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a dimly lit bar with three pool tables lined up in a row and a foosball table in front of them Melrose Billiard Parlor/Facebook

Avoid Valentine’s Day at These 14 Nashville Dive Bars

Lovable bars with dim lighting and stiff drinks

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Nashville knows its way around a dive bar. Sure, you’ve got Broadway’s flashy honky-tonks trying to wrestle your attention — but beyond the neon signs and country music you’ve got some of the most laid-back, grungy dive bars around. So where do you go when you need a cheap drink and a place to relax for a couple of hours? Or maybe a discrete spot to avoid all the love birds canoodling in the fancier cocktail spots around town? These 14 essential Nashville dive bars have your back.

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Mickey's Tavern

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Mickey’s Tavern is an East Nashville dive bar that, refreshingly, doesn’t want to be anything else. Don’t come here for the karaoke, DJs, or bands — because that’s not happening here. Come to Mickey’s to drink with friends and play a little pool or a game of darts with a badass jukebox cued up in the background.

The Cobra Nashville

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Open until 3 a.m. daily, East Nashville’s the Cobra is just as much a live music venue as it is a bar (maybe even more so). While the “venue” portion of the space only opens 30 minutes before show time, there are pool tables and dart boards to help pass the time in between sets and rounds of brew over at the bar. The Cobra keeps it simple with a menu of nachos, quesadillas, hot dogs, and burritos.

Wilburn Street Tavern

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Back from the dead after a short hiatus and change of ownership (enter Teresa Mason of beloved Mas Tacos), the McFerrin Park dive bar saw some renovations but remains the same low-key longtime Eastside hang. Thankfully, the name and iconic sign remain, but folks can get pumped about menu items like a Sonoran hot dog or classic bar nachos.

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Dino’s

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When Dino’s changed owners in late 2014 there was fear that this East Nashville icon would lose its charm. But those fears have long since faded — Dino’s has retained its icon status by keeping much of its vintage feel while adding some nice touches, including an expanded patio and a killer weekend brunch. And yes, you can still nab one of its iconic cheeseburgers until 3 a.m. daily.

Duke’s in East Nashville isn’t the biggest bar in the city, but its late-night sandwiches more than make up for that. You can opt to build your own or go with one of its housemade creations like the top round pastrami with Swiss, red onion, and horseradish. The beer-and-a-shot combo here is always $7, and DJs — which includes a roster of local musicians, touring bands, and regulars with killer record collections — start spinning at 10 p.m.

Batters Box

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A tried-and-true dive bar just steps away from the weekend shrieks of Broadway — locals come to this smoker-friendly sports hang for a fun cast of regulars, bar games, and good pizza. It also serves breakfast all day — you’ll find the breakfast platter and sandwich available from open to close.

Betty's Bar & Grill

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The food and drink selection at Betty’s Grill might be limited, but that’s part of the charm that makes this dive a beloved neighborhood hangout. It's the place to go if you want an authentic dive experience: tons of NASCAR paraphernalia, live music, and the type of place where everyone indeed, knows your name.

The Red Door Saloon

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This Chicago-style dive in Midtown opened in 2002 and has an affinity for... bones. A hole in the floor functions as a peephole into the basement that guards some skeletal remains. After ordering your beer or a Red’s Whacker, take a gander at the flying skeletons around the joint and order up some brats, burgers, wings, or po’ boys when you start feeling peckish. Red Door has another location in East Nashville.

Springwater Supper Club & Lounge

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Springwater Supper Club has been around since 1897 and claims to be Tennessee’s oldest bar. Nowadays you can catch local musicians and comedians performing regularly at this no-frills Midtown dive while sipping on a draft beer — and only beer (i.e. don’t expect any fancy liquor or wine here). Word to the wise: it’s cash only, so hit an ATM before heading over.

Bobby's Idle Hour Tavern

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Bobby’s Idle Hour re-opened in a new location just a block down from its original digs back in 2021 and has stayed true to its dive bar roots ever since. Live music is the name of the game here, but don’t expect any frills when it comes to drinks and snacks. It’s can-service only with just a few bags of chips and peanuts to keep you fueled throughout the night — a dive bar through and through.

The Villager

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Just around the corner from Vanderbilt, Villager Tavern is where college students and Nashville locals come together for cheap beers and games of darts. Head here for your birthday and ask for the dog bowl to get just what it sounds like — a complimentary dog bowl filled with beer.

Santa's Pub

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No list of best dive bars in Nashville would be complete without the legendary Santa’s Pub. A Nashville staple, Santa’s can sometimes veer a little too touristy to be considered a dive bar. But the truth is, it’s as dive-y as you can get. It’s housed in a double-wide trailer with a cash-only bar, and some of the best karaoke in town.

Melrose Billiard Parlor

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Melrose Billiard Parlor was reopened a few years back and given a spit shine by Austin Ray (M.L. Rose, the Sutler) and his team. You’ll find pool tables, ping pong, shuffleboard, darts, and more throughout the joint. Happy hour runs from 4 to 8 p.m. with all beers and well liquor priced at $4. Food options are pretty basic here: cheese and pepperoni pizza and $2 snacks.

