While it took 12South more than a few years to establish its reputation as one of Nashville’s trendiest neighborhoods — an identity that has been shaped and reshaped by the storefronts and eateries that stretch from one end of the eight-block neighborhood to the next — it is a continually evolving community. The 12South neighborhood also has the distinction of being one that attracts just as many locals as tourists. Filled with restaurants and boutiques, and even a park, there’re lots to keep you entertained.
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WHERE TO EAT
Whether you’re seduced by the smell of barbecue emanating from Edley’s flagship location, popping by Burger Up for a juicy burger and truffle fries, or hitting up Locust for some of the most highly acclaimed food in town, 12South is bursting with food and drink options.
- 12South Taproom has been a longstanding pillar of the neighborhood since 2006. A local go-to, it features an extensive roster of draft beer along with a menu of grill favorites like smoked wings, brisket quesadillas, and burgers.
- bartaco brings Baja flavors to the neighborhood and has been serving street tacos and wildly popular margaritas since 2015. The trendy eatery is also home to one of the best patios in the area, so it stays packed during the temperate months.
- Bottle Cap touts “fresh cocktails, cold drafts, lots of TVs, friendly service, and delicious pub food favorites.” It’s also an excellent spot for Tuesday night trivia and game-watching.
- Burger Up: Located at the neighborhood’s south end, Burger Up is one of 12South’s earlier residents. You can look forward to community seating and a stellar menu featuring everything from a Bison Burger to a French Onion Burger with caramelized onions, brie cheese, and truffle aioli. There are plenty of vegetarian options, too!
- The Butter Milk Ranch is a small-batch bakery that features delicately delicious goods like a salted honey butter croissant and a corn and tomato tart. It’s also open for full table service from Wednesday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., when you can snag plates like Wagyu Steak and Eggs, grilled salmon, or a watermelon and burrata salad.
- Christie Cookie Co: From traditional shortbread to the summer collection (featuring Coconut Key Lime, S’mores, and Peanut Butter Chocolate cookies), Christie’s is the perfect place to find custom and corporate gifts or simply indulge your sweet tooth.
- Edley’s Bar-B-Que: When the smell of barbecue wafting down 12th Avenue starts making your mouth water, rest assured Edley’s is the source. From classic brisket and pulled pork sandwiches to an extensive roster of sides like potato salad, coleslaw, green beans, and banana pudding, the feast awaits.
- Embers Ski Lodge: This rustic neighborhood bar is inspired by the après-ski scene. Stop in for gastropub fare like hand-cut Belgian fries, wings, burgers, and a cocktail or two.
- Emery Wood Fired: Open since September 2021, this restaurant focuses on wood-fired and grilled dishes like pizza, shortribs, snapper, and ribeye.
- Epice: A StyleBlueprint favorite, Epice is a cozy bistro with authentic Lebanese fare in a contemporary setting. The Epice Salad is one of the best things to order in all of Nashville (in our opinion!).
- Five Daughters Bakery is a must for sweet tooth sufferers. Just off the main drag, the donut destination rose quickly in popularity and now boasts multiple locations around the city, including East Nashville, Charlotte Avenue, and Franklin.
- Fryce Cream: If you like to dip your fries in ice cream, this is the place for you. Offering a multitude of French fry and artisan soft serve options, this is a fun treat for kids and grownups alike. Not to mention, they make homemade toppings like bourbon bacon pretzel crunch!
- Hearts: A relative newcomer to the neighborhood, this Australian cafe offers breakfast, brunch, baked goods, and beyond — including their new dinner service.
- Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams: If you’re looking for memorable ice cream, look no further. Indulge in flavors like Brown Butter Almond Brittle, Brambleberry Crisp, Gooey Butter Cake, and Sweet Cream Biscuit with Peach Jam.
- Josephine opened with a bang in 2013 and has impressed diners with contemporary eats ever since. This brunch and dinner spot serves stellar dishes like Smoked Prime Rib, Duck Confit Hash, and crab cakes.
- Ladybird Taco is slightly off the beaten path on 10th Avenue, but it’s worth the slight detour for breakfast tacos, lunch tacos, and sides like queso and Mexican street corn.
- Locust: This minimalist-modern eatery (starring Japanese dumplings and shaved ice) from Chef Trevor Moran is only open on Fridays and weekends, and reservations are a must. It has been tough to get into since Food & Wine named it “Restaurant of the Year” in 2022, but it’s more than worth the effort to snag a table!
