Where: Nashville, Tennessee; 347-840-0525, urbancowboy.com/nashville
Rate: $195 per night
We recommend: a reunion with old friends
The front desk is a five-seat wooden bar—pull up a stool. The attendant passes you a metal key on an old tin tag and a couple fingers of Belle Meade bourbon, the modern-day resurrection of a Nashville spirit from the 1800s. That, in a glass tumbler, is what this place is all about.
Brooklynites Lyon Porter and Jersey Banks converted this Queen Anne mansion in the heart of East Nashville, which Vogue dubbed the city’s coolest neighborhood. Appropriately, the Urban Cowboy’s vibe is a mix of southwestern and Art Deco, with patterned wallpaper, Persian-style rugs on the hardwoods, and watusi heads and cattle skulls looking down everywhere you turn. Downstairs, guests pick out some tunes in the music room stocked with instruments including guitars, mandolins, dobro, horns, a stand-up bass, drums, and a rustic-red upright piano. The variety of creative clientele passing through Music City makes for some eclectic jam sessions.
Equally unique are the accommodations in this quasi-communal concept, which was perfected at a sister hotel in Williamsburg before being imported here. Each of the eight suites boasts a luxurious claw-foot bathtub, a gel-infused memory-foam mattress, and its own funky character. The Tower, for instance, features vaulted ceilings, a skylight over the tub, and a bed beneath the home’s corner turret for a panoramic view of the neighborhood beneath a vintage-lightbulb chandelier.
Follow the smell of wood smoke, reminiscent of a campfire, outside and around the wraparound porch to the Public House Bar & Wood Fired Kitchen at the rear of the property. Inside the former carriage house, Tom Bayless, recently named Eater Nashville’s Chef of the Year, serves up dishes cooked over an open fire. The menu changes daily, but if you’re lucky, you can try the smoked bread, served with diced heirloom tomatoes for a sort of backwoods bruschetta. Then mosey back up to the house, order a nightcap, and retire to the music room to play or listen to the sounds of strangers becoming friends.
ACE THIS TRIP
What to pack: A guitar pick for the music room. Even if you don’t play yourself, having one to lend is a good icebreaker for a picker who can’t find theirs.
How to fit in: Brush up on your knowledge of classic country lyrics (Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins) so you can sing along.
Stay here if you read: Sunset
IF IT’S BOOKED, TRY: THE ROBEY HOTEL, CHICAGO
Bunk beds for friends traveling together are showing up in all of the coolest boutique hotels. The Robey, a stylish repurposing of a triangular office tower in Wicker Park, furnishes some of its warehouse Annex Lofts with a combination of bunks and queen beds encased in birch plywood. Common spaces for guests hit other Millennial trends: a rooftop bar and pool, a serious coffee counter, bike rental and repair, and a communal workbench desk. $250/night, therobey.com