Nashville feels like it was genetically engineered in a lab to be the perfect city in which to have a bachelor party. Music City has become so ubiquitous for singledom send-offs, that you’re 99% likely to run into other bachelor parties throughout the weekend. That means two things: you’re going to be competing for lots of the same slots and reservations, and you’ll probably have enough guys to face each other for a pickup baseball game. If that too much of a bro-verload for you, well, you’ve got options. Hot chicken and barbeque are the local delicacies (and make for great bets on who can eat the hottest level of chicken), the Grand Ole Opry and The Country Music Hall of Fame make it an amazing spot for music lovers. Most importantly, a better strip of bars does not exist in the continental United States than the honky tonks along Broadway. You don’t need much more than that and this handy 72-Hour Guide.
2 p.m. Land in Nashville
After touching down at Nashville International Airport, take a black-stretch Lincoln Limo with Big Limo to your hotel, Thompson Nashville. This new, millennial-centric hotel is a party headquarters and a perfect match for the equally hip Gulch neighborhood which happens to be easy walking distance to downtown. Expect a rooftop bar, a John Besh restaurant, and plenty of Music City inspired decor that roots the hotel in place. Among the 224 contemporary rooms, book the swank suites with separate living area, hardwood floors, insane city views via floor-to-ceiling windows and massive bathrooms with clawfoot tubs.
3 p.m. Travel to The Parthenon
The first order of business is doing the least Nashville thing possible. Just two miles from downtown in Centennial Park is the Parthenon. It’s basically a full-scale replica of the historic attraction in Athens, Greece (it was meant to be temporary but all the old dinosaurs who ran Nashville back in 1897 thought it was the coolest thing since sliced bread, so they kept it). So here it is, housing models of statues you’d find in the original structure. Most people don’t know about it—which is why it closes early, 4:30 pm—so imagine all the fun you can have with all the, “Are you in Greece?!?” responses in your Snapchat stories.
5 p.m. Explore the Gulch
The emerging Gulch neighborhood is where all the cool cats hang. While it’s on the brink of becoming Nashville’s favorite stomping ground for tastemaking locals and visitors alike (come back in two years to see a full gentrification), there’s a handful to do during the day. Stop in at Two Old Hippies, a lifestyle boutique that houses a mishmash of nifty stuff like artsy prints of legendary musicians, flowy things you can buy your fiancé, stylish cowboy boots and belt buckles, and a huge stock of guitars.
Right across the street from Thompson, Pioneer Gentleman’s Barber is where you’re going to go get a proper straight-razor shave and haircut from an expert groomer, while indulging in a neck-and-shoulder massage, scalp massage, and a draft beer (all included in the price).
Now that you look like a million bucks, head to Hops and Crafts to sample 36 rotating taps of regional craft beer. It’s one of the trendier places for beer geeks because these dudes know beer and take it seriously (not so serious is the chilled-out atmosphere). Kick back and play some cards or board games while you catch an early evening buzz.
8 p.m. Dinner at Marsh House
Remember, the bachelor party dinner is the most important meal. Head back to your hotel to dine at Marsh House, helmed by celebrity chef John Besh. With deep Southern roots, he’s known for merging elevated seafood and Southern fare in award-winning dishes. Marsh is further proof that Nashville’s dining scene is going next level. Colorful, artfully plated dishes are Instagram friendly (but resist sharing), and you’ll find some of Besh’s signatures like Shrimp Toast with chili and ginger aioli as well as delicious Squid Ink Garganelli and Catfish Creole.
10 p.m. Live Music and Bar Crawl around Downtown
Bottoms up to partying down. Nightlife in Nashville is legendary, and you can go mild or wild (we predict you’ll go wild). Start your bar crawl locally in the Gulch. Literally next door to Thompson Nashville is Station Inn, a historic concert venue (1974) that cranks out live bluegrass to a packed audience. The bareboned, nostalgic venue still feels retro and dated, yet completely authentic. Now, we know how you feel about banjos, but get ready to be blown away.
Get your honky tonk on at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge on legendary Broadway (the main hub of drunk activity crawling with boozed-up tourists), a legendary music venue that’s now in other party cities like Panama City Beach. It’s a total institution and you might even bump into famous faces like Willie Nelson—because who doesn’t go to Tootsies while in Nashville? And if you’re going to slam shots, this would be the place to do it.
There’s no doubt that you’re going to end up at Honky Tonk Central (also on Broadway) the ultimate magnet for bachelor party groups. There’s three, high-energy levels of live music and everyone’s a hot mess after 1 AM. Honky Tonk Central is definitive Nashville honky tonk in a Western-style saloon, so there’s no irony or interpretation with its name. It is literally honky-tonk central. Definitely do the bachelor party special, where it’s only $100 per person for the VIP balcony, a full open bar for three hours, and a private bartender.
10 a.m. Breakfast at Biscuit Love
Nashville hangovers are great because you get to soak it up with all the amazing food! Walking Dead your way to Biscuit Love, a biscuit-centric biscuit house that specializes in—wait for it—biscuits. You’ll never eat a biscuit the same way again. Formerly a food truck, Biscuit Love is now a regular spot that serves up the perfect, fluffy, decadent, Southern biscuit. You can order up a la carte with butter and jam or go fully loaded with fried chicken or sausage and gravy. http://biscuitlove.com
12 p.m. Take a Whiskey Tour
Tennessee produces the best whiskey in the world (remember, Tennessee is whiskey-centric, Kentucky is bourbon-centric, but the state lines do blur), so it makes sense to hit up the whiskey trails. The granddaddy of all, Jack Daniels (the oldest registered distillery in the US) is in Lynchburg Tennessee, about an hour and half drive, with comprehensive tours perfect for neophytes and JD aficionados. Small-batch whiskey is the specialty at Prichard’s Distillery in Kelso (or their secondary location at Fontanel just outside Nashville). Corsair Artisan, an awesome “brewstillery” (featuring both beer and whiskey) is the final stop back in Nashville. Your concierge can set up a day tour or, if you have a designated driver, rent one of these bad boys.
