Here’s a Nashville story: we’re tucking in to authentic muhammara and makanek near the front entrance at Epice, a Lebanese bistro in the city’s up-and-coming Twelve South neighborhood, when the actress Hayden Panettiere—who plays the upstart young country singer in the ABC series Nashville—walks in. It’s the lunchtime rush, and the sun-splashed terrace of the restaurant is jammed. Panettiere and her friend wait, in full view of the dining room, for the hostess to return from seating a table. Maybe a minute or two passes, and we start to imagine the moment when the room will erupt in a pandemonium of camera phones and proffered Sharpies. We should have known better. We’d been prepped for this very moment by Matt Bolus, a young chef who moved from Charleston, South Carolina, our hometown, to Nashville several years ago. “Nashville’s like L.A.,” he’d reported back to us, “but with the soul of a small Southern town. I’ll look up from the pass and see Nicole Kidman in the dining room, but people respect that she’s a person, eating at a restaurant. Nashvillians would never beg for an autograph or sneak a selfie.”
A round of Ms. Pac-Man with that negroni?
These new bars serve up a sidecar of arcade nostalgia. Bring quarters.
An ocean-side cocktail is one of the numerous hallmarks of a quintessential beach escape. Now, the Niyama Resort on the Maldives’ far-flung Dhaalu Atoll is taking that concept to a new level, inviting guests to tope drinks and party the night away—wait for it—beneath the Indian Ocean. More than 500 yards offshore and a 40-minute seaplane jaunt from Malé, Subsix is the world’s first sunken club. When the full moon sets the ocean aglow, revelers can dance to international deejays and take in aquarium-like views of sea turtles wading in the surf and tropical fish interspersed on the reef.
In such a sensitive ecosystem, it’s encouraging to hear careful measures were taken to minimalize the environmental impact. Subsix was constructed above ground and placed delicately on a swath of empty seafloor. The resort also enlisted a marine biologist and launched a coral restoration program in which pieces of defunct reef are rehabilitated and returned to their natural habitats.
The only thing missing in this human fishbowl is the scuba diver figurine.
Nate Storey is an editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.
Photo courtesy of Niyama Resort
As a Kabuki-dressed opera singer was convoyed atop a platform through the crowd wailing in an ear-piercing pitch, a packed Hammerstein Ballroom wrestled in anticipation. The mezzo-soprano’s Italian lyrics serenaded the audience over an original Stephan Moore composition before slipping into a familiar tune.
In my mind, in my head, this is where we all came from
The dreams we had, the love we shared, this is what we’re waiting for
"Every time I visit San Francisco I ask out loud 'Why don't I live here?'," traveler-artist-musician-blogger David Byrne recently confessed to the Wall Street Journal. I could not agree more. And I know exactly where I'd live: The Mission.
Two weeks ago I discovered all the basics that I would need in a four-block radius: a perfect grocery store (with an outpost for homemade ice cream), an ideal neighborhood gastropub, and a surprising boutique featuring young designers.
It’s difficult to conjure up a dull weekend in New York, but that task is downright impossible on the first weekend of every month, when the city’s museums—including bastions of high culture like the Guggenheim and the Whitney—host Friday or Saturday gallery bashes with DJ’d music, fully-stocked bars, and, of course, art. My favorite First Saturday ritual revolves around the cultural hub of Brooklyn. New York’s second borough knows how to party, and it’s never better than on the first Saturday of each month. Here, my top picks for a classic first Saturday in the BK.
Chavella’s Start your night with dinner at this pint-sized Mexican nook, with welcoming waitresses and colorfully painted walls. Try the tilapia baked in banana leaves with capers and olives, chicken simmered in mole sauce….I could go on….Get here early—the 11 tables here fill up quickly. 732 Classon Ave., Prospect Heights; 718/622-3100; dinner for two $25.
Brooklyn Museum Arrive here around 9 p.m. to see the scene at its uniquely inclusive best: tri-generational families dancing together to salsa music in the vaulted courtyard, wine-sipping artistes browsing the museum’s permanent collection, and 20-something regulars meeting and greeting in the sculpture-filled lobby. 200 Eastern Parkway, Prospect Heights; 718/638-5000; brooklynmuseum.org; entrance free.
The Rub This famed monthly dance party is only beginning to heat up as the museum bash dies down. It’s challenging—but possible—to do both events. And it’s worth it: DJs at the Rub play only the best old-school hip-hop and pop jams, and the mostly-local crowd comes expecting to boogie ‘til the wee hours of the morning (wallflowers, skip this stop). Southpaw; 125 5th Ave., Park Slope; (718) 230-0236; $5 cover for ladies, $10 for men.
Joe’s Pizza What good New Yorker doesn’t crave a 2 a.m. slice? Stroll to the Brooklyn outpost of Joe’s Pizza where Park Slope’s partiers finish their nights with tasty thin-crust renditions of classics like tomato, fresh mozzarella and basil, or barbeque chicken pizza. After so much dancing, you’ll probably need the extra calories just to make it home—or back to your hotel. 137 Seventh Ave., Park Slope; 718-398-9198; pizza for two $6.