- MAFIAoZA’s is the spot for hearty Italian fare. Grab some Ravioli Cheese Sticks, then move on to a pizza like the Brother Fredo (spinach, artichokes, chicken, and alfredo sauce) or The Last Request (pepperoni, sausage salami, black olives, onions, green peppers, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, portobello mushrooms, and jalapeños). It’s also a go-to on Tuesday nights when slices and beers are two for the price of one.
- Tennessee Cobbler Company: Owned by a husband-and-wife duo with an affinity for Southern nostalgia, this dessert-lovers go-to has everything from sweet tea and ice box pies to … you guessed it, homemade cobblers.
- Urban Grub: From Crab Beignets and wood-fired oysters to Memphis-style ribs and a Creekstone Farms bone-in New York strip steak, this restaurant has an extensive menu that covers all the “craving” bases.
- Wanna Spoon Cereal Bar: Cereal-centric with milkshakes and granola bowls, this fun eatery is as wonderful as it is whimsical.
WHERE TO DRINK (Coffee + Cocktails)
Whether you’re after a caffeinated pick-me-up or a craft brew, 12South has you covered. Of course, you can hit up any of the neighborhood restaurants for a beverage, but here are a few specialized options.
- Frothy Monkey, a breakfast, lunch, and dinner cafe offering fresh fare and locally roasted coffee, has been in the neighborhood since 2004.
- Portland Brew is another option for coffee drinkers, and this spot is sometimes less crowded than Frothy Monkey, making it an excellent place to set up shop to read or get some work done. (Their bagel sandwiches are top-notch!)
- The Filling Station is a tucked-away spot for craft beer lovers. Right around the corner from Edley’s, it’s a great spot to spend an afternoon sipping local brews and playing board games, but you can also fill up a growler to take home.
WHERE TO SHOP + EXPLORE
While longtime Nashvillians will remember places like Becker’s Bakery, Katy K’s, Granny’s Flower Shop, and TRIM, these businesses — early definers of 12South’s identity — have been replaced with a number of new businesses that sell everything from handmade jewelry to vintage knick-knacks and apparel.
12South landed on the map as a shopping destination when custom denim shop Imogene + Willie opened in a converted gas station back in 2009, garnering national attention. Now, the area is a shopping hub for locals and visitors alike, with everything from clothing boutiques to candle shops.
- Buck Mason: Classic menswear pieces abound at this shop for effortless clothing basics like tees, pants, and button-ups.
- Crue: Stop in for elevated athleisure for women — from bras and comfy work-from-home lounge sets to beachwear and sweats.
- Draper James may be on the map thanks to celebrity (and Nashville-raised) founder Reese Witherspoon, but its success also has a lot to do with its Southern charm-drenched clothing and accessories. This brand is as quintessentially Southern as it gets, from floral-printed sundresses to chambray blazers.
- Emerson Grace: Thanks to trendsetting owner Kimberly Lewis, this boutique offers contemporary women’s fashion that instills stylish confidence — from sunglasses to denim and dresses.
- Finnley’s: Shop trendy women’s clothing — such as dresses, outerwear, handbags, and hats — in a casual atmosphere.
- FWD Clothing: Attached to Embers Ski Lodge bar, this flagship shop offers surf-inspired clothing and accessories.
- gorjana: This fine jewelry store originated in Laguna Beach, CA. The Nashville location is one of roughly 50 stores across the country, and you can find plenty of dainty pieces perfect for layering.
- Grace Loves Lace: A bridal boutique that runs by appointment only, this Australian-owned shop offers handcrafted gowns and wedding day accessories.
- Halcyon Bike Shop: Owner Andrew Parker set up shop in the neighborhood in 2008 and was quickly dubbed the “headquarters for Nashville’s two-wheeled revolution” by the Nashville Scene.
- Hero Boutique: Founded by a celebrity stylist, this shop features everything from beautiful cashmere sweaters to playful accessories, including one-of-a-kind items.
- Imogene + Willie: This longtime 12South resident is the ideal spot to channel your cool kid vibe. Renowned for its denim collection, you can also shop for tees, tanks, knits, and more — for both men and women.
- Judith Bright brings locally handmade jewelry to the neighborhood. Since the store’s 2014 opening, the brand has garnered a cult following that stretches across the South, but is loudest and strongest right here in Music City.
