The Design-Lover’s Guide To Nashville


Without a honky-tonk in sight

When I was in Nashville earlier this month, I couldn't help but notice that the city was nothing like it had been described to me. Sure, there were still the old-school honky-tonks crowding Broadway Street with live music blasting out of their open windows, a bachelor/bachelorette party every third group of people, and some variation of the most delicious fried chicken sandwich you'll have on most menus, but, as I was making my way through the city's northern Germantown neighborhood—formerly home to European immigrants and still featuring plenty of Victorian mansions, now an unofficial breeding ground for rising culinary talent—it seemed clear that Tennessee's capital has undergone a design facelift. There were far fewer of the knickknack stores and gritty watering holes of Music City's past—every storefront looked more design-forward and Instagrammable than the previous one, with copper lamps, marble tabletops, and velvet Art Deco furniture fixtures in most of the open-plan spaces.

And while this extended to other on-the-rise neighborhoods, like East Nashville, The Gulch, and 12 South, it is Downtown, the area better known for its attractions like Ryman Auditorium, the Johnny Cash Museum, and Martin's Bar-B-Que than hip food and cocktails destinations, where you can really see the design evolution. Stylish boutique hotels and health-driven restaurants and businesses, all catering to young creatives, are sprouting up faster than a millennial can take an Instagram Story. "Nashville has definitely evolved into so much more than honky-tonks and meat-and-threes," says Rebecca Willa Davis, founder and editor of travel and wellness site The Glassy, says. "Proof: There's now a Barry's Bootcamp just a few blocks from the Country Music Hall of Fame. From beat-driven yoga to vegan barbecue, you can find forward-thinking, wellness-conscious options that still manage to reflect the local ethos throughout Music City." She points to restaurants like Avo ("yup, named after avocado"), Sunflower Cafe, Koko's dairy-free ice cream, and wellness hotspots like Inner Light Studio ("which has music-centric yoga classes") and Poppy & Monroe ("for eco-conscious manis and all-natural beauty products" as examples of how the city's culinary and wellness has transformed over the past few years.

And that landscape, frankly, looks pulled from pages of an interior style magazine, with a design aesthetic that blew me away. With that in mind, we put together a guide to the most design-minded destinations in Nashville, without a honky-tonk in sight. (Though if it is live music and great hot chicken you're after, check out our very good guide to classic Nashville, here.) But for all you design-lovers, check out ahead what Music City has in store for you.

Photograph courtesy of Fairlane Hotel.

Fairlane Hotel
A brand-new addition to Nashville’s Arts District, Fairlane Hotel embodies the clean simplicity of mid-century architectural design with a dash of '60s and '70s Music City vibrancy. Located inside the former Fidelity Federal Savings & Loan building, the design is replete with impossibly stylish retro-modern decor, terrazzo flooring, original wood paneling, brass elements, and a green-, brown-, and-crème color palette courtesy of New York City's Reunion Goods & Services. The 81 rooms all boast floor-to-ceiling windows and semi-transparent peekaboo showers detailed with walnut wood. If the '60s and '70s vibe wasn't apparent enough, come by the lobby at 5pm when "The Governor" (aka, hotel's concierge) announces the end of work day and circulates the space with a vintage bar cart serving local spirits and bottled Coca-Cola. Prepare to hear more about this hotel in the next month as it prepares to open Union Teller Coffee Counter, a coffee shop that carries Stumptown, and Ellington’s Mid Way Bar and Grill, the fourth-floor restaurant with a fire pit, wraparound terrace, and classic American fare.

Photograph by Lisa Diederich Photography.

Bobby Hotel
If you need further proof that Nashville is a burgeoning design destination, look no further than the new Bobby Hotel, located steps away from the iconic Printer's Alley. From the oversized wood doors that greet its guests to the majestic staircase and chandelier (made of old car parts) that center the impressive lobby—made even more impressive by marble columns, reclaimed wood walls, metallic light fixtures, and leather and velvet furniture—no design element has been overlooked by New York-based David Mexico Design Group when designing this property. (The hotel even boasts a dog ambassador, Sasha, rescued from County Road Animal Shelter; guests' donations to that organization are welcome.) This impeccable design extends to the oversized rooms that blend boldly patterned carpeting, bright red leather bed frames, plaid blankets, and monogrammed throw pillows with wood closet walls and glass paned bathrooms—a combination that could seem kitschy under less capable hands… which these are anything but. For the best selfie setup, take the grand lobby staircase to the meeting space bathroom that has an unabashedly Instagrammable wall backdrop.

