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Nashville Downtown Partnership

The 13 Best Tiny Bars in Nashville

Cozy places to enjoy a bite, a drink, or a great conversation — in six seats or less

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Grab a seat at the bar.

Whether you’re enjoying oysters at an all-day cafe or draining Banquets at a burger joint, that’s the best piece of dining advice you’ll ever get.

Fewer seats means you’re more likely to score a pour of the funky new IPA they just put on draft, or to get to try a bite of the off-the-menu dessert the pastry chef is workshopping. A tiny bar cultivates conversation — with bartenders, chefs, tourists or locals — and it reveals all kinds of things about the food, drink and people who make a place tick.

Here are 13 of the best tiny bars — six seats or fewer — where you can dine, drink, listen and learn.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

lou nashville

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Lou’s five-seat bar is the epitome of tiny goodness. It’s cozy, candlelit, charming and French, but it’s also a smart place to sit. Lou is a wine bar, which means every day they’re pouring things like skin-contact German pinots and co-fermented Portuguese stunners. Snag a bar seat and wine expert Tony will pour you tastes until you find your favorite while casually explaining what co-fermented wine actually is.

Lou’s bar also affords something no other seat in their house does: a peak through the door into the kitchen. Watching chefs put the finishing touches on dishes as they come out gives you an advantage, and that’s how you end up with gems like pastry chef Sasha Piligian’s fried apple pie with lemon curd.

another shot of the bar, with distressed mirror and orb lighting, wall of wine on the left Sam Angel / Eater Nashville

The Treehouse

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You never know what you’re going to get at Treehouse, but if you sit at the chef’s counter, you know one thing: You’re going to get a good show. Order a drink at the six-seat bar and peruse the offerings. A visual will help you choose between Royal Red shrimp poached in court bullion or beef tartare with hen of the woods mushrooms. It’s also the best place to feel the pulse of the kitchen, which is key to the Treehouse experience.

Treehouse

Urban Cowboy B&B - Nashville

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It’s no secret that Urban Cowboy Public House is a fun place to drink. Its Bonanza-meets-Anthropologie vibe screams relaxation, and the stout, creative cocktails don’t hurt. If there are seats pulled up to the Public House bar (something that doesn’t happen every day), grab one, but don’t sleep on the B&B itself.

The five-seat bar inside the Victorian mansion is a killer place to get a bourbon and a history lesson. (For example, in the 1980s, wrestlers used to practice in the yard out back, which is why you’ll see the snacks at Public House coming out with table markers emblazoned with the likes of “Macho Man” Randy Savage.) And be sure to check out the “hidden” door to the B&B’s rooms, which was inspired by the movie “Clue.”

Nashville Guru

The Standard

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The tiniest spot on the tiny bar list also happens to be the oldest. Built in the 1840s, the Smith House is where you’ll find The Standard’s three-seat bar. Take a lap to check out the historical opulence on display, including the tin ceiling and the space that once housed Tennessee’s first bowling alley.

In the mood to splurge? Order the $65 ribeye. In the mood to save? Order $10 a-la-carte veggies like the bacon-braised green beans or the truffle hash cake. Whatever you order, take a moment to appreciate the fact that this may be the one place left downtown where men can’t wear jerseys, sleeveless shirts, or sandals.

TripAdvisor

Carter's

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Hotels bars are solid places for solo excursions because people in hotels are happy. They’re on vacation, they’re drinking on their company’s dime, or they’re looking for a conversation with a total stranger — all of which creates a sense that anything can happen. The six-seat bar at Carter’s inside the grand Union Station hotel is ideal for all of that, and it offers a unique view: the gorgeous 100-year-old stained glass ceiling.

Nashville Downtown Partnership

Valentino's Ristorante

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In 2019, Valentino’s made a smart move. After nearly 30 years on West End, the old-school Italian eatery relocated two blocks northeast to Hayes Street, and the new space makes all the difference. The five-seat bar is the heart of the restaurant, with a small but solid cocktail list, classic bar snacks like crispy calamari and a single TV for catching games.

