Foodie Weekend in Nashville, TN
For this quick weekend trip, I only had 2 nights to spend in Nashville TN. It was a trip planned on short notice around obtaining reservations at two restaurants on my Nashville foodie bucket list: Bastion & the Rabbit Hole.
Note: I almost didn’t write this post out of frustration of losing a bunch of pictures from the trip, but finally decided to go ahead and write it anyway using the pictures I was able to recover. I hope it is still enjoyable and informative even without the photos!
Table of Contents
In the fall of 2018, Southwest Airlines expanded its flight offerings to include inexpensive travel between Atlanta and Nashville. For only $49 each way (less than $100 roundtrip plus tax), I was able to get a direct flight. The flight is just at an hour, so heading there you basically feel like you got beamed directly to Nashville (with the time change you basically arrive at the same time you took off).
Driving from Atlanta to Nashville is also another option, and one that I have used on previous trips. The driving time is only about 3 and a half hours total. Plus, you have your car to use while you are in town and things in Nashville can be pretty spaced out depending on your interests. However, many hotels charge a nightly fee for parking. And there is always the price of gas to consider. Or, if you are anything like me, you may end up using a ride share app or public transportation during parts of the trip if your plans involve drinking.
There are pros and cons to both flying and driving to Nashville, and I would recommend weighing both options if you are within a reasonable driving distance to Nashville. If flying is your only reasonable option, check out Southwest or Skyscanner for inexpensive flight options.
After considering both options, I decided to fly on Southwest Airlines. The time saved was a major factor on this particular trip since I wanted to maximize limited time in Nashville. Plus, I was able to fly on Southwest points (around 6,000 points roundtrip), so the cost of one tank of gas would actually have been greater than the $22 ($11 each way) I paid in taxes for the flights.
Since it was such a last minute trip, many of the hotels were already booked for our travel dates. Luckily, I found a room at a neat boutique hotel in the Gulch area of Nashville,
The 404 Hotel.
The unassuming, 4 room hotel is tucked back behind a pizza joint, and you more or less have to trust your GPS or you will drive right by it. Once there, you use a 4 digit code provided via email to enter the hotel and your room. There is no check in process and no front desk. You feel as though you are returning to your own apartment. However, if you do require any assistance during your stay, staff are on site through the week and always available through a quick phone call.
The rooms are spacious, clean, and modern. I stayed in the King suite with loft. The main area was large with the king bed, and a similarly large bathroom with a giant shower. Then there was a small spiral staircase leading up to a pull-out sofa lounge area overlooking the king bed.
Other things to love about the 404 Hotel – 1 FREE parking spot per room & FREE WiFi!
Note: The 404 Hotel does not allow children under 12 or pets.
Day 1: Arrival / Diskin Cider / Bastion / Attaboy
I made it into Nashville around 2pm and headed to the hotel to drop my things and freshen up. Check in time at the 404 Hotel is normally 3pm, but I had made prior arrangements to have access to the room a little early.
I enjoyed some delicious elevated bar snacks while tasting a variety of ciders. My favorite flagship ciders were Bobs Your Uncle and Tiki Tonik. Another memorable cider was the Six One Five, which tastes sort of like sweet tea.
I also really enjoyed the seasonal cider BTC (Bourbon Tart Cherry).
I can’t wait to be able to try more of their seasonal ciders, as I enjoyed everything that I tried at Diskin Cidery. I didn’t want to try too much on this visit because I wanted to save room for dinner and cocktails.
Behind a plain doorway in a blank wall marked with a single sign lies the culinary oasis that is Bastion. As you enter, the Big Bar appears to be the entirety of the place, but the lucky ones are then whisked behind curtains to the small bar & 24 seat restaurant accessible by reservation only.
The menu at Bastion constantly changes, offering diners 15 options to create a 5 course dinner. You can choose 1 dish per course, or try all 15 amongst your party. It shouldn’t be any surprise that I got one of everything on the menu. You can also choose to add a wine pairing at an additional cost.
Along with the incredible food, you are treated to conversation with the talented chefs, and get to watch as they create all of the dishes throughout the meal.
I absolutely loved the experience at Bastion. The food was all amazing, the wine pairing was spot on, and being able to ask the chefs questions and interact with them during the meal was so much fun. They even gave me a fun recommendation on where to go for a cocktail after dinner. I mean, who would know more about the food/drink scene in the area than local chefs!?
At the recommendation to the chef’s at Bastion, I hopped in an Uber and headed over to Attaboy Speakeasy. In true speakeasy fashion, you knock on the door and hang out hoping to be let in. They were into social distancing before social distancing was a thing, only letting a small number of patrons into the bar at a given time.
There isn’t a menu at Attaboy. These bartenders are quite talented. Simply tell them the type of drink that you are in the mood for, your favorite spirit, or ask to be surprised. Regardless, you will not be disappointed in the handcrafted cocktail that is brought to your seat.
Day 2: Brunch at the Tavern / The Rabbit Hole
After a late evening of epic food and cocktails, I slept in at the hotel. I woke up feeling not that great (more of a stomach issue than a hangover issue – at least that’s how it seemed – I am sure the alcohol didn’t help!), so it sort of put a damper on my plans to explore more of Nashville.
When I was finally willing to emerge from the hotel, I headed to Broadway to check out a part of town that is quite popular with tourists, but we had not been to before. The strip is filled with 30+ bars, many featuring live music.
It was a bit crowded, but after a short wait we were able to get a table for brunch at the Tavern gastropub. They serve tasty brunch cocktails alongside a reasonably creative food menu for a pub. My travel buddy got an egg dish that I cannot recall without my photos and I had a large red velvet waffle.
After brunch I had planned to do a little shopping in the Gulch, but I started feeling sick to my stomach again, and I went back to the hotel for a nap. Bummer!!
It seemed like the best idea though, since I wanted to feel better and be able to fully enjoy the dinner I had planned for that evening.
Your trip down the rabbit hole begins with the special punch at the bar inside of the Henley to prepare you for your journey into the unknown. Then you follow the white rabbit through the dining room into the library style back room at the Henley. After another “potion”, a bookcase swings open and your trip to wonderland begins.
Inside, you are seated at the one and only table in the closed Henley Kitchen. Surrounded by velvet curtains, with seating for only 4 people, you get to experience off-menu creations and personalized attention from the Executive Chef Daniel Gorman.
I cannot recall all of the 20+ dishes and drinks we tried during the evening, not that it would matter. No two menus are ever the same, and are completely at the whim of Chef Gorman. Just make sure you come hungry and prepared to be delighted and amazed.
Day 3: Food Coma & Return Flight
Our last day only consisted of sleeping off the food coma and heading to the airport for our early flight home. While I wasn’t feeling 100% during our trip, I was able to enjoy it.
If you enjoy molecular gastronomy, creative cuisine, and chef’s tasting menus, I would highly recommend both Bastion and the Rabbit Hole. If you are concerned about your budget, try Bastion first, as it is a little bit less expensive, but no less amazing.