There’s a spark of energy that shows no sign of slowing down in Nashville’s Wedgewood- Houston neighborhood. Situated a few blocks south of the city’s downtown, the area was long a run-down part of town with warehouses, factories and garages. Today, artists, musicians and other creative types are moving into shiny modern condominiums and homes. Just as local real estate developers have been attracted by the inexpensive land and prime location, entrepreneurs have been lured in for these same reasons, too, and are opening restaurants, distilleries, art galleries and other businesses that draw crowds from all over town.
Once a jam factory, now a bar and restaurant: the front area of this airy, two-year-old space is home to a bar cum lounge with mismatched couches and chairs with deep cushions. The cocktails are innovative, the spirit list is long, and an oversize plate of decadent nachos is the sole dining option. Hidden behind a sliding, metal door, however, is an intimate 24-seat restaurant where diners choose from a grid style menu to design their dream five-course dinner; entrees change weekly but emphasize local ingredients in eclectic New American dishes. One of the city’s pricier restaurants, a meal is a splurge but delicious and the vibe is worth it. Alcoholic drinks at the bar start at $12, a dinner for two with a glass of wine each is about $180.
434 Houston Street, bastionnashville.com
Housed in a former truck repair shop, this spacious bakery opened three years ago and is always jammed with locals who come to treat themselves to the brown sugar and cornmeal cherry scones, pecan bars and lemon madeleines. But the most popular indulgence by far is the croissant baked with ham, cheese and whole grain mustard; the breads, such as the French style baguette and rye raisin loaf, are tasty too. There’s also a cafe area where lunch and weekend brunch are served. Baked goods start at $3.
516 Hagan Street, dozen-nashville.com
David Lusk Gallery
Big bucks aren’t necessary to buy a piece of high-caliber contemporary American art: that’s the premise of this light flooded art gallery with soaring wood ceilings, which the seasoned art gallerist David Lusk opened in a former truck mechanic business in 2014. In fact, it was this venue from the Memphis-based gallerist that helped generate interest in the neighborhood. Mr. Lusk’s collection includes paintings, photographs and sculptures, and he takes pride in having a close relationship with the close to three dozen artists he sells. Several Nashville natives are part of the mix, including Kit Reuther, who is known for her abstract paintings and sculptures in muted tones. Prices from $500.
516 Hagan Street, davidluskgallery.com
Nashville Craft Distillery
Bruce Boeko, a Former forensic scientist, is behind this sleek two-year-old distillery, which is sheathed in steel and glass. Coming here is an immersion into the art of hand crafted spirits: patrons can smell the grains brewing which are used in the whisky, gin and other tipples and also have the opportunity to witness the fermentation and distillation process firsthand with a tour of the production room. The Naked Biscuit Sorghum, a slightly sweet drink made with sorghum, is the best-seller, and the space has a cast concrete bar where customers can imbibe. Cocktails start at $7.
514 Hagan Street, nashvillecraft.com
Cotten Music Center
This Nashville establishment is more than a half-century-old but a relative newcomer to the neighborhood. The music store, which opened here in 2013, features an expansive collection of handmade guitars and mandolins as well as hard-to-find vintage guitars. Don’t play the guitar? Not a problem. The instruments are each pieces of art in their own right with rich stories, and the knowledgeable staff is more than happy to share their history with anyone who’s interested. Guitars from $300.
434 Houston Street, Suite 131, cottenmusic.com