Sadly veteran bartender Geri, the finest Irish gal you’ll ever meet, will retire at the end 2019, but not to fear — the average tenure of a Valentino’s employee is 20 years, so whoever takes her reins will take good care of you.

Emmy Squared - Gulch

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Pizza joints are great places to pull up a stool, and Emmy Squared’s six-seat counter is an upscale Italian respite in the Sea of “Woo!” The Gulch can be. Emmy is known for Detroit-style pie, a deeper-dish pizza that’s downright belt-busting. Try the Colony pie (pepperoni, pickled jalapeños, local honey), the Zia waffle fries (topped with hatch-chili pimento cheese and bacon) or the famous Le Big Matt burger. Emmy is also the rare tiny bar that serves lunch, though it’s unclear how anyone returns to work after this without falling asleep in their cubicle.

[Official Photo]

Samurai Sushi

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The best sushi bars are small affairs, but tiny, intimate ones are harder to find in Nashville these days. That’s why the six-seat bar at Samurai remains a delight. Not only do you get to see the masters at work, but you’ve also got the proper vantage to point at any piece of nigiri that looks good and order it without embarrassing yourself pronouncing “hokigai.”

TripAdvisor

Miel Restaurant

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Seema Prasad’s chic neighborhood nook is known for amuse-bouches, rare wines and obscenely decadent pork shoulder gnocchi, but its four-seat bar often flies under the radar. It’s the ideal place to dip into their Tuesday-Saturday happy hour complete with $5 wine, rocks cocktails and snacks ranging from marinated olives to a whole Bear Creek Farm burger. If happy-hour ramen is on the menu, order it. Eating flawless Japanese pork broth at an elegant French bar is a weird, wonderful thing you definitely want to do.

Meil Restaurant

Old Glory

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Originally the boiler room for a 1920s dry cleaner, Old Glory is the odd combo of speakeasy and tiki bar with a decidedly industrial aesthetic. The six-seat bar is smack in the center of the room, yet it’s still somehow the most intimate seat in the house with its craggy stone accents, coal chute and green vines crawling the walls.

Order The Jack Horse — any spirit plus Amaro Averna and their spicy house-made ginger beer — and ask the bartenders their current favorite snacks. Then marvel at the fact these folks are turning out lamb rillettes and stracciatella with little more than a smoker and a hot plate.

Eater Nashville/Justin Chesney

Caffé Nonna

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Nobody does it better than grandma. Chef Daniel Maggipinto knows this, and that’s why he’s been cooking traditional recipes perfected by his grandmother Nonna in Sylvan Park for years. Nab a stool at the four-seat bar and slurp mussels in a saffron-tomato broth before building your own pasta — cappellini with arrabiatta is a good call — and don't forget to tack on a chocolate-dipped cannoli.

Caffé Nonna Google Image

Brown's Diner

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When it comes to dives, Nashville’s got a tiny bar in every neighborhood. In fact, lots of spots on Eater’s essential dive bar list fit the bill. Want a longneck and a corndog at 9 a.m. on Tuesday in a cash-only, cig-friendly environment? Grab one of four stools at Fran’s. In need of a throwback in Midtown? Grab a French bread cheeseburger at Rotier’s six-seat lunch counter. My pick, though, is the five-seat bar at Brown’s Diner’s for a cheeseburger (duh), a cup of chili and a Bud Heavy. Every charmingly weathered, immovable seat at the bar has a story — just like the regulars you'll find sitting in them.

Burgers, Barbecue and Everything Else

Sipping rosé at a clean, white bar in the Mediterranean is a dream we all aspire to, and Santo’s five-seater is as close as you’ll get in Nashville. Set off by mod-deco accents and Brazilian-wood stools, this is the sleek bar where Green Hills goes to see and be seen.