- Krewe: A New Orleans-based eyewear brand with a mini-retail spot set up in the White’s Mercantile parking lot.
- LoveShackFancy: With pink as far as the eye can see, this trend-driven store features romantic floral dresses, patterned wallpapers, and even bedding and bath linens.
- Made in TN might just be the best spot for gifts that we can think of. All the merchandise is locally sourced, and you can find everything from Goo Goo Clusters and Moon Pies to Nashville Hot Peanuts and Tennessee Whiskey candles.
- Madewell: Shop for curated fashion picks like jeans, shoes, beach coverups, and more.
- MODA Boutique is the OG women’s boutique in 12South. Inside, you’ll find a selection of fashionable clothing, accessories, jewelry, and unique home goods and gift items.
- Outdoor Voices: This New York clothing startup made its way to Music City in 2018. Stop in for athleisure and performance wear that merges comfort with class.
- Planet Cowboy offers a playful ’60s-’70s retro vibe that draws crowds. The Western-inspired handmade hats and custom-designed boots from owner Jaylin Ramer are fun, festive, and very Nashville.
- Ranger Station: This brand-new shop features some of the best locally made, hand-poured candles in Nashville — set in reusable cocktail glasses, no less! You can also snag amazing unisex perfumes as well as hand and body products.
- Savant Vintage is the neighborhood’s only vintage shop, a small structure overflowing with vintage items and even a taxidermy collection.
- Serendipity: Gifts and clothing and jewelry, oh my! Whether you’re searching for the perfect hostess offering, the next journal for your thoughts, or a unique birthday gift for your hard-to-buy-for niece (think a pocket microscope or a Taylor Swift prayer candle), you’re in luck. Serendipity offers all of that and more!
- Stoney Clover Lane: Going back to school, traveling, and staying organized have an ally — customized totes, fanny packs, bags, backpacks, and beyond.
- Summer Classics: Shop elevated outdoor furniture, including patio loungers, umbrellas, performance pillows, and dining sets.
- UAL is a Southern brand offering high-end retail at a significant discount, with deals up to 90% off designer clothing.
- Vinnie Louise is the place for Hampton-inspired clothing and accessories from maxi dresses and tunics to on-trend gold jewelry.
- Vuori: Stock up on athletic clothing and activewear for both men and women.
- White’s Mercantile: A gas station-turned-gift shop, this neighborhood gem is much-beloved by locals and visitors alike. Owned by Holly Williams, it’s one of the city’s hottest hubs for home goods and gift items, and it’s stocked with Southern brands — from candles and jewelry to pantry items.
Every Tuesday, May Through October!
- At 12South Farmers’ Market, shop all things local, from soaps and honey to homemade bread and fresh produce.
WELLNESS + BEAUTY
While 12South may be best known for shopping and dining, it’s also home to several salons and fitness studios.
- Element Salon is a casual, friendly space for boutique hairstyling services like cuts and hair extensions.
- Green Pea Salon: The place to go for everything from color correction and conditioning treatments to updos for a night on the town.
- Marathon Fitness offers fitness motivation galore, such as personal training, strength training, and boot camps.
- Marathon Pilates: Expert trainers are ready to whip you into shape at a full-service wellness studio specializing in Pilates.
- The Happy Hour is a mental wellness studio offering therapy, holistic life coaching, energy work, and nutrition coaching.
As you venture through the neighborhood, you’ll find a photo opportunity around every corner. Between the many murals, charming storefronts, people-watching, and fun pop-ups, the area is a picture-perfect weekend destination and ripe for exploration. Here are a few more things that make the neighborhood even more vibrant.
- Islamic Center of Nashville: One of the oldest mosques in Tennessee, this center offers a place for prayer to Nahvillians of over 40 nationalities.
- Midtown Fellowship: A single church comprising multiple congregations rooted in the Christian faith.
- Sevier Park Community Center: This neighborhood center features a new gymnasium with an upper-level walking track as well as a dance space, fitness center, and community gathering area. It is surrounded by beautiful Sevier Park, which offers picnic shelters, a playground, and plenty of space for sitting beneath a tree and enjoying the views.
As the neighborhood continues to grow, we look forward to the introduction of a mixed-use development — featuring dining, retail, and office space — that’s set to complete construction in late 2024. The development has already broken ground, and already-announced tenants include a Two Hands restaurant location and a sushi restaurant.
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