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.
Equal parts swanky and comfortable, Tavern Midtown is half sports bar, half gastro-pub. Call it what you will, Tavern meld has great food and an impressive staff. "There's always an energy in the room there that I really enjoy," says Nail. "The food's good, and they pour great drinks."
When Nail calls Nashville versatile, he's thinking about establishments like Midtown that mix big city ambience with Southern hospitality. You can grab a casual burger on a Saturday afternoon and chase it with a whiskey ginger – or a vodka-soda if you're that sort of guy.