’s really really good-but it definitely IS hot and not for the faint at heart. Go before dark.

  12. CatsNashville
    10:05 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

    Mrs TT just listed over 30 bars and restaurants out of 200+ in Nashville to help narrow your search. Meanwhile 9) is posting comments at 10pm. Sounds like you need to get out more (no judge)

  13. bill
    10:28 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

    If u want to black out where no one cares go to tootsies, the stage, or legends. There will be lots of cats fans at baileys and I’m sure honky tonk but its so touristy (as is all dtown). Midtown bars are legit…and good call TT on mad donnas…its a bloody mary bar

  14. nashville hot chicken
    10:42 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

    Prince’s of gtfo when it comes to Nashville hot chicken. Its not like there arent areas in Louisville equally as sketchy.

  15. Hot Chicken
    10:51 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

    You will love every minute of eating me and then you’ll s**t fire. And come back for more.

    I love Prince’s, but I did have some dude try to sell me drugs in the parking lot there once. Pepperfire is good and I tried another place called Hot Stuff one time that also had hot fish, which I sincerely recommend.

  16. Finally
    12:02 am August 29, 2013 Permalink

    A great young country artist, fellow Kentuckian, and UK alum Luk Nichols will be playing at Honkey Tonk Central from 6-10 Friday and Saturday nights!

  17. Sheriff Buford T. Justice
    12:29 am August 29, 2013 Permalink

    If you don’t like Prince’s then f*ck you. Seriously, nobody will bother you at that place because they love the business. I’ve been there sober, black out and various stages in between, its all good. Some guy that was apparently on American Idol but got kicked off for banging Paula Abdul gave me his cd for $5 one trip. Just that kind of excellent establishment.

  18. WRB
    12:31 am August 29, 2013 Permalink

    Good to hear you can still smoke in bars like you should be able to.

  19. afidler
    1:26 am August 29, 2013 Permalink

    If you want a burger in Nashville, you would be remiss to not go to Pharmacy Burger in East Nash. Far and away the best burger you will get in town. Burger Up is a solid second option on the other side of town.

  20. Beebster
    1:38 am August 29, 2013 Permalink

    Magiano’s on west end. Nice italian restaurant where for $15 can get a plate of pasta and another in a to go box. For a fun and different experience i recommend Dicks Last resort. Great food, serves alcohol and can watch the game. Funniest guy there is Gabe Sanchez, I am a bit biased since he is my brother lol. He will be at the game with me so I recommend him for basketball season or when we stomp Vandy in nashville later this season!

  21. Yearsendingin9
    6:37 am August 29, 2013 Permalink

    And for vegan fare: The Wild Cow Restaurant

  22. Backbeatcat
    8:39 am August 29, 2013 Permalink

    Shameless plug: Saturday night we want to see you at The Rutledge for the Nashville premier of The Bobby Perry Band. Two sets of tickets for UK basketball games at Rupp will be given away! 11:00p-2:00a after the game. You’ll have a damn good time! Go the The Bobby Perry Band page on Facebook for details….

  23. Matty Double Fist
    10:06 am August 29, 2013 Permalink

    The best BBQ in Nashville is Martin’s BBQ. There are 2 locations now… The original in Nolensville or the new one in Mt. Juliet. It’s not even a close competition with the rest of these suggestions. Put it this way, this BBQ joint is so good that you would drive 100 miles just to eat at!! Oh and the BBQ baked beans will change your life…

  24. bigbluedan
    11:56 am August 29, 2013 Permalink

    As a fellow Nashvillian, you pretty much killed this list. As some one who makes flow charts, I can appreciated how long it probably took to put that together.

    Great post!

    Midtown FTW.

    1:45 pm August 29, 2013 Permalink

    Grew up in Louisville, lived in nashville for 7 yrs now. Edley’s is ok but not spectacular. The other BBQ joints on that list are no better than Bootleg BBQ.
    Martins is the best BBQ by far in Nashville. Pharmacy and Gabby’s like TT mentioned for good burgers. If you’re staying south of town
    check out 360 burger in Antioch. It’s just as good as Gabby’s without the crowd. Any bar on Demonbreun for good young scenary. Broadway is a bunch of drunk old people. Fun to watch
    but not much to look at.