Every Thursday night, droves of women descend upon Nashville, Tennessee to make their boozy bachelorette party dreams come true. In recent years, Nashville has edged out Vegas as the bachelorette party capital of the world. The evidence is everywhere. From the moment you step off the plane, it’s impossible to miss the swarths of women in matching t-shirts and their collective “woo woos!” which can be heard from the endless stream of rowdy “party barges” (open air trucks) that roll through downtown.
If a rollicking good time is what you’re after, Nashville won’t disappoint. But look beyond the party barges and raucous din of Broadway, you’ll find a sophisticated city replete with chic hotels, a thriving food and craft cocktail scene and drool-worthy boutique shopping. If you’re like me — on the other side of 35 — and looking to plan a sophisticated shindig in Nashville, here are the ingredients for the perfect bachelorette weekend.
Choose a stylish home base.
The right hotel can make all the difference when it comes to your celebrations. If you’re looking to be in the center of everything without compromising rest and relaxation, the Omni Nashville is a great option. The property offers all of the conveniences of a luxury resort chain with just enough quirky touches to give it a boutique hotel vibe. Along with direct access to the Country Music Hall of Fame, there’s a gorgeous rooftop pool, spa, shopping and several bars and restaurants onsite. Grab brunch at Kitchen Notes (which features a Biscuit Bar, serving hot and fresh biscuits throughout the day) and peruse Hatch Print Show, a historic print shop and boutique known for its iconic concert posters.
Brides wanting to add an additional dose of whimsy to their bachelorette weekend should look no further than the Bobby Hotel. This hip and eclectic hotel pays homage to music history with it’s eye-catching, chic decor — a mix of retro and modern furniture paired with pop art prints of Cher, Madonna and the Rolling Stones, to name a few. However, the piece de resistance is the rooftop pool bar where guests can enjoy their favorite beverages inside a restored Airstream tour bus.
Hit the Tennessee Whiskey Trail
While in Nashville, don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience Tennessee’s exceptional selection of whiskey. During my stay in Nashville, I was fortunate to visit Cascade Hollow Distilling Co. Perched amidst the picturesque rolling hills of Tullahoma, TN, Cascade Hollow is a Small-scale Tennessee whiskey producer offering bottles for sale & tours of the distillery. While you can certainly find plenty of whiskey tours aimed at Bachelorette parties, I loved my experience at Cascade Hollow because it felt personalized and intimate. While touring the facility, I got a crash course in whiskey and was able to sample a bunch of George Dickel Whiskies with Cascade Hollow’s General Manager and Distiller, Nicole Austin.
Indulge in cutting edge cuisine.
Whiskey tasting works up an appetite! Luckily, Nashville is home to a thriving food scene and a plethora of innovative restaurants. Your bachelorette weekend isn’t just about your upcoming nuptials. It’s also a chance to create lasting memories with your girls. Two of my Nashville favorites are sister restaurants Rolf & Daughters which serves inventive takes on American comfort foods and FOLK, which specializes in modern Northern Italian fare. Both are located in cozy Instagram worthy spaces and offer menus that are designed to be enjoyed family style (perfect for sharing with friends), alongside expertly prepared cocktails.
Check out the thriving cocktail scene.
While the neon signs and raucous crowds of Nashville’s Broadway entertainment district must be seen to be believed, if you’re craving a lively but subdued vibe, skip the honky tonk bars altogether and head to The Fox Bar & Cocktail Club. Nestled in East Nashville, this impressive cocktail bar has a cool, speakeasy vibe that’s perfect for a night out with your best friends. Try one of their signature cocktails or enjoy a mojito, which they have on tap, of course. Looking for a fun group activity? The Fox also offers private cocktail classes where you can learn the ropes from their talented bartenders.
Another great bet is Henley, a modern brasserie that serves innovative takes on American comfort food and is known for its incredible cocktails. Come for the Southern inspired sharing plates like the Wedge Oak Farm Duck and Southern Charcuterie Platter, but stay for their Champagne & Chai cocktail — a heady blend of cognac, spiced squash cordial, ginger, lemon juice and allspice dram.
Follow a delicious brunch with vintage shopping.
(Photo curtesy of Kitchen Notes)
Nashville is no stranger to amazing brunch options. It’s hard to choose just one! While I was in town, I hit up local favorite Butcher & Bee. Located in East Nashville, the eatery is the perfect jumping off point for exploring the area’s awesome vintage shopping scene. A must-experience for fashion loving brides or anyone seeking a unique find, local shop owner Matt Blinco has put together a self-guided tour of the Vintage Shopping Trail which begins at his shop Relik Vintage. Notable stops include Hip Zipper for affordable yet gorgeous vintage finds and Star Struck Vintage for a massive selection of vintage concert tees.
Catch some live music.
A trip to Nashville isn’t complete without catching some live music. If you’re looking for an alternative to the bars along Broadway, head to Acme Feed & Seed, a multilevel venue located in a historic building on lower Broadway. At 20,000 square feet, each floor of Acme Feed & Seed offers a slightly different vibe, from live music and creative cuisine to a stunning rooftop patio. While Nashville is known for country music, the city also has a thriving R&B scene.
Try Hot Chicken.
You can’t leave Nashville without trying the city’s signature dish: Hot Chicken — a fiery take on fried chicken that’s served on a slice of white bread and topped with pickles (trust me, it’s delicious). While you’ll see large groups of friends lining up and chowing down at Hattie B’s, locals told me that Prince’s Hot Chicken is the place to go — and they were right.
Founded in 1945 by James Thornton Prince, Prince’s Hot Chicken is the original hot chicken spot in Nashville and continues to be a black owned business 75 years later.
If you’re not able to make it out to Prince’s main location, they currently have a food truck set up at 6th and Peabody — a 30,000-square-foot space which includes a tasting room, live music, and outdoor game area from the folks at Tennessee-based Ole Smoky Distillery and Yee-Haw Brewing. Enjoy Prince’s delectable eats at the large outdoor seating area while taking in the lively scene, a moonshine cocktail in hand.
Simone Paget is a food, travel and lifestyle writer based on the West Coast of Canada. She’s a nationally syndicated sex and relationship columnist for the Toronto Sun and the author of the blog SkinnyDip.ca. Her work has appeared in/on publications such as The Apartment Therapy, Chowhound, and the Washington Post.
For more adventures and insights, follow her on Twitter and Instagram