So, 2015 happened. You might not have noticed, because you were too busy eating, drinking, and generally cavorting at the dozens of amazing new Nashville spots that've opened in the past 12 months. But now that it's (pretty much) over, we can look back and unequivocally say that these were the places that won the year in Music City:
New upscale restaurant
5th & TaylorAddress and Info
Nashville welcomed quite a few new upscale restaurants to the scene in 2015 but 5th & Taylor was easily our favorite. Not only is the food great but the atmosphere is uniquely romantic. Their Beer Can Chicken alone is worth making a trip; it’s roasted, then soaked in one of the most delicious beer gravies you’ll ever eat in your life.
Best new music spot
Ascend Amphitheater (address and info)
For such a music loving city, it’s a wonder that it took Nashville so long to build an outdoor venue like Ascend Amphitheater. This live music site is located right on the riverfront and has a capacity of 6,800 people. If you haven’t made it to the amphitheater yet, you should definitely look into tickets for the 2016 live shows that start in April with artists ranging from Bryan Adams to Boyz II Men.
Best new burger place
Flip Burger BoutiqueAddress and Info
Flip Burger Boutique brought a new kind of burger experience to Nashville that’s modern, sleek, and damn delicious. Their menu is extensive with burgers ranging from plain Angus beef burgers to bison burgers and even a tuna tartare burger. Don’t forget to order a milkshake as they’re easily some of the best in town.
Best new bakery
DozenAddress and Info
What started out as a holiday cookie pop-up turned into a full time bakery this year when Dozen opened up a permanent shop in February. They pride themselves in using only the best ingredients that are locally sourced and organic. Dozen also sources bread and pastries to lots of places in town including Pinewood Social, Crema, and Jackalope Brewery. Besides all of their muffins and scones and amazing bread, Dozen also serves lunch all week and brunch on the weekends.
Best new spot for good beer
Homegrown Taproom & MarketplaceAddress and Info
Homegrown is Nashville’s newest neighborhood craft beer taproom located in Donelson. They serve wonderfully crafted beers as well as a full lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch menu. If you’re looking for a relaxed spot to grab a good craft beer and maybe a bite to eat, we highly recommend Homegrown Taproom.
Best new cocktail bar
AmariAddress and Info
We’ve mentioned our love for Savarino’s Cucina a time or two, so you can imagine how thrilled we were to find out that they are now utilizing the upstairs of the restaurant for a new speakeasy type lounge called Amari. There are no clear signs to get to Amari, which can be confusing (and maybe kind of the point). Just walk into Savarino’s Cucina, ask for Amari, and you’ll be led to the hidden staircase where you’ll inevitably enjoy some wonderfully inventive cocktails upstairs.
Best new outdoor activity
Soar Adventure Tower (address and info)
Soar Adventure Tower is unlike anything else in the greater Nashville area. It’s quite literally a giant tower with multiple levels for varying degrees of adventure. Each participant is strapped into a safety harness using a belay system which allows you to challenge yourself on all of the various obstacles while staying safe 45ft above the ground. This is a great excuse to get yourself outside and do something adventurous.
Best new sports venue
First Tennessee Park (address and info)
The Sounds aren’t new to Nashville but their fancy First Tennessee Park is. Located right in the heart of downtown, First Tennessee Park is a big upgrade from the previous home of the Sounds. It seats over 10,000 people and has some upgraded food options such as Pepperfire Hot Chicken (in case a plain hot dog and cracker jacks just won’t cut it for you). But don’t worry, the scoreboard is still shaped like a giant guitar.
Best new healthy food spot
AvoAddress and Info
If you’re looking for a healthy, vegan, gluten-free, and completely raw dish, Avo is the spot for you. They take classic dishes such as lasagna and bbq and re-make them in a way that’s light, healthy, and yet still completely delicious. Their lasagna is made with zucchini instead of traditional noodles and the BBQ sliders are made with smoked maitake mushrooms to create dishes that are tasty AND filled with things that are good for you.
Best new Mexican
Bajo SextoAddress and Info
This new Mexican and taco spot opened up earlier this year just inside of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and has a rather limited menu. You can’t go wrong with their tacos, though, and you’re also going to want to order one of their various margaritas to go with that and probably a bowl of guac.
Best new barbershop
Pioneer Gentlemen’s Barber (address and info)
This “turn of the century”-inspired barbershop opened up earlier this year with the mission of delivering a new and unique standard in men’s grooming. Men can enjoy a cold beverage while getting their shoes shined and their beard freshly trimmed. Best of all: every customer receives a free beverage, a complimentary neck and shoulder massage, as well as a scalp massage.
Best new coffee shop
SteadfastAddress and Info
Steadfast opened up in the heart of Germantown earlier this year and has quickly become one of our all time favorite coffee shops in the whole city. They have a great list of coffee drinks (including coffee soda which is an absolute must-try) and a wonderful breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu.
