We set out to explore the stretch of Eighth Avenue South that runs from the downtown I-65 overpass, across Wedgewood and continues south until you can hang a left on Kirkwood. This area, known as Eighth Avenue South and Melrose, is home to more than meets the eye. It is likely that many of you have picked up a gently loved record at Grimey’s, discovered a gem at the Eighth Avenue Antique Mall, caught a show at Douglas Corner Cafe or The Sutler (back when Johnny Potts was the owner) or heard side-splitting comedy at Zanies. These are the establishments that have dotted Eighth Avenue and Franklin Pike since as far back as the ’70s and quickly became mainstays in the area. Today, though, those are just the tip of the iceberg, with countless new options to explore in terms of shopping, dining and living

“There’s always been an entertainment component to the Melrose neighborhood and the Eighth Avenue corridor. People who have been in Nashville long enough love this area for the decades of history. People newer to the city are discovering it as part of a massive arts, dining and urban living revival,” says Austin Ray, a Nashville native who is responsible for M.L Rose, The Sutler Saloon and partner in Sinema restaurant.

There is no better place to see the growth and history than by taking a closer look at local businesses in the area. Today, we look to the Eighth Avenue South and Melrose neighborhoods to showcase where to shop, where to play, where to eat and where to live.

Do you recognize this strip?

The strip that houses Eighth and Roast, Anastacia Skin Studio and Pre to Post Modern is one of the most recognizable strips in the Eighth Avenue South neighborhood.

The streets of 8th Avenue south Nashville

“We offer eight varieties of freshly roasted beans at any given time,” said Lesa Wood, owner of Eighth & Roast, which was founded in 2009 with Brad Wood. “At the coffee shop we offer a thoughtful menu of coffee and espresso drinks that no one else is doing. We’re also on site to help our customers pick the best coffee to brew at home.” Next door, Anastacia Skin Studio is loved by many for their tanning, skin, waxing, micro-pigmentation services and more.

A notable strip in Melrose

This strip of development in Melrose houses the old Melrose Theatre, which is now home to Sinema, Melrose Billiards (which is closing its doors at the end of the month but will reopen under Austin Ray and A. Ray Hospitality in October), Fenwick’s 300 and The Sutler Saloon. Image: Humphreys & Partners Architects

Where to Shop

Fashion is a category sometimes overshadowed by the large array of home stores in this neighborhood. But, the fashion options are pretty fabulous. The go-to spots are Flip, a luxury consignment shop for menswear and womenswear, hatWRKS’s custom hat shop and The Showroom (think Rent the Runway but local). Each brings something different to the retail landscape in Nashville and you need to check them out!

And as mentioned, the opportunity to discover home goods and furniture is ripe. Dozens of stores (such as Remix Furniture Consignment, Bliss HomePreservation StationThe Velvet Shoestring, 8th Avenue Antique Mall, Classic Modern, Pre to Post Modern, Dealer’s Choice Antiques, Karmal Skillington and Pia’s Antiques) offer new and used furniture. These stores bring collectors of all kinds looking to hunt for fine antiques as well as uncommon findings.

Shop luxury consignment in 8th Avenue South Nashville

Prepare for an unique shopping experience, featuring the latest in men’s and women’s fashions. Flip consists of side-by-side 5,000-square-foot stores on Eighth Avenue South, stocked with high-quality couture clothing and accessories on consignment. In addition to gently worn clothing, Flip features “new-with-tag” merchandise from designer labels, as well as “must have” wholesale items all at discounted prices.

Find home decor and accessories at Bliss Home in Melrose.

Find home decor and accessories at Bliss Home in Melrose.

Shop home décor in 8th Avenue South Nashville

Preservation Station, found at the corner of Wedgewood and Eighth, has antique architectural salvage pieces and décor that is locally and internationally sourced. Their exclusive collection includes everything from vintage doors and antique hardware to gorgeous cast-iron mantels. In addition to beautiful furnishings, Preservation Station has one of the finest collections of chandeliers and sconces that date from the 1850s to the 1940s.

Shop home décor in 8th Avenue South Nashville

The Velvet Shoestring specializes in high-end furniture consignment and offers a wide variety of gently used merchandise as well as consignment and design services. All of their merchandise is clean, stylish and well-maintained, ensuring that you go home with a piece you will truly cherish.

Shop home décor in 8th Avenue South Nashville

Pre to Post Modern has one-of-a-kind items ranging from mid-century furnishings and vintage clothing to vinyl records and art. Even if you don’t find something that suits your style, you will have a ball looking around. Image: Pre to Post Modern

Where to Play

Melrose Lanes, Chandler’s Melrose Billiards (which is set to close at the end of September but will re-open under new ownership in October) and the Melrose Theatre were once the go-to spots for entertainment in these neighborhoods. But while these establishments have closed their doors, there were just as many that kept their doors wide open. In 1987, Douglas Corner Cafe opened on Eighth Avenue and quickly became home for Nashville’s new and rising singers and songwriters. In 2016, the venue continues to invite musicians to the stage to showcase their talent. Additionally, The Basement and Grimey’s New & Pre-Loved Music bring music lovers to the area (both of which are co-owned by Mike Grimes). Down the road, The Sulter Saloon was — and is again — another spot to catch a note-worthy act. When looking beyond music, look no farther than Zanies Comedy Club. We have Rich Uchwat to thank for continuing the reign of comedy in Nashville — one said to have been started by Steve Martin at Exit/In — by opening this club in 1983. Upon walking through Zanies’ doors, the pictures of past performers that line the walls illustrates the rich history this venue holds.

