Nashville is filled with new and trendy restaurants working to make a name for themselves amongst the rest of the competition in the city’s booming food scene. But one that has truly carved a niche for itself is that of The Patterson House, a classy speakeasy serving up old-fashioned cocktails, drawing all walks of life to its Midtown location.
When you first step into The Patterson House, one is immediately met with soft candle-lit tables brining illumination to the dark mood lighting that envelopes the restaurant. Anyone who has dined at The Patterson House knows that behind the doors of this historic house awaits not a typical bar experience, but the event of being at a true speakeasy. The waiting room (which is sure to be packed on any weekend night) is like a small living room – an appropriate fit as the location is a home itself. On the mantle is a brief description of the establishment’s namesake Malcolm R. Patterson, the former governor of Tennessee in the early 1900s who worked to veto legislature in the state supporting Prohibition.
The seating area is curtained off from the public eye, making the experience that much more exclusive, but it’s the food and beverages found behind those curtains is what really sets The Patterson House apart from the crowd. An expansive menu of unique cocktails and delicious bites cater to every palette. As one of the few who is a lover of gin, I can attest to the quality of the gin-based beverages skillfully created here. Personal favorites include the Juliette and Romeo with its refreshing cucumber taste and the Best Stuff on Earth that adds a sweet twist with its mixture of grenadine – a drink that is true to its name. If you are also a gin fan, I highly recommend either one of these libations.
Other craft beverages include barrel cocktails like the Reverse Tailspin and the Improved Whiskey Cocktail that include Kentucky bourbon and Chattanooga whiskey, respectively. Rum, potable bitters, whiskey, agave, brandy and a variety of wines are all on the menu as well, with each concoction as delectable as the other. And the food is just as mouth-watering as the drinks. You of course can’t go wrong with a dish like S’mores (in a jar) that’s the perfect combination of Nutella, chartreuse fluff, hazelnuts and graham crackers. Additionally, The Patterson House is home to the greatest grilled cheese and tomato soup I’ve ever tasted, making it a must-have every time I visit.
The speakeasy is the brainchild of Strategic Hospitality, owned by local restaurateurs Ben and Max Goldberg, who also own several other high end locations around town including Le Sel, The Catbird Seat, Merchants Restaurant on Broadway and more. The brothers are among the few Nashville residents today that can call themselves natives of the city, adding an even more personal touch to this eclectic eatery. As a newcomer to the area, The Patterson House quickly became one of my favorite places in Nashville, with its underground atmosphere and incredible drinks. Its low-key lighting makes for an relaxing ambiance and the perfect spot to visit with good friends or bring visitors from out of town for an elegant experience. You’re bound to have deep conversation in a place such as this (I speak from experience) that brings a vintage charm to Nashville in the form of unmatchable style, a unique atmosphere and some of the best cocktails you’ll ever have.