Wednesday, April 24, 2013

First Bite: Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery

Posted By on Wed, Apr 24, 2013 at 5:56 AM

Last month, I told you about the change in branding from Big River to Rock Bottom at the Lower Broad stalwart brewpub that has been a favorite pregame and preconcert destination for years. Since the conversion, I've had two opportunities to visit the new rooftop at Rock Bottom, and early indications are very positive.

First off, you can't beat the location. A conveniently short walk to LP Field, Bridgestone Arena and the Ryman, Rock Bottom is also big enough to handle downtown crowd and turn tables at a decent pace. There are plenty of parking lots nearby in the $10-15 range, so if you're willing to pay those sort of urban parking prices you shouldn't have too much trouble. Now, personally, when I walk under the trees the birds go "cheap, cheap, cheap," so I have a few secret free on-street parking spots that I can almost always get into, especially after the Music City Center construction crews have knocked off for the day. Buy me a beer someday and I might tell you where one of them is ...

The entrance to the new rooftop bar is a little hard to find, since you have to take an elevator hidden away in a little vestibule at the corner of Second and Broadway. It's not quite a speakeasy kind of hidden entrance, but you may need to search for it. But once you find it and make your way to the top floor, you'll be handsomely rewarded by the best public rooftop view of downtown. The expansive outside deck offers views all the way up Broadway past the arena, across the river to East Nashville and up Second Avenue, where you can watch the tourists contributing to our tax base without having to actually interact with them.

In addition to a two-sided bar that opens out onto the patio and the large outdoor dining area, there is also a separate room that is available for private events. That patio looks up the hill toward Rutledge Hill and the back of the Symphony Hall to offer a different scenery. The main outdoor area has plenty of tables, comfortable sofas and even a fire pit to encourage year-round enjoyment

There is a small kitchen upstairs, and they offer a limited menu of bar snacks, salads, sandwiches, burgers and a few entrees. I enjoyed an order of Southwestern Chicken Egg Rolls on my last visit that were surprisingly filling. But that could have had something to do with the beer I drank, since Rock Bottom offers a full bar including wine, spirits, bottled beers and a rotating selection of six of their signature brews: White Ale, India Pale Ale, Kolsch, Red Ale, Specialty Dark and a Brewmaster's Choice. The popular Southern Flyer Light Lager that was a Big River favorite is currently on the menu as a brewmaster's choice, and will probably stick around for a while.

The rooftop is also open during lunch if you need a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of downtown and gain a little elevated perspective on your day. If your attitude still needs further adjustment after work, they offer a happy hour Sunday-Thursday from 4 to 6:30 p.m. with $1 off all handcrafted house beers, $2 off all wines by the glass and $5 pricing on all ultra premium cocktails.

So get on down to the Rock Bottom and head for the top of the building to try out something new on Lower Broad. Let us know what you think here in the comments.

Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
111 Broadway
Nashville, Tennessee 37201
(615) 251-4677

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