GAY FAVES 2015: Places
Our community lives and works in Nashville: where are our favorite places to relax, see a show, catch a movie, or find a good book? Well, we wanted to know and you told us! And it turns out that our favorite place to take our visitors … is our own back yard.
Live Music Venue – Ryman Auditorium
The Ryman Auditorium—revamped as a premier performance hall after reopening in 1994, and subsequently declared a National Historic Landmark in 2001—may be known as the “Mother Church of Country Music,” but it has become so much more. While it plays host to “Opry at the Ryman” this diverse venue will also host acts as varied as Amy Grant and Vince Gill on the one hand and 2Cellos on the other.
Hotel – Hotel Indigo
Set in Printer's Alley, Hotel Indigo is a hip, modern hotel housed in a former bank building. The chain is well-known for tailoring it’s hotels to local themes, so of course Nashville’s features a printer-themed lobby and a speakeasy inspired lounge. And located as it is less than a mile from the Country Music Hall of Fame and other downtown attractions, Hotel Indigo perfectly combines atmosphere with utility.
Place to Take Visitors – Five Points
Last year our readers felt like the old standards of Broadway were the best places to take guests in music city. This year they took a different approach and chose Five Points in East Nashville. This neighborhood is home to so many of our winners this year, from the restaurants of Sarah O’Neill and Margot McCormick to Mad Donna’s and Lipstick Lounge, so it’s natural that it would be where we’d want to take our friends to eat, play, and shop.
There are so many points of interest here, but the Idea Hatchery stands out. This interesting complex of local small businesses—including famous vintage shops Hello Boys and Good Buy Girls, as well as East Side Story (a bookstore featuring ONLY Tennessee authors) and many others—is a uniquely Nashville experience.
Spiritual Place – Cross Point Church
This year, Cross Point Church beat out regular favorites Holy Trinity and Covenant of the Cross. This was cause for some measure of surprise because, though we were assured that LGBT congregants feel welcomed there, Cross Point has consistently refused to allow LGBT people to serve in leadership roles. When reached for comment, one of the church’s ministry staff did say that the church does not have a policy forbidding LGBT leaders, that she knows of, but that each person would be considered on a case-by-case basis. So far that has not yielded any affirmations of LGBT ministry.
Bookstore – McKay Used Books
Tennessee’s first McKay’s location opened in Knoxville in 1985, and then arrived in Nashville in 2007. Now it’s hard to imagine how we ever lived without it! From its bargain basement prices on everything from CDs and DVDs to comic books and great literature, it is a paradise of personal entertainment shopping.
Movie Theatre – The Belcourt
The Belcourt is a throwback to another era. It even features honest-to-goodness stages. This Nashville institution brings the best independent films to Nashville, while serving up classic movies (and cocktails from the bar) in various genres and hosting cultural events, such as Nashville’s Jewish Film Festival.
Recent news is that the Belcourt is in for major renovations that will change the face of this institution forever. It’s supposed to retain key elements of the old structures, but sketches of the plans do look frighteningly modern. What will we think of when it’s all said and done? I guess that’s a different year!