We’ve already told you about Nashville’s most important restaurants, but for those of you who prefer to drink your calories, we can’t leave out Music City’s favorite watering holes. Here are just 10 of Nashville’s tried & true watering holes, from the classics to the newcomers, that make this city's bar scene as great as it is today.
Nashville's 10 essential bars
When restaurateurs Max and Ben Goldberg (Merchants, Paradise Park, Pinewood Social) opened Patterson House, many Nashvillians had their first taste of a true, craft cocktail bar, as well as eight different types of ice. The décor is modeled after an old, speakeasy-style library and the no-standing rule keeps the conversation actually hearable.
What you're getting: The Romeo and Juliet has been a menu staple with gin, lime, mint, cucumber, and rose water, or go with the Bacon Old Fashioned with Benton’s Bacon infused bourbon, maple syrup, and coffee pecan bitters.
M.L. Rose is one of the few spots in town to not only have a seasonal beer menu, but also a well-crafted balance between local microbrews and beers from all over. The two locations, Franklin Pike and Charlotte Ave, offer everything from arcade games to pitcher deals to cornhole on the patio, making these neighborhood bars ideal for celebrating a kickball victory with your team or piling your friends in a booth for trivia night.
What you're getting: TN favorites like Calfkiller and Black Abbey always seem to tap out first.
The crowd runs the gamut here from PBR-drinking hipsters and whiskey-slinging musicians, to Champagne-sipping fashionistas and in-the-know travelers passing through. On any given night, you could see the likes of a Kings of Leon member or Dan Auerbach spinning records and hanging with locals.
What you're getting: One of their ever-rotating $5 tap cocktails, or a Two Faced Mule with whiskey, ginger, and lager
Bushwackers, darts, and bushwackers. Broadway Brewhouse has five locations throughout Nashville, but Midtown was the first and the “original home of the bushwacker” using a passed-down recipe from the Sandshaker Lounge in Pensacola. With 71 draft lines and over 75 bottles, the beer selection is one of the best in town and the Cajun menu from Mojo Grill will help sop up your choices.
What you're getting: You can’t leave without downing at least one bushwacker.
Rumours wine bar and Rumours East remain wino favorites in town with two locations (now under separate ownership). Both feature pergola covered patios, one being behind an old Victorian on the East side, the other, on the corner of the Icon building in the Gulch. These bars have two of the best wine selections in town, but also carry excellent bar programs with Andrew Hannigan at Rumours East and owner Jenn McCarthy in the Gulch.
What you're getting: Aside from the obvious wine choice, try a Gentleman and the Scholar at Rumours or the Smoke & Mirrors with green tea-infused Dickel at Rumours East.
12 South Taproom doesn’t just let any run-of-the-mill beer touch its taps. The folks here preached craft beer before craft beer was a thing. With 30 rapidly rotating taps and over 70 bottles, nothing gets on this menu without first passing through the lips and gaining the approval of knowledgeable staff members.
What you're getting: This is the time to try that beer you’ve never heard of before. Play beer roulette with the barman.
An award-winning bar and Epicurean restaurant on the East side, Holland House is a place you can go and put your experience in the hands of the bartender. This is probably not the place to order a Jack and Coke, unless you want the cola smoked and the whiskey infused with bacon or jalapeños. Don't be afraid to go off menu, these creative mixologists love the challenge.
What you're getting: From the menu, ask for one of their mezcal creations like the Fuego Siempre or try their take on classics like the Pisco Sour and the Black Lemon Old-Fashioned. Snack on the pickled veggies or truffle fries -- extra aioli sauce.
MStreet damn near owns the block in upscale bars and restaurants, but when it comes to just grabbing a drink, Whiskey Kitchen reins supreme. The menu consists of chef-inspired pub favorites and wood-fired pizza along with the city’s largest collection of whiskeys, bourbons, ryes, and Scotch.
What you're getting: Enjoy the classic Sazerac or The Existentialist cocktail with the Nacho Nirvana or the Tennessee Whiskey Yam Fries.
Thirsty yet? Well it’s happy hour somewhere and this one lasts from 11am-7pm on weekdays. Located in the center of Five Points in East Nashville, 3 Crow also has two-for-one Sundays and a widely popular Trivia Night. They also host the best Bloody Mary competition in town during the annual Tomato Arts Fest.