Douglas Corner Cafe has been holding court in 8th Avenue South Nashville for almost 30 years!

Mervin Louque and Rick Martin partnered to open Douglas Corner Cafe in 1987. Names such as Alan Jackson, Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks have played there. These days, the calendar is filled with bands of all varieties, but the night to go is Tuesday, for Open Mic Writer’s Night. Image: The Nashville Music Group

Go-to spot for new and preloved music!

Grimey’s first opened in Berry Hill in 1999. In 2004, they picked up shop and headed to the Eighth Avenue Victorian house they still call home. In 2013, they expanded to open Grimey’s Too (which shares a space with Howlin’ Books and Frothy Monkey). Today, Grimey’s is Nashville’s go-to for vinyl LPs and CDs from all eras and genres and was even named as a “Top Record Store in America” by Rolling Stone. Image: Bill Hobbs

Enjoy a barrel of laughs at this Nashville comedy club

Zanies Comedy Club is simply one of best entertainment venues in Nashville. Since the opening in 1983, it has kept a full calendar of local acts and widely-known comedians. While you are enjoying laughs, you can also dive into their selection of bar food and drinks. Image: Zanies

Where to Eat

There came a time when Eighth Avenue South was more strongly revered for its selection of fast food and chain restaurants than local eateries, but that is no longer the case. Establishments, including The Urban JuicerFrothy Monkey, Love Peace & Pho, Eighth and RoastThe Hook and Smiling Elephant add variety to the neighborhood. Instead of opting for a Big Mac and fries, you now can indulge in a fresh-pressed juice, hot cup of coffee and breakfast, Vietnamese cuisine, sandwiches, an espresso or seafood.

In Melrose, as the road turns from Eighth Avenue to Franklin Pike, more restaurants continue to line the streets. Some of the local establishments, such as Bolton’s Spicy Chicken and Fish and Athen’s Family Restaurant, have been serving the area for more than a decade — or nearly that as is the case of M.L. Rose Craft Beer & Burgers. But more recently, the hot chicken joint and Greek eatery have been joined by Koi Sushi & Thai, Mangia, Fenwick’s 300, Sinema and the newly reopened The Sutler Saloon.

This is a must-try on 8th Avenue South Nashville

At The Smiling Elephant you will find authentic Thai cuisine. Folks rave about their Pad Thai, which can be made gluten-free upon request. They opened their doors in the fall of 2010 and have since become a go-to spot in the neighborhood. Image: The Smiling Elephant 

Find fresh catch on 8th Avenue South Nashville

The corner of Eighth and Bradford avenues has gotten a bit of a facelift with the construction of The Hook, a fast casual restaurant concept from the team behind Sinema that opened last February. The bright blue structure is reminiscent of a Swedish boathouse, with its coloring and simple design, and it’s bringing a much welcomed freshness to the area. Read more about it here. Image: MA2LA

This local joint closed its doors after years in business but thankfully has reopened with a new look!

In 1976, country radio DJ Johnny Potts opened The Sutler Saloon, which was quickly established as a watering hole, restaurant and music club. This well-loved and frequently visited spot closed their doors in 2005 and remained closed until Austin Ray and Joe Parkes Jr. revived it in 2014. Today, it maintains some of its authentic character while making room for Nashville and country music newcomers. Click here for an inside look.

Dive into this Burger in Melrose

M.L. Rose opened their doors in 2008 as Melrose was on the verge of transformation. Formerly known as The Melrose Pub, this beer and burger spot announced a name change in 2012 and expanded to a second location on Charlotte Avenue the same year. Restaurateur Austin Ray was instrumental in assisting in the growth of the area’s dining scene, and M.L. Rose was his first venture in the neighborhood. Image: M.L. Rose

Breakfast all day? Yes, please.

Fenwick’s 300 opened in the Melrose neighborhood in 2014 and offers a place for family and friends to enjoy a diner-style environment and menu. Breakfast is served all day. Meaning, you can get your fix of blueberry peach French toast anytime!

Where to Live

These neighborhoods are no stranger to development, and with the arrival of new businesses, comes the arrival of new living options. Lofts on Eighth, 23Hundred at Berry Hill and The Melrose offer condo and apartment living. Additionally, new town homes are popping up, and older houses are seeing renovations.

Living in luxury in Melrose

Located on the corner of Franklin Pike and Biloxi, The Melrose offers one- and two-bedroom floor plans. Image: The Melrose 

Urban living takes on a comfortable vibe with fantastic amenities like this outdoor common area, complete with fire pit. Image: 23Hundred at Berry Hill

Urban living takes on a comfortable vibe with fantastic amenities like this outdoor common area, complete with fire pit. Image: 23Hundred at Berry Hill

Whether you get to call the Eighth Avenue/Melrose area home or are simply looking to explore another amazing area of Nashville, this community has something to offer all.

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