The Absolute Best Sports Bars in Nashville
The Olympics are here!
With all three of Nashville’s professional sports teams coming off of playoff runs, it’s a great time to be a fan in Music City. (We shan’t speak of Vandy football.) Add in a rabid college football fanbase and the ongoing efforts to bring NASCAR and Major League Baseball to town, and we’re definitely in the midst of a boom. And, oh yeah, there's a little thing called the Olympics happening. If you love the communal environment of watching games as part of a crowd, but prefer a barstool over a stadium seat, Nashville’s sports bars have got you covered. Here are some of the league leaders when it comes to food, drink, and sports in town:
Germantown and Sylvan Park
As more young people move into the new housing springing up all over Germantown, the neighborhood has been looking for a good sports bar. Neighbors stepped into that gap quite nicely with their second location in town. Like at their original Sylvan Park restaurant, the new Neighbors smokes all their meats in house, ranging from brisket to ribs to pulled pork, and serves them alongside bar snacks, sandwiches, and lots of cold beer. Add in a focus on local sports teams, and that’s a sure recipe for success!
Imagine if Deb Paquette, one of Nashville’s most beloved chefs for the amazing international cuisine at her restaurants Etch and etc., were to create a casual menu for a laid-back neighborhood gastropub. Well, you don’t have to imagine it, because that’s exactly what she’s done with Jasper’s, which bills itself as “the next evolution of the sports bar.” The menu turns traditional pub grub on its head, elevating chicken wings with mango chili sauce and quesadillas with lamb barbacoa. The large bar is ringed with televisions showing your favorite games, and the restaurant also offers a few video and table games to amuse yourself during halftime.
This (literally) elevated sports bar features a large outdoor patio perched high above the third base line of the Nashville Sounds First Horizon Park so you can take in a ballgame without buying a ticket or paying stadium prices for your beer and food. You can even reserve a space for up to 20 people with your own dedicated server for a private event. Dozens of televisions spread around the spacious interior show all the big games, and their menu of sandwiches and flatbreads will keep you energized for a day of marathon sports viewing.
This venerable sports bar in the ‘burbs near Gaylord Opryland Resort doesn’t draw the tourists like urban core watering holes do, and that’s a good thing. The decidedly old school restaurant and bar has everything you’d want for your game-viewing pleasure: cold beer and a huge menu of burgers, wings, pizza, sandwiches, and barbecue. However, they’re best known for their version of Nashville hot chicken, a fiery fried dish that is remarkably legit for a sports bar. With heat levels like “Satan’s Tongue” and “Hiroshima,” order at your own risk!
M.L. Rose has a few locations (Melrose, Sylvan Park, and Capitol View) and they all have their own unique charms, but for game day, we’re partial to the Sylvan Park location on the west side of town, by virtue of its huge outdoor seating area stocked with giant Jenga blocks. M.L. Rose’s burger is what put them on the map, but their 90-craft-beer selection is also one of the biggest in Music City. If the weather isn’t cooperating, consider the one in Melrose, where Jenga is swapped for arcade classics.
Daily drink specials? Check. Huge outdoor seating areas? Check. Something called a “mimosa bucket”? Check plus. Crow’s Nest is one of Green Hills’ better sports bar spots, with two levels and lots of outdoor seating that never puts you too far from any screen while still maintaining an easy, relaxed vibe (at least until the game gets heated). Oh, and those mimosa buckets? You can, and should, get one. They’re available Saturday and Sunday from 10am to close, and they’re as good as they sound.
Double Dogs is a solid, family-friendly option in Sylvan Heights and Hillsboro Village, with plenty of screens and beer specials for fun, low-key game day hangs. The real plus to Double Dogs is the audio boxes at every booth that let you tune into whatever game you want so you won’t be fighting for the volume control with the other patrons, of whom there will be plenty. And while they’ve got 100 beers to pick from and plenty of food options, don’t sleep on their beloved buffalo mac & cheese, which, even in a town with tons of solid options for mac & cheese, still manages to stand out.
When Sam’s opened a location in the Belle Meade neighborhood, the crowds were so big that people parked their cars on the side of the highway and walked a block to get to the sports bar. You don’t understand. People in Belle Meade just don’t do that! Apparently that’s what access to multiple television screens showing all the big games, slow-cooked ribs and chicken, fantastic burgers, and perhaps the best wings in town will do to the 1%. Don’t worry, they’ll serve the rest of us, too.
