Tag Archives: whiskey

Whiskey Kitchen

welcome

I don’t know if Nashville is known for being a host to a plethora of fabulously trendy and consistently appetizing (it’s difficult to judge from the inside out), but it probably should be. Growing up in a suburb like Germantown, I know what it’s like to feel a lack of restaurant variety. My parents were always complaining about the scarcity of interesting cuisine. Yes, there are plenty of chains and old standards, but so rarely did anything new and exciting happen in our world of dining out.

Nashville, on the other hand, is positively teeming with fun and fascinating places to try. I’ve lived here exactly 3 years now and haven’t even scratched the surface of the deliciousness Music City has to offer.

Part of my issue, though, may have to do with places like Whiskey Kitchen. It’s a tough fork in the road – go somewhere I’ve never been but heard is amazing or go somewhere that has incredible food and a whiskey wall behind the bar (don’t believe me? see below). Yeah. You understand my dilemma now.

glorious

If that’s not enough to have you (me) racing to the place, the WK website quotes an old Irish saying:

“‘What whiskey will not cure, there is no cure for.’  – Irish Proverb”

Needless to say, Whiskey Kitchen is one of my favorite Nashville originals.

ambrosia (click to enlarge)

If you (I) can get past alllllll the whiskey, the food is fantastic as well. I kind of forget every time I go, and then as I’m sipping my Jameson and figuring out what to order, I catch glimpses of dinners I want to try all over the restaurant – gourmet pizzas, ranchero wraps, Guinness-battered fish, “Tennessee whiskey yam fries,” “black peppercorn caesar.”

However, despite this new dilemma in deciding what to get, I have still been able to distinguish a clear winner – the Grilled Chicken Tacos. Deceivingly simple, these tacos are fresh, flavorful, and filling (pardon the unintended alliteration); the menu describes them plainly: “fresh tomato, cilantro, jalapeño, lettuce, onion, sour cream and white cheddar,” but I’ve found myself craving these guys at odd hours of the night and day (kidding, sort of).

taken from one side of the empty room

and the other

the bar, populated

Overall, Whiskey Kitchen is trendy without being pretentious and gourmet without being expensive, and whether you’re a native or just passing through, WK is a great example of Nashville’s best and should not be missed.

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Pub, Not Billiards

I suppose I can’t really speak universally about such things, but am I completely off in saying that kids my age typically don’t bar hop?  I’m not saying that people I know don’t venture out of their neighborhoods or decide to try new places, but everybody has their Cheers, if you will… at least, so many of my friends do.  Some go to the hipster-ish East Nashville for Red Door or 3 Crow or 5 Spot.  Some go downtown to Beer Sellar or Flying Saucer.  There’s Hillsboro Village with classics like Jackson’s, Sportsman’s, and the Villager.  And there’s also Broadway and Division, boasting everything from Patterson House to Bound’ry to Blue Bar.  And I haven’t even mentioned neighborhoods like Belmont, Demonbreun, Printer’s Alley, Music Row, or the Gulch… nor have I said anything about venues or restaurants with bars.  My initial point is clear now, I think.  For something of an amateur alcohol connoisseur (does that sound like some poorly veiled admission to alcoholism?), there are choices abound in Music City.

isn't he adorable?

As a female, an affection for alcohol most often translates to lush, or maybe even just drunk, but I can say with confidence that in accordance with my numerous years of drinking, I’m sooo over that lush phase and have comfortably settled down into my drink-to-enjoy-the-drink phase.  And my favorite place to enjoy a cold brewski is hands down Melrose Pub.  (It is very important to make the “Pub” distinction, as there is a Melrose Billiards across the street (not related, other than location; the neighborhood goes by the same name).  The Billiards is fascinating for extreme opposite reasons, i.e. basement dive bar, 12 or more pool tables, jukebox that hasn’t worked for years, minimal lighting, $2 practically everythings, and a perpetual haze of stale cigarette smoke.  Among friends, we go to “Pub, Not Billiards,” and the rest is understood.)

Anyway, there are three key ingredients to your classic Cheers-esque bar: beer, food, and atmosphere, and Melrose is a triple threat.  The bar is host to over 85 beers (nearly 20 on draft), in addition to the semi-annual rotations of seasonal favorites, which are introduced by way of an official night of beer tasting once every three or so months.

can you see me? just kidding, i'm not actually in this picture

The menu is by far the best bar cuisine I’ve ever had.  It’s always fresh and so tooootally delicious.  My staples are the BLT, the Club sandwich, the Chicken Club wrap, and the sweet & spicy wings… all with Melrose’s signature waffle fries, of course.  Did I mention that you have to check your calorie count at the door?  Yeah, yeah, but just look at it(!):

culinary artwork

And last, but certainly not least, the atmosphere.  Melrose is such a warm, cozy place.  The incandescent lighting and dark wooden bar and tables exude a sort of glowing invitation.  See?

i'm clearly not the only person who likes hanging out there

I’ll admit that there are certain nights on which I avoid Melrose.  Thursdays, particularly, because the two-for-one special attracts this uncharacteristic “young professionals” crowd that always gives me a slightly creepy vibe.  Friday and Saturday nights are occasionally like that as well, though the crowding issue has decreased significantly since they expanded the room and opened a “Beer Garden,” aka patio.  But Tuesdays are trivia (we conjured up a solid 4th place last night!), and Mondays and Wednesdays are slower, which is nice.  I’ve gotten to know the bartenders pretty well by frequenting the off days.  And now I’m a regular.  I’m even working to be part of the Melrose Nite Owls, the bar’s beer club, initiation into which includes drinking every beer on the menu… but that’s another story now, isn’t it?