Brooke Lynn Hytes’ Guide to Nashville

The Toronto–born, L.A.–based queen and Canada’s Drag Race judge spills the tea on the best hot chicken and barbecue joints in Nashville.

This interview was originally published in 2019 and was updated in June 2020.

enRoute You lived in Nashville for five years. What’s the drag scene like there?

Brooke Lynn Hytes It’s a small town, but there are a lot of drag queens. They all work at Play Dance Bar, where I used to work. It’s the only popular gay dance club in Nashville.

ER Who are your favourite drag queens in town?

BLH Vanity is a favourite of mine. Deception is also a legendary queen from Nashville. I’ve been working with all of these girls forever; we’re like sisters.

June 18, 2020
Nashvillle, Tennessee at sunset
Nashvillle, Tennessee.   Photo: Austin Wills (Unsplash)

ER Where do you go for a drink with friends?

BLH I’m not a huge club person. I like having a seat. There’s a great gay bar called Canvas Lounge. It’s a hole in the wall and it’s very laid–back. That’s where I want to hang out and have an old–fashioned or a shot of tequila. Those are my two drinks.

ER And if you’re in the mood to dance, where do you go?

BLH Honestly, Play Dance Bar is the only place where you can dance in Nashville that’s not a country bar.

ER You have family in town, where do you take them for dinner?

BLH I would take them to 5th & Taylor in Germantown. It’s Americana food with a twist. The space is gorgeous and the food is incredible. I love the beef stew.

A spread of burgers, wings, fries and brisket from Nashville's Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint
   Photo: Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint

ER What’s the best barbecue joint?

BLH That’s a tough one because there are so many. My favourite is Martin’s Bar–B–Que Joint. They’re really friendly, and the meat just falls off the bone. I’m a big brisket person, so that’s what I get when I go. It’s amazing!

ER You’re walking down the street in Nashville – what song are you listening to?

BLH Anything Beyoncé sings is great walking music. But “Freedom” would be my “walking in Nashville” song.

ER Where do you go to get inspired?

BLH I go down to the honky–tonks near Lower Broadway, where the nightlife is really bustling. You can see a lot of crazy characters there, like over–the–top musicians and funny street performers. You name it, it’s all down there.

ER What do you do if you’re feeling sad in Nashville?

BLH Oh, that’s easy! You go get yourself some Hattie B’s Hot Chicken. It is Nashville’s number–one must–do. There’s different degrees of hotness, and it gets really hot, really quickly. I get the quarter white hot chicken, medium–hot.