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The 15 Most Essential Bars in Nashville

From low-key dives to swanky speakeasies, these are the places Nashville goes to drink

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There’s nothing wrong with grabbing a cold brew at a Broadway honky-tonk — there’s a proper time and place for that. But when Nashville wants a great cocktail, there’s no shortage of bars ready to step up to the plate. Glittering rooftop lounges: check. Dimly-lit speakeasies: check. A double-wide trailer owned by a guy who looks like that jolly bearded guy up in the North Pole: that’s a resounding “check.”

This map details the must-try bars around town, the ones with singular drinks and standout barkeeps who know their way around a bottle of bitters (or four). These 15 spots are the ones you’ll count on when you’re looking for a cocktail that can stand up to the woes of the work week or a follow-up spot for a first date that’s going exceptionally well. Because if there’s one thing that’s true it’s this: Nashville locals don’t just like to drink—they know how to do it well.

As always, points on this map are arranged geographically.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Walden Bar

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2909 Gallatin Pike B
Nashville, TN 37216
(615) 760-5808
Visit Website

Not many bars can say they have some wooden swings hanging from a chalkboard wall tree, but Walden counts itself amongst the elite few. Aside from the mobile seating, this East Nashville charmer is the quintessential neighborhood hang... with seriously good drinks. Be sure to pair them up with their pizza —a sleeper hit.

Submitted

2. Attaboy

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8 Mcferrin Ave
Nashville, TN 37206

This NYC stalwart decided to make East Nashville its home-away-from-home back in 2017 and the city is all the better for it. Just like any proper house guest, you’ll be asked to politely knock on the door before being allowed entry. But don’t bother looking for a menu. Instead, the bartenders here will ask a few questions about likes and dislikes before concocting a cocktail off the cuff. In Attaboy we trust.

Attaboy/Facebook

3. Green Hour Bar

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1201 5th Ave N
Nashville, TN 37208

Absinthe is the name of the game at the Germantown enclave. Take part in the traditional absinthe ritual called “La Louche” or dive head first into the bar’s creative cocktail list. But plan your visit accordingly—the Green Hour is only open Thursday, Friday and Saturday (inside Tempered Cafe & Chocolates).

The Green Hour

4. Skull's Rainbow Room

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222 Printers Alley
Nashville, TN 37201
(615) 810-9631
Visit Website

Etta James, Elvis Presley, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan are just some of the names that’ve performed on the infamous checkerboard stage at Skull’s. Located on Printer’s Alley, locals count on this old-school venue for an unpretentious scene filled with solid tunes and stiff drinks, like their eponymous cocktail made with Havana Club rum, Coco Lopez, pineapple, grenadine and ginger.

Skull’s Rainbow Room

5. Noelle, Nashville, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel

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200 4th Ave N
Nashville, TN 37219
(615) 649-5000
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Might be wise to save the drinking for after you’ve found the Hidden Bar at Noelle — locating it has confused more than a few patrons. (Hint: just ask the hostess at Makeready.) On weekend nights, this cozy spot is packed to the rafters with revelers catching the eye of strangers or groups sharing one of the large format drinks that announce their arrival via sparklers.

6. The Oak Bar at the Hermitage Hotel

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231 6th Ave N
Nashville, TN 37219
(615) 244-3121
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Oh you fancy, huh? Then nothing less than The Oak Bar at the Hermitage Hotel will do. Tucked in beside the Capitol Grille, this stately bar is the spot to get schooled on the classics — think: Singapore Slings and Old Fashioneds as a post-dinner nightcap.

The Hermitage Hotel/Facebook

7. L.A. Jackson

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401 11th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 262-6007
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Can’t have an essential bars list without one of Nashville’s ubiquitous rooftop lounges. And L.A. Jackson fits the bill in glorious fashion. Located on the rooftop of the Thompson Hotel in the Gulch, the cocktails give the views a run for their money at this scene-y hot spot.

The rooftop at L.A. Jackson
The rooftop at L.A. Jackson
Eater Nashville/Sam Angel

8. The Patterson House

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1711 Division St
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 636-7724
Visit Website

One of the OGs in the Nashville craft cocktail scene, The Patterson House still knows how to shake ‘em up and pour ‘em out. This speakeasy-style bar was named after prohibition-fighting former Tennessee Governor Malcolm Patterson—and it continues to uphold his legacy spectacularly. Order a drink from their thoughtful menu or let one of the bartenders create something off the cuff. Either way, it’s a win.

