The First Annual AOG Field Guide to Nashville and Vanderbilt Tailgating

T.J. Greenstone's secret weapon? THIRD HAND

You already know this: GAMEDAY RITES AND RITUALS PLAY AN EXTREMELY IMPORTANT PART IN THE OUTCOME OF ANY FOOTBALL CONTEST. PERIOD.

Some of these things you may already know (read: almost all of them). Also, this first version isn’t meant to be comprehensive. If I missed something, it was an oversight. Have suggestions? Let us know in the comments. It will be rectified. This is a living document.

Gameday \ Liquids \ Digestibles \ Activities \ Miscellany \ Locations
Nashville \ Accommodations \ Restaurants \ Bars \ Attractions

GAMEDAY

LIQUIDS

Hard Liquors To Taste Only you know exactly how intoxicated you need to be for victory. Obviously, the earlier you reach that level, the better - these things can’t be left to chance. If you don’t get there, make sure to have a supplemental amount which can be concealed. While this is the South and “boys will be boys,” it’s still “the South.” Be aware of your surroundings and use discretion.

My Routine: Flask of Lynchburg’s Finest or The Captain, generously mixed with Coca-Cola because I’m a heathen incapable of truly enjoying a nice bourbon in sipping fashion (or because who drinks rum neat?)

Pro-tip: Don’t waste money on the expensive stuff unless you have a discerning palette. Mid-range is perfect. If it’s top-shelf, your buddies (AND strangers) will be siphoning off your supply before they tap theirs. Nice booze isn’t going to win you points with the womenfolk, unless you’re bringing wine for yourself. DON’T BRING WINE FOR YOURSELF. This is football, have some respect.

Liquor Recommendations from the AOG Commentariat: [suggestions in the comments, please]

BEER Bring some for a delicious treat for yourself when you finally level up and progress to the maintenance zone of your gameday state.

My Routine: If it suits my fancy, I sometimes buy obscure beer at grocery stores for these types of occasions. Otherwise I stick to the domestics.

Pro-tip: Some tailgate games require beer to be played. Quantify accordingly.

Beer Recommendations from the AOG Commentariat: [suggestions in the comments, please]

COOLER Stock it with lots of ice.

Digestibles

Pro-tip: I’m going to lead off with this. Bringing a grill is great, in some ways. It’s also a tremendous hassle and can require a lot of your attention. Not worth it, IMO. I’ve done it. With great power comes great responsibility. A HELL OF A LOT IS RIDING ON HOW YOU WIELD THE FLAMES. Don’t eff it up or the gods will NOT be pleased. Gas is just easier all the way around. It’s also for poseurs. Charcoal is the dark art of sorcery. Just how hardcore are your football gods? Choose wisely, IT’S NOT LIKE EVERY SINGLE POSSIBLE OUTCOME OF THE GAME IS RIDING ON THIS DECISION. OH WAIT.

My Routine: GRAZING. Zero responsibility. Zero hassle. Zero thought. I’ve gone to extremely lengths in the past, buying a charcoal grill and attaching it to my trailer hitch. Things didn’t go so well and I was forced to surrender burnt offerings (singed my face a bit in a nothing serious but still burnt some eyebrows and eyelashes kind of way). This was Vanderbilt vs. Auburn in 2008, aka the day ESPN College GameDay made their first and only trip to Nashville. The gods smiled upon my efforts that day.

Tailgate food recommendations from the AOG Commentariat: [suggestions in the comments, please]

ACTIVITIES

Pro-tip: Scouting out the exact location of the tailgate can help determine the appropriate activity (if desired)

  • Beerpong - Prerequisites: 1 table, 22+ plastic cups, 6 ping pong balls, 4 bottles of water, several cases of beer. The indoor gameday standard. Recommended if you are several levels behind your appropriate gameday level. Can get you there in a hurry, particularly if you win.

  • Cornhole - Prerequisites: even number of bean bags, 2 wooden apparatus, ~10 paces of wide open room. The outdoor standard.

  • Ladderball - Prerequisites: Less room than cornhole - ~10 paces (?), Ladderball set. Can be entertaining, but less elite than beerpong or cornhole.

