This journalist went through every bars in downtown Nashville to give us 15 of her favourite bars. Here is the list of 15 bars that we think you should go.
Broadway is lively seven days a week with live music and food at nearly every bar – all hours of the day – but it really comes alive during CMA Fest because they close the entire street down. Tents line the middle of the street so businesses can hand out samples and merch. They also set up outdoor stages for free concerts. So, let's just say even though Broadway is always poppin', it was especially poppin' when I was there.
Disclaimer: Obviously, there are tons of other spots to hit when you visit Nashville – and tons of other great bars not found on lower Broadway – but I'd say it's worth it to stop there when you visit.
^Some of my hand stamps for proof I am a true bar hoppin' fool!
Why you should visit: The Stage features three levels – the top being a rooftop patio – all with live music. One reason I loved this place was because of the rooftop, which featured an inside area where the band played that opened to the rooftop area. The bands on all three levels sang amazing and played great cover songs. Another great thing about this place is the size. It has a really open floor plan and there is a lot of seating!
Fun fact: Tim McGraw and Gwenyth Paltrow filmed the movie Country Strong here and an episode of TLC's What Not To Wear was also filmed here
Watch: Nashville Tennessee Downtown Broadway Street Bars & Live Music
Why you should visit: Out of all the musicians that have bars on lower Broadway, Alan Jackson's is the best IMO. First of all, they sell alcoholic Capri Sun-like drinks that are not only tasty, but also pretty nostalgic if you're a '90s kid. It has three floors and a rooftop – all with live music. And, if you're an Alan Jackson fan, each floor features different moments from Alan’s career and personal life. They also have karaoke every night on the third Floor.
Fun fact: It is the oldest building on Broadway and it used to be a Civil War hospital. Over the years it became Nashville's first used record store and then Bullet Records (a record label from the '40s where they recorded stars from The Grand Ole Opry).
Why you should visit: This place has the best singers! It is also lined with photos of country music legends who actually sang inside Tootsies. Even though it has four floors plus a rooftop lounge, space is tight on each level. This one gets packed, so the earlier you get there the better. They also serve the popular – but hard to find in bars – Yuengling beer.
Fun fact: Singer and comedian Tootsie Bess owned this place and named it "Tootsie's Orchid Lounge" because it has an all-over orchid hue. She was a part of "Big Jeff & The Radio Playboys" who sang "My Little Red Wagon" and "Tootsie's Wall of Fame." Willie Nelson also got his first songwriting job after singing here.
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Why you should visit: If you're looking to listen to something other than country, this place is one of your best bets! The first floor plays live versions of all different genres – for instance they played Nirvana when I was there. It has three levels and each level has walkout balcony areas. It is one of the biggest venues in lower Nashville...and also one of the loudest. You definitely come here if you want to party! Oh and I know I am not judging food here, but their nachos were delicious.
Fun fact: It's a hot spot for bachelor and bachelorette parties. You can also book a VIP room and host a private party or corporate event here.
Why you should visit: This bar has a very diner-type vibe with two levels of live music and a rooftop patio. I liked this bar because the service was excellent! They also gave massive waters, which is key when bar hopping. Their musicians were great and I liked that there was a bar, dance floor area with seating, and then a restaurant area where you could chat. Again, I'm not ranking food, but their Nashville hot chicken was AMAZING!
Fun fact: It is available for group parties and private events as well. It also has a lot of fun colored lights throughout.
Why you should visit: This place often has surprise celebrity guests, so it's always worth checking out! The musicians who perform here are picked by Opry Entertainment, so there may also be a lot of up-and-coming country musicians performing here, too. The layout of the upper level circles around the lower level like a balcony, so it offers the perfect view of the performer, no matter where you are!
Fun fact: Ole Red got its name from Blake Shelton’s breakout hit, "Ol’ Red." It also features a sky bar called The Lookout.
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Why you should visit: They have Frozen Jack and Cokes! Lol, but seriously, I am all about fun drinks. Apparently this place is a pizza chain, and on the Broadway strip it is totally that, plus a live music bar! I feel like this is the place you visit in the afternoon for a pizza and a drink...and stay longer than expected because the music is so good.
Fun fact: You can get Mellow Mushroom pizza all along the east coast and I can attest to the tastiness of the pizza.
Why you should visit: Losers is 100% a dive bar. I mean, honestly, there's nothing SUPER special about this place other than it has really good music and really good draft beer. It kind of feels more like a local bar, rather than a hot touristy spot, so that's why I included it. Oh, and there's a rooftop which is always a plus!
Fun fact: Another location of this bar sits next to a bar called Winners – which is Miranda Lambert's favorite place to eat in Nashville – near Music Row.
Why you should visit: This three-story building features Nashville’s tallest rooftop bar and patio! The first floor has more of a restaurant vibe with live music. On the second floor there is a DJ and it has a club-like feel where you can dance. Then, the rooftop simply offers amazing views of city.
Fun fact: They have locations in Arizona as well. You can try out some of Dierks Bentley's favorite cocktails and the pubs signature drinks which are on the menu.
Watch: Downtown Nashville Nightlife Fun Broadway, Midtown, Printer’s Alley
Why you should visit: This is Florida Georgia Line's bar which has not only multiple levels with bars and live music, but also a basement with a DJ and dancing area. And while FGL's rooftop may not be the highest, it IS the largest.
Fun fact: This bar features a video wall that showcases the hottest video content from Florida Georgia Line and other country stars.
Why you should visit: This place is all about the atmosphere, from the hanging lights to the literal car on the wall, it's great for photo ops. I also really enjoyed the music here – they have two stages. There are multiple bars to order drinks at and a rooftop deck.
Fun fact: It is a 100-year-old building with millions of dollars worth of rare country music memorabilia and stage costumes, including iconic pop culture clothing worn by Hank Williams, Gene Autry, Johnny Cash, John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Roy Rogers, Elton John and many of others. Nudie’s customized Cadillac El Dorado called the “Nudie Mobile” is hung on the wall and insured for $400,000.
Why you should visit: The side of the building has a really cool mural painting of some of history's most popular country artists. It has a cool look inside, too, with country music records all over the walls. They play more contemporary music, but it sounds great!
Fun fact: You can see some photos taken of the massive crowd during the 2010 American Idolauditions on their website.
Why you should visit: Although this is a smaller venue, I put it on the list because it is pretty unique. It doesn't have a stage like most of the others bars, it just has a singer on the ground level floor. I mainly included it because they have viewing areas of the actual distillery...and frozen alcoholic lemonades lol. There's also a small upstairs bar that overlooks the downstairs area.
Fun fact: Apparently their moonshine is DELICIOUS and they offer free samples of it.
Why you should visit: This is for all the gamers! It features two floors with a total of 30 vintage arcade games and 10 pinball machines. So, like, it's a chill spot to grab a beer and play some games.
Fun fact: They also have a location in Chicago that was nominated the "Best Beercade" in Chicago Magazine.
Why you should visit: This bar is for the person really looking to take in country history. They play very traditional country songs (you probably won't hear things like "Old Town Road" here). Even if you're not into the old school country, stop in to at least take a few pics. There are tons of country memorabilia and even an entire wall lined with cowboy boots. Also, the servers are very friendly here – it's kind of like a mom and pop joint!
Fun fact: During the American Civil War, this building was used as a warehouse, office space for river merchants, and a variety of other purposes. From the late 1950s to the early 1980s, it was occupied by the Sho-Bud Steel Guitar Company that made and sold steel guitars and other musical instruments.