FANCY? Situated on Murphy Road, Nonna’s Pizzeria and Wine Bar offers a more casual Italian dining experience than its neighbor, Caffe Nonna. This Sylvan Park gem is a great place to grab authentic Italian-style pizza after work or on the weekend without racking up a large bill. The pizzeria and Caffe Nonna share the exact same menu– so if you prefer to enjoy the same food in a more formal atmosphere, simply walk next door!
FUN? Nonna’s Pizzeria and Wine Bar is cozy and fairly small. The restaurant offers a variety of seating with tables and a bar area, along with a patio (which is ideal for evenings in the spring and fall).
FRUGAL? Yes! Nonna’s offers happy hour specials from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday on wine ($6), beer ($3), an assortment of appetizers, and the Nonna ($5) and the Goomba ($6) 10-inch pizzas. (To catch you up on terminology, the Nonna pizza is the equivalent of a margherita pizza, and the Goomba includes pepperoni and sausage.) Normally, these same pizzas are $10 and $12, respectively. Nonna’s is one of the few (if not the only) places in Nashville to offer half-priced Italian-style pizza during happy hour.
FANCY? Answer recently opened in Sylvan Park and has since filled the void of a foodie-driven establishment in the neighborhood. The menu offers an excellent cocktail, wine, and dinner list that would satisfy any Nashville foodie at a pretty good price. This is an ideal place for drinks after work or for a full dinner with a date or with a couple of friends (especially if you live within walking distance). On that note, parking is very limited. If you can’t land a spot in the small parking lot behind the restaurant, you will easily be able to find parking within walking distance– either on the street or in the surface lot at McCabe Park Community Center.
FUN? Very! Answer’s ambiance is modern and vibrant. With its bar in the middle, this open-concept restaurant can become a little noisy. Other than that, there are numerous tables around the restaurant– along with outdoor seating– that could provide a quieter experience if that’s what you’re looking for.
FRUGAL? With Answer’s happy hour, you can enjoy a few small plates, wines, beers, and a featured cocktail for only $5 each from 5 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. We tried out the potatoes and the hummus appetizers along with the La Vielle Ferme Rose and Cigar City Jai Alai. The pretzel was another popular option among patrons, and we will likely order this upon a return visit! I
FANCY? Silo has a southern sense of fancy. Located in Germantown, Silo complements the quaintness of this neighborhood’s brick sidewalks by providing an inherently rustic country atmosphere. The walls are wooden slats, and the tables and chairs are handpicked to match. Overall, Silo offers an enticing environment to unwind after a workday.
FUN? Whether you sit in the dining area, at the bar or on the patio, Silo offers a comfortable, friendly place. The waitstaff is knowledgeable and helpful, and the bartenders are personable. The music is not too loud, and the tracks offer easy listening.
FRUGAL? It can be! During the daily happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. (including weekends), Silo offers creative cocktails for $6, wine for $5 and beer for $4. The seasonal menu features a number of excellent choices. It may be tough to decide what you should enjoy first– but this is a good problem to have.
The red wine is the Buenas Tempranillo (priced at $10.99 in liquor stores), which doesn’t make this quite as good of a deal as Michael David’s Petite Petit for $5.50 (priced at $18.99 in liquor stores) at the Sutler. However, unlike most house wines, this Tempranillo is rich and delicious with a hint of spice, vanilla, and oak.
FANCY? Salt & Vine is not particularly fancy. This new hot spot in Nashville offers a very modern vibe with a fresh market up front and a seating area in the back. The Sylvan Park establishment includes a great selection of wine, coffee, beer and light bites on its menu. Because the modern fixtures and layout create an overly noisy atmosphere as Salt & Vine becomes crowded, this place would be ideal for catching up with a girlfriend right after work.
FUN? Yes! Salt & Vine offers a fun experience for women who enjoy coffee, wine and cheese. I did not have the burrata, but I have heard nothing but good things about this shareable dish.
FRUGAL? The prices for wines by the glass are not outrageous, and the drink menu (pictured below) includes some delicious brands that are not commonly sold by the glass at restaurants. Salt & Vine hosts a daily happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. featuring $6 red and white wines. However, the red happy hour wine was very syrupy and not worth the $6, so I went with Elqui Wines’ Syrah/Carmenere/Malbec blend ($10).
FANCY? Located in Midtown where Broadway and Division split, Union Common is very sophisticated with its no-frills bar area and understated dining room. Its clean lines and colors resemble that of a Chicago hot spot. In the main dining area, the seating varies between booths and tables of all shapes and sizes. The marble bar is a nice place to spend a couple of hours catching up with a friend or to create a more casual dining experience. The space is smaller than most steakhouses, and the bar can get a little loud at peak times. However, I have never had an issue with the noise levels. This would be a great place to take a date or to meet up with family/friends.
