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OPINION | BOTTLE SHOTS: Country music capital offers wine opportunities

by Seth Eli Barlow | January 19, 2022 at 1:59 a.m.

I may not be one for country music, but Nashville, Tenn., has far more to offer than the bars that line Broadway. Here are a few of my favorite places to unwind with a good meal and an even better bottle of wine.


My first visit to Lyra was also my first indoor dining experience almost six months into the pandemic. When our server brought the first plate of baked-in-front-of-you pita bread to the table, I almost wept as I tore it open with little puffs of steam rising to the ceiling. This is the place to go to discover the varying shades of Mediterranean flavors and a wine list that's both expansive and concise, with wines from Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon and beyond. (


Peninsula takes inspiration from the food of the Iberian Peninsula (that's Spain and Portugal in case you haven't seen a map since eighth-grade geography class). The wine list at this 35-seat restaurant naturally hones in on the famous and not-so-famous wines of the region, but its highlight is a fun selection of Spanish sherry offered by the glass. Pro tip: Don't just order wine, the restaurant's Spanish gin and tonics shouldn't be missed. (


Some of the most exciting wine pairings happen when classic wines are juxtaposed against the cuisine of cultures that evolved largely without wine. In this case, chef Vivek Surti, a first-generation American of Indian descent, presents a tasting menu that challenges everything you think you know about Indian food. Trust me when I tell you that springing for the "optional" wine pairings is a requirement. (


I'll never not love a wine bar and Barcelona is no different. The wine list here skews (no surprise) toward Spain and its Mediterranean neighbors. Wine list highlights include a strong selection of Spanish sparkling wine that will expose you to more than just Cava, and a strong list of white wines that proves there's more growing in Spain than albarino (Hondarribi zuri, treixadura, or viura anyone?) (


As much as I love wine, I love a good tiki bar even more, and thankfully, Chopper is among the best. From its "C3PO on island time" decor to its revolving mix of tiki stalwarts and of-the-moment creations, there's always something new, refreshing, and over the top to be had. It may not be the place to relax with a fine bottle of Burgundy, but it's by far my favorite spot in Music City. Step through the door and into a bar that keeps one foot firmly rooted in American cocktail history and the other in a galaxy far, far away. (

As always, you can see what I'm drinking on Instagram at @sethebarlow and send your wine questions and quibbles to


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