Bowling and Cocktails at Pinewood Social

Some of us wanted to see the NCAA Championship Football Game and all of us needed to eat. We consulted our napkin of suggestions and decided to combine activities at Pinewood Social.Pinewood Social bowling alley

It is located in an industrial area on the Cumberland River that is gradually converting to more genteel uses. The former hanger or warehouse is so big they can provide a large restaurant, big bar and still offer six lanes of bowling in the back.

We sat in a booth with televisions visible in every direction. The cocktails were terrific and interesting. Nashville mixologists are having fun with bitters. There are also local brews and old favorites.

We started with the fried broccoli and it was amazing. I could have eaten that all night. It is simply broccoli—no breading—slightly crunchy with just the right amount of salt. I ordered the fried chicken and it came with fries and a terrific cole salw type salad with all kinds of yummy ingredients. The fried chicken was excellent just trending toward spicy hot.

You can buy a pair of socks if you need them.
You can buy a pair of socks if you need them.

At this point the ballgame was no longer capturing our attention and we decided to bowl. The party moved to a lane. An attendant fetched us some shoes (and we bought rabbit socks since some of us were wearing pumps). They give you an iPad for keeping score and the app makes it easy if you have forgotten how to bowl.

I am not much of a bowler. I can probably count on my fingers the number of times my score broke 100. The first 2 practice balls were gutter balls. Sometime mid game Jessica suggested aligning my thumb differently and voila! I started knocking down pins. My boss Chuck was well ahead so I wasn’t worried about my score. I was just having fun.

Then a small miracle occurred. In the last two frames I bowled 4 strikes in a row! And I won the game!

dining room
Pinewood Social dining room

We bowled a second game so Chuck could make his comeback and my bowling went back to “normal”. The cocktails kept coming and we enjoyed ourselves knowing that our designated driver Jessica would see us safely back to the hotel.

You know it is a good place and a fun time when you all start planning how to open a similar place back home. We did not need a reservation for dinner or bowling, but it was a Monday night. Best to call ahead.

Eat Your Way Through Nashville and Be Happy

Local suggestionsOn the Southwest flight to Nashville I struck up a conversation with a local Nashvillian and asked “Where should we go?” She and her friends gave us lots of suggestions and I started writing them on this napkin. Then other passengers started chiming in. By the time we were finished we had more places to eat than meals to eat them.

Fried chicken and biscuits and gravy at Puckett's in Franklin
Fried chicken and biscuits and gravy at Puckett’s in Franklin

With one southern boy in our party, we committed ourselves to eat as much southern food as possible in 48 hours. Kudos to Chuck. He managed to eat chicken at every single meal, even breakfast.

Fireside chats at Hermitage Hotel fireplace
Fireside chats at Hermitage Hotel fireplace

We arrived to the Hermitage Hotel late on Sunday night and felt peckish. It was 7:30 p.m. on our internal clocks. One of the recommendations was for the Capitol Grill at the Hermitage Hotel. Unfortunately its kitchen was already closed; fortunately we could order food at the Oak Bar. We kicked off our Nashville eating orgasma with divine deviled eggs and fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese. Jessica also ordered the Brunswick Stew and let me taste. Yum. My colleagues raved about the cocktails. The waitress was very good with recommending drinks and provided quick cheerful service. Welcome to Nashville.

The next morning we all had breakfast on our own. I actually got up early and worked out in the gym! I ordered breakfast in my room: oatmeal with raisins (it is all about the pacing). It was the same high quality as the food served on my last morning at the Capitol Grill.

Our workshop was in Franklin and at lunchtime we sprinted to the Burger Up to get a table and eat in the hour break. We were all pleasantly surprised when we looked at the menu to find gourmet burgers, chicken and salads. You could eat healthy or go for truffle fries. The original Burger Up is in 12 South. We highly recommend it.

Puckett's in FranklinThat evening some of us wanted to watch football and we needed to eat. We selected Pinewood Social and it was such an amazing experience it earned a dedicated blog post, as did our dinner the following evening at the restaurant Husk.

On our last full day together we looked at our napkin and realized that we had to go out to breakfast if we wanted to experience more of what Nashville had to offer. Plus people kept saying we should see downtown Franklin. So we got up early and went to Puckett’s General Store for breakfast. It was good food and generous portions. By this time though I could feel myself getting ready to wave the white flag.

Our speaker used Chick-fil-A as a marketing example during the workshop and we all looked at each other and said “lunch”. We all were looking for smaller portions while still delicious and with service in under an hour (with driving).

Jack's BBQThe next day my sister-in-law’s sister Gretchen and mom Chetty gave me a tour of Nashville. I still needed to try a “meat and 3 sides” so we went to Jack’s BBQ. I loved the flying pigs. The sides all looked like they might clog an artery so I selected turnip greens and cole slaw to go with my pork and cornbread platter. It was delicious but I was reaching “tilt”.

Meat and 3 Sides at Jack's BBQ
Meat and 3 Sides at Jack’s BBQ

I also wanted to try local coffee. We stopped in 12 North at Frothy Monkey and I enjoyed an excellent latte.

On the last evening, I was too pooped to go out, so I ordered a salad from room service and carved off another hunk of rib-eye from the ginormous steak Janet and I shared at Husk. It was even more delicious cold.

I got recommendations for non-southern places too. Try Urban Grub in 12 South or Etch restaurant downtown (the only one anyone mentioned has vegetarian options). I Dream of Weenie for hotdogs.

My colleagues and I all agree—we would return to Nashville in a heartbeat and stay longer next time.