The 2019 Grammys

Nashville Remastered: Five Renovated Landmarks Generating Excitement in Music City

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Nashville city skyline at dusk.

Analog at Hutton Hotel 1808 West End Avenue

Lower Broadway is clogged with feel-good honky-tonks, but it isn't the only place in Nashville to experience live music. Hutton Hotel, in Music City's West End neighborhood, was arguably the city’s first elegant lifestyle hotel when it debuted in 2009. After a full renovation courtesy of Dallas-based Studio 11 Design in late 2017, that sophistication was elevated with the arrival of Analog. The intimate venue concept, designed and managed by Greenlight Media & Marketing, fits 300 people and features a state-of-the-art Bose sound system and modular staging.

“We are located a few blocks from Music Row, but we became the go-to place for the creative scene as much as the music one,” says Hutton Hotel GM Jonathan Bartlett.

The performances unfold nightly in what is essentially a cozy living room with couches and playful cocktails like the Trans Am, made with Old Grand-Dad bourbon, Ilegal mezcal, Bénédictine and banana.

To honor the tradition of big-time stars first making moves on small stages, Analog, adds Bartlett, “is not just for artists who made it but artists looking to be found.”

Diskin Cider 1235 Martin Street

Sweet tea is ubiquitous in the South, but fruit tea is a distinctly Nashville riff on the thirst-quenching staple. So when the brand-new Diskin Cider -- Middle Tennessee’s first craft cidery -- launched, co-founders Adam Diskin and Todd Evans were sure to pay homage to the beverage in their lineup of small-batch, fresh-pressed ciders.

“We wanted to carry on our own tradition,” says Diskin of his establishment’s proprietary blend, The Six One Five, which spikes the familiar sweet medley of Southern tea, pineapple, orange and lemon with hard cider.

Located in Wedgewood-Houston, the 8,000-square-foot cidery, complete with tasting room and patio, is situated in an old semi-truck garage. Charming lights dangle through the boards of a central wood pavilion, while tanks in plain view offer a glimpse into production.

With backgrounds that span the hotel, real estate and startup worlds, Diskin and Evans both studied cider production under British expert Peter Mitchell at Washington State University.

Tennessee is hardly apple country, notes Diskin, but all that isn’t sourced locally comes just pressed by way of states like Michigan.

These blends lead to flavorful varieties like the crisp Bob’s Your Uncle dry English cider and the semisweet Lil’ Blondie, a potential Music City alternative to rosé. 

Falcon Coffee / Flamingo Cocktail Club 509 Houston Street

Alexis Soler, the owner of Nashville bars No. 308 and Old Glory, fell immediately in love with Wedgewood-Houston, the once-derelict industrial neighborhood just south of downtown Nashville.

Now booming with art galleries and restaurants, We-Ho, as locals call it, is the site of Soler’s new two-concept project with partners Andy Knepshield, Angela Laino and Freddy Schwenk: the Falcon & Flamingo.

Soler rehabbed the rundown, two-story Good Samaritan Missionary Baptist Church to unveil Falcon Coffee followed by Flamingo Cocktail Club, both inspired by her Miami upbringing. Between the quality Café Cubano and plant-based food menu that includes guava empanadas and seitan BLTs, Falcon aims to appeal to the artsy, cosmopolitan community.

“People here need a coffee spot that isn’t pretentious and isn’t a corporate chain,” she says. Adorned with a wood-clad ceiling and salvaged light fixtures, Falcon is a homey contrast to Flamingo’s dramatic hues of burnt orange, gold and dark blue, which were inspired by ’70s nightclubs from Soler’s hometown.

“When I visited Nashville I didn’t want to leave,” says Soler of her impromptu relocation. “Miami isn’t real life.” Yet in Wedgewood-Houston, for an evening it certainly can be. 

Noelle Nashville  200 4th Avenue N

Downtown Nashville was bustling with new energy when Noel Place debuted as one of the neighborhood’s first luxury hotels in 1930. After its less heady decades as an office tower, the building is now home to the 224-room Noelle, which owner Rockbridge, local architect Nick Dryden, and the hotel’s operator, Dallas-based Makeready, have reimagined in the spirit of the original.

Noelle’s refurbished brass railings, terrazzo floors, and striking green marble and dusty pink travertine columns are best appreciated from the Trade Room lobby bar. “Noelle has a storied history, but we wanted it to have a modern sensibility,” says Makeready COO Christine Magrann of the hotel, which opened last December.

Part of Marriott’s Tribute Portfolio brand, Noelle is steps from Printer’s Alley, Nashville’s early-20th-century publishing hub, which has inspired the hotel to collaborate with 55 local designers, makers, and artists. Throughout the property are works from such Nashvllle artists as Mr. Hooper and Lesley Patterson-Marx, assembled by Bryce McCloud, proprietor of Noelle’s forthcoming Little Prints shop. There’s also Keep Shop, the gift boutique curated by creative consultant Libby Callaway.

“It was a work-hard, play-hard era,” says Magrann of Noelle’s origins. It’s a mentality that seems unlikely to waver during the hotel’s second act.   

Woolworth on 5th 221 5th Avenue N

“History lends legitimacy to any endeavor,” says Tom Morales, CEO of Nashville restaurant group TomKats Hospitality, which opened Woolworth on 5th in February. Dating from the 1890s, the downtown Nashville building -- most recently a Dollar General store -- opened as a Woolworth five-and-dime in 1913. In 1960, the civil rights protests against the store’s refusal to serve blacks at its lunch counter eventually led to its desegregation.

“It is not just a historic building,” says Morales. “It’s an emotional experience. Some people remember their mothers working here; others remember pain.” Woolworth on 5th is not meant to appropriate or pretend, Morales points out, but to illuminate a chapter in Nashville history.

Through the painstaking efforts of local firm Tuck-Hinton Architects, original terrazzo floors and cast-iron railings preserve Woolworth’s art deco roots. And the new lunch counter faithfully mimics the ’60s version.

This time around, however, all patrons are welcome to savor updated comfort food. If they are wise, they will time their visits to coincide with the semimonthly Big Idea series. Hosted by actor Barry Scott, these interactive performances examine historic moments and personalities, such as Rosa Parks, on the country’s future.   

This article originally appeared in the June 2 issue of Billboard.