It’s All-Day Food and Fun at Pinewood Social
Bocce ball, bowling lanes, dipping pools, an Airstream trailer, a coffee bar, and an all-day restaurant. Yes, it sounds a bit over the top—and it is—but the combination works like magic for Nashville’s Pinewood Social.
A Music City must-do since 2014, Pinewood Social can’t help but serve as a reprieve from the day’s troubles. After a few months of quarantine, when the city attempted a stage three reopening in early July 2020, Marilyn and I, along with husbands Jeff and Lorne, chose the spot for a remarkable meal and a few precious moments of somewhat-socially-distant conversation.
Pinewood Social sits along the Cumberland River’s bends and bluffs in the old Rolling Mill Hill area; it is housed in one of several warehouses collectively dubbed the Trolley Barns. (The name is something of a misnomer, as no trollies were ever stored there. The buildings were actually garages where city-owned vehicles were repaired.) Today the structures are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The setting echoes the eclectic, vintage vibe Benjamin Goldberg and Max Goldberg (who own Pinewood and several other successful Nashville establishments) appear to have in mind.
After passing a temperature check, we stepped beyond the entry to find spacious, welcoming spots where device-focused folks can linger over espresso and pastries every morning. Beyond this area is a spacious, industrial-themed dining area. No matter where you are seated in the room, your eyes seem drawn to the back, where gleaming neon and retro bowling lanes beckon you and your pals to try a few frames. Such a draw couldn’t be ignored, so we quickly placed our initial order with friendly waitstaff and embarked on the grand tour (and afterward used lots of hand sanitizer to comply with the dictum of the times).
Our meal began with a couple of signature snacks: Corn Fritters Elote Style, which had notably balanced flavors and texture, and Things on Toast, a trio of toasts topped with avocado and tahini mash, burrata and tomato compote, and a particularly delectable smoked trout (from North Carolina’s Sunburst Trout Farms).
Although not expansive, the lunch and dinner menus offer options such as burgers, sandwiches, salads, soups, and plates, many of which are crafted with responsibly sourced ingredients. We devoured the Fried Half-Chicken with Spiced Honey and Tomato Corn Salad and Chimichurri Flat-iron Steak with Onion Rings.
Selections from a dessert menu that features Carrot Cake, Banana Cream Pie, Chocolate Caramel Tart, and Coconut Rice Pudding were also enjoyed.
While a meal at Pinewood Social is a joy to remember, the cocktails and coffees leave a lasting impression. Glance over their list of about 30 seasonal cocktails and coffees (ahem, the Southern Limerick coffee cocktail), and you can see why. Pinewood purveys coffee from Crema Coffee, a local, award-winning shop committed to sustainability and equitable relationships with coffee farmers.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, gathering with large groups of friends for a night on the town is not the wisest option or even possible in most places, to say the least. But a meal shared with loved ones at the quirky and fun Pinewood Social will remind you that good days—and good times—will return.
A trip to Music City’s Pinewood Social may not on your shortlist right now, but you can create a homemade version of what awaits you there. Check out our recipes for Chimichurri Sauce for Grilled Steak and Beer-Battered Onion Rings, along with Tropical Rice Pudding. And while we can’t replace a cup of their incredible Crema Cuban, check this tutorial on Cuban coffee at kitchn.com to up your barista skills in the quarantined confines of your cocina casera.
33 Peabody Street, Nashville
Reservations: 615-637-3269 (text) or 615-751-8111 (call)
Dine-in, take-out and no contact delivery available (summer 2020)