Nashville chefs continue to impress with their creative dishes that vary not only in influence but in style. They are masters of their craft, and their creations are served in stunning settings, which elevates the experience. Just about any meal in Nashville goes above and beyond in both delivery and execution. These 10 eateries take the experience a step further, by pairing dinner (or brunch) with something unexpected. At Black Rabbit, you will find mouth-watering small plates, plus a cabaret performance. At Suzy Wong’s, brunch is made better with performances by drag queens. At The Standard, you can follow dinner with a magic show. At Barcelona, you can belly up to the bar to share paella with new friends. And the list goes on. If you are hungry for more than a meal, head to one (or all) of these local eateries for an experience that is sure to wow.
With more than just a few tricks up his sleeve, Justin Flom is a world-famous magician unlike any other. The magic starts the moment you enter the door and continues to amaze throughout the night. The historic venue, The Standard, is home to this magic show. With only 100 seats, the experience is intimate and interactive. It’s hard to find words for an inexplicable experience, but we walked away wowed and are still talking about it today. The show continues every Thursday this summer, and you really shouldn’t miss it. If you’d like to make an evening of it, plan for a dinner before the show at The Standard. Otherwise, sit back (with a glass of wine and serving of bar snacks) and prepare to be amazed.
Dinner and Dancing at Woolworth on 5th
Dining at Woolworth on 5th is an experience in and of itself. The Woolworth building, formerly a five-and-dime store known as F. W. Woolworth, was the site of lunch counter sit-ins during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement in Nashville. Now a restaurant and a live music venue, Woolworth serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Old movies show on the wall as diners dig into plates of Southern food. For an evening of fun, stop by for dinner and stay for dancing in the New Era Ballroom. Sounds of the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s fill the space, and dancers can’t help but tap their toes. The Downtown Dippers, Nashville’s first big band, plays on a monthly basis. Keep an eye on the calendar for their next appearance.
Wine and Cheese Pairings at Grinder’s Switch Winery
Few things go together better than wine and cheese. In Grinder’s Switch Winery’s “Back Room,” you can indulge in both wine and cheese, plus chocolate. The winery’s Tennessee wine is paired with the bloomy rind cheese and Olive & Sinclair chocolates. The winery is located in Marathon Village, and tastings are available Friday through Sunday. This is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon or evening escaping the heat of summer.
Game Point has us rethinking game night! Bob Bernstein, founder of Bongo Java, and Rick Keuler, lover of board games, are behind this East Nashville cafe. With a large library of games, plus a menu of sandwiches, snacks and salads as well as coffee and beer, Game Point Café has everything you need for your next game night. Folks of all ages are welcome, so bring your family in for an afternoon of competition — and coffee drinking. Good luck finding a table on a rainy day, though, as this is a popular spot to escape the elements.
Paella at Barcelona Wine Bar
Late-night eaters are in luck! Each night, Barcelona Wine Bar serves paella at the bar. This communal dining experience celebrates Spain’s bar culture, “where Spaniards casually stood around, drinks in one hand and tapas in the other, and mingled with strangers as if they were long-time friends.” Starting at 10 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday, and 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, you can head to the bar for a healthy portion of paella for only $5. Not only will you be eating one of the best dishes on the menu, you will be meeting people in the process!
A night at Mangia guarantees you will have a night of laughter and heaping portions of Italian-inspired dishes. The six-course meal is only one memorable part of the Weekend Italian Feast. While you are eating, and in between courses, there is singing and dancing — and you are invited to take part. Even if shy at first, it won’t be long before you are part of the conga line, singing along to whatever song is playing. The three-hour dinner starts at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. This is unlike any other dining experience we have ever had, and we highly recommend it for a fun, festive night out.
Dinner + a Show at City Winery
At City Winery, there are ample options for dinner with a show. Nightly performances range from well-known bluegrass acts to songwriter rounds to jazz trios. The intimate concert setting allows you to enjoy the music while sharing food and wine with friends. City Winery’s culinary program is inspired by classic European dishes that pair well with wine. In addition to a selection of City Winery wines, you will find wines by the glass and bottle with origins from Hungary to California. There are plenty of places you can enjoy live music accompanied by a plate of food, but City Winery raises the bar for dinnertime entertainment.
Henley takes a note from Lewis Carroll and invites you to fall down the Rabbit Hole. “Enter the inner sanctum of Henley’s kitchen and creative fancy for an experiential meal you must encounter to believe,” their website reads. That sounds like an invitation we can’t refuse! A creative space for the culinary team to share their craft, the Rabbit Hole offers a multi-course menu, with optional drink pairings. Unlike many of the other offerings on this list, The Rabbit Hole does not come with a live performance. The show-stopping dishes are enjoyment enough. The table is hidden from the rest of the restaurant, so you will be able to enjoy the meal without distraction. Focus your senses on the food, and let the combinations and creative pairings blow you away.
Cabaret at Black Rabbit
On Wednesday nights at 9 p.m., Black Rabbit gets a little more lively thanks to a cabaret show with showgirls and a world-class traditional country band. There is no cover to attend, so sit back, enjoy the show, and order from Black Rabbit’s cocktail and dinner menu. Prohibition-era food and drink inspire the creations, which are fitting to enjoy during a cabaret show in a historic setting. This downtown restaurant is located in Printers Alley and celebrates a bygone era of clandestine drinking and burlesque. Every night at Black Rabbit, the legacy of the neighborhood is acknowledged with cocktails and canapés in the setting of an early 19th-century building, and on Wednesday nights, the cabaret show elevates the experience.
Drag’n Brunch and Drag’n Dinner at Suzy Wong’s House of Yum
Owned by restaurateur and Chef Arnold Myint, Suzy Wong’s House of Yum is known for two things: Asian-fusion dishes and drag. If you are wondering how these go together, a visit to their Drag’n Brunch or Drag’n Dinner will help you understand! Suzy Wong is Arnold Myint’s alter ego, and she is quite the hostess. Suzy Wong is only one of the ladies who will make an appearance at the restaurant. You will see gals who resemble everyone from Cher to Beyoncé, and one is as entertaining as the next. Delight in the drag performances while enjoying meals like scrambled egg rolls, katsu chicken and waffles, or sushi rolls. Drag’n Brunch is held every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (with performances from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.), and Drag’n Dinner is held every Friday and Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
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