The Bar Belle: I kinda like Nashville

Sometimes you have to go away to truly appreciate what you have.

I traveled down to Nashville last weekend to celebrate a friend’s birthday and take a break from all the recent March debauchery. The good news is the debauchery followed me to Music City; the bad news is it cost me an arm and a leg.

No, I didn’t go to jail or get my purse stolen — I merely consumed beer, and lots of it. It’s expensive to drink in Nashville. I’ve heard that Tennessee has a higher tax on alcohol and smokes, I heard that part of the charm of some of the smaller bars is never having a cover charge, and I heard that I was spending too much time in the touristy section, where high prices are the norm. Combine these factors together, and you can see why charging $3.25 for a bottle of Miller Lite is considered a deal. Believe it or not, I even shelled out $14 for a pitcher of Bud Select (which is quite good in draught form, but not $14 good).

Spending aside, the bars of Nashville offer up an experience like no other. You can literally feel a sense of Southern history surrounding the slew of roadhouse dives scattered up and down Broadway. No matter what time of day, you can catch live country music at hotspots like Tootsie’s, Robert’s and Second Fiddle, free of charge, of course. All they ask is that you throw a tip to the band every now and then.

I also got the opportunity to explore outside the Broadway strip. At East Nashville’s 3 Crow Bar, I think I saw Brooke from this season’s “The Real World.” Seriously. And we hit some bars near Vanderbilt — one, called The Red Door, had a small peephole in the floor that every patron must look through. If I told you what I saw, I’d have to kill you, or at least make you pick up my weekend tab.

Which reminds me — I’m so glad to be back in Louisville!

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