SoBro South of Broadway’s honky tonks and neon lights is an area called SoBro (meaning South of Broadway). This area, once filled with empty buildings and worn-down streets, has been revitalized by the opening of the new $635 million Music City Center convention center, hot new restaurants, attractions, cocktail bars, and trendy hotels which have made downtown’s SoBro a must-see.
The new, state-of-the-art Music City Center (MCC) is built out at 1.2 million square feet, stretches 19 acres and six city blocks, and features exhibit space, meeting rooms, and two ballrooms. The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame is also located inside the MCC. In keeping with the city’s commitment to sustainable development, the MCC boasts a green roof and is committed to LEED Silver Certification.
Located directly next to the Music City Center is the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum, which is currently home to the largest collection of country music artifacts in the world. The CMHF will receive a $75 million expansion on six floors, which will more than double the size. The expansion will be completed in Spring 2014 and will include Hatch Show Print, which has been relocated from Lower Broadway. Hatch is one of America’s oldest letter-press poster print shops and has printed concert posters for such artists as Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Cash, Coldplay and many more.
The Country Music Hall of Fame connects to the Music City Center’s headquarter hotel, the luxurious, 800-room Omni Nashville Hotel. Its design and décor, culinary, lifestyle and retail venues stem from and are reflective of Nashville. Along with a rooftop pool and Mokara signature spa, the Omni offers four dining options including Bob’s Steak & Chop House, Bongo Java, Kitchen Notes, and live music venue Barlines.
Directly across from the Country Music Hall of Fame is Walk of Fame Park, home of the Music City Walk of Fame. The Music City Walk of Fame is a landmark tribute to those from all genres of music who have contributed to the world through song and made significant contribution to the music industry with connection to Music City. Next door is the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, a neoclassical revivalist concert hall that is a Music City gem. The Schermerhorn is one of the only major concert halls in America to utilize natural light and is home to the Grammy-award winning Nashville Symphony Orchestra. One block over and up the hill sits 3rd & Lindsley, a music venue featuring national, international, regional, and Nashville artists - from up and coming acts to legends. Walk a little ways down 3rd Ave and find the new Johnny Cash Museum, home to the most comprehensive collection of Johnny Cash artifacts and memorabilia in the world.
Seventh Avenue offers Jack White’s (of The White Stripes) famed label and record store, Third Man Records whose store is open daily. When artists aren’t recording, the studio hosts all kinds of shows that are later produced and sold on vinyl. Across the train track is the Downtown Antique Mall that is in a historic brick building that houses more than 40 dealers specializing in mid-century modern furniture and industrial wares.
The culinary scene in SoBro is worth a visit all of its own. Get a pick-me-up at Crema, a coffee brewtique that sits on the Cumberland River. Close-by is Past Perfect, a refreshing alternative to the bright lights and noisy honky tonks. Past Perfect serves classic food with a modern twist. With over 18 years of award-winning dining, Sole Mio continues its tradition of authentic Italian that specializes in handmade pastas and homemade sauces and desserts. Pub5, located across from Bridgestone Arena, is another great spot for lunch, or dinner and drinks before and after concerts. A rooftop patio offers views of downtown. The Listening Room Café is a state-of-the-art sounding room that specializes in combining music with great food. Hear some of the best singer/songwriters while enjoying incredible dining.
Using ingredients from local sources, The Southern Steak & Oyster is located on the ground floor of the Pinnacle building and is a hot spot for breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks. Another fine dining option is Etch, which offers lunch and dinner featuring inventive dishes made with local ingredients. Etch sets itself apart with its bold flavors and colorful presentations, as well as with its extensive wine list from around the world. After a great meal, be sure to take a walk over the Cumberland River on the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge. Offering magnificent skyline views, the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge is a gateway to East Nashville and LP Field.
Several new restaurants have come to SoBro recently including Husk Nashville. Chef Sean Brock is a respected hero of farm-to-table and Southern cuisine whose menu incorporates wood-fired cooking as well as vegetables raised in gardens and gathered from local farmers. The Farm House, located on the bottom floor of the Encore condominium, features traditional Southern cuisine with a modern twist. All ingredients are sourced locally, including the vegetables from the chef’s garden. Pinewood Social is a new social gathering space in Nashville that brings casual dining and socializing together in an old trolley barn in Rolling Mill Hill. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night options are offered, as well as six wood bowling lanes, private karaoke rooms, shuffleboard and televisions in the indoor space, which flows outside to an outdoor patio complete with a swimming pool.
Pinewood Social is a part of a community called Rolling Mill Hill, a burgeoning live-work community that offers mixed-income residential apartments, artist studios, and commercial office and retail/restaurant space. Situated on a hill with beautiful views of the downtown skyline and Cumberland River, Rolling Mill Hill houses the epicenter of Nashville’s creative-intellectual community, the Entrepreneur Center. This creative campus is anchored by six early-twentieth century trolley barns that foster the creative spirit of Nashville through its artists, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, technologists, and business leaders.