A Grand Ole Guide

Karen Elson’s Nashville Picks

Given that Nashville, Tennessee, is known as “Music City,” it’s not surprising that one of the art’s modern masters, Jack White, has chosen to make his home there with his wife, model-musician Karen Elson, and their two kids.  From classic performances at the Grand Ole Opry and modern indie gigs in the Basement under Grimey’s record store to Monday-night dancing to the Time Jumpers at The Station Inn, music is the city’s soul. The vintage shopping and cocktailing ain’t bad either. Here is where the couple get Southern comfort and a splash of glamour.

Blue jeans remain a staple for Nashville’s cowboys and hipsters alike. Husband and wife team Matt and Carrie Eddmenson’s concept store in the emerging area of 12th Avenue South carries the newest and most exclusive denim lines (Levi’s LVC and Ralph Lauren’s exclusive RLL), and the couple also conceive, design and produce their own range of Western-inspired jeans, dresses and shirts. “It’s a really beautiful store, with a man tanning leather by the door as you walk in,” Elson enthuses.
Venus and Mars: The Showroom
Karen Elson runs this dress-up boutique with her cohort, wardrobe stylist Amy Patterson, stocking fairytale dresses and rare one-offs picked up in flea markets and on Elson’s international travels. The bordello-esque showroom-slash-shop is heaped with 60s mini-shifts, beaded flapper dresses, the odd 1940s Christian Dior gown, and choice men’s attire. The girls also rework, recondition and customize on request.

The Oak Bar at the Hermitage Hotel
Since opening in 1910, the five-star Hermitage has remained Nashville’s most luxurious hotel, over time welcoming six presidents, Al Capone and Oprah Winfrey. The hotel’s formerly private members club, The Oak Bar, offers specialist Tennessee whiskies, champagne cocktails, flavored martinis, and an ample century-old wood-paneled atmosphere.

The Patterson House
Nashville’s young entrepreneurs Max and Benjamin Goldberg (of the downtown all-American diner Paradise Park and roof-top bar Aerial) unveiled their newest venture last year. Truffled deviled eggs, decadent brioche donuts and other Southern-tinged indulgences are made daily from scratch, and the extensive cocktail menu includes the gin-and-cucumber-laden Romeo and Juliet. “It’s my favorite bar in town,” says Elson. “They make the best drinks, and it’s gorgeous and cozy.”

Third Man Records
Founded by Jack White in 2001, Third Man is a hybrid record label, store and production studio. White is hoping to revive the immediacy that has been somewhat lost to the music industry by pressing a record and photographing an artist all in the same day. With Karen Elson, The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather on the label, Third Man has made enough noise to bring a pop-up store to the SXSW festival, taking place this week in Austin, Texas.


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