Nashville Strikes New Chords for Visitors
November 2, 2012
11:18AM EDT November 2. 2012 - NASHVILLE — Onstage at the Grand Ole Opry, country icon Vince Gill — unpretentious in eyeglasses and casual zip-up jacket — strums his guitar. He greets well-wishers standing informally on one side of the stage as the USA's longest-running live radio show honors late comedian Minnie Pearl, famed for hayseed routines.
A short drive away at The Patterson House, a dimly lit speakeasy, sassy brunette Miranda Poore melds fruits, vegetables, herbs and house-made tinctures and syrups into thoroughly modern cocktails enjoyed by the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow. She'll concoct custom creations based on patrons' personalities and palates.
Get past the so-yesterday stereotype of Nashville as Hickville. While Music City pays homage to tradition, it's humming with cutting-edge nightspots, restaurants and newly trendy neighborhoods that hit all the right notes with tourists.
Tennessee's capital (population about 600,000) boasts "world-class bars and top-end restaurants," says Patterson House regular John Shaver of Knoxville, who owns a software company and has just dined at the Watermark restaurant downtown — a Gill favorite. His appetizer: a $14 carpaccio with horseradish-caper crême fraîche.
Nashville "keeps getting better and better, but it's still got small-town charm," Gill says.
Thursday night's Country Music Awards put the spotlight on the city, as does ABC's newNashville TV show. Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights) and Hayden Panettiere (Heroes) play dueling country stars. Shot on location, it showcases locales from The Loveless Cafe, a half-century-old eatery known for flaky secret-recipe biscuits and heaped platters of eggs and country ham, to cutting-edge bars such as The 5 Spot musicians' hangout in formerly ho-hum and now-Bohemian East Nashville.
New, old and nice
It's hard to have a bad time . From the moment you arrive, unless you're a real grump, expect to be greeted with "How you doin'?" and smiles and to be "yes-ma'amed" and "yes-sirred." Nashville's Convention & Visitors Bureau gives "Hitmaker" awards to hospitality workers recommended via its visitmusiccity.com site.
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