Responses when I ask people about The Nations:
“What is The Nations?”
“I think I’ve heard of that area … ”
“Five of my friends just bought houses in The Nations. They love it!”
“Is that part of Sylvan Park?”
Maybe you visited The Stone Fox (which really helped pave the way for this neighborhood) before it recently closed and was turned into House: A Social Eatery. Or perhaps you’ve heard the buzz about Nashville’s restaurant, Fifty First Kitchen & Bar, then you know of The Nations, as this is the neighborhood in which each is found, just down the street from one another. As rents and real estate skyrocket in Nashville, opportunities are found in areas that once didn’t get the heavy foot traffic that they do today. This is one such neighborhood, and it’s only getting hotter.
On a recent visit to this part of town, I stopped by The Mill, located at the bustling intersection of 51st and Illinois. Sisters Allie Abide and Lauren Miller own this women’s boutique known for trendy, affordable fashions. They represent exactly who The Nations is attracting, as both are also neighborhood residents. Allie and Lauren are from New Orleans and grew up with the mindset to support the community in which you live. So opening up The Nations’ first retail shop seemed a logical decision when they were looking for a spot to hang their shingle. Allie gushed about how much she loves this part of Nashville. Her neighbors include folks from old-school Nashville families who grew up in swanky ZIP codes, newcomers to Music City and people moving from other neighborhoods (they cite new neighbors from Bellevue, East Nashville and Sylvan Park), who want hip, fun and affordable and are finding it just north of Charlotte Pike. The typical home buyer is younger and embracing this transitional neighborhood filled with dense housing, sidewalks and lots of energy. The Nashville Business Journal reported in June 2015 that there were more than 400 homes under construction in The Nations, with another 200 coming.
The Nations is still filled with plenty of auto repair shops (I’ve been to Capley’s Collision more times than I’d like to admit) and industrial buildings, but there is much new being blended with the old. As of now, you’ll find a BarreAmped studio, St. Luke’s This-N-That Shop, Tinwings, The Mill, Fifty First Kitchen & Bar, Music City Boxing, Take Away Catering and custom furniture company Ausden Inc. Soon construction will start on the empty corner of Illinois and 51st, and a multiuse space will emerge with retail on the ground floor and residences above. At that point, this intersection is going to need both a stoplight and a crosswalk. And while I’m putting together a wish list, a grassy median with trees stretching from where the I-40 overpass is and down 51st Avenue would be fabulous.
Also of note, Fat Bottom Brewery is relocating over here from East Nashville and will enjoy more than double the seating capacity with expanded menu options. Its new location is just down the street from Speakeasy Spirits Distillery, making 44th Avenue a fun corner of the neighborhood to visit!
It’s no wonder this area is getting firm footing as a great place to open a business or buy a home. Just down the street, there has been an explosion of businesses on Charlotte Pike (think Porter Road Butcher, Hattie B’s, M.L. Rose and Flip Burger joining longer established Miel, Bobbie’s Dairy Dip and Fabu) and access to I-40 is easy. Real estate in Sylvan Park has done nothing but skyrocket, so new, affordable housing options so close by are an easy sell.
How do you access The Nations? The easiest response is this: You know the crazy bank building with the geometric gold roof on Charlotte Pike just across from St. Ann’s? Turn there, go past Coco’s Italian Market and under I-40 and voila, you are there. Drive around and see all the construction taking place, pick up to-go food at Tinwings (check out our story here for how to order and when to pick up) and buy a new necklace or outfit at The Mill. Eat lunch or listen to live music over dinner at The Stone Fox, be seen and enjoy an incredible meal at Fifty First Kitchen & Bar and work your booty at BarreAmped. Stroll the neighborhoods with American flags flying in summer’s patriotic pride. And consider dropping off your clothes for charity, or shopping for deals, at This-N-That.
The Nations is a neighborhood to keep on your radar and start enjoying. And if you are wondering where the name comes from, since most of the streets are named after states, not countries, it comes from the Chickasaw Nations Native American tribe who lived in the area in the 1700s. Or at least that is one of the many theories that abounds …!
For an updated guide of where to eat in The Nations (updated summer 2016) see: Where to Eat in The Nations … and Eat Well!
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