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VOL. 37 | NO. 49 | Friday, December 6, 2013

Treat guests to great hotels, bars

By Hollie Deese

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A Tennessee Christmas

A recipe from 1808 Grille, Hutton Hotel, Midtown
Fight off those cold Tennessee nights with family and friends with the warmth and comfort of 1808 Grille’s locally-influenced cocktail in the comfort of your own home.

1.5 oz. George Dickel No. 12 Tennessee Whisky
¼ oz. Kahlua
¼ oz. St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
¼ oz. Cinnamon infused simple syrup
5 drops vanilla extract

Stir all ingredients with ice and strain in to a cocktail glass. Express oils from an orange twist over top, adding it to the glass as a garnish.

If you’re lucky, family and friends will be staying in one of the city’s impressive hotels instead of sleeping on your couch.

No matter the sleeping arrangements, take advantage of their visit and check out some of the best places to enjoy Nashville during the holidays – in one of its happening hotel bars.

Chances are you’ll be adding a new regular hangout to your roster even after everyone heads home.

1808 Grille, Hutton Hotel, Midtown


1808 West End Ave., 615-340-0012

The Hutton Hotel’s lobby is home to the award-winning, full-service restaurant 1808 Grille, which impresses locals as much as it does guests with seasonal menus by Executive Chef Charles Phillips – a recent guest chef at the James Beard House – that include vegetarian and gluten free options, mainly as a happy side effect of offering such a farm-fresh menu.

Sample items that embrace the seasonal cuisine include classic braised short ribs with cheddar boxty (potato pancake), horseradish cream and a Guinness demi-glace and crispy marinated trout with Vietnamese chili sauce, carrot ribbons and green onions.

Cocktails put the focus on local ingredients, and are a great way to show off the city to family and friends.

1808 Grille in the Hutton Hotel features opulent surroundings and drinks made with local brands.

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Sweet Lou’s Cream Soda is a bright mix of Corsair’s vanilla bean vodka and ginger ale, while Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Whiskey is served just right – alone over ice.

Over the holidays, out-of-town guests can take advantage of Hutton Hotel’s “Shop, Sleep, Repeat” package that adds complimentary breakfast for two at 1808 Grille and free parking into the rate of their room, for a savings of more than $60.

Barlines, Omni Nashville, SoBro


250 Fifth Ave. S., 782-5300

The newest bar on the SoBro block, Barlines is located inside the just-opened Omni Nashville Hotel.

The raised stage in the middle of the room is yet another venue for local musicians to shine seven days a week, and while it is not as established a honky-tonk as the standards on Broadway, there are plenty of perks for visitors grabbing a drink at Barlines.

Two full bars at opposite ends of the room accommodate plenty of people, and multiple LCD HDTV’s cause fans to gather on game day.

People who opt to imbibe in straight-up offerings from their Tennessee Whiskey Trail of more than 20 state-made liquors, can choose from Corsair, George Dickel and Popcorn Sutton.

Or, your visiting family and friends can choose from one of the cocktails crafted around the local liquor scene.

Hungry? The food is just as much a showcase for local flavors as the full bar, with all manner of tasty bites that showcase the best of what Music City has to offer, like the Hog Alley Crisp sandwich with tobacco coleslaw and crispy pork belly.

Guests at Omni Nashville – the second largest hotel in the state – can enjoy 24-hour room service, and that includes coffee from local brewer Bongo Java.

Just another way to leave guests craving a taste of Nashville after they leave.

Oak Bar, Hermitage Hotel, Downtown


Opened in 1910, downtown’s Hermitage Hotel is the only Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond hotel in Tennessee, and is consistently listed on the Travel & Leisure’s World’s Best list as well as on their Top 500 list.

Basically, the registered historic structure has got it going on and that extends to its tony Oak Bar as well.

Committed to showcasing Music City at its best, touches of local flavor are found everywhere, from the Hatch Show printed menus to the delicious bar fare created by chef Tyler Brown.

Expect to find the fried pickles with “comeback sauce” started in his garden, and the open face biscuit with brisket features protein raised on nearby Double-H farm, bought by the hotel in October 2012.

As for the drinks, the Oak Bar was recently named among America’s 55 best bourbon bars in the country by The Bourbon Review.

And don’t forget to peak inside the men’s room on the lower level. It’s a work of art.

Mason’s Bar, Loews Vanderbilt, West End


2100 West End Ave., 321-1990

Chef Brandon Frohne – he recently prepared a New South Thanksgiving dinner at the James Beard House – is all about local, seasonal ingredients, and that sensibility extends to the bar menu at Mason’s.

Cocktails use house-made ingredients like watermelon soda, hop bitters and honey syrup while bar bites are beyond burgers and fries – although Mason’s does delicious versions of both.

A flatbread appetizer with shortbread, cheddar, pickled onions and pomegranate gremolata shares menus space with crab corn dogs, deviled eggs with bacon jam, and a decadent Down South Poutine with beef cheek confit, Georgia blue cheese, red eye gravy and truffle fries.

Plus each Wednesday means $10 burgers, with recent offerings including The Antebellum with fried green tomatoes, egg salad, pickled squash and country ham and The Bluebird with Niman Ranch pork, egg, Sriracha aioli and peanut-radish slaw.

For family staying near Vanderbilt, this bar is a best bet.

Prime 108 Lounge, Union Station, Downtown


1101 Broadway, 620-5665

Locals love coming to the architecturally stunning Union Station Hotel for any reason, and the drinks at the Prime 108 Lounge are as good a reason as any.

Handcrafted cocktails use fresh-squeezed juices and house-made mixes, like the delicious 108 with local Corsair gin, ginger liquor, fresh mint, lemon and cucumbers.

However, their seasonal drinks this year really shine.

It doesn’t get much better than the Tennessee Hot Buttered Rum with Whisper Creek, cinnamon and simple syrup.

Offerings from local breweries Blackstone, Yazoo and Hap N’ Harry’s can showcase to out-of-towners how good we truly do have it, especially when it’s paired with a Prime 108 burger with brie, caramelized onions, grilled mushrooms, organic greens, shaved prosciutto and balsamic ketchup.

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