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The Electric Jane, a welcome newcomer in the Gulch.
Nathan Zucker

13 of Nashville’s Most Entertaining Bars for Live Music

Where to get dinner and a show in Music City

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The Electric Jane, a welcome newcomer in the Gulch.
| Nathan Zucker

If there are two things Nashville is famous for, it’s music and food. While you can certainly enjoy these separately — having dinner at one of the city’s essential restaurants and then catching a show at an iconic performance venue like the Grand Ole Opry or the Ryman Auditorium, for example — why not combine the two experiences?

Bars and restaurants all over Music City — and in nearby towns like Franklin and Leiper’s Fork — showcase live entertainment that would rival a sold-out stadium show alongside food and drink that can stand on its own. Whether you want jazz, bluegrass, rock, country, or even burlesque, here are the best places in Nashville for live music, great food, and excellent drinks — some ticketed, some for a cover charge, and others free to access. Note that this list doesn’t include Nashville’s honky-tonks, which have their own map.

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Jane's Hideaway

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What was once a staple in Printers Alley has found a new home in East Nashville, where upbeat performances centered around Americana, roots, or traditional bluegrass music kick off every night at 8 p.m. Matching the vibe of its new neighborhood, Jane’s Hideaway’s menu is eclectic, with original cocktails, French bubbly on tap, and dishes ranging from beet salad and okra fries to chicken pot pie, osso buco, and beef tenderloin. Visit on Tuesday nights to catch an Americana and roots songwriter showcase hosted by Grammy-winning artist Melody Walker. No tickets necessary.

Brooklyn Bowl

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Part bowling alley, part music venue, and part eatery, Brooklyn Bowl draws fans for ticketed shows in the Germantown neighborhood. Have a fried chicken platter and a boozy milkshake at one of the lanes, or pile in close to the stage to see your favorite rising star. The venue, which requires tickets for shows, welcomes a mix of artists from rock stars to folk singers and country music darlings.

Skull's Rainbow Room

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Skull’s Rainbow Room has been an acclaimed destination since 1948, set in a petite basement tucked inside Printers Alley. Some of the world’s most famous musicians have graced the small stage here, from Etta James to Paul McCartney to Elvis Presley to Johnny Cash. The landmark closed for over a decade before reopening in 2015, carrying on tradition with nightly live jazz performances paired with an elevated steakhouse menu and arguably the best cocktails in town. Be sure to make a reservation. You’ll also find burlesque performances for a cover charge every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night, though you can’t make a reservation for those.

Acme Feed & Seed

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Acme Feed & Seed is a triple threat in a premier location capping Lower Broadway, with nightly live music, an expansive menu, and a rooftop overlooking incredible city views. The music spans genres as well as multiple levels of this historic late-1800s building, including a dedicated open-floor concert space, while the food and drink encompass everything from Nashville hot chicken to sushi to beers on tap to frozen cocktails. As a bonus, you don’t need tickets here.

The Twelve Thirty Club

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This joint venture between Justin Timberlake and restaurateur Sam Fox has become a destination for live music and opulent dining at the top of Lower Broadway. A chic supper club with thoughtful decor reminiscent of the Prohibition era, the Twelve Thirty Club features a stage at its center welcoming multiple sets per night. Share a chilled seafood tower and sip a classic cocktail while you listen to the tunes from the soulful house band. Reservations are encouraged for food service, but you can also grab a spot at the bar.

The Listening Room Cafe

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Nashville produces not only country music stars but also the songwriters behind the lyrics. The downtown Listening Room Cafe places songwriters in the spotlight, with rounds occurring multiple times per day so you can hear behind-the-scenes stories and performances from the people that have penned some of music’s biggest hits. Most shows have a food and beverage minimum, so plan to order an app like pimento cheese and bacon jam crostinis to share, an entree such as shrimp and grits, or Tennessee cheesecake for dessert. The Listening Room is a ticketed venue.

The Station Inn

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For more than 40 years, this storied venue in the Gulch has highlighted bluegrass, roots, and Americana music, and the food is a noteworthy mix of Southern fare and concessions-stand favorites like hot dogs and nachos. However, what really sets the Station Inn apart is its commitment to creating opportunities for curious could-be musicians. Anyone with a bluegrass instrument is invited to join in the free Bluegrass Jam on Sundays or take a Jam Class with a professional instructor, and the venue is even kid-friendly. Most events require tickets.

