What are some of the best indie/used record stores in town?
For used records, the granddaddy is The Great Escape (1925 Broadway), which has expanded to multiple locations beyond its headquarters near Vanderbilt. The plasma-bankers at Phonoluxe (2609 Nolensville Rd.) have given it a run for its money, boasting narrow aisles jammed with used CDs, DVDs, LPs and other acronyms. But upstart Grimey’s (2825 Bransford Ave.), located near 100 Oaks, is a contender with champion potential. Opened by Mike “Grimey” Grimes less than two years ago, the homey, hopping record shop has become a hub of the local music scene. The recent addition of more space, plus Great Escape veteran and popular 91 Rock dee-jay Doyle “D-Funk” Davis, smells like a plan for world domination.
Apart from the explosion in Hispanic discotecasand country long-players like the Ernest Tubb Record Shop and Lawrence Bros. on Lower BroadwayNashville’s independent record stores have been all but exterminated by chains and dot-com e-tailers. Those that survive are essential. New Life Record Shop (5343 Charlotte Ave.) is the city’s go-to store for all things hip-hop, especially on the indie/local tip. Matt McKeever’s Off 12th Records (1118 Halcyon St.), centered in the burgeoning 12 South district near downtown, has tomorrow’s punk, indie rock and free-jazz sensations today, along with a small but excellent sampling of world music and reggae. And Ed Smith just moved his specialty store Jazz (646-5151) to a White Bridge Road location near Nashville Tech, where you can find rare import recordings of jazz giantsbut precious little Kenny G.
What’s up with the malls?
The Mall at Green Hills on Abbott Martin Road, easily accessible via Hillsboro Road, is your best bet if you’re in Nashville proper, and includes the clothing basics: J. Crew, Gap, Banana Republic, Express and Bebe. The Sam Goody has a decent music selection, and you can kill some time at Starbucks or fun stores like Sharper Image and Metropolitan Deluxethe latter is invaluable for birthday gifts. Green Hills is also the place to do your higher-end shopping and pampering for that special eventget your nails done at Tiba and then go find the dress that matches perfectly.
Bellevue Center is another Nashville mall. Located out Highway 70, it has the old favorites. Plus there’s Rave and Gadzooks for inexpensive but super-fun clothes and costumes. Head south of Nashville on I-65 to Cool Springs. The mall on Galleria Boulevard is the place to go if you want to hit up the department storesthere’s always something good to be found at Parisian.
Opry Mills (a.k.a. Shopryland) off Briley Parkway rakes it in because of the outlets. It has the big names (Saks, Tommy, Bed Bath & Beyond) and the not so big (Bible Factory Outlet). Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World is not to be missed even if you don’t fish or huntif for nothing else than to get to use the live bait vending machine. You can also rock some cosmic bowling and some serious arcade games at Jillian’s (make sure your shopping outfit meets the dress code, and it becomes 21+ at 10 p.m.) or catch an IMAX. For a complete list of stores, see www.oprymills.com.
Where are the best thrift stores?
I have two words for you: Gallatin Road. If it’s been rode hard and put up wet, it’s on the racks at your choice of Southern Thrift, Salvation Army, Goodwill and a number of other privately owned roadside establishments. Todd Oldham would faint and fall out if he knew how cheap dorm decoration could really be. In addition, Gallatin Road has a number of fabulous stores that carry cool throwaway clothes, a world of wigs and an alarming number of hair doo-dads for your new faux ’do.
Where can I get a killer costume?
Everyone who goes Greek dons bellbottoms or a flapper dress sometime during their freshman year. Those who’ve gone before you know that the yellow brick road leads directly to Louise Avenue and Elliston Place. Flashback, Pieces and Silvery Moon rent out the duds for cheap that make studs out of stiffs. Now if you’re in to upping the ante to red honking clown noses, professional make up, Santa Claus suits and big bear heads, Performance Costume (1205 Church St.) is a wild and wonderful place for those with a lot more creativity and little more cash.
Where can I get homebrewing supplies?
Thanks to an energeticand thirstybunch of aficionados known as the Music City Brewers (www.musiccitybrewers.com), Nashville is gaining a regional and even national reputation as home to a vibrant craft-brewing community. As a result, homebrewing supplies and ingredients are available locally in more quantity and better quality than ever before. At the vanguard of the local homebrew scene is All Seasons Gardening & Brewing Supply Co. in Green Hills (3900 Hillsboro Pike, www.allseasonsnashville.com). Proprietors Bill Harpole and Paul Thompson are crackerjack brewers in their own right, and they’re more than willing to consult about beer recipes and brewing techniques.
