Night Life

By October 1, 2020January 12th, 2021No Comments

Top 10 Night Life In Nashville Courtesy of

1. Station Inn

What is it: Popular nightlife spots come and go, but not so the Station Inn. For more than four decades this cinder block box has housed the best bluegrass music in the city (if not the country), even as the neighborhood around it has changed.

Why go: All shows are first come, first served, and there’s not a bad seat at these communal tables. It is not unusual for musicians in the audience to get called up to join the band on stage.Check website

House of Cards

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/House of Cards

2. House of Cards

What is it: Nashville’s answer to L.A.’s Magic Castle, this space (in the basement below the Johnny Cash Museum) houses a restaurant, bar and magic performance space.

Why go: The price of dinner includes the magic shows, which aren’t hokey at all. The space is 21-and-up, so we’re not talking kids’ birthday party-type stuff. There’s a dress code (jacket and dress shoes; no tank tops or flip flops, please) and a strict no-photography policy, so you get to focus on the experience.Check website

Robert's Western World

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Kyle L.

3. Robert’s Western World

What is it: Downtown’s Broadway district is dotted with honkytonk bars that are always filled with live music and cheap drinks, and this is one of the best.

Why go: Some of the honkytonks have started playing rock and pop music to accommodate the scores of tourists who stream down Lower Broad, but Robert’s is one of the most authentic, with Western swing still on the play lists, even on weekend nights. Ask about the PBR and fried baloney sandwich special. There’s no cover charge, but remember to tip the band.Check website

Layla's Honky Tonk

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Mark T.

4. Layla’s Honky Tonk

What is it: One of Lower Broadways honkytonks, this bar backs up to the alley between Broadway and the Ryman, along with Robert’s, Tootsie’s and a few others.

Why go: One of the few honkytonks that locals still frequent, you can find good country music and cheap beer in this welcoming space. There’s no cover charge, but you’ll get some dirty looks from both on-stage and off if you don’t tip the band when the hat gets passed.

L.A. Jackson

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/L.A. Jackson

5. L.A. Jackson

What is it: As Nashville has gotten its share of new high rises and high-rise hotels, there’s been an explosion of rooftop bars.

Why go: This rooftop spot at the Thompson hotel offers views of The Gulch, DJ action from Jack White’s Third Man Records, craft cocktails, and a fun crowd that isn’t entirely made up of tourists or bachelorette parties (unlike some other rooftops).Check website

Nashville Palace

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/ Nashville Palace

6. Nashville Palace

What is it: The Nashville Palace is a seriously old-school kind of hangout, with a restaurant, nightclub and dance floor (including free dance lessons). 

Why go: The location, across from the Gaylord Opryland Resort, isn’t necessarily convenient, but if what you want is country music, line dancing and more, this is the place to go. Live music is on tap daily. Remember to tip the band when the hat gets passed.Check website

Dee's Country Cocktail Lounge

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Sarah H.

7. Dee’s Country Cocktail Lounge

What is it: Dee’s took over space from an old bar in suburban Madison just a few years ago, but it feels like it has been here forever. And as Downtown Nashville has become a tourist destination, more locals (and their bands) have headed here.

Why go: You’re likely to see some of the city’s best musicians playing in a low-key environment, bringing their famous friends on stage with them. When there isn’t a live band, you can play whatever you want on the free jukebox (chockfull of a wide variety of country and rock classics).Check website

City Winery

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/City Winery

8. City Winery

What is it: Yes, this restaurant/wine bar/live music venue is a chain (it has locations in Chicago, New York, and Napa, California, too). But because this chain is the brain­child of Michael Dorf, who created the iconic Knitting Factory club earlier in his career, it is worth checking out

Why go: Even in a city like Nashville, where everyone is a musician or knows a musician, the musical lineup is impressive here, thanks to Dorf’s connections. Tickets typically include seating, so you can eat and drink and not crane your neck to see the act.Book now

Santa's Pub

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Christine S.

9. Santa’s Pub

What is it: If you like dive bars or karaoke (or both) this bar is the place for you. You’ll recognize it when you see what is basically a large trailer painted with images of Santa. The deck out front is a relatively new addition.

Why go: Beers are $2 (cash only) and there’s karaoke every night. Did we mention the $2 beers?Check website

Lonnie's Western Room

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Madison M.

10. Lonnie’s Western Room

What is it: If you think your karaoke skills can hold their own with all the Music City singing professionals, head to Lonnie’s.

Why go: It’s the city’s number one spot for singing your heart out to prerecorded tracks (and has been for decades, despite a new location). Be prepared for standing-room-only on the weekends. Check website

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