Bites: A Nashville Spot Serving Bar Food That Is Anything but Standard


Late one afternoon, before the music had started, my husband and I sat down and perused the cocktail menu. On the left side are Classics and on the right are Revisions, riffs on classics. We started with a couple of bright, citrusy classics — a Bee’s Knees and a Southside — and began to discover one culinary surprise after another: Marcona almonds grated on top of pork sausage; chow chow, a spicy relish, made with cabbage, peppers, onions, turmeric and celery seeds the way Mr. Cioccia’s grandfather prepared it; sous vide cauliflower, charred, then draped with six-month aged ham; succulent smoked trout with white beans and dill on a gorgeous vintage-style plate.

Just two blocks away, the original Printer’s Alley was named after Nashville’s printing and publishing industry that started at the turn of the last century. The area became known for lively speakeasies and, later, nightclubs that showcased performers such as Chet Atkins, Dottie West and Hank Williams. In a nod to that era, Black Rabbit features live music nightly, mostly jazz — often played on the 100-year-old piano.

Black Rabbit, 218 3rd Avenue North; 615-891-2380; An average meal for two, without tip or drinks, is about $45. Cocktails are $10 to $16.