Wanna Do Downtown Like A Local? Your Guide To Broadway’s Hidden Gems

Wanna Do Downtown Like A Local?

Downtown Nashville. The Times Square of Music City on any given weekend night may appear as a sea of Affliction shirts, bachelorette party sashes, and bedazzled cowboy boots. Some nights, we LOVE it. Seriously, there is nothing like seeing the guy who played Donny on Even Stevens in cowboy boots jaywalking on Broadway past a horse and buggy (that actually happened once). However, some of the locals prefer to steer clear of the downtown scene, fearful that the tourist enthusiam will infect our Nashville cool factor (spoiler alert: it totally won’t). Downtown Nashville is a part of our history though, and if you’re not embracing it you’re missing out! With that in mind, here is your Wannado guide to the best downtown hidden gems to:

Drink a Pint & Throw Sharp Objects: 

Fleet Street Pub

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God save the Queen (and the draft beer).

WHERE:

The world famous, New Orleans-esque Printer’s Alley! On Church Street, to the left of Broadway (if you’re coming from the west Nashville direction).

WHAT MAKES IT AWESOME:

Prepare your British accent, old chap, because this is England coming to the ville’. If you love all things royal family, Russell Brand (he’s secretly brilliant, ok?), and/or fish and chips, this is the place for you! It’s a good old-fashioned walk-down-into-a-smoky-room pub. This is not the swanky bar Jude Law went to in The Holiday. And we like it that way! There’s a TON of different kinds of beer on tap, and they are all relatively cheap. Don’t get too blotto though, bloke, because there are some sharp objects to be thrown. Gather your most competitive pals and go at it in a round of darts! And if you see a hole in the wall next to the dart board on the right, it totally WAS not us. Great for a birthday party!

WANNADO TIP:

Get the fish and chips! Be brave and put the vinegar on there…major upgrade. Also, walk fast when you enter Printer’s Alley unless you want some awkward small talk with people trying to get you into a gentleman’s club. It’s easier to find street parking if you keep going towards Charlotte Ave. and away from Broadway near the correctional facility (super safe, though).


Have A Real Fancy Night:

The Omni Hotel

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“And after the party it’s the hotel lobby” – R. Kelly.

WHERE:

To the right of downtown (towards the Crema and Trolley Barns side of town). 5th Avenue!

WHAT MAKES IT AWESOME:

The Omni is brand spankin’ new, and it is straight up beautiful. Think you have to stay in the hotel to hang there? So false. Saddle up to the hotel bar and check out the gift shop! It’s a great place to walk around, and you’re going to feel so fancy. It’s like a mini stay-cation! There’s a spa, a rooftop pool, a BISCUIT BAR at Kitchen Note…it’s a dream. The thing we really love about it is how seamlessly it fits into Nashville culture. The Omni is a chain, but this place has so much local flavor! The gift shop is a Nashville product haven – everything from Goo Goo Clusters to Belle Meade Bourbon, this is the place to get a taste of Tennessee.

WANNADO TIP:

Take a walk down country music lane when you come in the hotel – you’ll see iconic outfits of Dolly Parton, Reba…all the Nashville favorites! Also, Hatch Show Print now has a home base in the Omni, so stop by and look in the window to see all the show poster magic happen!


Get Aggressive:

Laser Quest

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“An elegant weapon for a more civilized age”.

WHERE:.

Near The Melting Pot, B.B. Kings (you should also go there, by the way), and Wildhorse Saloon on 2nd Ave. Skinny little building that you could easily miss!

WHAT MAKES IT AWESOME:

Do we really need to elaborate on this one? LASER. TAG. Think it’s only for your kid’s birthday party? News flash, y’all: it’s not. Got some pent-up aggression from the work week? Need to blow off some steam with the upcoming final exams looming? Pick your laser tag name (our favorite is Beyonce, because let’s face it: Queen Bey never loses), strap on your pack, activate your gun, and get to taggin’. You’ll enter a multi-level room adorned with barrels and black lights and find yourself in a fog-machine haze. The actual best.

WANNADO TIP:

When you’re in the holding room, stand near the exit door so you’re the first one in. Obviously, you’re going to want the higher ground (a.k.a the Obi-Wan Kenobe advantage), so head to the second level and claim a corner of your own. Wear comfortable shoes (we might have played in heels once and come away with 104858 bruises).


Get Some Pre-Show Sustenance:

Pub 5

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You’re going to need your energy to effectively scream for Arcade Fire, y’all.

WHERE:

Right when Broadway starts to get a little cray, across from Bridgestone Arena and near The Palm.

WHAT MAKES IT AWESOME:

If you wanna go to a show at Bridgestone Arena, The Ryman, War Memorial, etc. but you long for some non honky-tonk fare for your pre-show festivities, Pub 5 is for you. This place is fairly new, and it’s getting a lot of buzz among the local set. We stopped in before the Michael Buble show at Bridgestone for drinks and a quick bite to eat, and it was the perfect pre-concert fare. Not wildly cheap, but still manageable and less expensive than The Palm. It has a New York vibe for sure, and we love how it’s tucked away right next to all the action of Broadway!

WANNADO TIP:

If you’re not terribly concerned about a healthy meal, their appetizers/small plates are totally big enough to serve as your dinner. We got the poutine – for those of you who aren’t in the know about the Canadian delicacy (we watched a LOT of Degrassi), it’s gravy, fries, cheese…basically everything good. You’ll probably have to do a paid parking lot if you don’t want to walk a bit, but the cheaper ones are behind Bridgestone  towards Korean Veteran’s Blvd.


Have A Throwback Night:

The Arcade

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Art crawls and pizza and shoe cobblers. Can we get an amen?

WHERE:

To the left of Broadway (towards Union Street). Next to the old-school looking Walgreens and all the art galleries!

WHAT MAKES IT AWESOME:

Representing the downtown Nashville of yesteryear, The Arcade is a beautiful piece of Nashville history. Historical plaques are everywhere, so don’t go with a history nerd if you don’t want them to stop every 5 seconds to read about something. Two stories high and expertly preserved, this place has art galleries, salons, meat-and-threes, Mexican food, old-school candy shops, shoe cobblers…we just love it. It was an old train station, so come here if you wanna get haunted (just kidding, guys…no ghostbusting needed here)!

WANNADO TIP:

Block off your first Saturday of the month for the Art Crawl. Christmas lights, free wine, beautiful art installations…it’s great. Not only that, but the Art Crawl can get delightfully weird. We went to a gallery where there was a guy (like, an actual human) sitting behind a giant frame with a phone number projected on the wall. All the people in the room could text the number and he (without even looking up) would text you back. So weird. So great.


So next time you wanna go downtown but just don’t have the energy to sidestep a bachelorette party buying matching hats that say “Whiskey Makes Me Frisky” (but no judgement, because we bet they’re having tons of fun), take yourself to one of these spots and enjoy downtown like a local. For all the info on downtown events, happy hours, and live music, grab Wannado. You’ll be glad you did.

– Your local guide.