I suppose I can’t really speak universally about such things, but am I completely off in saying that kids my age typically don’t bar hop? I’m not saying that people I know don’t venture out of their neighborhoods or decide to try new places, but everybody has their Cheers, if you will… at least, so many of my friends do. Some go to the hipster-ish East Nashville for Red Door or 3 Crow or 5 Spot. Some go downtown to Beer Sellar or Flying Saucer. There’s Hillsboro Village with classics like Jackson’s, Sportsman’s, and the Villager. And there’s also Broadway and Division, boasting everything from Patterson House to Bound’ry to Blue Bar. And I haven’t even mentioned neighborhoods like Belmont, Demonbreun, Printer’s Alley, Music Row, or the Gulch… nor have I said anything about venues or restaurants with bars. My initial point is clear now, I think. For something of an amateur alcohol connoisseur (does that sound like some poorly veiled admission to alcoholism?), there are choices abound in Music City.
As a female, an affection for alcohol most often translates to lush, or maybe even just drunk, but I can say with confidence that in accordance with my numerous years of drinking, I’m sooo over that lush phase and have comfortably settled down into my drink-to-enjoy-the-drink phase. And my favorite place to enjoy a cold brewski is hands down Melrose Pub. (It is very important to make the “Pub” distinction, as there is a Melrose Billiards across the street (not related, other than location; the neighborhood goes by the same name). The Billiards is fascinating for extreme opposite reasons, i.e. basement dive bar, 12 or more pool tables, jukebox that hasn’t worked for years, minimal lighting, $2 practically everythings, and a perpetual haze of stale cigarette smoke. Among friends, we go to “Pub, Not Billiards,” and the rest is understood.)
Anyway, there are three key ingredients to your classic Cheers-esque bar: beer, food, and atmosphere, and Melrose is a triple threat. The bar is host to over 85 beers (nearly 20 on draft), in addition to the semi-annual rotations of seasonal favorites, which are introduced by way of an official night of beer tasting once every three or so months.
The menu is by far the best bar cuisine I’ve ever had. It’s always fresh and so tooootally delicious. My staples are the BLT, the Club sandwich, the Chicken Club wrap, and the sweet & spicy wings… all with Melrose’s signature waffle fries, of course. Did I mention that you have to check your calorie count at the door? Yeah, yeah, but just look at it(!):
And last, but certainly not least, the atmosphere. Melrose is such a warm, cozy place. The incandescent lighting and dark wooden bar and tables exude a sort of glowing invitation. See?
I’ll admit that there are certain nights on which I avoid Melrose. Thursdays, particularly, because the two-for-one special attracts this uncharacteristic “young professionals” crowd that always gives me a slightly creepy vibe. Friday and Saturday nights are occasionally like that as well, though the crowding issue has decreased significantly since they expanded the room and opened a “Beer Garden,” aka patio. But Tuesdays are trivia (we conjured up a solid 4th place last night!), and Mondays and Wednesdays are slower, which is nice. I’ve gotten to know the bartenders pretty well by frequenting the off days. And now I’m a regular. I’m even working to be part of the Melrose Nite Owls, the bar’s beer club, initiation into which includes drinking every beer on the menu… but that’s another story now, isn’t it?