Start with the spiced lamb sausage (merguez) before going full-force on crab galette or duck cassoulet. By the time you order the surprisingly light red velvet cheesecake, you’ll be convinced the Mediterranean is right outside the door, rather than Trader Joe’s.

Eesome Co / Santo

lou nashville

another shot of the bar, with distressed mirror and orb lighting, wall of wine on the left Sam Angel / Eater Nashville

Lou’s five-seat bar is the epitome of tiny goodness. It’s cozy, candlelit, charming and French, but it’s also a smart place to sit. Lou is a wine bar, which means every day they’re pouring things like skin-contact German pinots and co-fermented Portuguese stunners. Snag a bar seat and wine expert Tony will pour you tastes until you find your favorite while casually explaining what co-fermented wine actually is.

Lou’s bar also affords something no other seat in their house does: a peak through the door into the kitchen. Watching chefs put the finishing touches on dishes as they come out gives you an advantage, and that’s how you end up with gems like pastry chef Sasha Piligian’s fried apple pie with lemon curd.

another shot of the bar, with distressed mirror and orb lighting, wall of wine on the left Sam Angel / Eater Nashville

The Treehouse

Treehouse

You never know what you’re going to get at Treehouse, but if you sit at the chef’s counter, you know one thing: You’re going to get a good show. Order a drink at the six-seat bar and peruse the offerings. A visual will help you choose between Royal Red shrimp poached in court bullion or beef tartare with hen of the woods mushrooms. It’s also the best place to feel the pulse of the kitchen, which is key to the Treehouse experience.

Treehouse

Urban Cowboy B&B - Nashville

Nashville Guru

It’s no secret that Urban Cowboy Public House is a fun place to drink. Its Bonanza-meets-Anthropologie vibe screams relaxation, and the stout, creative cocktails don’t hurt. If there are seats pulled up to the Public House bar (something that doesn’t happen every day), grab one, but don’t sleep on the B&B itself.

The five-seat bar inside the Victorian mansion is a killer place to get a bourbon and a history lesson. (For example, in the 1980s, wrestlers used to practice in the yard out back, which is why you’ll see the snacks at Public House coming out with table markers emblazoned with the likes of “Macho Man” Randy Savage.) And be sure to check out the “hidden” door to the B&B’s rooms, which was inspired by the movie “Clue.”

Nashville Guru

The Standard

TripAdvisor

The tiniest spot on the tiny bar list also happens to be the oldest. Built in the 1840s, the Smith House is where you’ll find The Standard’s three-seat bar. Take a lap to check out the historical opulence on display, including the tin ceiling and the space that once housed Tennessee’s first bowling alley.

In the mood to splurge? Order the $65 ribeye. In the mood to save? Order $10 a-la-carte veggies like the bacon-braised green beans or the truffle hash cake. Whatever you order, take a moment to appreciate the fact that this may be the one place left downtown where men can’t wear jerseys, sleeveless shirts, or sandals.

TripAdvisor

Carter's

Nashville Downtown Partnership

Hotels bars are solid places for solo excursions because people in hotels are happy. They’re on vacation, they’re drinking on their company’s dime, or they’re looking for a conversation with a total stranger — all of which creates a sense that anything can happen. The six-seat bar at Carter’s inside the grand Union Station hotel is ideal for all of that, and it offers a unique view: the gorgeous 100-year-old stained glass ceiling.

Nashville Downtown Partnership

Valentino's Ristorante

In 2019, Valentino’s made a smart move. After nearly 30 years on West End, the old-school Italian eatery relocated two blocks northeast to Hayes Street, and the new space makes all the difference. The five-seat bar is the heart of the restaurant, with a small but solid cocktail list, classic bar snacks like crispy calamari and a single TV for catching games.

Sadly veteran bartender Geri, the finest Irish gal you’ll ever meet, will retire at the end 2019, but not to fear — the average tenure of a Valentino’s employee is 20 years, so whoever takes her reins will take good care of you.