FUN? Union Common has a modern, lively vibe! Its happy hour is always at the very top of my list for after-work drinks and appetizers.
FRUGAL? As is the case with most places in Music City, you can make your visit to Union Common as inexpensive or as pricey as you want. Its happy hour is the best in Nashville based on both the deal itself and the selection of side plates, wine and cocktails. Running from 5 to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays*, all wines and select cocktails and small plates are half-priced (menus below). Portions are rather large, which makes the half-priced deal that much more impressive! The quality of the wine for the price is unmatched– I have enjoyed some of my favorite wines of all time sitting at that marble bar. The wine and cocktail menus change every once in a while, but the newcomers never disappoint.
*The happy hour deals are offered exclusively at the bar.
The Husband Bourbon Rating: A
Lofty expectations usually accompany a restaurant’s decision to list bourbon selections under creative names like “brown water.” Fortunately, Union Common differentiates itself from the common restaurant by meeting (or even exceeding) expectations. For the most part, the bourbons are reasonably priced, ranging between $8 and $15 per two-ounce pour. The menu consists of standard offerings, such as Four Roses Single Barrel ($9), Eagle Rare 10 yr ($9) and Booker’s ($14), which are all great prices for the Nashville market. The menu also boasts several well-priced Buffalo Trace experimental offerings (the Rye Bourbon #105 is $25), along with Noah’s Mill ($12), Stagg Jr. ($24) and Garrison Brothers ($17) to round out its vast array of options. The cocktail menu currently lists five bourbon/rye concoctions– all priced for $10 or $11 (which would be $5 and $5.50 on happy hour). I would venture to rank Noir No.1 and When in Rome up against any cocktail, and, with the aforementioned half-priced happy hour deal, these cocktails just got a whole lot better. Grab a seat at this well-appointed bar, try something new and discover what the brown water is all about!
FANCY? Situated in East Nashville,Holland House Bar & Refuge (HHB&R) captures the essence of a speakeasy: It is bustling inside, serves exquisite classic cocktails and comes with all of the upscale features, such as crystal chandeliers and a variety of seating ares. This is a solid alternative to Patterson House if you want to save some dough and avoid the wait. The bartenders are equally friendly and knowledgeable, making HHB&R’s bar a swanky place to enjoy drinks with a date or with a couple of friends.
FUN? Very. Aside from the aforementioned atmosphere and drinks, one of the best parts about Holland House is that it is close to other neat spots in East Nashville (such as Rumours East, the Pharmacy, Eastland Cafe, Bar Luca, Butcher & Bee, etc.) if you are looking to enjoy a multi-part dining experience.
FRUGAL? Holland House arguably has one of the best cocktail deals in town! The happy hour menu offers classic-driven drinks for only $6. Both the Bee’s Knees* and the gin Gimlet are refreshing (and hard to put down), and the Ward 8 and the Old Fashioned will delight any bourbon connoisseur. Even if you are typically a wino, go with a cocktail for at least one round. Though the wine is pretty good, La Vielle Ferme at $6/glass is not considered a good deal since the bottle rings in at around $8/bottle at local liquor stores.
*A Bee’s Knees cocktail typically involves gin, honey and lemon. Holland House’s version subs out gin for rum, which is then typically called a Honey Bee.
FANCY? Located in Sylvan Park, Park Cafe is one of the fancier restaurants in this neighborhood. It offers a seasonal menu that usually includes options like salmon, filet mignon, pork chop, and chicken breast with premium sides and decadent desserts (think pumpkin cheesecake through autumn). This is a great place to go for a romantic dinner date and is equally suitable for hosting larger groups on the back patio.
FUN? Park Cafe is a sister restaurant to Eastland Cafe and Pomodoro East— so it comes as no surprise that the outdoor space is sizable and exquisite. Park Cafe’s cobblestone-paved patio plays host to tables both in the open and under a large tent, giving customers the option to enjoy the sun or to take refuge in the shade.
FRUGAL? Heading over to Park Cafe on a Tuesday is one of your better decisions when it comes to happy hour. On Tuesdays, the restaurant offers its burger with fries for only $7 (usually $12). The regular happy hour menu runs from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. This menu features $6 cocktails, $5 wines, $3 drafts and an assortment of food items (listed below). The Cabernet Sauvignon was the Dark Horse brand, which did not disappoint for $5/glass! We ended up getting a margherita pizza, the burger, two glasses of Cabernet and two Jackalope Red Rye Ales– and only spent $30. Now that is a deal! And the best part is that Park Cafe doesn’t restrict happy hour specials to its bar area. You can enjoy these same deals on the patio, too.
The Husband Bourbon Rating: N/A
Bourbon isn’t one of Park Cafe’s specialties. Instead, go with a $3 draft and spend the money you save at Park Cafe on high-end bourbon elsewhere.