The Best LGBTQ Bars in Nashville
Go out and celebrate.
There’s more to Nashville than honky-tonks, Carrie Underwood karaoke, bachelorette parties, and hot chicken—a whole lot more. And part of that is the city’s vibrant LGBTQ scene and its handful of bars and clubs catering to the community of locals and tourists alike. In Nashville, you can dance your heart out to Britney and Gaga between drag shows featuring Reba- and Dolly-inspired queens, indulge in local craft beer during a boozy drag brunch, or spend a night at one of America’s last remaining lesbian bars, Lipstick Lounge.
Nashville is a party city, and it’s not just for country music-loving out-of-towners (though its country roots permeate throughout). Whether you’re looking for fog machines and disco balls or an inclusive Tuesday night Tailgate beer (a Nashville favorite), here are some of the best LGBTQ bars and events in Music City.
Want to dance your heart out? Then head to Play, Nashville’s most popular gay club, (ironically or very purposfully) located on Church Street, sort of in Midtown, sort of in Downtown, and not too far from Music Row. At Play, headline drag queens frequently grace the stage, but Nashville’s favorite local queens are the main attraction. Here, you can catch a drag show starting at 9 pm on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, or just come shake it till you can’t make it on the dance floor. And if you want to make friends, the back patio is the perfect place to cool down and chat with people from all over the world.
Another great spot on the Church Street drag (no pun intended), Canvas is an eclectic bar that’s quintessential Nashville: It’s a little divey, comfortably dark, has a mix-match of random-but-thoughtful decor, and is always a whole lot of fun. Known for its incredibly friendly bartenders and shockingly good food, Canvas is a great place to chat it up with strangers at the bar, dance with good company, let loose on karaoke night, or join an '80s music video dance party.
Biscuits 'n gravy and a drag show? Welcome to Nashville, baby. Featuring an Asian-meets-southern menu, with dishes like katsu chicken and waffles and BBQ pulled pork with Sriracha, Suzy Wong’s House of Yum is where you can soak up last night’s booze in the company of the queens you tossed dollars at next door at Play. With shows on Friday at noon and 10:30 am and 1 pm shows on Saturday and Sunday, make sure you grab a reservation for your seat at this boozy, inclusive brunch. Not necessarily an LGBTQ bar, it is a Nashville staple that, love it or hate it, is part of the Church Street scene.
According to The Lesbian Bar Project, “In the late 1980s, there were an estimated 200 Lesbian Bars across the country. Now there are thought to just be 21.” And luckily for Tennessee, Nashville’s Lipstick Lounge is one of them. Self-described as “a bar for humans,” this East Nashville treasure has it all: karaoke, trivia, boozy brunch, live music, a nice patio, great food, and, most importantly, a sense of purpose and community that’s truly inclusive of all. An iconic bar in Nashville, you won’t regret stopping at Lipstick Lounge anytime its friendly doors are open.
A totally welcoming bar with super affordable drinks, Trax is might not be the queer bar you hear about first but it’s one you won’t forget. Located a little off the beaten path compared to some of Nashville’s other LGBTQ bars, Trax is a great hole-in-the-wall sort of place that caters to locals and tourists alike. Two-for-one specials will quench your thirst and the friendly staff and patrons are good for the soul.
Right next to Play, Tribe is a slightly more subtle LGBTQ bar and lounge offering a mix of weekly events, happy hours, food, and more. Dark and luminescent, Tribe can be the place to spend a boozy Sunday afternoon (it opens at noon on the weekends) or a solid place to grab drinks after work with special happy hour pricing. But drinking isn’t Tribe’s only activity; stop in on Thursday for bingo and karaoke (and two-for-one drinks) or swing by on Sunday for show tune night or karaoke.
Linedancing, sports, and the Mr. Nashville Leather contest call Pecker’s, an unassuming bar close to Downtown, home. Here you can get (almost) whatever you want: an LGBTQ-friendly honky-tonk, the Titan’s game, a local singer-songwriter, karaoke, wings, bingo, beer in a glass bottle, and that Music City warmness that makes you feel like you belong even if it’s your first time in the Volunteer State.