Best new nightlife spot
The Basement EastAddress and Info
The Basement, originally located in Wedgewood, expanded this year to include a second music venue that opened up in East Nashville in April. The Basement East has a laid-back vibe that’s just perfect for live music. So if you’re looking for a new music venue with a relaxed vibe and cold beer, definitely check out The Basement East.
Best new pub
Double DogsAddress and Info
Double Dogs is a new casual dining spot and pub in Nashville and serves their take on classic American dishes such as buffalo chicken mac 'n’ cheese, hot chicken pot pie, and a nice long list of pizzas, burgers, and hot dogs. They also have a great beer list to go with your wings and burgers.
Best new food truck turned brick-and-mortar
Biscuit Love BrunchAddress and Info
Of all the new restaurants that opened in 2015, Biscuit Love Brunch might have made the biggest national splash. This wildly popular biscuit food truck opened doors to a trendy and spacious brick-and-mortar restaurant in early 2015 and hasn’t slowed down a bit since then. If you go at peak hours, the line can stretch well out the door but we’re here to tell you that it’s totally worth the wait for one of their pillowy soft, buttery biscuits.
Best new pop-up
Little Octopus (address and info)
After the huge success of Otaku Ramen (POPs first venture), Little Octopus was a much anticipated new restaurant opening for 2015. They pride themselves in serving cultural cuisine inspired from around the world with options for everyone including vegans and meat lovers alike.
Best new food truck
Music City Brisket (address and info)
Should you find this food truck parked near you for lunch, make no hesitation in jumping in line and ordering one of their smoked beef brisket sandwiches. Music City Brisket might be new to Nashville’s food truck scene but they’ve quickly become one of our favorites. Their award-winning deep fried avocado fries are also worthy of a mention.
Best new brunch
Embers Ski LodgeAddress and Info
This new 12 South restaurant is the closest thing you’ll find to a ski lodge anywhere in the Nashville area. Designed to look like a scene straight from Aspen Mountain, Embers Ski Lodge is a very cozy place to enjoy brunch with friends by the fire. We recommend the ‘Every Day I’m Trufflin’ cocktail paired with a big plate of their drunken spiced peanut butter and banana stuffed french toast.
Best new place to camp out with your laptop
Slow Hand CoffeeAddress and Info
If you’re looking for a quiet little place to sit with your laptop and pretend to be getting work done, Slow Hand Coffee is perfect. Located right next to Cummins Station, this new coffee shop not only has great coffee but they also have an abundant supply of house-made pastries. You can find everything from classic scones to re-makes on old favorites, such as snowballs, retro cupcakes, and giant dino cookies. So, grab your laptop and a pastry and pretend to be working hard while really just watching cat videos.
The Family WashAddress and Info
The Family Wash has been an East Nashville favorite for well over 10 years, but in February of this year they closed their doors in order to prepare for a few changes and an updated location. Luckily we didn’t have to wait too long. In August, they opened back up, after partnering with the Garage Coffee Co, in a space that is much bigger and a menu that’s somehow even better than before. They easily have one of the best burgers in town, and there’s always good music playing.
1. 5th & Taylor1411 5th Ave N, Nashville
2. FLIP burger boutique4111 Charlotte Ave, Nashville
3. Dozen Bakery516 Hagan St, Nashville
4. Homegrown Taproom & Marketplace2720 Old Lebanon Rd, Nashville
5. Amari2121 Belcourt Ave, Nashville
6. AVO3 City Ave., Nashville
7. Bajo Sexto Taco216 5th Ave S, Nashville
8. Steadfast Coffee603 Taylor St, Nashville
9. The Basement East917 Woodland St, Nashville
10. Double Dogs1807 21st Ave S, Nashville (& other locations)
11. Biscuit Love316 11th Ave S, Nashville
12. Little Octopus505 12th Ave S, Nashville
13. Music City Brisket, Nashville
14. Embers Ski Lodge2410 12th Ave S, Nashville
15. Slow Hand Coffee300A 10th Ave S, Nashville
16. The Family Wash626 Main St, Nashville
In addition to some excellent upscale American comfort food coming off the wood-fired grill in the kitchen, the dining room at 5th & Taylor offers one of the most dramatic environments in town. A massive statue of General Francis Nash, the city’s namesake, dominates the space and bold artwork creates an ambience that makes the whole evening a little more exciting, complete with a huge full service bar, large dining area, and minimalistic/industrial decor.
Flip Burger Boutique, the Atlanta-born, modern burger joint from acclaimed Chef Richard Blais, was one of the city’s first to hone in on boutique burgers, and it ignited a frenzy. Now with locations in Nashville and Birmingham, Flip continues to serve the Southeastern masses over a dozen innovative burgers, sides, and nitro-milkshakes. You can’t go wrong with the Classic, but the Stack is something really special (two specialty-seasoned patties, American cheese, grilled onions, tomato, shredded lettuce, pickles, flip sauce, you’re welcome). If you’re craving adventure, try the raw steak tartare burger, or go poultry with the fried chicken sandwich, or avoid meat all together with the fauxlafel. No matter what you order, it’s important to enjoy it with a side of sweet potato tots, and to wash it down with a milkshake.
