Looking for a good place for supper on an evening leg of our trip through the Piedmont, we stopped in downtown Greensboro on Friday night. It was busy! There was a long wait at Natty Greene’s, whose beer I had hoped to try, but we were able to sit immediately at M’Coul’s a block away. It was a lucky break.
Bosco’s is a small, regional chain of brewery restaurants that was started in the Germantown neighborhood of Memphis in 1992. Currently Bosco’s operates restaurants in Nashville, Franklin, Memphis, and Little Rock. I have been a regular since I moved here over ten years ago. The Nashville location is in the heart of Hillsboro Village, the small shopping and (mostly) restaurant district between Vanderbilt and Belmont universities, just a few blocks from Music Row.
Located in the heart of Nashville’s 12 South neighborhood near Belmont and Vanderbilt universities, 12 South Taproom is a neighborhood beer bar and restaurant par excellence. The Taproom opened in 2006 and I started drinking there sometime in 2007, and have been visiting several times a year since. In the first few years they were open I went even more, as during those years they had live music every night. Some of Nashville’s finest musicians – session players or sidemen of big-name artists – often were there, either showcasing their side projects on the stage or sitting at the bar listening along with the rest of the crowd. After a number of years 12 South Taproom phased out the music, installing flat screen televisions over the bar and thus attracting the sports bar crowd more than those interested in the esoteric music scene. I miss the music, but I guess it was a sound business decision – the place has been absolutely packed every time I’ve been there for the last couple years.
Blackstone was Nashville’s first brewpub, opened on New Year’s Eve 1994. Well-known homebrewing author Dave Miller relocated to Nashville from St. Louis to create Blackstone’s line-up of beers, which feature award-winning regular selections and seasonals which rotate through regularly. Located strategically between Vanderbilt and downtown, Blackstone has become a Nashville icon.
It’s my favorite pub. I’ve probably visited the place more than a hundred times since I moved to Nashville over ten years ago. It used to be a consistent hangout for symphony musicians and members of the ballet after performances; I don’t know if that’s still the case as I rarely visit Blackstone at those hours anymore. One of my fondest Nashville memories is a late dinner there after seeing a performance of The Nutcracker at the performing arts center. My daughter was in kindergarten or first grade, and taking dance classes at the ballet’s school. We were seated near a large reserved table which soon filled with dancers, and my exhausted but ecstatic daughter got to meet the ballerina who had danced Clara that night.
Hops + Crafts is a small taproom in The Gulch that opened less than a year ago. Already it is gaining a reputation in town as a great place to have a pint or try new offerings from local and regional craft breweries. Hops + Crafts gained national recognition this winter when they made Draft magazine’s annual list of America’s 100 Best Beer Bars 2014. You can read the entire list here:
It’s a small place. There are several tables inside where the bar is and a couple outside in the patio as well. Sliding glass doors separate the bar from the patio, and these were open on the sunny, beautiful afternoon I visited this week. After looking over the current menu (which rotates out pretty frequently) I decided to drink IPAs, and ordered a flight.
Two Ten Jack describes their restaurant as an izakaya, or Japanese-inspired neighborhood pub, but don’t be fooled by the term “pub” – beyond the comfortable atmosphere, the decor, food, and drink offerings do not reflect the casual approach of an American or British style public house. Named for a Japanese trick-taking card game, Two Ten Jack is a suave, contemporary “nouveau cuisine” establishment for foodies and hipsters.
There’s something to be said about how seriously a neighborhood bar and burger joint takes it’s commitment to good beer when it sports a hanging Chimay logo prominently above the bar. M.L. Rose has two menus on each table: a food menu, and a seasonal, separate beer menu. The beer menu is three times the size of the food menu. With 20 taps and 90-something beers available in bottles (and a few cans), it’s clear what the main attraction is.
We visited the Melrose location (there is a second location in West Nashville) during Friday happy hour. Here are the results of my flight: