Goin' downtown - Cadillac Ranch - The Lodge
I had a downtown-centric weekend, starting with a pretty tasty Saturday night lobsta bake at City Cellars to celebrate its one year anniversary. (It's a cool little - and I mean LITTLE - wine shop at Ninth and Race downtown. Brian only sells wine that he has tried and actually likes, so you can trust that you're probably going to like what you're buying). Owner Brian was gracious, the company was good, and I found a new wine I like: Labbe Abymes, from Savoie, in eastern France. I don't know enough wine to know how to describe it "properly," but it was bright and pleasant and felt like it was going to get sweet like a Riesling, but then the sweetness (and cloyingness associated with that sweetness) never comes out, which is great. Very smooth. We bought a few bottles - and it's only $10.99.
I then decided to check out all the hype on Fountain Square, since I rarely walk over there at night. But it is actually "happening" nowadays. Saturday night at 8 p.m. saw movies on the big screen above Macy's - "The Incredibles" and "Batman." It's pretty cool to see families hanging out on the Square. The movies continue every Saturday night through Sept. 1. Check out the list of films here.
From there we moved on to Cadillac Ranch All American Bar and Grill, newly opened, just on the other side of the Fifth Third Bank Center. It's the second location of a Nashville chain, and takes up the entire block, which is pretty amazing. There's seating both indoors and on an outside covered patio, and garage doors which they can close when the weather turns cooler. It seems to have a good vibe, though we were there around 8:30 p.m., after the Reds fans had gone to the game and before things really picked up as families were finishing up their dinners.
Overheard in the ladies room: great servers, good to the kids, etc., but S-L-O-W service. Ditto a colleague who tried to eat there for lunch two days last week, only to report empty tables outside but a 45-minute wait to be seated. (My suggestion: make a reservation!) So they're still working out kinks, but I wish them all the best. Downtown really needs a spot like this.
On the walls in fun design groupings: hubcaps. license plates from out West. an entire wall of guitars. And of course there's the obligatory mechanical bull! Just saw a few folks ride it (it was early yet), but I imagine that'd be a fun spot to be come midnight.
Next: The Lodge Bar, just a block up from McFadden's, at 35 East 7th St. Wooden paneling and taxidermy galore. And I do mean GALORE. (Note: not a bar for vegetarians!) But it's fun, the crowd's young, and they serve BEER TOWERS. The towers look like giant test tubes with a spigot on them - a fresh take on pitchers, I suppose. They hold something like 6 glasses of beer, but I think they stop serving them early (maybe 9 p.m.). I liked the music, and the buckets of peanuts on the tables.
It looks like The Lodge has stolen a bit of McFadden's thunder, but McFadden's still has it - big space, good pours, fun people watching, and the dark woods that scream "you're in a bar."
Haven't been downtown lately? It's worth checking out.