It’s no secret that Nashville’s known as a great place to drink a cold, cheap beer out of a longneck bottle -- preferably in a honky-tonk bar or on the outskirts of town close to a quarry or some other cliché. If you don’t believe me, just listen to a country song. But there are plenty of fans of better beer here, and in addition to a burgeoning brewery scene, Nashville has some fantastic bars that serve up the best in local, regional, and national craft beers. Here’s a 12-pack of choices you can’t go wrong with.
The Gold Rush used to be the primary meeting spot on “The Rock Block,” the strip of music clubs that run up and down Elliston Place. The younger generation has moved from cheap bean rolls and citrus shooters at Gold Rush to nachos and craft beer at Hurry Back, an attractively modern alternative to the other, ahem, “well-loved” dives on the street. With more than two dozen draft lines pouring beers rarely found in typical beer bars plus a popular trivia night, Hurry Back is making sure that’s exactly what you’ll be doing.
Melrose and Sylvan Park
The specialty burgers at both ML Rose locations are some of the tastiest in town. ML also boasts an expertly curated list of craft beers to offer the perfect accompaniments. This is not simply a burger joint with beers, though. Management strives to find special seasonal options that are offered on a menu divided by style a boldness of flavor. With 34 beers on tap, they run the gamut from drinkably light to one-and-done heavy.
This taproom was 12South back before 12South was cool. Long-time fans have remained fiercely loyal thanks to the dozens of craft drafts (including nitro taps) and coolers full of exotic canned and bottled beers that were pretty damn rare when this cozy spot opened more than a decade ago. Since this is a favorite spot for breweries to release new beers and participate in tap takeovers, keep an eye on its event calendar or you’ll miss out!
Despite the slightly bizarre regulations of the beer board that require patrons to remain inside the penned-in area of this open-air taproom like beer-swigging farm animals, The Picnic Tap has quickly garnered a reputation as one of the best spots to enjoy a local draft during a break from shopping for produce in the farm sheds at the Nashville Farmer’s Market. PT tries to keep at least one beer from every brewery in town on tap, but that’s getting harder to do as the number of options keeps increasing. It’s a good problem to have. Their gourmet hot dogs are also a welcome splurge from all that kale and turnips.
Known as one the most raucous places in town to catch a Predators game on TV, Village Pub is pretty chill when the puck isn’t in play. The 1940s house that has been converted into a comfy bar with plenty of light streaming in through large windows and a cozy crackling fireplace during the winter is a fantastic destination for friends looking to explore the world of local and regional brews in a welcoming environment. A large wraparound porch provides a beer garden vibe with at least partial protection from the elements.
Residents of this sleepy Nashville suburb have been working for a few years to rebrand themselves as a “hip Donelson,” and the opening of this attractive craft beer bar and comfort food-centric restaurant has gone a long way toward making that happen. Twenty-four taps of craft beers, ciders, and locally roasted cold brew focus on the Southern region, but there are always a few “tourist taps” featuring something novel from outside the area. Many of these beers were previous unavailable in the hinterlands out past the airport.
Based out of Memphis, the local link in a small chain of craft bars is the first place where many Nashvillagers first experienced beers that weren’t brewed by one of the mega-corporations that dominated the industry for decades. More than 100 taps offer beers from around the world, and if you drink enough of them they’ll engrave your name on a saucer and hang it on the wall for all to see. Just hope your boss doesn’t notice how many plates feature your name. Comely servers also serve platters of sausages and pretzels to simulate the full Bavarian beer hall experience.
Sleek and modern, Hops + Crafts is a taproom for “New Nashville,” the generation of drinkers who take notes on each pour and play “Cards Against Humanity” during their lunch break. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Large LED screens indicate what’s flowing in the 36 rotating taps, and you can expect an interesting variety of regional craft beers to try out during any visit. Hops + Crafts have been called one of the best beer bars in the country, so you’ll want to drop in to see what that’s all about. “Tennessee Tuesdays” are a good time to visit with all in-state brewed pints at half off.
