Any two-bit shack can serve you a bottle of Newcastle these days, but there are only a select few dens of drink where true fans of local craft beer and rare imports can cut loose. Check 'em out, and for heaven's sake, pace yourself.
Where's the beer?
July 29, 2008
Fans of the local beer can dine in the tap room, but only three days a week, which makes it one of the most crowded places in town when it's open. You can snag nibbles like fresh cheeses from local farms and breads from Provence, but the real draw is the beer - there's always an experimental brew on tap, plus tried-and-true favorites such as the malty, caramel-colored Dos Perros and the delightfully refreshing hefeweizen.
Beer is the centerpiece here, and not just any swill. The house-brewed varieties are some of the freshest you'll ever try; make sure to keep an eye on seasonal specials. (The Flaming Stone is always a good bet.) The Sunday jazz brunch draws a huge crowd, but diners in Hillsboro Village also take advantage of weekly lunch specials like the fried catfish po' boy. The dinner menu far outclasses your usual pub grub; the pizzas and salads are especially good.
This American brewpub is nestled in a lively, spacious setting in Nashville's Riverfront District. With an on-site brewery, Big River serves up award-winning ales and lagers and eats like burgers, ribs and specialty thin-crust pizzas. The large street-side patio puts diners right in the middle of the bustling Broadway and Second Avenue scenes. Championship billiards and 50-inch televisions make this a great place to mix and mingle after a Titans or Preds game.
A throwback to the old says when there were over 1,000 microbreweries in the United States. Blackstone, winner of a couple prestigious awards at the Great American Beer Festival, creates a great pub atmosphere with a lunch and dinner menu that has an upscale twist on standard bar fare. Reasonably priced entrees and decent portion sizes (try the fish and chips or grilled tuna sandwich with capers) are key. The wait staff is friendly and attentive, the service expedient, and the food is fabulous.
Dozens and dozens of beers from all over are on tap at this popular singles/college spot. Wings, beer-cheese soup and other bar foods comprise the menu, but it isn't the food that makes Flying Saucer special. It's all about the brew here, with maybe a little pool or darts thrown in. Trivia nights and beer specials like $2.50 pint night are wildly popular, as is the arduous quest by hop-heads to earn a coveted spot in the "UFO club" by tasting untold numbers of beers.
The menu at this popular 12South cafe is diverse -- call it the 12South neighborhood in microcosm, such is the breadth of its reach in terms of the many cultures it draws from and the mix of people who make up its clientele. There are 22 different beers on tap, and the restaurant has a sense of color and style that make it stand out from similar dining options, even as it succeeds in offering something for everyone.
A midtown classic. You not only can get a wide selection of brews here, but also a tasty Cajun meal to boot. There are occasional celebrity sightings, but it's really all about the locals and fun conversation. Lunch is a madhouse, but the servers have it down to a science when just a few minutes after you order, they shout out your name to come and get it. Nighttime is just as hectic, with people flooding the bar area to watch a game or indulge in one of the many ales offered.
It doesn't host live music anymore, which is a shame, since the tight-knit East Nashville indie scene made it a fun, vibrant stomping ground for a time there. The tight-knit East Nashville drinking scene still shows the former Slow Bar plenty of love -- particularly on music trivia nights -- so expect to find the dark but roomy space packed with complicated haircuts pounding Yazoo pints. On warm days when the windows are open, you'd have a hard time finding a better spot to drunkenly watch the Five Points crowd wandering about, pondering their renovated Victorians and rapidly expanding collection of the city's top eateries.
Brewed in Nashville
Whatever your taste in beer, find a locally-made brew to suit your style.