There are other sources of homebrewing supplies in the city. In South Nashville, near the intersection of Antioch Pike and Harding Place, J. Barleycorn’s (www.jbarleycorn.com) sells not only a wide range of import and domestic craft beers but a full array of brew kits and supplies, as well. And at 5839 Charlotte Pike, the Li’l Ole Winemaker Shoppe caters to the malted barley needs of West Nashville brewers.
Marc K. Stengel
What are some good sporting goods stores?
Want to show off some new gear this weekend at the lake, on the court or in the gym? Check out one of Nashville’s many stores that specialize in equipment for athletes and outdoors enthusiasts. Friedman’s Army-Navy Store at 2102 21st Ave. has been a staple for outdoorsmen in Nashville for years. They carry quality equipment for hunting, fishing and camping at low prices. They have everything you’ll need for rugged outdoor activities including jeans, sweatshirts, jackets and boots.
For jocks on a budget, Academy Sports (1915 Mallory Lane) is worth the short drive to Cool Springs. Along with a full inventory of outdoors equipment, Academy Sports devotes the majority of its huge store to the athletes. Aisles are lined with tennis and racquetball rackets, baseball gloves and bats, football and hockey pads, along with weight sets and hundreds of styles and colors of athletic shoes, all of it quality merchandise with student-friendly price tags.
What if I need an expensive dress?
When nothing in your big sister’s closet full of bridesmaid’s dresses will do, don’t let the search for the gown get you down. Ladies of luxury love to dress up here in Nashvegas and the world is your sequined, strapless oyster. If Mom and Dad are paying, Jamie ($$), at 4317 Harding Pike, is haute couture, and you’ll be spending a lot of time there if you marry someone with the last name Ingram or Frist. You can also be the belle of the ball with things from the French Shoppe (2817 West End Ave.), Cache (in the Mall at Green Hills), My Friend’s Place (right outside The Mall at Green Hills), or Boutique Bella (2817 West End Ave.). If you’re spending your own dough, the secret store only I will tell you about is Jessica McClintock in Cool Springs Mall. They have fabulous frocks for a fraction of the price of some of these other places. Not that anyone will know that by looking at you.
Where are the cool, non-chain places to shop for clothes and accessories?
Just because you’re a freshman doesn’t mean you have to dress like anything less than the fashionista that you are. In Hillsboro Village, Pangaea has everything from Spanish home accessories to glow-in-the-dark rubber duckies. As far as clothing goes, they carry some pieces in the French Connection line, Paul Frank, and that happy little necklace you’ve been looking for. Just up the street is Posh, where there is style for miles from grunge to groovy. Katy K Ranch Dressing, on 12th Avenue South, makes trailer trash trendy with hillbilly haute couture and rock star frocks. Go goth at Smack on Elliston Place or bust out at Boutique Bella on West End on your way to Bam-boo in Belle Meade. If all else fails, veer off into vintage at Venus & Mars on Bransford Avenue or check out the flea market at the Fairgrounds, the fourth weekend of each month (except for December when it’s the third weekend). Both are great places to buy back the stuff you laughed at your mom for wearing back in the day.
Who gives college discounts?
Let’s begin with the most important thing firstpizza. If you’re a student, Domino’s offers a large one-topping for $6.99 and a medium one-topping for $5.99. Now your only decision is pepperoni vs. mushrooms. Say it with flowers from Emma’s, that offers a discount to Vandy students only. Here’s a really cool one: 45 minutes before a concert, the Nashville Opera Association releases all remaining balcony tickets to students (with ID) for $5. Fifteen minutes before curtain, whatever’s left in the orchestra is yours for $5 as well. Need to get that shot of Jagermeister out of your suede skirt? Just tell the folks at Village Cleaners you’re a student and get 20 percent off. Enterprise offers student rates and Midas gives 10 percent off whatever’s wrong with your car. If the dorms get to be too much (which should be about five minutes after you move in), the Gardens of Hillsboro Village complex offers a reduced deposit. Flash your ID at theaters around town and you can catch a frugal flick or shack up in style at the Holiday Inn Select Vanderbilt in a reduced-rate room. And don’t forget to ask at banks: Among other things for students, AmSouth has unlimited check-writing and waives the annual and monthly fee; First Bank has no minimum balance and no monthly service charge; First Tennessee offers 25 transactions with no service charge; and SunTrust requires no minimum balance (as well as offering other special plans tailored to students).
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