Dozen Bakery, the one-time holiday cookie pop-up, is now home to some of Nashville’s finest baked goods, sweet and savory alike. The Wedgewood-Houston brick and mortar is known for its pastries and breads, and is also a popular destination for brunch and lunch. Enjoy cookies, scones, and croissants, as well as savory tartines, baguette sandwiches, and salads at the storefront, or find their goods at the farmer’s market, as well as in a number of restaurants and bars around town.
Homegrown is an uber casual taphouse that takes its name seriously with 24 mostly local beers on tap as well as locally-sourced Southern comfort foods. The beers range from Tennesse-local favorites to Regional picks to renowned national brews, and the menu features buttery bacon popcorn, gooey macaroni and cheese, a homemade peanut butter and jelly on brioche, and down home meatloaf with garlic rosemary mashed potatoes. Visit the marketplace where all your favorite beers are available for sale.
There's a secret entrance to this speakeasy style wine bar through neighboring Savarino’s Cucina. Lined with intimate seating and a half-priced happy hour deal, this place is a favorite for a date night out.
This restaurant in Midtown has an entirely plant-based menu with local produce, and it's all served raw (nothing is heated over 118 degrees to preserve all the enzymes, vitamins and nutrients in your food). Enjoy some vegetarian pad thai, lasagna or tabbouleh salad in a modern, rustic setting with bare concrete floors and wood paneling. Better yet, pair it with an avocado margarita or any one of AVO's amazing beer or wine options.
Country music and tacos-- who would have thought they'd go together in perfect harmony? This Mexican resto located in the Country Music Hall of Fame proves the point with their fresh, spicy eats.
Steadfast is a coffee shop striving for the highest quality coffee drinks-- but they also serve lunch & dinner from 11:30 until close. The menu ranges from a granola bowl to falafel.
This lo-fi bar and venue hosts local and national rock 'n rollers at their East Side haunt. There's no better combo than guitar licks and cold brews.
This place takes hot dogs, burgers, & wings, and builds an entire menu around them. The casual spot is probably not diet friendly, but when you're ordering buffalo chicken mac n' cheese we promise you won't mind.
The offshoot of a one-time food truck, the beloved Biscuit Love is a fast-casual breakfast mecca in the Gulch. The specialty is all in the name: biscuits are at the forefront of the menu, served just out of the oven with butter and honey, with fried chicken and gravy, as buns for a burger, as “Bonuts” (fried biscuit doughnuts), and more. Enjoy your flaky, buttery biscuit any way you want it, for breakfast or lunch, every day of the week.
In addition to serving as the flexible kitchen for pop-ups by chefs visiting the Music City, Little Octopus, formerly located in East Nashville and currently residing in The Gulch, is all about the namesake cephalopod and its deep sea peers. Caribbean and Latin influences plus regional ingredients, and the resulting menu a melange of inventive dishes like a shrimp ceviche with aioli, Worcestershire, and rice crackers, octopus with fregola, smoked fingerlings, and herb salad, and the standout burger, served with griddled Manchego cheese, piquillo aioli, tomato, butter lettuce, and an egg.
This food truck is entirely dedicated to killer meats and sandwiches. We're talking brisket, baby back ribs, fried shrimp tacos, and a reuben sandwich. Sides include fries, avocado fries, and a summer salad. They even have a menu "For our four legged friends," which offers brisket biscuits that are veterinary approved.
Aspen meets Nashville at Embers Ski Lodge, where gastropub fare and cocktails reign supreme. Guests can dine in cabin-like environs against a backdrop of Mt. Everest, snacking on everything from burgers, salads, and seafood entrées. The beer and wine offerings are solid, but the massive whiskey list is the true highlight here -- and besides, what better way to start Sunday brunch than with two ounces of rare rye by way of an actual shot-ski?
This gourmet coffee house in SoBro serves musically inspired sandwiches (try a Hey Jude with steak and eggs on honey waffle bread or a James Brown with smoked turkey and parmesan aioli) and, of course, fresh bean brews. Their baked goods are also on point.
The Family Wash, formerly housed on East Nashville's Greenwood Ave., was relocated to and renovated in East End, where it remains a popular spot for live music, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and “Pints and Pies.” Comfort food is king, because what goes better with (nightly) live music than a Shepherd’s pie or a double beef patty cheeseburger and a pint or several of cold beer? Cocktails, beer, and wine are all served on tap, and Garage Coffee Company provides Family Wash patrons with energy throughout the day and into the night.