One of my favorite hangout spots in Nashville is Pinewood Social, a 13,000-square-foot former trolley barn that now serves as a day-to-night location for social gathering.
What intrigues me the most about this place is its versatility. As a matter of fact, Pinewood Social entails so many things in one that I have to experience it in separate parts.
My first visit was with a group of friends on New Year's Eve last year. We were intimately seated in an open area with oversized, wraparound booth seating, a cozy sofa, lounge chairs and a coffee table with classic board games underneath it. We didn't eat dinner there, but we took total advantage of the bar and ordered an assortment of some of the most eclectic cocktails. Situated behind us was a full service, six-lane bowling alley, which put me in the mindset of being in an old-school, recreation center in the 1950s. A karaoke room was also nearby. Outside, there were a couple of four-foot deep swimming pools and private cabanas overlooking the Cumberland River and the city's skyline. The energy that night was high and all night long people were laughing and chattering among the sounds of bowling balls knocking down pins and champagne flutes toasting at midnight.
But when I went back one Sunday morning for brunch, the atmosphere was completely different. The vibe was much more laid-back, and the dominant sound was the tapping of people's fingertips on laptops while sipping coffee prepared by the expert baristas of Crema. The booths and the sofas in the lounge space were pretty much unoccupied, instead, the preferred gathering place was a long, dimly lit wooden table that looked like something you'd find in a library.
The bar was open, but this time, the drink menu consisted of breakfast/brunch inspired cocktails, such as The Good Sinner (shown above), which was like a mimosa with a twist: sparkling wine mixed with St. Germain, pineapple juice, Pernod and your choice of either gin or vodka. I also had a coffee cocktail called Southern Limerick (shown below), that was made with coffee, bourbon, sorghum and heavy cream.
The brunch menu included Southern-style dishes with some unconventional tweaks here and there. There were so many good options that I couldn't decide; it was either order the Egg in a Basket, filled with ham, truffle hollandaise, a poached egg and toast or the fried chicken biscuits and homemade gravy. I went with the latter and added the granola to my tab, which was blended with yogurt, fruit, mint and a drizzle of honey.
Pinewood Social has received some pretty fascinating press. It's been raved about in Cosmopolitan magazine, USA Today, Forbes Travel Guide, InStyle magazine and New York Times, just to name a few.
Seems like one of the most inventive concepts on Earth, right? Definitely a must-try during your next trip to the Music City….