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VOL. 37 | NO. 49 | Friday, December 6, 2013

Insiders share must-see Midstate locales

By Hollie Deese

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Some of Nashville’s most entertaining residents let us in on the spots in town that land on their must-visit list whenever family and friends come to stay.

Heather Byrd, cast member of A&E’s Crazy Hearts Nashville:

One of Nashville’s busiest insiders and media correspondents is about to show the world just how hectic her life can get when A&E’s new reality series Crazy Hearts: Nashville premieres January 2014.

But she never misses the opportunity to show off the city she loves.

“When I have friends and family in town and I want to give them a true Nashville experience, I never miss the opportunity to hit up honky-tonk row,” she says.

“We pop into Tootsie’s (422 Broadway,, Layla’s (418 Broadway, Second Fiddle (420 Broadway, and then Robert’s Western Wear for a couple of turns on the dance floor.

“It’s one of the few areas of town as popular with the tourists as it is with the locals. And since it’s so centrally located, you can make a day out of it and take a walking tour of downtown Nashville with visits to the amazing new expansion of the Country Music Hall of Fame (222 Fifth Ave. S., and the Music City Center (201 Fifth Ave. S.,”

Of course, all that partying needs to be fueled, and Byrd knows just where to go. “Follow up a night out with brunch the next morning at Marche’ - just be sure to bring your patience since there is almost always a line of folks with the same idea,” she says.

She also loves Husk, City House, Rolf & Daughters and The Treehouse for some of the best food – “not only in Nashville, but in the nation,” she says.

If your friends and family are here for more than a brief stopover, Byrd says you have to take them over to East Nashville, starting with 3 Crow Bar and Red Door Saloon. “Bar 308 and The Crying Wolf, or as I like to call it, The Sobbing Dog, are both great for people watching and you never know who you might run into - Hayden Panettiere is a regular at 308,” she says.

Eric Holt, Lovenoise co-founder:

As one of the founders of the 10-year old live music and poetry event Lovenoise and its concert offshoot Lovenoise Live, Eric Holt knows his way around Nashville’s venues.

So when it comes to entertaining, he has a few favorite intimate spots where he loves to take visitors – on opposite sides of town. “The City Ultra Lounge (701 Fourth Ave. S., on Saturday nights has a cool event headed by 101 The Beat Jamz’ Dolowite. It also has a DJ upstairs, A-Rod, spinning Neo-Soul classics, so it’s like two different vibes under one roof.”

In East Nashville, Holt heads over to No. 308 (407 Gallatin Ave.,, where they make their own soda mixers.

“To me 308 is the perfect bar with a mix of good music, great service and familiar faces.”

When he wants to impress, he heads over to Anthem (125 12th Ave. N., in The Gulch.

“I always take out of town guests to Anthem because it’s the most impressive bar and venue in the city. From a cool side room called Revelry to the best VIP level around, I love the food, service and vibe.”

Kelly Anne Ross, set decorator for ABC’s Nashville:

Kelly Anne Ross spends most of her time shopping Nashville’s many unique shops to outfit the sets for the show.

But when family is here, she takes them to the East Side to eat.

“Margot (1017 Woodland St., is the No. 1 choice for Sunday brunch,” Ross says. “They love all the East Nashville haunts.” When it comes to having a good time, her sister makes sure they always pay a visit to Robert’s Western Wear (416 Broadway, for its authentic vibe.

Casey Stribling Mims, Perfect Pair co-owner:

When Casey Stribling Mims and her singer/songwriter husband, Ryan Mims, want to make sure their guests remember Nashville fondly, they know just where to go.

“Ryan and my favorite place to take people during this time of year is M.L. Rose on Charlotte (4408 Charlotte Ave.,, the best for Saturday game day,” she says.

“Huge booths, great service, tons of yummy choices for brunch or lunch or happy hour – absolutely our go-to because it always suits everyone’s tastes. We’ve been known to stay through two meals. No kidding. We love it.”

Jenny and Jeff Pennington, distillers, SPEAKeasy Spirits:

Also a fan of taking family members honky-tonkin’ on Broadway – perhaps after a few drinks made with their flagship Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Cream - Jenny Pennington and her husband love to show off a few iconic Nashville locations whenever they can.

For Jenny, it’s the Ryman Auditorium (116 Fifth Ave. N., “The Ryman is so intimate and holds so much music history, it makes every show a unique experience,” she says.

For Jeff, it’s a Titans or Predators game or the recently relocated Hatch Show Print (224 Fifth Ave. S.,

“I enjoy flipping through all of the prints for sale,” he says. “There is something for everyone and no one leaves empty handed.”

Of course, anyone who loves Jenny and Jeff has to take a tour of their distillery SPEAKeasy Spirits (900 44th Ave., in order to see what they have been up to. “I love to show friends what’s happening at the distillery,” Jeff says. “They enjoy seeing the evolution that is taking place.”

South of Nashville, Jenny can’t help but love showing off Franklin’s downtown square. “I love walking around, popping into interesting shops and having lunch in charming downtown Franklin,” she says.

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