After much anticipation (and annoying construction traffic) the Omni Hotel finally opened in SoBro next to the also new Music City Center and the Country Music Hall of Fame. The Omni added some desperately needed hotel rooms but it also added some new restaurants I've been anxious to try. Walking into Barlines I thought great, just what Nashville needs, another sports bar! I'm being sarcastic. It's the last thing we need. Barlines actually touts itself as a honky-tonk. I've never been in honky-tonk where you can listen to a band while watching the game. It seems like sensory overload.
The folks greeting us at the door were super friendly and seemed like my kind of people so I decided to keep an open mind. They had two more things in their favor: it was one of the most beautiful nights Nashville had seen in a while and it was one of the few nights we weren't in a rush to get to a show or some other event so we could relax.
Barlines had all it's overhead doors thrown open and we grabbed a table close to the street.
I imagine this street is going to get loud and crazy when the convention traffic picks up.
It may just be a hotel sports bar (okay, honky-tonk) but it has an unmistakeable Tennessee feel.
They served Mr. Ville's Manhattan on the rocks. Ooops! Maybe it is a honky-tonk.
I went for a fuzzy gin thing.
To try out the kitchen's skills, we ordered a couple of classics: spinach artichoke dip and deviled eggs.
Impressed so far.
I've had many a deviled egg in my life and these are up there with the top two. That Tabasco-y drizzle? Lawd!! I wanted to get another order but he had to snuggle into this bad boy.
I was so excited all I managed to get was a cell phone picture. This, my friends, is a grilled ham and pimento cheese sandwich with a fried egg. This was shared between two. I wouldn't suggest you get one on your own but if you do, I won't judge. The spicy pickles and green tomatoes were the perfect accompaniment to all that oozy goodness. It was a gastronomic perfect storm.
Since I had honky-tonkin' on the brain, we headed to our favorite for a comparison.
People ask me all the time why Roberts' Western World is the favorite and I really can't get specific. It just has a good feel to it. I do suggest you don't go until after 10:00 PM.
We avoid the crowd at the front door on Broadway and enter from the alley in the back.
See that speck of open bar at the bottom of the stairs? Head straight there to grab a drink and avoid the throngs.
If you want to avoid the main floor all together, stay in the balcony for faster service and a bird's-eye view.
My honky-tonk drink of choice is good tequila with club soda and all the lime they'll give me. This isn't a cocktail shaker kind of place.
On any given night Robert's is equal parts locals and tourists.
Like all good hippies, we enter from the back door but we always push our way out the front. Very politely, of course.
The last task of the night is to visit my favorite busker at his spot in front of Merchant's to leave him a few bucks in his tip bucket. He's a freestyle rapper and always has a crowd dancing on the sidewalk.
Barlines is not a honky-tonk in the traditional sense. In the end it doesn't really matter as long as they keep those deviled eggs on the menu!