3rd & Lindsley

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If you’re looking for somewhere to grab enticing Southern bar food like chili cheese nachos or gumbo alongside live music, 3rd & Lindsley is the spot. The downtown venue sells general admission tickets for live shows and seating is first-come-first-served, so plan to grab a table early. Live shows vary from cover bands to songwriters, though there’s a good reason the Time Jumpers have a standing Monday night show — mark that on your calendar.

Rudy's Jazz Room

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In a deviation from downtown’s predominantly country music venues, Rudy’s Jazz Room is all about the spirit and stylings of jazz. The traditional club was carefully designed with acoustics and ambience in mind, and the result is a detail-rich, sultry listening room with a swingin’ atmosphere. In addition to nightly live jazz performances, Rudy’s serves Prohibition-inspired signature and classic cocktails and cuisine with New Orleans flair, like red beans and rice, gumbo, beignets, and even a crawfish grilled cheese. You may need to pay a cover charge at the door.

The Electric Jane

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A welcome newcomer to the scene, the Electric Jane is a swanky dining and entertainment club in the Gulch. Choose from clever cocktails, local beers, and a robust food menu featuring items like shrimp cocktail, raw oysters, roasted chicken, and tableside s’mores, then settle in to enjoy a performance ranging from rock to jazz. Reservations are encouraged.

The Bluebird Cafe

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The Bluebird Cafe is as iconic as they come, an intimate venue in an unfussy strip mall in Green Hills that’s credited with launching the careers of Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks, Keith Urban, and many more. Emphasizing local songwriters, the Bluebird hosts two shows nightly, ranging from “In the Round” performances to open mic nights, with some local beers on draft and a solid cafe menu including crudites, a turkey club, and chicken tenders. Tickets and reservation requirements vary by show.

Kimbro's Pickin’ Parlor

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While Franklin is a few miles south of Nashville, the town offers plenty of its own opportunities to find intimate live music and incredible food. Among the best is Kimbro’s Pickin’ Parlor, an off-the-beaten-path venue inside a historic home. Accented by its Southern front porch — built for pickin’ instruments, naturally — Kimbro’s has transformed the interior space into a bar, a restaurant serving everything from pizza to burgers, and a venue with live music and jam sessions happening nightly. While you don’t need tickets in advance, Kimbro’s may charge a nominal cover.

Fox & Locke

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Leiper’s Fork is a rural town outside Nashville that many celebrities — including Carrie Underwood, Tim McGraw, and Faith Hill — call home. Set inside a 1950s grocery store, Fox & Locke serves up live music and comfort food, with its Thursday open mic night often selling out weeks in advance. You never know who will grace the stage, as the event welcomes anyone from budding artists to Leiper’s Fork’s legendary residents. If your jaw hasn’t already dropped from the entertainment, the food will finish the job, with hearty Southern favorites like pulled pork, fried catfish, and pimento cheese. Tickets are required for most shows.

Jane's Hideaway

What was once a staple in Printers Alley has found a new home in East Nashville, where upbeat performances centered around Americana, roots, or traditional bluegrass music kick off every night at 8 p.m. Matching the vibe of its new neighborhood, Jane’s Hideaway’s menu is eclectic, with original cocktails, French bubbly on tap, and dishes ranging from beet salad and okra fries to chicken pot pie, osso buco, and beef tenderloin. Visit on Tuesday nights to catch an Americana and roots songwriter showcase hosted by Grammy-winning artist Melody Walker. No tickets necessary.

Brooklyn Bowl

Part bowling alley, part music venue, and part eatery, Brooklyn Bowl draws fans for ticketed shows in the Germantown neighborhood. Have a fried chicken platter and a boozy milkshake at one of the lanes, or pile in close to the stage to see your favorite rising star. The venue, which requires tickets for shows, welcomes a mix of artists from rock stars to folk singers and country music darlings.

Skull's Rainbow Room

Skull’s Rainbow Room has been an acclaimed destination since 1948, set in a petite basement tucked inside Printers Alley. Some of the world’s most famous musicians have graced the small stage here, from Etta James to Paul McCartney to Elvis Presley to Johnny Cash. The landmark closed for over a decade before reopening in 2015, carrying on tradition with nightly live jazz performances paired with an elevated steakhouse menu and arguably the best cocktails in town. Be sure to make a reservation. You’ll also find burlesque performances for a cover charge every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night, though you can’t make a reservation for those.

Acme Feed & Seed

Acme Feed & Seed is a triple threat in a premier location capping Lower Broadway, with nightly live music, an expansive menu, and a rooftop overlooking incredible city views. The music spans genres as well as multiple levels of this historic late-1800s building, including a dedicated open-floor concert space, while the food and drink encompass everything from Nashville hot chicken to sushi to beers on tap to frozen cocktails. As a bonus, you don’t need tickets here.