Three dozen draft beers, a full spirits bar, great sandwiches, and darts: Need we say more? We’re going to anyways. Those taps feature beers from around the world including rare German, Czech, and Belgian brews. There is also a selection of exotic cans to supplement the draft collection. As well as Coors and PBR, if you must. The beer menu at The Hop Stop is notable for the florid description of the flavors of each item, quite helpful considering some of the beers might not be familiar to neophytes.
This Melrose hangout is the one-stop shop for serious beer lovers, with an attached liquor store to augment the retail supply of popular craft beers available on tap or packaged. The back room sells books and supplies for home brewers, and you can always find like-minded individuals discovering a new fave in the convivial taproom. The knowledgeable staff working the taps are among the best in town at suggesting something novel to fill your growler with -- including some very interesting sours and barrel-aged beers.
Midtown and Downtown
A beer bar for both serious connoisseurs and casual boozers, the multiple locations of Broadway Brewhouse have become neighborhood fixtures. But the two locations that actually have Broadway street addresses are the ones most frequented by tourists and locals alike. The Downtown location offers 72 taps stretched along a 60ft long bar, so it’s a great spot to enjoy a beer from a long list of options. Try a Bushwhacker to forget about the day’s troubles. Or, hell, drink two Bushwhackers and stop caring about days in general.
The punny name of this Downtown joint refers to both its subterranean locale and the fact that they sell a metric shit-ton of beer. With more than 50 draft options and over a hundred others available by the bottle, you’re liable to discover something you love at the Beer Sellar. There’s even a section of the menu labeled “Domestic Macro Drafts,” a euphemism for Bud/Miller/Coors. Hey, tourists are people, too. Just steps from Lower Broad and a quick stroll to Nissan Stadium or Bridgestone Arena, The Beer Sellar is a popular place to party before or after big Downtown events that still offers a little bit of cover from the thickest parts of the masses.
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1. Hurry Back2212 Elliston Pl, Nashville
2. M.L. Rose Craft Beer & Burgers4408 Charlotte Ave, Nashville
3. 12 South Taproom & Grill2318 12th Ave S, Nashville
4. The Picnic Tap900 Rosa L Parks Blvd, Nashville
5. Village Pub & Beer Garden1308 McGavock Pike, Nashville
6. Homegrown Taproom & Marketplace2720 Old Lebanon Rd, Nashville
7. Flying Saucer111 10th Ave S, Nashville
8. Hops & Crafts319 12th Ave S, Nashville
9. The Hop Stop2909 Gallatin Pike, Nashville
10. Craft Brewed2502 Franklin Pike, Nashville
11. Broadway Brewhouse1900 Broadway, Nashville
12. Beer Sellar107 Church St, Nashville
Hurry Back is an Elliston Place gem where you can easily relax and enjoy a wide selection of high-gravity local, international, and rare beers that tend to only be tapped here. Hurry Back is so focused on its beer program that each beer has a particular glass for peak taste, but don't worry they feature a small selection of American bar food. Whether you're inside the cozy bar or sitting under the sun at a picnic table, the nachos are filling and the grilled cheese with creamy tomato soup always hits the spot.
Between M.L. Rose's 34-tap craft beer program, eight of which rotate through local, seasonal, and small batch brews, and the simple, greasy American pub fare, the relaxed and decidedly cool atmosphere will make you want to hang around and have a few (especially when the fire pits get going on the patio). If you have any trouble picking what you want from the short menu, it's because you can't choose between loaded waffle fries and a fat, craft burger like the signature Nash Vegas stacked with a thick beef patty, savory pimento cheese, crispy tabasco onions, and tangy barbecue on a fluffy potato bun. The best part is that the full menu is served nightly until 1am.
When the owners at 12 South Taproom couldn't find the perfect place to drink great beer with friends, they opened their unassuming craft beer and comfort food shack complete with a patio and a constant din of happy conversation. With 30 rapidly rotating craft taps and over 70 bottles, nothing gets on this menu without passing through the lips and approval of knowledgeable staff members. Pair your local and national brews with zesty, hot wings, toasty, inventive sandwiches, hefty burgers, and Southern-inspired tacos (think salmon, trout, pulled pork, and tender ribeye).