Rosie’s Twin Kegs

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Rosie’s Twin Kegs is the bar you wish you had around the corner. It’s been South Nashville’s (not-so) secret spot for cheap beer, food, and solid live music you can enjoy with a pretty genial crowd. Don’t leave without trying their burger — it’s been cited as one of the best in Nashville.

Mickey's Tavern

Mickey’s Tavern is an East Nashville dive bar that, refreshingly, doesn’t want to be anything else. Don’t come here for the karaoke, DJs, or bands — because that’s not happening here. Come to Mickey’s to drink with friends and play a little pool or a game of darts with a badass jukebox cued up in the background.

The Cobra Nashville

Open until 3 a.m. daily, East Nashville’s the Cobra is just as much a live music venue as it is a bar (maybe even more so). While the “venue” portion of the space only opens 30 minutes before show time, there are pool tables and dart boards to help pass the time in between sets and rounds of brew over at the bar. The Cobra keeps it simple with a menu of nachos, quesadillas, hot dogs, and burritos.

Wilburn Street Tavern

Back from the dead after a short hiatus and change of ownership (enter Teresa Mason of beloved Mas Tacos), the McFerrin Park dive bar saw some renovations but remains the same low-key longtime Eastside hang. Thankfully, the name and iconic sign remain, but folks can get pumped about menu items like a Sonoran hot dog or classic bar nachos.

Eater Nashville

Dino’s

When Dino’s changed owners in late 2014 there was fear that this East Nashville icon would lose its charm. But those fears have long since faded — Dino’s has retained its icon status by keeping much of its vintage feel while adding some nice touches, including an expanded patio and a killer weekend brunch. And yes, you can still nab one of its iconic cheeseburgers until 3 a.m. daily.

Duke's

Duke’s in East Nashville isn’t the biggest bar in the city, but its late-night sandwiches more than make up for that. You can opt to build your own or go with one of its housemade creations like the top round pastrami with Swiss, red onion, and horseradish. The beer-and-a-shot combo here is always $7, and DJs — which includes a roster of local musicians, touring bands, and regulars with killer record collections — start spinning at 10 p.m.

Batters Box

A tried-and-true dive bar just steps away from the weekend shrieks of Broadway — locals come to this smoker-friendly sports hang for a fun cast of regulars, bar games, and good pizza. It also serves breakfast all day — you’ll find the breakfast platter and sandwich available from open to close.

Betty's Bar & Grill

The food and drink selection at Betty’s Grill might be limited, but that’s part of the charm that makes this dive a beloved neighborhood hangout. It's the place to go if you want an authentic dive experience: tons of NASCAR paraphernalia, live music, and the type of place where everyone indeed, knows your name.

The Red Door Saloon

This Chicago-style dive in Midtown opened in 2002 and has an affinity for... bones. A hole in the floor functions as a peephole into the basement that guards some skeletal remains. After ordering your beer or a Red’s Whacker, take a gander at the flying skeletons around the joint and order up some brats, burgers, wings, or po’ boys when you start feeling peckish. Red Door has another location in East Nashville.

Springwater Supper Club & Lounge

Springwater Supper Club has been around since 1897 and claims to be Tennessee’s oldest bar. Nowadays you can catch local musicians and comedians performing regularly at this no-frills Midtown dive while sipping on a draft beer — and only beer (i.e. don’t expect any fancy liquor or wine here). Word to the wise: it’s cash only, so hit an ATM before heading over.

Bobby's Idle Hour Tavern

Bobby’s Idle Hour re-opened in a new location just a block down from its original digs back in 2021 and has stayed true to its dive bar roots ever since. Live music is the name of the game here, but don’t expect any frills when it comes to drinks and snacks. It’s can-service only with just a few bags of chips and peanuts to keep you fueled throughout the night — a dive bar through and through.

The Villager

Just around the corner from Vanderbilt, Villager Tavern is where college students and Nashville locals come together for cheap beers and games of darts. Head here for your birthday and ask for the dog bowl to get just what it sounds like — a complimentary dog bowl filled with beer.

Santa's Pub

No list of best dive bars in Nashville would be complete without the legendary Santa’s Pub. A Nashville staple, Santa’s can sometimes veer a little too touristy to be considered a dive bar. But the truth is, it’s as dive-y as you can get. It’s housed in a double-wide trailer with a cash-only bar, and some of the best karaoke in town.

Melrose Billiard Parlor

Melrose Billiard Parlor was reopened a few years back and given a spit shine by Austin Ray (M.L. Rose, the Sutler) and his team. You’ll find pool tables, ping pong, shuffleboard, darts, and more throughout the joint. Happy hour runs from 4 to 8 p.m. with all beers and well liquor priced at $4. Food options are pretty basic here: cheese and pepperoni pizza and $2 snacks.

Rosie’s Twin Kegs

Rosie’s Twin Kegs is the bar you wish you had around the corner. It’s been South Nashville’s (not-so) secret spot for cheap beer, food, and solid live music you can enjoy with a pretty genial crowd. Don’t leave without trying their burger — it’s been cited as one of the best in Nashville.

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