What you're getting: Clearly this place knows a good Bloody Mary, but outside brunch, sip a local draft like Yazoo or Fat Bottom (located just around the block) and snack on some PBR-battered onion rings.
Corner Pub proudly wears the title of the original neighborhood bar. The first location in Green Hills is owned and operated independently from the chain of Corner Pub bars that has now spread across Nashville in five more locations. Corner Pub is a great place to catch the game on a plethora of flat-screens and tailgate with fellow alumni, fans, and regular bar patrons. The BBQ pit is rolled out in front and fired up early for dinner at 5pm.
What you're getting: Grab a light beer on draft with shots of Fireball for a team victory and since it's the only place to get a basket full of fried cheese beans, get that too.
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1. The Patterson House1711 Division St, Nashville
2. M.L. Rose Craft Beer & Burgers4408 Charlotte Ave, Nashville
3. No. 308407 Gallatin Ave, Nashville
4. Broadway Brewhouse1900 Broadway, Nashville
5. Rumours1104 Division St, Nashville
6. Rumours East1112 Woodland St, Nashville
7. 12 South Taproom & Grill2318 12th Ave S, Nashville
8. Holland House Bar & Refuge935 W Eastland Ave, Nashville
9. Whiskey Kitchen118 12th Ave S, Nashville
10. 3 Crow Bar1024 Woodland St, Nashville
11. Corner Pub4109 Hillsboro Circle, Nashville
Thanks to its sophisticated decor (cozy, 30-seat bar, vintage chandeliers), and even more sophisticated drinks (get the hickory-smoked cola and whiskey Jennings first and then move on), The Patterson House remains one of the leaders in a town where new, interesting things seem to be happening every minute.
Grab a pint at this local, craft beer bar, which gained even more favor when they started kicking mainstream beers off the taps in favor of local and regional, craft brews. Join their beer club, working your way through each seasonal menu.
It may be tiny, but No. 308 packs a punch with its roster of extensive cocktails and fun, dive-like ambiance. Apart from being knowledgable, the bartenders here mix up bespoke house-made syrups infused with soda carbonation that pair seamlessly with the wide variety of whiskeys on offer.
With 71 draft lines and over 75 bottles, the beer selection is one of the best in town and the Cajun menu from the Mojo Grill will help sop up your choices at this Midtown drinkery.
One of the favorite wine bars in town, Rumours features a covered patio, an excellent selection of vino, and a number of small and regular bites to pair with your wine.
Located in East Nashville, this wine bar and tapas resto offers a lovely outdoor patio area to enjoy your drinks (wine, beer, and mixeds), as well as a diverse menu with options for brunch, dinner, and dessert.
12 South Taproom doesn’t just let any run-of-the-mill beer touch their taps. They drank craft beer before craft beer was a thing, just beer from a small brewery no one’s heard of. With 30 rapidly rotating taps and over 70 bottles, nothing gets on this menu without passing through the lips and approval of knowledgeable staff members.
Holland House Bar & Refuge in East Nashville actually used to be a grocery store, but now, with two maple bars, more than a dozen chandeliers hanging from the vaulted ceiling and a gorgeously lit back patio, you'd never think produce was sold here. Many rooms can be reserved for private parties, and the opulent decor is perfect for when you want to impress. With creative mixologists who love going off the menu for drinks, you'll never be bored at this Nashville popular spot.
Located in the Gulch, the menu here consists of chef-inspired pub favorites and wood-fired pizza, along with the city’s largest collection of whiskeys, bourbons, ryes, and Scotch.
Located in the center of Five Points in East Nashville, 3 Crow has two-for-one Sundays and a widely popular Trivia Night. They also host the best Bloody Mary competition in town during the annual Tomato Arts Fest.
Located in Green Hills, Corner Pub is a great place to catch the game on a plethora of flat-screens and tailgate with fellow alumni, fans, and regular bar patrons. AND the BBQ pit is rolled out in front and fired up early for dinner at 5pm. Be sure to stop by one of their happy hours for some great deals on wine and beer.