Patterson House

9. Henley

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2023 Broadway
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 340-6378
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At this Midtown restaurant, the decor is almost as eye-catching as the drinks. Almost. Sidle up to the perfect square bar in the middle of the space and order a glass of the rotating seasonal punch concocted by bartender extraordinaire Ben Rouse and follow it up with a bespoke cocktail from their roving whiskey cart.

10. Springwater

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115 27th Ave N
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 320-0345
Visit Website

With over 100 years under its belt, Springwater has earned its spot as one of Nashville’s most iconic bars. Opened in 1897, this no-frills Midtown dive is always good for some live music, a game of eight-ball and a brew.

Springwater Supper Club

11. Bastion

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434 Houston St
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 490-8434
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This funky Wedgewood-Houston hang is full of clever IG-friendly design touches, but all of that takes a backseat to the food and drink menu. Josh Habiger and Strategic Hospitality have made quickly made themselves a Nashville staple with their impressive cocktails and can’t-miss nachos. Just don’t forget to snap a pic with the bevy of nude women in the back.

12. Earnest Bar & Hideaway (formerly Hemingway's)

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438 Houston St Suite 160
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 915-1715
Visit Website

In Wedgewood-Houston, a stately, wood-lined bar worthy of Papa himself holds court for those in search of a well-made drink. Deciphering ingredients from the menu is nearly impossible, but you’ll have a good time trying. Better yet, honor Hemingway’s spirit and go for a classic daiquiri.

13. Old Glory

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1200 Villa Pl #103
Nashville, TN 37212
(615) 679-0509
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In the style a speakeasies, this Edgehill Village spot is a bit tricky to find. Here’s a hint: keep an eye out for a golden triangle designating an unmarked door. Once inside, expect killer drinks—like the Golden Crane made with mezcal—at the industrial chic bar.

Eater Nashville/Justin Chesney

14. Flamingo Cocktail Club

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509 Houston St
Nashville, TN 37203
(786) 942-8279
Visit Website

If Miami had a one night stand with Nashville, it’d look a little something like the Flamingo Cocktail Club. What was once a church is now a tropical den of creative cocktails from powerhouse sister duo Alexis Soler and Angela Laino. Oh, and dress to impress — no flip flops or Tevas allowed here.

Mary Kate A./Yelp

15. Santa's Pub

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2225 Bransford Ave
Nashville, TN 37204
(615) 593-1872
Visit Website

Christmas comes only once a year, but at this popular Nashville dive, you can relive the most wonderful time of the year anytime you want thanks to some pretty festive holiday decor. Housed in a double-wide trailer, the drinks here aren’t fancy, but an icy cold bottle of beer is fuel enough for the nightly karaoke sessions that take place.

Santa’s Pub

1. Walden Bar

2909 Gallatin Pike B, Nashville, TN 37216
Submitted

Not many bars can say they have some wooden swings hanging from a chalkboard wall tree, but Walden counts itself amongst the elite few. Aside from the mobile seating, this East Nashville charmer is the quintessential neighborhood hang... with seriously good drinks. Be sure to pair them up with their pizza —a sleeper hit.

2909 Gallatin Pike B
Nashville, TN 37216

2. Attaboy

8 Mcferrin Ave, Nashville, TN 37206
Attaboy/Facebook

This NYC stalwart decided to make East Nashville its home-away-from-home back in 2017 and the city is all the better for it. Just like any proper house guest, you’ll be asked to politely knock on the door before being allowed entry. But don’t bother looking for a menu. Instead, the bartenders here will ask a few questions about likes and dislikes before concocting a cocktail off the cuff. In Attaboy we trust.

8 Mcferrin Ave
Nashville, TN 37206

3. Green Hour Bar

1201 5th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37208
The Green Hour

Absinthe is the name of the game at the Germantown enclave. Take part in the traditional absinthe ritual called “La Louche” or dive head first into the bar’s creative cocktail list. But plan your visit accordingly—the Green Hour is only open Thursday, Friday and Saturday (inside Tempered Cafe & Chocolates).

1201 5th Ave N
Nashville, TN 37208

4. Skull's Rainbow Room

222 Printers Alley, Nashville, TN 37201
Skull’s Rainbow Room

Etta James, Elvis Presley, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan are just some of the names that’ve performed on the infamous checkerboard stage at Skull’s. Located on Printer’s Alley, locals count on this old-school venue for an unpretentious scene filled with solid tunes and stiff drinks, like their eponymous cocktail made with Havana Club rum, Coco Lopez, pineapple, grenadine and ginger.

