Another leisurely stroll through Nashville's Hillsboro Village, only today I brought my camera to try to document what is old and new about this quaintly hip three-block area tucked in just south of Vanderbilt University and a little south and west of Music Row.
My second job in Nashville was in the Village in 2000, making sandwiches and doing food preps at Provence Breads and Cafe, a charming restaurant/bakery that still does business on the westside of 21st Ave., the Village's main drag.
Other standbys are hanging in there, in particular Belcourt Theatre, still the artiest movie theater around. Pancake Pantry continues on, catering mostly to tourists but still a lively place to get a nice (if overpriced) breakfast.
You can still get an alcohol buzz-on at Villager Tavern, and you can smoke there, too, I believe. So that remains a good slice of Music City hardcore. And all hail Bookman/Woman, the used book shop that has been there always in my time. There's something blessed about being there with all those old and important books.
Also still holding down a vital spot on the northwest corner of 21st and Belcourt is Pangaea, a marvelous gift shop that allows you to bring your dog in with you, so long as you provide a little advance warning. (You don't have to call beforehand; just poke your head in and let 'em know, so they can corral their own pooch.)
One weird development is what has happened to the restaurant/brewery Bosco's. What used to be a pretty busy place—and a regular hangout for theater people—is now attempting to serve beer and also sell jewelry and paintings and scented soaps and a lot of other stuff that seems very out of place. (Good luck with that, guys and gals!)
Still serving as anchor service spots in the Village, on the northeast corner of 21st and Acklen, are the Shell service station and the next-door Village Cleaners, which has cleaned my only cashmere shirt many times. The well-known Acklen post office is just beyond the cleaners, and it too is an important local structure.
Of course, there are the chewy-newy establishments in the Village, like the groovy hot-dog spot with tons of hi-def TVs on the wall, plus a few boutiques that looked new to me—not that I ever really notice boutiques much.
A few new storefronts continue under renovation, so expect some more retail energization in the Village.
But the biggest change is the descension on the area of the 2100 Acklen Flats, a condo complex whose "urban" (or maybe "pseudo-urban" is more correct) character may take some getting used to. Still, it looks cleanly rendered and somewhat interesting, and it also has a new barbershop on its ground floor off the Acklen side. (Didn't check inside, but a low-income journalist who still has all his hair is always looking for a reasonably priced barber.)
Enjoy the pics. They were snapped about 1:30 p.m., and yes, the traffic was snagged every moment I was there.
|West side of 21st Ave.|
|New storefronts in process|
|New barber on Acklen|
|Anchor shops: Shell service station and Village Cleaners|
|"Urban flats" on Acklen|
|Fido sister store|
|A Nashville institution|
|New Hot Dog Joint|
|Pining for Taylor|
|Salon with Village prices|
|Bosco's and Sam's on 21st|
|Dragon mural on Belcourt Ave.|
|Sign on 21st|
|21st and Blakemore Ave.|
|Storefront doggie refreshments|
|Corner of Acklen and 21st, looking east-northeast|