5 p.m. Drinks at LA Jackson
Rooftop bars are just becoming a thing in Nashville and, lucky for you, you don’t have to go far for sky-high fun. Your hotel, Thompson Nashville, has the best rooftop bar in the city. While LA Jackson’s interiors by Parts and Labor Design (rad design firm in NYC) are striking, the outdoor patio gets all the action with killer views. There’s a handful of excellent signature cocktails, and you’ll definitely feel a buzz from Blood in the Water with Tapatio Reposado, Cocchi Americano, White Creme de Cacao, Smoked Campari, and Black Walnut.
9 p.m. Dinner at Pinewood Social
A former horse stable, Pinewood Social is now a tricked-out, contemporary dining spot that’s going to visually command your attention, and you can expect more than grub. Inside, there’s a modern bowling alley, an attached outdoor garden and patio, and a central bar where watching the mixologists in action is a show in itself. Chef Andrew Rodriguez, formerly from A Voce Madison and A Voce Columbus in NYC, proves he can work magic with Southern food (also infusing his Italian background into several dishes). The grub is big-party friendly. Mac & Cheese is actually an entree here, created with short rib, fontina, truffle oil, and breadcrumbs, along with large-format dishes like fried chicken (in a bucket!) and meatloaf.
11 p.m. Cocktails at The Patterson House
At this point in the night, you’re likely burned out from your all-day drinking marathon, so we’re going to take it easy on you. Have an early nightcap at The Patterson House, one of the best craft cocktail bars in the country (and Nashville’s very first craft cocktail bar in general). It’s small, intimate, and super mellow with a pre-Prohibition, speakeasy feel (think dimly lit booths, old chandeliers, Victorian style ambience). Just be prepared for the taxidermy in the restrooms. Animals are known to attack when you’re at your most vulnerable!
11 a.m. Brunch at The Mockingbird
Head to The Mockingbird, a buzzing, stylish restaurant with tons of natural light and a patio for great people watching. It’s the newest offering from celebrity chef Maneet Chauhan and Brian Riggenbach, who won Food Network’s Chopped (he moved to Nashville from Chicago to open the restaurant). Mexican, Southern, Indian, and Asian flavors influence the unique dishes, like The Bird is The Word, a chicken fried chicken dish where the country gravy is infused with homemade Mexican chorizo. Order the Seoul Purpose, a flank, bulgogi-style seared steak marinated overnight and served with a potato latke waffle, topped with a fried egg and bulgogi jus.
1 p.m. Museum Crawl Around Music Row
For a small city, Nashville’s museum scene is strong. Start at the Johnny Cash Museum, which touts the world’s largest collection of artifacts, memorabilia, and stage costumes of the Man in Black. Even if you prefer Biggie Smalls over Brad Paisley, you can’t visit Nashville without heading to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Scope out Elvis Presley’s solid gold Cadillac limo and basically every gold and platinum country record produced. Of course, the legendary Studio B, which has produced songs by legends Roy Orbison and Dolly Parton, is a must.
Not all great museums are music related. Case in point: 21C Museum Hotel Nashville. The innovative, boutique hotel chain is known to moonlight as a world-class museum in key cities. There’s more than 10,000 square feet of contemporary art here, and it has the vibe of major modern art museums known for progressive and forward-thinking artwork.
Finally, there’s The Grand Ole Opry is the place that put Nashville on the map as country music capital of the world. Every top country performer, from Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift to Brad Paisley and Keith Urban, has performed here, and it’s arguably the most famous Nashville institutions. If you don’t have time to see a concert (which sell out super quick), the venue is packed with history, so you can book tours, like the popular VIP backstage tour.
9 p.m. Dinner at Husk
We saved the best restaurant for last. Executive chef Sean Brock at Husk won the James Beard Best Chef Southeast (2010) and American Cooking Best Chef (2015), and he worked with Anthony Bourdain for The Mind of a Chef series on PBS, so you know you’re in good hands. Husk is located inside a historic, 1800s mansion, oozing with Southern charm, and Brock’s contemporary approach to Southern classics is an ode to Southern food history, with locally grown, farm-fresh, Low-country ingredients. Think Sassafras glazed pork ribs, perfectly seasoned, meat falling off bone, a house-cured country ham that’s juicy and mildly sweet and even an award-winning Husk cheeseburger with Bear Creek Farm beef with bacon ground right into the paddy.
12 a.m. Strip Clubbing at De Ja Vu
There’s a difference between “gentlemen’s club” and “strip club” and De Ja Vu is full on strip club. It’s dark, trashy, and not really anything else more than ladies stripping and you giving them money. The talent might seem bored as hell, and they don’t make much effort to get your attention, so you have to get them interested, which is a little backwards, but hey, it’s Nashville. That said, it’s fun as hell after a few shots, which you’ll have to bring because it’s BYOB. Yep. Bring your own booze! And if you need any more help planning this bachelor party, we’ve got you covered.