I may not be a fan of country music, but Nashville, Tennessee has a lot more to offer than the bars lining Broadway. Here are some of my favorite places to relax with a good meal and an even better bottle of wine.
My first visit to Lyra was also my first indoor dining experience nearly six months into the pandemic. When our server brought to the table the first plate of baked pita bread in front of you, I almost cried as I opened it with small puffs of steam rising to the ceiling. This is the place to go to experience the varied nuances of Mediterranean flavors and an extensive yet concise wine list, with wines from Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon and beyond. (lyranashville.com)
Peninsula is inspired by the cuisine of the Iberian Peninsula (meaning Spain and Portugal in case you haven’t seen a map since eighth grade geography class). The wine list at this 35-seat restaurant naturally focuses on famous and less famous wines from the region, but its highlight is a fun selection of Spanish sherry offered by the glass. Pro tip: Don’t just order wine, the restaurant’s Spanish gin and tonics shouldn’t be missed. (peninsulanashville.com)
Some of the most exciting wine pairings occur when classic wines are juxtaposed with the cuisine of cultures that evolved largely without wine. In this case, chef Vivek Surti, a first-generation Indian American, presents a tasting menu that challenges everything you think you know about Indian cuisine. Believe me when I tell you that skipping on the “optional” wine pairings is a requirement. (tailornashville.com)
BARCELONA WINE BAR
I will never love a wine bar and Barcelona is no different. The wine list here leans (unsurprisingly) towards Spain and its Mediterranean neighbors. Wine list highlights include a strong selection of Spanish sparkling wines that will expose you to more than just cava, and a strong white wine list that proves there is more culture in Spain than albarino (Hondarribi zuri, treixadura or viura anyone?) (barcelonawinebar.com)
As much as I love wine, I love a good tiki bar even more, and luckily Chopper is among the best. From its “C3PO on island time” decor to its rotating mix of tiki pillars and in-the-moment designs, there’s always something new, refreshing and over the top to be had. It might not be the place to relax with a nice bottle of Burgundy, but it is by far my favorite place in Music City. Step through the door and into a bar that keeps one foot firmly rooted in American cocktail history and the other in a galaxy far, far away. (choppertiki.com)
As always, you can see what I drink on Instagram at @sethebarlow and send your wine questions and quibbles to firstname.lastname@example.org