Photograph by Nils Schlebusch.

Hutton Hotel
After a recent Studio 11 Design upgrade, Hutton Hotel is back in Nashville’s Music Row district with accommodations like The Writers’ Studios conceived by country star Dierks Bentley and Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic and outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment, like a vocal booth, and custom Gibson guitars; a 5,000-square-foot music venue; and a new restaurant. The interiors juxtapose jewel-toned accents and modern gold decor with retro-esque elements like velvet Art Deco armchairs, mod carpeting, and a vinyl library in the lobby.

Photograph courtesy of Facebook/LittleOctopusNashville.

Little Octopus
You don't have to look further than Little Octopus' gold mirror door to know that this delicious vegetable-driven restaurant, serving dishes like Chinese eggplant tostada, Tokyo turnips with yuzu emulsion, and cauliflower sandwich with smoked cheese, is a design gem. Designed by L.A.'s Design Bitches, it boasts millennial pink couches, marble tables, and all-over light wood detailing. Make sure to stop by the bathroom to take a mirror selfie with a gold pineapple in the background.

Photograph courtesy of Facebook/MarshHouse.

Marsh House
Located inside the Thompson Hotel, March House's art deco-inspired interiors, dreamed up by NYC's Parts and Labor, feature gold detail, geometric tiles, and architectural light fixtures, whose only rival is the incredible menu made up of elevated Southern seafood dishes likes charbroiled oysters, barbecue shrimp, and trout with rice-grits and beans.

Photograph courtesy of Facebook/HenleyNashville.

The eyes of Bette Davis watching over the bar should be enough to earn this modern American brasserie—that serves delectable dishes like foraged pink oyster mushrooms, squid ink gemelli, and duck and dumplings—a spot on this list. The black-and-white floor, burnt yellow bar chairs, sky blue walls, floral print ceiling, and diamond-shaped lamps are just an extra design bonus.

Photograph by Josh Gilmore.

Henrietta Red
One of the most celebrated openings of last year, this incredibly delicious, female-helmed seasonal seafood restaurant draws in crowds just as much for its full raw bar, made up of 20 different oyster varieties and crudo, as it does for its Kathryn Lager–designed interior and expertly crafted cocktails made by Patterson House alum (try the craft cocktail Jell-O shots—seriously). While the decor centerpiece is the wood-burning oven (that puts out the most incredible bread paired with anchovy butter), flanked by gray-and-white star tile (the same one that covers the bar floor), expect to also be charmed by the wood-and-metal bar chairs, light wood tables, and exposed white-brick walls. 

Photograph courtesy of Fairlane Hotel.

Mile End Delicatessen
If Accidentally Wes Anderson is more the aesthetic you're after, look no further than the newly opened Mile End Delicatessen, the modernized Jewish deli's first location outside of New York. Come for the green-and-wood decor, designed by Reunion Goods & Services, stay for the food coma-inducing Montreal-style smoked meat sandwiches, potato latkes with smoked salmon and caviar, and poutine.

Photograph courtesy of Facebook/RareBird.

Rare Bird
Located on the top of the newly opened Noelle hotel, this chic rooftop bar offers views of the iconic Printer's Alley as well as seasonal craft cocktails in a photo-worthy tropical setting of woven rocker chairs, boldly printed couches and throw pillows, and a fireplace wall.

Photograph courtesy of Facebook/Killecoffee.

There is no shortage of good coffee shops in Nashville right now. Killebrew, located in the stylish Thompson Nashville, puts out some of the best in a beautiful space made up of graphically tiled walls and floors, a sky blue counter, and marble tables. Tip: Stop by on one of the weekend nights for spiked coffee cocktails.

Photograph courtesy of Facebook/GeistNashville.

While this Germantown small plates restaurant, housed in a 118-year-old blacksmith shop, just opened an outdoor Champagne garden (Nashville's first!), we loved sitting at its indoor bar while sipping on the Oaxacan Old Fashioned and charcoal-infused violet-pineapple-gin Blackbird cocktail. One look at the exposed brick walls, gold beer taps, intricate bar counter, and velvet banquettes, and you can understand why. 

