Venues Off the Beaten Path
Music — it’s kind of our thing here in Nashville. Other cities may be in tune with the music scene, but none can produce the songs of the south quite like Nashville. In this town, if there’s a bar, there better be a stage, because for every great night out, there’s a number one single to write about it.
You probably already know that you can catch a show on any given night at venues like 3rd and Lindsley, Station Inn, the Rutledge, the Ryman Auditorium, Mercy Lounge, the Basement, 12th and Porter, Exit/In, Marathon Music Works and pretty much every building on lower Broadway. But in addition to all of our great honky tonks and legendary rock venues, we have tons of smaller restaurants that serve up great live music on the side. When you’re in the mood for something in a lower key, these places should top your chart.
The Listening Room Café
209 10th Ave S. # 200
Fried green tomatoes, burgers, BBQ and sweet and spicy pickles all go great with live music. You won’t go hungry at the Listening Room Café in Cummins Station, because owner and singer/songwriter Chris Blair designed the menu to keep the audience in their seats and enjoying the show. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the venue hosts “happy day,” with drink specials and 2-for-1 wells from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, which not only makes for loyal listeners, but is sure to cure any artist’s worst case of stage fright.
The Listening Room Café entertains guests with writers’ nights, CD release parties, charity benefits and a calendar packed with talent. Music is on the menu daily, including Sunday, when it’s served with brunch. Find out who is playing at The Listening Room Café this week at listeningroomcafe.com.
2117 Belcourt Avenue
Nestled in Hillsboro Village, Taps, which started as a place for small plates, became known for serving up big sounds with live music daily. Formerly known as Belcourt Taps & Tapas, the restaurant’s patio may have curb appeal, but the real selling point is the intimate interior that makes you feel like you’re attending a private show.
The restaurant is home to several writers’ nights, and it takes its show on the road with writers’ pub crawls, giving music lovers the chance to board a bus and visit different writers’ nights in Nashville. The food, formerly a southern take on Spanish cuisine, promises to offer some of the best burgers in Nashville, so be sure to check out this reinvented venue this season. Check out the live music calendar at belcourttapsandtapas.com.
1008 Woodland Street
With good food, a great patio, beer and whiskey specials and live music on the weekends, Drifters BBQ in East Nashville is a perfect summer destination for loosening up and checking out local artists in a relaxed atmosphere. Come as you are in your T-shirt and flip flops, order a can of PBR and enjoy one of Nashville’s most understated places for a great time.
The menu includes BBQ with a Tex-Mex spin, with items like the BBQ pork chimichanga, BBQ brisket nachos, and a surprisingly long list of vegetarian items. Drifter’s maintains a musical line up of concert fundraisers, writers’ nights and even karaoke. Visit driftersnashville.com to view the event’s calendar.
12 South Taproom & Grill
2318 12th Avenue South
They may be most famous for their long list of IPAs, pale ales, seasonal brews and high gravity beers, but the clinking of glasses aren’t the only sounds to come out of 12 South Taproom. Another laid-back atmosphere for live music, this venue is the perfect place to chill with a cold beer and the tunes of local artists.
The Taproom rocks a menu of great eats made with local ingredients, with items that complement any genre that takes the stage. Listen to jazz as you enjoy a Groovin’ Rueben or try a Nashville Cat tuna salad sandwich as you get back to your roots with an Americana jam. This spot is great for tapping kegs and your feet! Check out 12southtaproom.com for a list of upcoming events (and current beers).
It’s not called Music City for nothing, ladies. With so many opportunities to listen to live music, you have no excuse not to put together your very own summer soundtrack.
Photo by Michael W. Bunch
The specter of heredity has lurked in the darker corners of Cheryl Perkins’ mind for as long as she can remember.
Her mother died of colon cancer four years ago, and nearly all of the women on her mother’s side of the family had hysterectomies between age 45 and 50 because of cancer diagnoses.
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