222 Printers Alley
Nashville, TN 37201

5. Noelle, Nashville, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel

200 4th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37219

Might be wise to save the drinking for after you’ve found the Hidden Bar at Noelle — locating it has confused more than a few patrons. (Hint: just ask the hostess at Makeready.) On weekend nights, this cozy spot is packed to the rafters with revelers catching the eye of strangers or groups sharing one of the large format drinks that announce their arrival via sparklers.

200 4th Ave N
Nashville, TN 37219

6. The Oak Bar at the Hermitage Hotel

231 6th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37219
The Hermitage Hotel/Facebook

Oh you fancy, huh? Then nothing less than The Oak Bar at the Hermitage Hotel will do. Tucked in beside the Capitol Grille, this stately bar is the spot to get schooled on the classics — think: Singapore Slings and Old Fashioneds as a post-dinner nightcap.

231 6th Ave N
Nashville, TN 37219

7. L.A. Jackson

401 11th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203
The rooftop at L.A. Jackson
The rooftop at L.A. Jackson
Eater Nashville/Sam Angel

Can’t have an essential bars list without one of Nashville’s ubiquitous rooftop lounges. And L.A. Jackson fits the bill in glorious fashion. Located on the rooftop of the Thompson Hotel in the Gulch, the cocktails give the views a run for their money at this scene-y hot spot.

401 11th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37203

8. The Patterson House

1711 Division St, Nashville, TN 37203
Patterson House

One of the OGs in the Nashville craft cocktail scene, The Patterson House still knows how to shake ‘em up and pour ‘em out. This speakeasy-style bar was named after prohibition-fighting former Tennessee Governor Malcolm Patterson—and it continues to uphold his legacy spectacularly. Order a drink from their thoughtful menu or let one of the bartenders create something off the cuff. Either way, it’s a win.

1711 Division St
Nashville, TN 37203

9. Henley

2023 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203

At this Midtown restaurant, the decor is almost as eye-catching as the drinks. Almost. Sidle up to the perfect square bar in the middle of the space and order a glass of the rotating seasonal punch concocted by bartender extraordinaire Ben Rouse and follow it up with a bespoke cocktail from their roving whiskey cart.

2023 Broadway
Nashville, TN 37203

10. Springwater

115 27th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37203
Springwater Supper Club

With over 100 years under its belt, Springwater has earned its spot as one of Nashville’s most iconic bars. Opened in 1897, this no-frills Midtown dive is always good for some live music, a game of eight-ball and a brew.

115 27th Ave N
Nashville, TN 37203

11. Bastion

434 Houston St, Nashville, TN 37203

This funky Wedgewood-Houston hang is full of clever IG-friendly design touches, but all of that takes a backseat to the food and drink menu. Josh Habiger and Strategic Hospitality have made quickly made themselves a Nashville staple with their impressive cocktails and can’t-miss nachos. Just don’t forget to snap a pic with the bevy of nude women in the back.

434 Houston St
Nashville, TN 37203

12. Earnest Bar & Hideaway (formerly Hemingway's)

438 Houston St Suite 160, Nashville, TN 37203

In Wedgewood-Houston, a stately, wood-lined bar worthy of Papa himself holds court for those in search of a well-made drink. Deciphering ingredients from the menu is nearly impossible, but you’ll have a good time trying. Better yet, honor Hemingway’s spirit and go for a classic daiquiri.

438 Houston St Suite 160
Nashville, TN 37203

13. Old Glory

1200 Villa Pl #103, Nashville, TN 37212
Eater Nashville/Justin Chesney

In the style a speakeasies, this Edgehill Village spot is a bit tricky to find. Here’s a hint: keep an eye out for a golden triangle designating an unmarked door. Once inside, expect killer drinks—like the Golden Crane made with mezcal—at the industrial chic bar.

1200 Villa Pl #103
Nashville, TN 37212

14. Flamingo Cocktail Club

509 Houston St, Nashville, TN 37203
Mary Kate A./Yelp

If Miami had a one night stand with Nashville, it’d look a little something like the Flamingo Cocktail Club. What was once a church is now a tropical den of creative cocktails from powerhouse sister duo Alexis Soler and Angela Laino. Oh, and dress to impress — no flip flops or Tevas allowed here.

509 Houston St
Nashville, TN 37203

15. Santa's Pub

2225 Bransford Ave, Nashville, TN 37204
Santa’s Pub

Christmas comes only once a year, but at this popular Nashville dive, you can relive the most wonderful time of the year anytime you want thanks to some pretty festive holiday decor. Housed in a double-wide trailer, the drinks here aren’t fancy, but an icy cold bottle of beer is fuel enough for the nightly karaoke sessions that take place.

2225 Bransford Ave
Nashville, TN 37204

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