Photograph courtesy of Bobby Hotel.

Café at Bobby
It's hard to pick just one design-worthy spot located on the premises of the Bobby Hotel, so we'll just start with the one that makes the most sense chronologically: Café at Bobby, an all-day coffee shop and lunch stop that puts out solid cups of joe and the most addictive croissants you'll ever taste. (Does the reclaimed wood counter, framed by metal detailing and hanging oversized lightbulbs, even matter? No, but it's pretty.) Next head up to the rooftop to dwindle the day away at the eclectic lounge. Have a Rosé All Day sparkling cocktail by the Art Deco bar, pool, or in the back of a 1956 retrofitted Scenicrouser bus (!!!). To replenish, head back down to the Tavern, an American restaurant done in all-wood detailing that serves short ribs and grits alongside tuna poke and watermelon and feta salad. End the night at Bobby’s Garage, a speakeasy-ish bar located in the basement, that holds a huge selection of whiskey and moonshine in decor that looks borrowed from back in the day and with direct access to Printer's Alley.

Photograph by Nils Schlebusch.

While there's no shortage of music venues in Music City, this new 300-person spot, with interiors conceived by Studio 11 Design and Tuck Hinton Architects, is a Woodstock-ian dream with a rich jewel palette, a boldly printed back wall, and a bar made up of keyboards, speakers, and other audio memorabilia.

Photograph courtesy of Emerson Grace.

Emerson Grace
Stocked with already desirable brands like Jenni Kayne, Tanya Taylor, and Ulla Johnson, this boutique makes everything even more desirable thanks to wood tables with just the perfect number of things on display, a geometric stone jewelry counter, and evenly spaced racks of apparel that look borrowed from a fashion magazine photo shoot.

Photograph courtesy of Facebook/TwoSon.

Two Son
One of the most fashion-forward stores in the city, Two Son carries hard-to-find Cool Girl labels like Mara Hoffman, Maryam Nassir Zadeh, and Brother Vellies in a minimalist, loft-like space with exposed beams, geometric racks, natural materials, ample natural light, and houseplants. Beloved indie beauty and wellness labels like Boy Smells, Moon Juice, and RGB round out the millennial-approved roster.

Photograph courtesy of Peter Nappi

Peter Nappi
If old-world quirky is your design aesthetic of choice, check out this shoes and leather goods store—that, on first sight, could be mistaken for an AllSaints or a curiosity store—filled to the brim with all kinds of boots imaginable, hanging Edison bulb lights, wooden table, books, art, and many other knickknacks—even with all that going on, nothing ever seems out-of-place.

Photograph courtesy of Facebook/RootedNashville.

Sneaker heads will love this sneaker museum-shop, designed by architect Price Harrison, that sells some of the most covetable streetwear styles around. A geometric light fixture, more akin to an upside-down installation, shines light onto a minimalist display of shoes from brands like Adidas, Acne, Nike, Y-3, Public School, and Maison Margiela. Equally stylish threads flank the otherwise-empty space with stone floors and black-and-white decor.

Photograph courtesy of Facebook/WilderShop.

An eclectic design haven that carries boldly printed textiles, modern furniture (including the Garza Marfa leather round chairs we covet), tabletop accessories, host gifts, and other must-have-now housewares, Wilder is the result of two NYC transplants finding their home in Nashville.

Screenshot via YouTube

The band shared details about their new St. Vincent-produced album that will drop "you into the world of catastrophe"

Sleater-Kinney just shared more information about their St. Vincent-produced album and dropped a new single.

Per Billboard, Sleater-Kinney revealed that their new album, which they've been teasing since early this year and will be their first since No Cities To Love from 2015, will be called The Center Won't Hold. It's due out on August 16 via Mom + Pop Records. "We're always mixing the personal and the political but on this record, despite obviously thinking so much about politics, we were really thinking about the person—ourselves or versions of ourselves or iterations of depression or loneliness—in the middle of the chaos," Carrie Brownstein said in a statement. Corin Tucker further noted that the new album will "[drop] you into the world of catastrophe that touches on the election."

Janet Weiss noted that the band will "explore a different sound palette" with this album, and pointed to St. Vincent as the reason behind it. She said that St. Vincent "has a lot of experience building her own music with keyboards and synthesizers so she could be our guide to help us make sense of this new landscape and still sound like us."

