Since it’s tax time, you’re probably either really stoked about a return, or really bummed about the check you’ve just written. And you may need to either celebrate or nurse your checking account back to health.
For those of you in the middle of big-return glee, I’ve collected some of the most fun Nashville splurges I could think of. For the folks on the other side, I put together a few ways to cheer yourself up on the cheap.
5 Nashville Splurges
Grab a pair of Imogene + Willie jeans
Sure, you can grab a pair of $15 jeans at any number of big-boxes, but selvage denim is a totally different animal, and although you pay a lot more, you get a lot more. And Nashville-bred Imogene + Willie (2601 12th Ave. S., in 12 South) does it right, with cuts that look good on everyone and custom fits. Jeans made this well last half a lifetime even if you wear them every day, so they’re a splurge you can feel pretty good about.
Roll big with Music City Dream Cars
For most of us, a $300,000 purchase comes with a mortgage. But just because you’re not set up (or not inclined) to drop that much on a car doesn’t mean you can’t take a stroll through that lifestyle. Rent a dream car from Music City Dream Cars for as little as three hours or for a whole day or weekend — this Ferrari California runs $225/hour, and I sure wouldn’t mind taking it out for an afternoon.
Grab a piece of history at Gruhn Guitars
Folks come from all over to peruse the vintage inventory at Gruhn Guitars (2120 8th Ave. S.), and the world-class instruments they sell don’t tend to come cheap. But for lucky players with a return coming, there’s the joy of owning something that looks and sounds as beautiful as, say, the ‘60s Guild above.
Have dinner at The Catbird Seat
One of the most talked-about restaurants in the city (check out this recent love from Travel + Leisure), The Catbird Seat’s a special-occasion stop unless you’re seriously flush. And getting a table isn’t a night-of affair, so you’ll have to plan ahead. But enjoying 15 courses of chef Trevor Moran’s upscale cuisine ($115/person, plus optional drink pairings), with a menu that changes daily, makes a pretty fantastic tax-return splurge.
Have a staycation at The 404
The concept of the staycation isn’t for everyone, but if you like the idea of enjoying Nashville like a tourist for a day — hitting places you don’t usually go, ignoring responsibilities briefly even while you’re close to home — crashing in your own bed kinda defeats the purpose. Splurge on a king room with a loft at the super-stylish 404 in The Gulch, hit some of the neighborhood restaurants for cocktails and dessert and stroll back to a room that's decked out in vintage pieces and modern, clean design.
5 Ways to Save in Nashville
Take the Roots Shuttle to Music City Roots
Every Wednesday, world-class roots musicians take the stage at Music City Roots in the Factory at Franklin, with world-class roots musician Jim Lauderdale hosting. You’d think it’d be expensive to get in the house, but somehow, tickets to these shows are just $10. Even better, if you live in Nashville, your $10 ticket also gives you access to the Roots Shuttle, which’ll take you from Midtown or East Nashville to and from the show while you enjoy free Blackstone beer tastings and Monell’s food samples.
Hit a Saturday tasting at Woodland Wine Merchant
When belt-tightening hits, things like exploring new wines tend to be among the first to go, and things like a sixer of Old Style tend to be the first to come. But you can still enjoy tastes of the good life. One great way: Head by Woodland Wine Merchant’s Saturday tastings in East Nashville (1001 Woodland St.), and you’ll get to learn a lot from their helpful staff while you wash away the cheap-beer memories. Sign up for their email list to keep abreast of the latest tastings.
The happy hour is the dependable friend of the belt-tightener, but not every happy hour is the same. Some even let you eat, drink and feel like the belt’s not so tight. I’m fond of Holland House Bar & Refuge’s — the bites are easy on the wallet and still worth getting excited about (say, ginger and sorghum-glazed chicken wings with minted yogurt for $6), and you can top them off with a well-made, $5 classic cocktail (like an Old Fashioned).
Even if your brunch budget’s been slashed, you’re not stuck with corn flakes on the couch. Grab a few things from the store and put together a simple picnic, then head out to Arrington Vineyards (6211 Patton Rd., Arrington) to enjoy it and the scenery, plus a tasting if you feel like it. The grounds are truly beautiful, and when you get a good spring day? A million bucks.
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