It is only fitting to start my coverage of Nashville’s most memorable places with the one I’ve spent more time in than my own home: Sam’s Sports Grill in Hillsboro Village. If you’re looking for a thrifty, casual happy hour or the perfect spot to watch the game, Sam’s is your place.
My love affair with Sam’s began when visiting my Vandy friends in college, and its solid, dependable, delicious food is what has kept me coming back. Sam’s menu features exactly the kind of food you’d expect from a sports bar – wings, pizza, sandwiches and salads – but the thing that makes this place special is that it does these things extremely well. For example, when I told my friend Carson Popkin, 28, that I was writing this post she just said “Wiiiiiings…” and stared off hungrily into the distance before coming to and saying, “They’re phenomenal.”
But wings are not the only thing Sam’s is doing right. The Cajun Pepperoni Pizza is a salty, crispy pie with just the right spicy kick, and the Campfire Chili with cheese and onions is simply one of the best bowls of chili I have ever had. And I’ve had some chili. When soup and chili cheese dogs make up 80% of your diet, you become an expert fast. In short, the food is straight-forward, fresh and very well-executed. Whether you need to grab a club and fries for lunch or cure your hangover with a Blue Moon and a burger, Sam’s will do you right.
And that is in no small part due to the atmosphere. Sam’s is a quintessential sports bar with happy hour from 3-7 every weekday except Tuesday (when it’s two-for-one!) and at least 20 TVs broadcasting games at all times. (It is a smoking establishment, so take that into consideration before you pull up a stool.) On any given Saturday there are 100+ sports fans screaming their guts out for their teams, and the wait staff generally does an good job keeping pace with the thirsty legions. It’s even better when the weather is nice and they roll up the garage doors on the front side. Breeze + good people watching is the ultimate relaxation-maker.
Sam’s also has a lively game of trivia on Wednesdays and even livelier karaoke night on Fridays. In short, Sam’s is my Cheers (and ironically, Sam was the guy who ran Cheers – coincidence? I think not). I’d suggest that you make it yours too… Except overcrowding would make my standard Saturday table even harder to come by, and we clearly can’t have that. But what the hey, go visit them anyway. In no time at all, it’ll be the place where everybody knows your name.
Sam’s also has a second location in Hendersonville, so you suburbanites don’t have to miss out on the fun.