The always growing, thriving, eclectic, historic, and hip, East Nashville has become one of the city’s most-desired areas to live and play. Its low-key vibe and neighborly personality make this community a great place to escape without leaving town. As Budget Travel Magazine calls Historic East Nashville “Nashville’s version of New York’s East Village,” East Nashville has attracted many musicians and visual artists to the neighborhood. Mingle with the patrons of the local hangouts and you’re bound to meet more than a few musicians and songwriters.
Whether it’s for the amazing restaurants, indie rock scene, the vintage and eclectic shopping, or the vibrant and artistic culture, people are finding more and more reasons to come over to this side of the river.
Within East Nashville, sports enthusiasts frequent the Edgefield Sports Bar and Grill for billiards and darts. Mad Donna’s serves up innovative cuisine and creative cocktails for dinner. For a taste of old Mexico, visit the Rosepepper Cantina, where guests may find themselves being serenaded by a Mariachi band. Across the street is Eastland Café, a vibrant neighborhood restaurant that is both comfortable and casually elegant. Take in some live music with dinner at The Family Wash which offers a small but delicious menu along with local bands and musicians performing Tuesday through Saturday nights.
In your East Nashville explorations, make sure to plan a stop to Holland House Bar & Refuge. It has an easygoing atmosphere, a thoughtful farm-to-table menu and a creative catalog of artisanal cocktails served up by expert bartenders. Located behind the Holland House is the new Pharmacy Burger Parlor and Beer Garden, a popular restaurant that serves house-made sodas and shakes, gourmet and unique hamburgers and brats, as well as a nice selection of high-end beers. Rumours East offers an eclectic, predominately farm to table menu including a variety of tantalizing items from Halibut to Steak. The backyard area is one of the best you will find in Nashville; your own little oasis in the heart of East Nashville. On the other side of East Nashville is an authentic Nashville Hot Chicken restaurant that you must try called Pepperfire Hot Chicken. Their consistent and unique spice offers a treat on any meal you choose including local favorite, the Tender Royale, a deep-fried grilled peppercheese sandwich. Yum!
Another new restaurant to the scene is Mas Tacos Por Favor, described by many as “the best thing since country music in Nashville.” Originally a mobile food truck, it also has a permanent location. Add fresh salsa and guacamole to tacos and enchiladas and you have a neighborhood favorite.
Local bakeries are not scarce, as Sweet 16th offers daily-made scones, muffins, cakes, and meringues. Nashville Sweets specializes in handcrafted cake pops, cupcakes, cakes, and other desserts. Bella Nashville Bakery is a grab-and-go bakery that is bread-focused and features whole wheat bread with freshly-ground wheat, rustic sourdough, and baguettes along with freshly-made sandwiches and breakfast items.
Margot Cafe and Bar, housed in an antique gas station turned brick-and-timber gourmet restaurant uses only fresh ingredients gathered that day. Check Margot’s other restaurant located just across the street, Marché Artisan Foods, a European-style bistro that serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a popular weekend brunch. At The Silly Goose, everything is fresh and made to order. The menu is full of wraps, sandwiches and salads that are perfect for a lunch time experience. Their motto is to use “local, organic, sustainably-produced, minimally-manipulated food.”
Lockeland Table and Edley’s East are two new additions to the East Nashville scene. Lockeland Table is located in a former beauty-parlor-turned-photo-gallery and is a home for creative, chef-driven cuisine in a comfortable neighborhood vibe. Adding to the 12South location, Edley’s East features a bigger bar, a vibe to match the community and different specials to add to the barbeque menu.
Next to Edley’s East is the new Fat Bottom Brewery that makes beers that are bigger and sexier, that portray bold hop flavors and distinct aromas. Hit The Five Spot, which GQ called the “Most Stylish Dance Party in America,” or enjoy good food, great drinks and even better live music at The Crying Wolf.
Nashville’s first vegetarian restaurant, The Wild Cow, serves vegetarian and vegan fare in a fun, casual atmosphere. All food is purchased in its whole form, and they also make their own sauces, dressings, soup stocks, etc.
A few new restaurants to hit the Nashville scene includes, Two Ten Jack, Nashville’s first izakaya (or Japanese pub), and The Treehouse, a funky, lit-up hangout that offers fine dining, craft brews and late-night bites. Porter Road Butcher provides locally-sourced, pasture-raised meat including a variety of cuts of sausage, pork chops and more.
Looking for a space to entertain a large group of friends? One part restaurant, one part POP-UP and one part event space, POP is the next generation in eclectic dining. The space accommodates seating for up to 68 diners, as well as features a 1,000-square-foot gallery space and large patio.
Also an artist’s haven, Five Points is home to several galleries including the Art & Invention Gallery and adjoining studio, Garage Mahal. Having five to six shows annually, including the signature Tomato Art Show in August and Holiday Artisan Show in December, Art & Invention Gallery focuses on inventiveness in fine art, crafts and original furniture. Named Nashville’s “Best Neighborhood Event,” the Tomato Art Festival is a laid back event that has attracted regional and national attention for its celebration of the fruit.
When it comes to one-of-a-kind shopping, East Nashville has a variety of options: The Green Wagon offers ecofriendly shopping with hopes to make living sustainably as easy as possible for their customers. Their products hold up a rigorous set of standards based on all natural ingredients, sustainable production practices, and local production. The Hip Zipper is a classic, vintage consignment boutique that features a unique, eclectic collection of clothing from various eras.
Located within the Idea Hatchery are vintage and artsy finds that are within a short distance of each other such as Moss, Goodbuy Girls, Hello Boys, Alegria, and the all-local bookstore East Side Story. Next door to the Idea Hatchery is Wonders on Woodland, a fun antique shop loaded with vintage jewelry, furniture, home goods, and more.
Pop into HumanKind Made: Locally Made Goods and find vintage and modern apparel in a quirky atmosphere for men and women. Every corner is filled with great finds and many locally, hand-made items. Old Made Good (OMG) is a little bit of everything: vintage goods, clothing and accessories, handmade local art, one-of-a-kind finds, and re-purposed and rescued furniture abound. Finish up your day by driving to Fanny’s House of Music and search through their great selection of new, used, and vintage merchandise (clothing and instruments) – all in a comfortable and easy environment.
See how the local artisanal chocolate company, Olive & Sinclair Chocolate Co. makes their chocolate in their new factory and retail store. Also located on Fatherland Street is a new mix of stores that have been added to East Nashville’s shopping scene: Shoppes on Fatherland. The shops include 1907 Apparel, High Garden Herbs, Tea & Tradition, Pretty. Pretty. Pop! Pop!, Wildernest, Pistils and Petals, State, Moxie, Thrive, Baxter & Bailey, Red Dog Beads, and more.
Visitors and locals alike are increasingly finding themselves crossing the river to sample the varied eating and nightlife venues available in East Nashville. Whether you're in the mood for great music or incredible food, you can find them all just east of downtown.