To satiate us until then, the band released a lyric video for new single, "The Future Is Here," which is very grungy. Bump it, below.

Sleater-Kinney - The Future Is Here (Official Lyric Video)


This is so satisfying!

Even Jon Snow knows just how unsatisfying the final season of Game of Thrones was, and he's ready to apologize. Well, a deepfake of him is at least. A heavily-edited version of Snow's speech from the fourth episode—just before the bodies of those lost in the Battle of Winterfell get burned—now features Snow apologizing for the conclusion of the show and lighting the script on fire.

"It's time for some apologies. I'm sorry we wasted your time," Snow begins. "And I know nothing made sense at the end. When the Starbucks cup is the smallest mistake, you know you fucked up! We take the blame. I'm sorry we wrote this in like six days or something," he adds, before signaling to his peers to light the script with torches and "just forget it forever." "Fuck Season 8," he says before the pages begin to crackle and burn.

If there were more lines left to alter, we would have loved to see Snow also tackle how messy Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister's story line ended up, as well as Bran's kingship, Cersei's boring demise, and the water bottle appearance.

Watch the entire deepfake and try to heal the wounds left by HBO below.


Photo by Darren Craig

It premieres today, exclusively via NYLON

In LP's song "Shaken," the most recent single from her 2018 record Heart To Mouth, she tells the story of seeing her lover out with someone else—ouch. Today, exclusively on NYLON, she releases a cheeky animated music video that pokes fun at the song's heightened drama and perfectly demonstrates all the angst that comes with falling hard for someone.

"She looks at you like I used to/ And I'm just sitting in the corner sh-sh-shaken," LP sings, as the visual—with art by Maayan Priva—depicts the singer hanging out in a bar, watching the girl she likes meet up with another girl. Despite the situation's inherent drama, "Shaken" is less of a ballad and more of an upbeat bop. LP told us she loves the way "this little video captures some of the fun of the song, and its inherent comical anxiety." Sure, heartbreak isn't that funny, but our (sometimes) overly dramatic reaction to it kind of is.

"'Shaken' feels like a bit of a wild card on this record," LP says. "It's the closest I've come to writing a musical, which I hope to do one day." We heartily endorse this idea: Please, LP, give us the queer jukebox musical we crave.

Until that day comes, though, you can watch the music video for "Shaken," below.

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Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures.

This cameo has the Beyhive buzzing

I went to see Men In Black: International alone. Which would have been fine if it wasn't for the shock I received when I saw two specific characters on the screen. Unable to keep it to myself, I shared a curious look with the stranger next to me, who was obviously thinking the same thing as me. "Is that them...?" I whispered first. "I think… so," she replied. Then the two men in question started to dance, and we were both sure: "Yep, that's them."

It was Laurent and Larry Nicolas Bourgeois, better known as Les Twins. Fans of Beyoncé will recognize the duo as the talented brothers who often accompany her on tour and in music videos. In Men In Black: International, the two of them play shapeshifting entities—they're more like energy forces than aliens—who pursue Tessa Thompson's and Chris Hemsworth's characters throughout the duration of the film. The twins' ability to manipulate their bodies in ways that are graceful and otherworldly really helps sell them as extraterrestrials and is fun to watch.

So if Thompson in a suit or Hemsworth shirtless weren't enough motivation, here's another reason to go see it. If you look close, you can see them in the trailer below.


Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

"I am honored to share this bonding experience with my own daughter"

In a heart-warming Instagram photo, Serena Williams shares the history of hair braiding and the importance of the tradition. The tennis player shared a photo of herself braiding her daughter Olympia Ohanian's hair and spoke about how "honored" she was to be able to "add another generation" to the tradition of the practice.

The photo shows Williams attentively braiding her daughter's hair while Olympia smiles, obviously loving the experience. Williams noted that hair braiding was created by the Himba people in Namibia, Africa, and that "we have been braiding our hair for centuries." "In many African tribes braided hairstyles were a unique way to identify each tribe," she continued.

Williams pointed out that braiding is a bonding experience. "People would often take the time to socialize," she wrote. "It began with the elders braiding their children, then the children would watch and learn from them. The tradition of bonding was carried on for generations, and quickly made its way across the world."

Williams closed her post with a sweet message about her daughter, saying that she's "honored to share this bonding experience" with her.

See the post, below.