  • Football - Bring a football. Throw it with others. This isn’t rocket science.

  • Ultimate Frisbee - GTFO WITH THAT.

MISCELLANY

  • Music - Your gameday playlist will be judged with extreme prejudice. Build accordingly.

  • Generator - This is a Vandy tailgate. If you have the means, it is highly recommended.

  • Television - There are other games on. This is not necessarily necessary for Vanderbilt games depending upon where your tailgate is located. In the heart of Vandyville is a jumbotron broadcasting a predetermined game (generally SEC-related). Likelihood of you wanting to watch a game other than the one chosen? Nominal.

    • Satellite - DirecTV / Dish Network dish and receiver. Most likely necessary in order to watch the non-jumbotron game.

LOCATIONS

  • VandyVille - Most likely, you’ve already missed out on reserving a tent for the season. Don’t worry, Nashville is known for being a very friendly town and Vanderbilt fans, for the most part, are no exception. Sidle up and introduce yourself. We are a civilized people. More info on VandyVille

Official Parking

  • “The Med Center Lot” - This is the enormous parking lot along Natchez Trace that runs along the practice field and also the Rec Center outdoor track. It’s called the med center lot because med center staff park there and ride a van to the hospital. It’s also Lot 2 on Gameday. There is greenspace throughout the parking lot on medians where you can set up shop. Arrive early to secure your spot. Some of Lot 2 runs adjacent to the back-half of VandyVille.

  • Campus Bookstore - This isn’t a tailgating spot, but it is an important location on gameday. Looking to pick up some Vandy swag? The new Campus Bookstore is within walking distance of the stadium in a location that’s much easier to find for newcomers. Head down Natchez Trace or 25th Avenue to West End. In the “2525” shopping center is a Barnes & Noble. Most of the Vandy apparel is upstairs.


Extended Stay in Nashville?

ACCOMMODATIONS

  • Marriott - It overlooks the stadium. As far as convenience, it can’t be beat.

  • Loews Vanderbilt Plaza - Currently across from the former site of Kissam Quad. Seeing as Kissam was just demolished and construction of a new residential complex is ongoing, you may have to deal with construction noise. Would they be working on a Saturday or Sunday? Probably not. But what if your hangover lasts through Monday?

Hotel Recommendations from the AOG Commentariat: [suggestions in the comments, please]

RESTAURANTS

  • Rotiers [Elliston Place]
  • J Alexanders [West End]
  • Ted’s Montana Grill [West End]
  • San Antonio Taco Company (SATCO) [21st Ave]
  • Southstreet
  • Bound’ry
  • Sportsman’s Grill [Hillsboro Village]
  • Bricktops [West End]
  • Sam’s Sports Bar [Hillsboro Village]
  • Logans [Elliston Place]
  • Outback [West End]
  • Maggiano’s [West End]
  • Chilis [West End]
  • Loveless Cafe [Highway 100]
  • Pancake Pantry [Hillsboro Village]
  • City House [Germantown]
  • Monell’s [Germantown]

Recommendations from the AOG Commentariat: [suggestions in the comments, please]

BARS

  • Sam’s Sports Bar [Hillsboro Village]
  • Sportsmans Grill [Hillsboro Village]
  • Tin Roof [Demonbreun]
  • The Stage [Downtown]
  • Robert’s [Downtown]
  • Patterson House [Division]
  • Red Door [Division]
  • Flying Saucer [Broadway]

Recommendations from the AOG Commentariat: [suggestions in the comments, please]

ATTRACTIONS

  • Country Music Hall of Fame [Demonbreun between 4th & 5th]
  • Schemerhorn Symphony Center [4th S between Broadway and Demonbreun]
  • Frist Center for the Visual Arts [Broadway between 9th & 10th]
  • Ryman Auditorium [5th N between Broadway and Commerce]
  • Bridgestone Arena [Broadway between 5th & 6th]
  • Centennial Park [West End]
  • Grand Ole Opry [Opryland]
  • LP Field

Recommendations from the AOG Commentariat: [suggestions in the comments, please]

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