Nashville has no shortage of great drinking spots. Or phenomenal bartenders that know WAY more about said drinking spots than you or I. Because of this very pleasant fact, we talked to some of Nashville’s top barkeeps to find out their favorite watering holes to visit after hours. If you see them out, go ahead and buy 'em a round.
Picked by: Ryan Yamada, bartender at Sinema
“At Sinema I spend most of the night crafting cocktails. Whether I am muddling fresh mint and blackberries for our Style and Grace cocktail, or finding the perfect balance of flavors for one of our house-made tonics, a lot of thought and effort goes into the process. When I finish a shift and want to unwind, I like to turn that part of my brain off. I prefer to get a quick drink, so a boilermaker (shot and a beer) suits me. Just down the road from Sinema is Embers Ski Lodge. It's a casual bar with quick bites and beer and whiskey. Order me up a local draft and a shot of Jameson and we can cheers to a good night!”
Picked by: Megan Dillon, bartender and assistant manager of Embers Ski Lodge
“Great cocktails, cool haunted history, burlesque shows, and fantastic food. The vibe in this historic Printer's Alley bar with the stone walls, wood bar, and black and white checkerboard stage next to a baby grand piano sets the tone. Have Aaron or John mix you up literally anything, you won't be disappointed.”
Picked by: Tony, bartender at Kayne Prime
Tony’s favorite after hours bar in Nashville is The Patterson House for “their great selection of craft cocktails.” If you’ve never been to the Patterson House, slide it up to #1 on your to-do list and go ASAP. In fact, we love this bar so much that it made it on to our list of the Best Cocktail Bars in America. It's a cozy, speakeasy style cocktail bar that serves up a unique selection of wonderfully crafted cocktails, delicious appetizers, and enforces a strict no cell phone policy... which we’re kind of into.
Picked by: Kristin Hart, bartender at The Sutler
“When my shift at The Sutler is over, I like to head across the street to ML Rose. It’s great that this neighborhood is growing its bar options. It’s a mellow place where I can unwind with one of their rotating craft beers, and being able to grab a burger after midnight is always a bonus.”
Picked by: John Peet, bartender at the Holland House Bar & Refuge
“Duke’s is the perfect neighborhood spot for a shot and a beer after the work day is over. I usually opt for the Federali. A can of Tecate and a shot of Sauza for six bucks is a great deal, not to mention an unbeatable combination.”
Picked by: Deb Henley, bartender at the Oak Bar
"There are so many options now for late night drinks in Nashville that it's getting hard to choose just one! If I had to pick a favorite (besides Oak Bar, of course) I'd say it's Jackson's near Vanderbilt. They have a wonderful patio, laid-back atmosphere, great cocktail creations and a late-night bites menu."
Picked by: Dennis Butler, bartender at 1808 Grille & Grant Fisher, bartender at Party Fowl
Dennis Butler picked 308 because it's “sophisticated, with creative cocktails at a reasonable price; there's knowledgeable, friendly bar staff, great music, ambiance and energy. And it's walking distance from 5 points area of East Nashville.” Grant Fisher also chose No. 308 as the perfect after hours bar and recommends ordering the Queen Lily.
Picked by: Sam Stoppelmoor, sommelier at Union Common
“I can get a unique glass of wine, a sour beer on draft, and a craft cocktail on par with Patterson House. There are not many after-hours bars in town that can boast both quality and diversity in their beverage program.”
Picked by: Cristina Plascencia of 5th & Taylor
“It has managed to stay a Nashville original, even in the ever changing landscape of a growing city. Even better, they never run out of hot boys, cold drinks or billiards tables.”
Picked by: Lindie, bartender at Saint Añejo
Lindie likes 3 Crow for “the relaxed and diverse atmosphere.” There’s no doubt that it’s a local’s favorite spot for both a late-night drink and a bite. Located right in the heart of East Nashville’s 5 Points, this bar pretty much always has something going on and is a destination spot if you’re looking for a cold Bushwacker.
Picked by: Megan Dillon, bartender and assistant manager of Embers Ski Lodge
“Ma Familia! Next door neighbors is an understatement. This is the "Cheers" of 12 South Ave. Great 2-4-1 special on Tuesdays and Sundays, hand tossed pizza, local brews on tap, a fire pit on the back patio, and great people to sing 'Kumbaya' with.”
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Brita is a Nashville based food photographer and writer who will go to any Nashville bar after hours as long as they have cold Jackalope beer. Follow her on Twitter @bbritnell.
1. Embers Ski Lodge2410 12th Ave S, Nashville
2. Skull's Rainbow Room222 Printers Aly, Nashville
3. The Patterson House1711 Division St, Nashville
4. M.L. Rose Craft Beer & Burgers4408 Charlotte Ave, Nashville
5. Duke's1000 Main St, Nashville
6. Jackson's Bar & Bistro1800 21st Ave S., Nashville
7. No. 308407 Gallatin Ave, Nashville
8. Le Sel1922 Adelicia St, Nashville
9. Melrose Billiards2600 Franklin Pike, Nashville
10. 3 Crow Bar1024 Woodland St, Nashville
11. Mafiaoza's2400 12th Ave S, Nashville
Aspen meets Nashville at Embers Ski Lodge, where gastropub fare and cocktails reign supreme. Guests can dine in cabin-like environs against a backdrop of Mt. Everest, snacking on everything from burgers, salads, and seafood entrées. The beer and wine offerings are solid, but the massive whiskey list is the true highlight here -- and besides, what better way to start Sunday brunch than with two ounces of rare rye by way of an actual shot-ski?
Since 1948, Skull's has been the premiere spot in Nashville to get up to no good. This dark, shadowy dive in Printer's Alley operates as a bespoke cocktail bar and burlesque club. Recently reopened with a new PG-13 dancing girl act and a classic chophouse menu, Skull’s has become the retro-chic spot for a new generation of Nashvillians to discover a little slice of the city’s heritage. Plus the exquisite craft cocktails served at the ornate bar rival the best in town. Stop by for their twice-weekly striptease shows and sip on refined cocktails like Sazeracs and Old Fashioneds while you take in the view.
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.
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.
Located in Five Points, this part dive bar part deli, has a great DJ, cheap drinks and happy hour specials like a $6 shot and beer or $9 beer and sandwich. Plus its open until 3am so you can get in your drinks plus your late night eats all at one location.
In addition to strong Bloody Marys and a creative menu of huge omelet dishes, Jackson’s offers some tremendous people-watching opportunities during weekend brunches from their dog-friendly patio in Belmont.
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.
This venture is a product of the successful team behind The Catbird Seat, The Patterson House, Pinewood Social, and other favorite Nashville eating and watering holes. It's a modern French restaurant on the ground floor of the Adelicia building. From the sexy graffiti-inspired decor to the French hip-hop pumping through the speakers, a meal at Le Sel is stimulating to your eyes and ears. Their main floor has a more casual vibe, while their downstairs bar is more stately, and we are partial to their raw bar.
This 8th Avenue dive bar is a genuinely sweet spot to shoot some pool or play ping pong while the regular day drinkers quietly watch cooking shows on the televisions until SportsCenter comes on. Pro tip: frequent visitors set aside a special set of “Melrose clothes” that they can air the smoke out of without stinking up their hampers.
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.