The Twelve Thirty Club

This joint venture between Justin Timberlake and restaurateur Sam Fox has become a destination for live music and opulent dining at the top of Lower Broadway. A chic supper club with thoughtful decor reminiscent of the Prohibition era, the Twelve Thirty Club features a stage at its center welcoming multiple sets per night. Share a chilled seafood tower and sip a classic cocktail while you listen to the tunes from the soulful house band. Reservations are encouraged for food service, but you can also grab a spot at the bar.

The Listening Room Cafe

Nashville produces not only country music stars but also the songwriters behind the lyrics. The downtown Listening Room Cafe places songwriters in the spotlight, with rounds occurring multiple times per day so you can hear behind-the-scenes stories and performances from the people that have penned some of music’s biggest hits. Most shows have a food and beverage minimum, so plan to order an app like pimento cheese and bacon jam crostinis to share, an entree such as shrimp and grits, or Tennessee cheesecake for dessert. The Listening Room is a ticketed venue.

The Station Inn

For more than 40 years, this storied venue in the Gulch has highlighted bluegrass, roots, and Americana music, and the food is a noteworthy mix of Southern fare and concessions-stand favorites like hot dogs and nachos. However, what really sets the Station Inn apart is its commitment to creating opportunities for curious could-be musicians. Anyone with a bluegrass instrument is invited to join in the free Bluegrass Jam on Sundays or take a Jam Class with a professional instructor, and the venue is even kid-friendly. Most events require tickets.

3rd & Lindsley

If you’re looking for somewhere to grab enticing Southern bar food like chili cheese nachos or gumbo alongside live music, 3rd & Lindsley is the spot. The downtown venue sells general admission tickets for live shows and seating is first-come-first-served, so plan to grab a table early. Live shows vary from cover bands to songwriters, though there’s a good reason the Time Jumpers have a standing Monday night show — mark that on your calendar.

Rudy's Jazz Room

In a deviation from downtown’s predominantly country music venues, Rudy’s Jazz Room is all about the spirit and stylings of jazz. The traditional club was carefully designed with acoustics and ambience in mind, and the result is a detail-rich, sultry listening room with a swingin’ atmosphere. In addition to nightly live jazz performances, Rudy’s serves Prohibition-inspired signature and classic cocktails and cuisine with New Orleans flair, like red beans and rice, gumbo, beignets, and even a crawfish grilled cheese. You may need to pay a cover charge at the door.

The Electric Jane

A welcome newcomer to the scene, the Electric Jane is a swanky dining and entertainment club in the Gulch. Choose from clever cocktails, local beers, and a robust food menu featuring items like shrimp cocktail, raw oysters, roasted chicken, and tableside s’mores, then settle in to enjoy a performance ranging from rock to jazz. Reservations are encouraged.

The Bluebird Cafe

The Bluebird Cafe is as iconic as they come, an intimate venue in an unfussy strip mall in Green Hills that’s credited with launching the careers of Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks, Keith Urban, and many more. Emphasizing local songwriters, the Bluebird hosts two shows nightly, ranging from “In the Round” performances to open mic nights, with some local beers on draft and a solid cafe menu including crudites, a turkey club, and chicken tenders. Tickets and reservation requirements vary by show.

Kimbro's Pickin’ Parlor

While Franklin is a few miles south of Nashville, the town offers plenty of its own opportunities to find intimate live music and incredible food. Among the best is Kimbro’s Pickin’ Parlor, an off-the-beaten-path venue inside a historic home. Accented by its Southern front porch — built for pickin’ instruments, naturally — Kimbro’s has transformed the interior space into a bar, a restaurant serving everything from pizza to burgers, and a venue with live music and jam sessions happening nightly. While you don’t need tickets in advance, Kimbro’s may charge a nominal cover.

Fox & Locke

Leiper’s Fork is a rural town outside Nashville that many celebrities — including Carrie Underwood, Tim McGraw, and Faith Hill — call home. Set inside a 1950s grocery store, Fox & Locke serves up live music and comfort food, with its Thursday open mic night often selling out weeks in advance. You never know who will grace the stage, as the event welcomes anyone from budding artists to Leiper’s Fork’s legendary residents. If your jaw hasn’t already dropped from the entertainment, the food will finish the job, with hearty Southern favorites like pulled pork, fried catfish, and pimento cheese. Tickets are required for most shows.

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