An offshoot of Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry—a weekly live country-music broadcast and attraction dating back to the 1920s—Opry City Stage aims to bring some Southern hospitality up north. There’s a down-home menu; live music every night; and, twice a week, a broadcast of the stage show from its Nashville counterpart. The multilevel venue has exhibitions, celeb photos and a fourth-floor songwriters’ performance space. Ready to pull on your cowboy boots and head on over to Times Square? Here’s a set list of four things you must experience at one of the City’s newest attractions.
The crux of Opry City Stage is the 250-seat Check restaurant, located on the second and third floors. The restaurant serves Southern dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Try the smoked barbecue plates (a family-style meal comes with brisket “burnt ends,” ribs and pulled pork as well as a few sides); fried chicken (created with the help of Blue Ribbon); and their popular catfish and chips. And don’t dare pass on the biscuit basket served with cinnamon butter and honey.
Country music paraphernalia—including reprinted concert posters, photos and signatures from famous Opry members—is sprinkled throughout this four-floor venue. But the coolest items are on the second floor, which features sparkly costumes worn by country music stars Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson.
There are two ways to see live music at the Opry City Stage. Snag a seat on the second floor for a live show, either at breakfast time (8–11am) or dinner (from 6pm till closing). Country music acts from all over the US perform daily, and your admission fee is nothing more than a plate of hot fried chicken and waffles. The fourth-floor setup, modeled after the Bluebird Café in Nashville, is a ticketed, more intimate experience. The Bluebird has served as a platform for singer-songwriters (like Taylor Swift) to break through to the mainstream. Get tickets in advance, as shows can sell out quickly.
The theming throughout the space extends to the bar, whose design is reminiscent of an old-timey radio—and which sports the call letters 650 AM WSM. That’s the station on which the Grand Ole Opry program has been broadcasting bluegrass, American, folk and country acts since 1927 (it had a different name for the two years before that), making it the longest-running radio show in the United States. The bar serves wine, beer, cocktails, whiskey and moonshine.