I recently took a trip to Nashville.

While there, I unfortunately did not see any big country music stars.

Nor did I drink out of a boot.

However I DID do a little line dancing…That is, if being two beats off during “Cotton Eyed Joe” and stomping on a stranger’s foot qualifies as line dancing.

I left Nashville with the following:
* A pair of flared jeans that I’ll likely never wear again
* Some mild liver damage
* An empty checkbook

So, dear readers, to help you avoid these pitfalls & truly enjoy your time in Music City, I want to share a few words of wisdom with you.

(Background Johnny Cash music is optional.)

Lesson #1…Honkytonk drinking is expensive.

I love listening to live music in Nashville. The talent no matter where you go is incredible. It is easy to sit and listen for hours while sipping a few cocktails.

The problem with hours of honky tonk cocktails is..The Bill.

For example, my husband ordered a draft beer & I got a dixie cup of Malibu & Diet Coke. Our bill…$20.

Let me put this in perspective using an Iowa Roadie story problem.

A few years ago, I won the “shake a day” dice game in a small Wisconsin dive bar. The pot was roughly $200. There were 12 people in the bar, and so I bought everyone a round of drinks.

The Wisconsin dive bar bill for 12 people?


That is not a typo, and I did not leave out a zero.

In contrast, there are college tuition bills that cost less money than buying a dozen drinks in Nashville.

Lesson #2…The only thing more expensive than honkytonk drinking is hotel drinking.

Just understand that before ordering a cocktail in the lobby, it is important to prioritize that lemon drop martini with your home’s electric bill.

Heat…or vodka?

Perhaps not as easy a decision as one would think.

Lesson #3…Fried bologna sandwiches are the bomb.

There is a bar on Nashville’s Lower Broadway named Robert’s Western World. Bands here play traditional old school country music.

That means…Do not come here if you need a Morgan Wallen fix.

Now if you did not heed Iowa Roadie Lessons 1 & 2 and suddenly find your finances a bit underwhelming, Roberts Western World is the antidote to your hotel bar bill.

That’s because Roberts serves their infamous “Recession Special.” This trademark menu item includes a fried bologna sandwich, chips, moonpie and a can of PBR for $6.


I realize that some of you may be turning your nose up at fried bologna. You, dear friends, can go back to sipping overpriced cocktails at the Hilton. The rest of us will enjoy one of Music City’s simpler pleasures.

I believe that a Roberts’ fried bologna sandwich with tomato & lettuce is an underappreciated delicacy. With some mayo, it rivals the flavor of a BLT. Plus you get both a moonpie and PBR!!

It’s basically a Happy Meal for adults.

And after all that honky tonk drinking, you really do deserve a break today.

Lesson #4…Sing some karaoke at Santa’s.

Named as one of the top three dive bars of the world, Santa’s Pub may be the last man standing in the Nashville dive bar scene. Housed in a doublewide trailer, Santa’s has been serving up cold beer and karaoke for the past decade.

It’s likely that Santa himself will be checking IDs when you arrive at his pub. Doesn’t matter if you’re a cheesy tourist from Iowa or one of his celebrity regulars like Jelly Roll, Santa requires an ID to get in.

He also insists that everyone abide by his rules of “treat ladies with respect” and “no cussing.”

(For the record…Santa may have personally reminded the Iowa Roadie’s daughter of this rule after she let a four-letter word slip.)

Take note that Santa’s does not serve hard liquor, but sells cans of beer for $3. So if you can keep your potty mouth in check, it’s the cheapest place to drink in Nashville.

Lesson #5…Avoid the pedal taverns.

Pedal taverns have been described as a “party bike.”

The Iowa Roadie does not believe in mixing alcohol and exercise.

There are plenty of transportation alternatives (such as the Party Tractor or the Party Golf Cart) that allow you to sing Shania Twain off key & at the top of your lungs but not work up a sweat.

Lesson #6…Avoid the bachelorette parties.

On second thought, this cannot be done.

Nashville is the Bachelorette Capital of the World. It is filled with tiaras, sashes, and pink glitter.

(Usually worn while singing Shania Twain and sweating on a pedal tavern.)

Lesson #7…Final Tips

Tip the band.

Tip your server.

And most importantly…tip your Uber driver.

Without them, you’ll be forced to walk home in the pair of cute (but uncomfortable) cowboy boots you just bought.

OR (God Forbid)…pedal your way back home.

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