If you’re in the area visiting Nashville, you might want to think of visiting Nearest Green Distillery (about 50 miles south) out in Shelbyville, TN. A recent road trip through the area brought me to this newer and super interesting distillery! Part distillery, part restaurant, part tourist attraction, Nearest Green was built in homage to a man, Uncle Nearest (a former slave), who helped Jack Daniels launch his business and distillery in the world of Tennessee whiskey!
As a master distiller who taught Jack Daniel’s everything he knew about making top-notch whiskey, his name nearly fell out of history until his story was revived by author Fawn Weaver who happened to be doing research for a book project in Tennessee. Inspired by his story, she conceptualized, built, and launched Nearest Green Distillery as a very successful whiskey brand along with a variety of other community programs in his honor. You can find more information on their website and Wikipedia but here’s what to expect when you visit!
Nearest Green Distillery is located on US-231 on a very large plot of land housing multiple buildings for the tasting room, restaurant, distillery and a variety of other support facilities. I had no idea what to expect from the outside since there weren’t many windows on the front of the building. But inside you’ll find a large gift shop and two tasting bars dedicated to the liquors that are made and distilled onsite. It’s a beautiful space with dark wooden eaves in this large, barn-like building. On one side, you’ll also find a covered patio with rocking chairs that looks out on the farmland and continued construction where another distillery area is being built. It’s all impressive and peaceful, a snapshot of Tennessee and the rolling hills in the area.
Eventually make you way to the awards hall where a large number of awards in the liquor industry are proudly on display on the walls. You’ll find yourself in front of two double doors with wood slats criss-crossed on the front. Nearest Green has a quick casual barbeque restaurant onsite but this more formal venue, the Humble Baron, will blow away any expectations you might have!
Inside the Humble Baron you’ll find a huge bar, in fact, the world’s longest bar in the world at 518 feet! Part bar, part restaurant, part entertainment venue, it’s an impressive space with a small stage in back. The bar (to beat the world record) has a long, undulating surface that winds itself around in curves and pitches around the space. Black stools are dotted around the bar for each patron, including a bag hook underneath at each station. All the details were carefully thought out and from what I heard, it took years to build this restaurant and bar!
And the Humble Baron restaurant serves a variety of American cuisine, from burgers to wings, meatballs, and seafood. I nommed on some small plates during my visit and it was solid! The meatballs with whipped ricotta and the penne with short rib were nicely done and a good snack. But overall I was just in awe of this bar (I’ve been in a few) and enjoyed watching the staff get the place ready for service. Check out my video taken onsite earlier this year!
All I can say is that I’m really glad to have dropped into Nearest Green Distillery to check it out! From the overall story/history, to the lovely tasting room and world’s longest bar, it was all an unexpected surprise during my trip to Tennessee! And totally worth the stop and visit, I’m sure they have even more to look at and enjoy now. So next time you’re visiting Nashville, hop into the car and check out the Nearest Green Distillery, it’s totally worth the drive.