Emmy Squared - Gulch

[Official Photo]

Pizza joints are great places to pull up a stool, and Emmy Squared’s six-seat counter is an upscale Italian respite in the Sea of “Woo!” The Gulch can be. Emmy is known for Detroit-style pie, a deeper-dish pizza that’s downright belt-busting. Try the Colony pie (pepperoni, pickled jalapeños, local honey), the Zia waffle fries (topped with hatch-chili pimento cheese and bacon) or the famous Le Big Matt burger. Emmy is also the rare tiny bar that serves lunch, though it’s unclear how anyone returns to work after this without falling asleep in their cubicle.

[Official Photo]

Samurai Sushi

TripAdvisor

The best sushi bars are small affairs, but tiny, intimate ones are harder to find in Nashville these days. That’s why the six-seat bar at Samurai remains a delight. Not only do you get to see the masters at work, but you’ve also got the proper vantage to point at any piece of nigiri that looks good and order it without embarrassing yourself pronouncing “hokigai.”

TripAdvisor

Miel Restaurant

Meil Restaurant

Seema Prasad’s chic neighborhood nook is known for amuse-bouches, rare wines and obscenely decadent pork shoulder gnocchi, but its four-seat bar often flies under the radar. It’s the ideal place to dip into their Tuesday-Saturday happy hour complete with $5 wine, rocks cocktails and snacks ranging from marinated olives to a whole Bear Creek Farm burger. If happy-hour ramen is on the menu, order it. Eating flawless Japanese pork broth at an elegant French bar is a weird, wonderful thing you definitely want to do.

Meil Restaurant

Old Glory

Eater Nashville/Justin Chesney

Originally the boiler room for a 1920s dry cleaner, Old Glory is the odd combo of speakeasy and tiki bar with a decidedly industrial aesthetic. The six-seat bar is smack in the center of the room, yet it’s still somehow the most intimate seat in the house with its craggy stone accents, coal chute and green vines crawling the walls.

Order The Jack Horse — any spirit plus Amaro Averna and their spicy house-made ginger beer — and ask the bartenders their current favorite snacks. Then marvel at the fact these folks are turning out lamb rillettes and stracciatella with little more than a smoker and a hot plate.

Eater Nashville/Justin Chesney

Caffé Nonna

Caffé Nonna Google Image

Nobody does it better than grandma. Chef Daniel Maggipinto knows this, and that’s why he’s been cooking traditional recipes perfected by his grandmother Nonna in Sylvan Park for years. Nab a stool at the four-seat bar and slurp mussels in a saffron-tomato broth before building your own pasta — cappellini with arrabiatta is a good call — and don't forget to tack on a chocolate-dipped cannoli.

Caffé Nonna Google Image

Brown's Diner

Burgers, Barbecue and Everything Else

When it comes to dives, Nashville’s got a tiny bar in every neighborhood. In fact, lots of spots on Eater’s essential dive bar list fit the bill. Want a longneck and a corndog at 9 a.m. on Tuesday in a cash-only, cig-friendly environment? Grab one of four stools at Fran’s. In need of a throwback in Midtown? Grab a French bread cheeseburger at Rotier’s six-seat lunch counter. My pick, though, is the five-seat bar at Brown’s Diner’s for a cheeseburger (duh), a cup of chili and a Bud Heavy. Every charmingly weathered, immovable seat at the bar has a story — just like the regulars you'll find sitting in them.

Burgers, Barbecue and Everything Else

Santo

Eesome Co / Santo

Sipping rosé at a clean, white bar in the Mediterranean is a dream we all aspire to, and Santo’s five-seater is as close as you’ll get in Nashville. Set off by mod-deco accents and Brazilian-wood stools, this is the sleek bar where Green Hills goes to see and be seen.

Start with the spiced lamb sausage (merguez) before going full-force on crab galette or duck cassoulet. By the time you order the surprisingly light red velvet cheesecake, you’ll be convinced the Mediterranean is right outside the door, rather than Trader Joe’s.

Eesome Co / Santo

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