The Dish on happy hour at Nonna’s Pizzeria and Wine Bar

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Lagunitas IPA ($3), Chianti ($6), and the Nonna pizza ($5) on happy hour

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.


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The Dish on happy hour at Answer

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

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Hummus ($5) with avocado, arugula, pepitas, fresco, and tortillas
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Potatoes ($5) with duck fat, manchego, and smokey aioli

The Dish on dining at AVO

FANCY? AVO has a knack for remaking old favorites into creative, beautiful dishes that are 100 percent vegan (and 100 percent delicious). Located in a container building of OneC1TY on Charlotte near the 28th/31st Avenue Connector, the restaurant is a casual spot to grab lunch or even an early dinner. The atmosphere is clean and modern, which matches its nutritious vegan persona. The menu features dishes with luxurious names, such as Glazed Cauliflower Steak ($12), Zucchini Pasta Verde ($13) and Mushroom Tartare Toast ($10).

 FUN? Yes! Though none of the people in my party were vegan (or even vegetarian for that matter), we were thoroughly impressed with the taste and overall quality (and quantity) of food. This is a great spot to step outside your comfort zone and try something new! You really can’t go wrong with any of the dishes. But if you are stuck deciding between a couple, the waiters are extremely helpful in finding something you’ll love.

FRUGAL? AVO’s menu is reasonably priced: Large dishes fall between $12 and $14, while small plates range from $5 to $11. Menu prices aside, AVO is part of Spring Rewards, and you can claim a $5 gift from AVO upon signing up. This knocks $5 off your bill as long as your check amounts to $5 or more.

The restaurant also offers a happy hour that features its popular AVO margarita for $7, along with $7 house wines, 2-for-1 drafts and an assortment of vegan cocktails from 2 to 5 p.m. and from 8 to 9 p.m. weekdays.

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The Dish on happy hour at Silo

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.

The New York Sour (bourbon, lemon, simple syrup, red wine float) and A Benny and Joon Morning (amaretto, bourbon, lemon, simple syrup)
The house wine: Buenas Tempranillo


The Dish on drinks at Salt & Vine

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).


The Dish on happy hour at Union Common

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!

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The Dish on happy hour at Holland House Bar & Refuge

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.

From left to right: Ward 8, La Paloma and Bee’s Knees cocktails
Holland House happy hour menu