Country singer David Nail describes himself as "a vodka-soda with a lemon guy," but he'd rather drink in a dive than a cocktail lounge. That's the thing about Nail, a Grammy-nominated songwriter who is releasing his third album, "I'm A Fire," today, he's a small-town Missouri jock who prides himself on being able to "throw down in New York City." He's a cosmopolitan good ol' boy, the latest member – along with The Black Keys, Kings of Leon, and Jack White – of Music City's skinny tie fraternity. If he's country on stage (and he certainly is), he's rock 'n roll at home.
That's why modern Nashville suits him so well. "Whatever your personality is on a specific day, there's a part of town you can go to," he explains. As a man whose many moods have inspired hits like "Let It Rain," which tells the story of infidelity in quintessential country melodrama, to his newest hit "Whatever She's Got," which pairs sappy lyrics and a catchy tune, Nail is a fixture in both the boot-stomping bars on Broadway and the 12 South District's dark lounges, where no one bats an eye when a man orders vodka.
Here are the rising star's favorite Music City hangs.
For a Drink
Located on Broadway, downtown Nashville's main drag, Robert's Western World is a boot store by day and traditional country and western music venue by night. Nail digs the music – think Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, and Hank Williams, Jr. – and likes the cheap burgers. "Some nights are just screaming to be a honky-tonk night," he says. "It's a place that reeks of beer and just has a really nostalgic kind of feel to it."
Nail recommends Robert's as a great place to start a long night. Grab a PBR and a Moon Pie before heading just up the street to a row of swinging joints, including Layla's Bluegrass Inn, Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, and The Stage.
Credit: Craig Ruttle / Redux