This powerhouse chain of sports bars already had a rabid following at their locations in Brentwood, Franklin, and Bellevue, but when they opened their latest outpost downtown on 5th Avenue, that really pushed them over the top. A 48-foot LED video looks like something out of Vegas or the command deck of the Enterprise, and the bar features a beer tap for every foot of screen. In addition to all those beers plus wine and cocktails, the food menu is a double threat. In addition to classic Southern comfort food like meatloaf and fried chicken, Corner Pub also serves some pretty respectable tacos and fajitas courtesy of their Mexican sister restaurant, Esquina Cantina.
If Broadway Brewhouse had never accomplished anything other than being one of the innovators of the Bushwhacker, that boozy frozen chocolate concoction that has become the start of so many bad ideas, they would have a special place in Nashville’s heart. Not resting on their frigid laurels, they also serve up some really novel chicken wings including jalapeno molasses-glazed and fiery habanero sticky versions. Add in a wall of craft beer taps and games on the tube over the bars, and you’ll understand why Broadway Brewhouse is a Nashville institution.
Nashville’s most authentic British pub is the perfect spot to enjoy a proper pint or two of imported English ale while watching football (both kinds!) on the telly. The subterranean lair lends itself to losing track of time with no sunlight to gauge the hour of day, but as long as you’ve got an order of fish and chips or a shepherd’s pie in front of you, what’s your hurry? Fleet Street is the home pub for Arsenal fans, so maybe don’t wear your Tottenham Hotspur supporter scarf if you don’t want trouble.
The front of this SoBro emporium is dedicated to an immense tasting room and gift shop featuring Ole Smoky Moonshine, but once you power through that space it opens up into a wondrous shrine of delights. There are multiple bars serving beers from Ole Smoky’s corporate cousins at Yee Haw Brewing plus food from White Duck Taco Shop and Daddy’s Dogs. Then there are the screens. The glorious, humongous screens playing the biggest games on the biggest displays around. Inside or out in the amiable beer garden/adult playground, it’s virtually impossible to turn your head and not see one of those screens. That’s exactly how we like our sports bars, visible from space.
With more than 20 televisions and plenty of free parking, The Mainstay is one of East Nashville’s premiere sports bars. Almost in the shadow of the Titans’ home at Nissan Stadium, The Mainstay supports all of Nashville’s major teams. Their menu is a little fancier than typical sports bar fare, but the prices are right in line with what you’d pay for far inferior food. Convenience, conviviality and bargain prices combine to create what should really be a neighborhood mainstay for years.
Located on the edge of Germantown on the way to North Nashville, this neighborhood hang attracts fans of all of the city’s pro teams plus college fans of Tennessee State University and Vanderbilt. This sort of eclectic crowd can feel comfortable cheering for their favorite teams because Germantown Pub strives to be an inclusive destination with a genuinely hospitable vibe. Everyone can agree on the fact that their pork chop sandwich and Nashville Hot Burger are worth a visit, and don’t we need more things to bring us all together?
Sandwiched on the second story of the popular Downtown Sporting Club between the ground level Paradise Park Trailer Resort burgers and beer joint and the boutique hotel on the third floor, The R.E.C. Room is a unique venue for watching sports. Offering a view of Broadway below through windows that run the length of the block, guests can choose private booths where they can control which game they watch on personal televisions. There’s a quirky stadium seating setup with chairs ringing an astroturf floor for cornhole and a huge television showing the biggest games of the day. You can join in the competition with ring toss, shuffleboard and foosball, or get your heartrate up flinging axes in DSC’s dedicated lanes. Your hourly fee includes a trained throwing coach to keep you safe and teach you how to hit the bullseye.
There aren’t many sports bars in Music City where you can actually listen to live music, but the modern tavern Barlines at the Omni Hotel has got you covered on that front. A large video wall can show multiple games or one huge display, and live bands perform on a stage in front of the screens. They thoughtfully time their sets around the action, so you can get the best of both worlds. A full menu of Southern food classics plus beer, wine and spirits completes the experience.
Chris Chamberlain is a contributor to Thrillist.