CRS Week: The Gulch Offers 'Knock Your Socks Off' Alternative to Standard Power Meal

Map of the Gulch, a former cluster of abandoned rail yards turned foodie haven.

Those attending the Country Radio Seminar (CRS) in Nashville (Feb. 19-21) have 12 good reasons to venture beyond the convention center. The Gulch, a former tangle of abandoned rail yards, is close enough to Music Row to make it a cool alternative to the standard power-meal haunts. The bustling 12th Avenue strip is home to Red Light Management, which boasts Luke Bryan and Tim McGraw. And with Robert Plant and John Oates owning condos in the Terrazzo (700 12th St.) and Icon (600 12th Ave. S.), respectively, the Gulch is also a place where music lives.

  1. Kayne Prime, 1103 McGavock St. “It’s as good as you want,” Bryan says of this steakhouse that reviewers have called “knock your socks off” good. It also offers pasta, salads and other vegetarian options.
  2. Whiskey Kitchen, 118 12th Ave. S. Miranda Lambert’s manager Marion Kraft of ShopKeeper Management enjoys taking Marci Braun from country WUSN Chicago here when she’s in town. Kraft’s favorite dishes: Tuna Togarishi and the Steel Drums.
  3. Turnip Truck Urban Fare, 321 12th Ave. S. “They have great lunches,” Kraft says of Nashville’s only locally owned natural-foods market. “Having lived in California for 25 years, it is a lifesaver for me. They make juices right there at the bar.”
  4. Two Old Hippies, 401 12th Ave. S. This fashion/music hybrid boutique is where Martina McBride recently threw an album-preview party. With Chan Luu wrap bracelets and Diamond Head ukuleles for sale, it’s a go-to for area stylists.
  5. Watermark, 507 12th Ave. S. This farm-to-table eatery gets lots of mentions on ABC’s “Nashville.” But the touts are deserved. “They’ll even tell you where the chicken is from and who raised it,” one insider jokes.
  6. Sambuca, 601 12th Ave. S.Female execs tend to reserve the booths for their power lunches, while men book the sky-loft for total privacy. At night, it’s also a live venue where labels often host showcases. Gary Allan gives it two thumbs up.
  7. Rumours, 1104 Division St. “It’s very cozy and they have all sorts of nice dishes,” Oates says of this wine bar located in the Icon. “The scallops are pretty amazing and they have an outdoor patio and a cool room in the back that’s kind of private.”
  8. Yazoo Brewing Co. & Tap Room, 910 Division St. Nashville’s oldest package brewery (where containers are packed in-house) is riding on the popularity of craft beer and “hot chicken,” sauced and pan-fried with cayenne. Yazoo counts Kings of Leon’s Nathan Followill as a fan.
  9. Mercy Lounge, 1 Cannery Row A favorite of Kraft, this club holds three venues in one. It’s a testament to the city’s growing appetite for non-country, indie-leaning acts like Alt-J, the Lumineers and Imagine Dragons, who played here last year.
  10. Kocktails & Kouture, 316 11th Ave. S. No need to shop till you drop at this restaurant/boutique. Between its Little Black Dress and Comfortably Numb cocktails, and vintage Gucci and Chanel accessories, the place gives new meaning to happy hour.
  11. Station Inn, 402 12th Ave. S. This bluegrass club is one of Nashville’s legendary venues and predates the Gulch’s revitalization. Alan Jackson played the club last fall to launch his latest project, The Bluegrass Album, and Chris Young recently threw a party here.
  12. Cantina Laredo, 321 12th Ave. S. Serving up “modern Mexican,” this restaurant plays host to many intimate industry functions by labels like Universal Music Group Nashville.