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Nashville is no small town. Statistics say that 100 people move here every day. And with the city growing bigger, and therefore smaller, it’s easy to miss some fantastic places. Especially when they’re kind of hidden. Here are some of our favorites.

Whiskey Neat Barbershop

In the back of a business park lies one of Nashville’s newest businesses, the Whiskey Neat barbershop. Though you just might pass it without even realizing it, inside are some of Nashville’s finest barbers with high-quality styling products at their fingertips, made right next-door by Whiskey, Ink, and Lace. Sip on a glass of fine whiskey and get your hair cut and styled. And while you’re there, you can get a smooth, straight shave or have your beard trimmed to your liking.

{Pub}licity

Located between a hair salon and a Chinese buffet, {Pub}licity is an inconspicuously elegant restaurant and bar. It may not look like it, but this gastropub has tremendously refined dishes, such as the stuffed trout or the pork belly carnitas tacos. {Pub}licity is a perfect example of that old idiom, “Don’t trust a book by it’s cover.”

Vinyl Tap

To quote Fred Astaire, “Heaven, I’m in heaven.” Hiding out in the suburbs of East Nashville, this joint bar/record store has an expansive collection of both local beers and vinyl records from damn near every genre. The Third Man Records section (Jack White’s local label/recording studio) is always worth a look for unique finds you can’t find at your typical record store, including live recordings from Third Man Records’ music venue, the Blue Room.

VN Pho

When you think of Nashville cuisine, Vietnamese may not be the first food to come to mind. But this little noodle shop, located in a West Nashville strip mall has been widely lauded as one of the city’s best places to eat. Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup made up of homemade broth, rice noodles, with your choice of meat, and a variety of garnishes you can choose from, including bean sprouts and basil leaves. So if you’re sick of the barrage of spicy and/or fried food Nashville is known for, get a steaming bowl of pho. If you care to take my recommendation, get yourself the raw beef pho (the beef is sliced so thinly, the broth cooks it as its brought to your table) and add a generous amount of bean sprouts, lime juice, and Sriracha. Truly one of the greatest dishes ever conceived.

Papa Turney’s BBQ

Along the curving Bell Road in Hermitage, there’s a “blink and you might miss it” side road that leads to down to Percy Priest Lake. At the end of that road is a breathtaking view and Papa Turney’s. Papa Turney’s BBQ has not been around long, but it’s incredible food and location makes it one of Nashville’s finest BBQ joints. Enjoy a platter of shredded meat and two sides for less than $12 and listen to live blues music nightly.

Bar Sovereign

If you didn’t know any better, the front entrance of Bar Sovereign would look like just a blank door belonging to the neighboring business, American Fire and Safety. But behind that barely marked door is a laidback, classy cocktail bar with an ever-changing menu.

The Bluebird Café

Though not so hidden anymore, thanks to the television show Nashville and famous artists who have played there, like Garth Brooks, Taylor Swift, and many others, the Bluebird may still be hard to spot. South of downtown in Green Hills, the Bluebird is easy to pass by without even knowing it. Without the long line of hopeful songwriters waiting every Monday night, it looks like just another unassuming storefront, a place where music history isn’t made. But inside, some of Nashville’s best up and coming songwriters play their songs for a rapt audience.

Manny’s House of Pizza

Sitting in Nashville’s Arcade, an alley filled with other good eats, Manny’s has been serving, arguably, the best slice in Nashville since 1984. Only open on weekdays for lunch, you walk in, among construction workers, office yuppies, and tourists alike, and order your slice order at the counter. Within minutes, you’ll get your slice (or two if you’re smart) and can eat in the back of the restaurant or outside in the Arcade, the ideal people watching spot. Enjoy the most authentic New York slice in Nashville (the owner and head pizza maker, Manny, learned while working in Brooklyn’s best pizzeria).

Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack

Quite possibly Nashville’s most famous restaurant and the supposed originator of hot chicken, you’d think this wouldn’t warrant mention in a hidden gems list. But since it’s so easy to miss (and I love their chicken so much), I’m gonna include it. Across the street from an abandoned industrial park, in a pothole riddled parking lot, sits the home of one of America’s greatest fried chicken spots. Literally. It was ranked #7 by the Daily Meal. It’s so delicious, you almost won’t mind waiting an hour to get your hands on it. But a word of warning: don’t be foolhardy when selecting your chicken’s heat level. Only the bravest of heart can withstand Prince’s highest heat.

Any gems that are so well hidden, we couldn’t find them? Let us know in the comments!


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About Mike Wargo

Mike Wargo is a food, drink, and travel writer based out of Nashville, TN. Born and raised in South Bend, IN, he relocated to Nashville after graduating Ball State University in 2016. He likes expensive whiskey, cheap food, and the Whiskey, Ink, and Lace warehouse cat, Basil.

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