At home in Nashville Farmers' Market's airy warehouse setting is The Picnic Tap, a similarly quaint beer bar serving 15 regional craft drafts and locally-sourced cheese boards. Sit at the repurposed wood bar or one of many picnic tables and have a pint or find your new favorite brew by ordering a Tennessee shaped flight of four. You can also buy and fill your growlers in this always bustling spot.
Village Pub & Beer Garden is a comfortable, casual setting to enjoy one of 12 regional and local craft drafts and the Nashville-famous stuffed pretzel sandwich. The favorite has to be the Italian Sausage Stuffed Pretzel: a huge, fluffy pretzel sectioned and stuffed sausage, caramelized onions, melted mozzerella, and homemade tomato confit bruschetta. Guests can also drink and dine on the oh-so-Souther wraparound porch all year long with their four-legged friends.
Homegrown is an uber casual taphouse that takes its name seriously with 24 mostly local beers on tap as well as locally-sourced Southern comfort foods. The beers range from Tennesse-local favorites to Regional picks to renowned national brews, and the menu features buttery bacon popcorn, gooey macaroni and cheese, a homemade peanut butter and jelly on brioche, and down home meatloaf with garlic rosemary mashed potatoes. Visit the marketplace where all your favorite beers are available for sale.
There are plenty of things to love about Flying Saucer, but arguably the best thing this hip downtown spot offers is the nightly specials, ranging anywhere from rare taps to unbelievably cheap drafts to weekly trivia night. The menu features shareable finger foods like loaded tater tots and gigantic soft pretzels, bun-soaking burgers, and fresh Saucer Pies like prosciutto and arugula. If you are a beer lover, take advantage of the UFO program, where you can track all of the beers you have enjoyed at Flying Saucer.
Hops & Crafts is a welcoming beer bar and growler-filling station with 34 taps devoted heavily to Tennessee brews and other regional favorites from neighboring states. On the off chance the beer alone isn't a hearty enough serving of Southern pride, a helping of Daddy Bob’s Pimento Cheese or whole wheat pizza made from scratch with locally-sourced products should do the trick. The flights are massive and the pooch-friendly patio is sunny when the weather is warm.
The Hop Stop is East Nashville’s stop for… hops. The ever-evolving roster of craft beer includes upwards of 30 local, national, and international varieties on draft, and rare, hard-to-find bottles and cans. Except for the Coors Banquet and PBR tallboys -- those are neither rare nor hard to find. Get your fill (and fill your growler) of craft beer, play darts, and eat some hot dogs (or “Not Dogs”) in an unassuming, unpretentious atmosphere on Gallatin Pike.
Craft Brewed is equal parts tap room and bottle shop, offering craft beer and eclectic wines and spirits, and is home to the self-proclaimed largest selection of high-gravity (read: high ABV) beers in the city. There are over 30 beers on draft with a lineup -- listed on the chalkboard above the taps -- that constantly rotates through both familiar and lesser-known craft brews. You can fill a growler of your favorite selection from the taps, pick up a six-pack or a bottle of wine or liquor (or all three… why not?) for the road, or sip your suds from pints in the tap room. Be wary — the high-gravity beers are not for the faint of heart… or lightweights.
With 71 draft lines and over 75 bottles, Broadway Brewhouse's beer selection is one of the best in midtown. The menu offers filling Cajun cuisine like po-boys, spicy gumbo, crawfish, and jambalaya as well as down home American burgers loaded with grease and Texas-style red bean chili loaded with spice. Pro tip: visit during off times because the crowds of beer-thirsty patrons tend to err on the insane side.
Located Downtown, Beer Sellar is a tavern devoted to the dive bar-style atmosphere, but with a craft beer selection you’d likely never come across in an actual dive. The neon-lit signs, dart boards and pool tables, soft pretzels and hot beef sandwiches, and even domestic macro drafts (like Bud Light, Miller Lite, Coors Light… you get it) may lead the uninitiated to believe there’s nothing more to it than there is any other dive bar. There is. Local, national, and international craft beer taps line the walls, giving your tastebuds the royal treatment in an unpretentious tavern.