When you’re visiting Nashville, there is one thing you have to get right – Drinks & Atmosphere! From cozy hole-in-the-walls to local favorites, you have tons of bars to choose from! Accordingly, Nashville is bristling with some of the world’s most famous bars, music scenes, and local culture! Luckily, we’ve done our due diligence to bring you the best of the best, the cream of the crop, and the dirty little secrets! So jump in and get ready to make some memories!

Santa’s Pub

$ ★ 4.5
If you’re looking for one of the weirdest, wildest nights you can have in the capitol of country music, look no further than Santa’s Pub. A dive in the truest sense of the word, Santa’s is cash only, located in an actual trailer, and serves up the rip roarin’est karaoke this side of the Mississippi seven nights a week . That’s right- no tabs, no credit cards, and no shame. This Christmas-themed diamond in the rough caters to locals, tourists, and celebrities alike (a short internet search reveals both Justin Bieber and Kid Rock as fans). Despite its ability to draw music legends, don’t expect any frills. The furniture is mismatched and stays true to it’s trailer park aesthetic. They also don’t serve cocktails (or even liquor for that matter). However, beers are an astoundingly low $3 a pop (and served out of what looks like your grandmother’s refrigerator) so you’ll be able to afford all the liquid courage you need to get up there and belt out your favorite Garth Brooks or Boys II Men with the best of ‘em.

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The Cobra

$ ★ 4.5 When you spy a technicolor turquoise snake cozied up to a can of PBR, you’ll know you’ve made it to rock and roll heaven. Welcome to the Cobra, East Nashville’s rowdiest and most beloved dive bar. Whether you’re craving a killer live show, a round of pinball, or a late-night quesadilla, The Cobra’s got you covered. Make friends with the tattooed set at the pool table and then grab a cold one on the sprawling outdoor patio, where if you follow the Christmas lights, you’ll find a small window that slings mouthwatering Mexican fare into the wee hours. While best known for its eclectic live music calendar spanning punk rock to hip hop to rootsy Americana, The Cobra is also home to raucous DJ fueled dance parties and local series like Storytellers, in which songwriters share their nittiest and grittiest tales from the road. There is literally something cool going on every day of the week and if that doesn’t do it for you, maybe their out of control drink specials will (see: two for one Tuesdays and $5 Jameson happy hour). Come for the heavy metal yoga, stay for the brisket tacos. Follow them on Facebook 📍 Directions  |  📖 Menu 

Mickey’s Tavern

$ ★ 4.6
Featuring a state-of-the-art, shuck-to-order oyster bar, a real wood-fired grill, locally grown produce, deliciously tender meats and directly sourced, sustainable seafood, The Southern combines indigenous flavors with exotic ingredients to offer an authentically southern experience with a twist. The Southern’s cuisine brings a southern sensibility to time-honored dishes from around the world. With influences from the Gulf Coast to the Caribbean; from Nova Scotia to North Carolina, the menu at The Southern is truly “south of somewhere.”

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Dee’s Country Cocktail Lounge

$$ ★ 4.3 If you’ve been dying to relive the seventies but can’t wait for commercial time travel to be a thing, fear not- for a mere ten minutes outside of downtown Nashville you can live out all of your Farrah Fawcett fantasies. This hip little Christmas light-strewn country bar comes bathed in plenty of neon with all the additional fixins of your hipster dreams- a disco ball, old school wood paneling, a plush red shag carpet stage, and a healthy helping of taxidermy and deer antler accents (the chandeliers are to die for, no pun intended.) The vintage push letter felt board is full of food specials served late, ranging from modern (Thai chicken tacos) to classic (soft pretzels and frito pies), with the crowd favorite being the Italian beef sandwich. The jukebox is just as loaded, bearing the best of the era- fuzzy guitars, glam rock, and boot stompin Americana. The concert calendar is similarly stacked and you can find live music here most nights of the week. Don’t forget happy hour on weekdays from 3-6 (two-fer well drinks, domestic beers, and selected drafts). This makes for a good natured, music driven crowd, which means that all of the big haired girls and long haired boys are just as fun to watch as they are to dance with. Follow them on Facebook 📍 Directions  |  📖 Menu  |  📞 Call 

Wilburn Street Tavern

$ ★ 4.7 Don’t be fooled by this seemingly non-descript gem on the East Side. This hip little haunt foregoes the bells and whistles to provide classic cocktails on the cheap, tasty bar snacks on the fly, and good times galore in their bare-boned, brick-walled oasis. Whether you find yourself craving a halfway decent mixed drink or a six dollar rail shot and a beer, you can have the best of both worlds here on Wilburn Street. Snag one of their crafty cocktails or daily specials (say a mint gin lemonade or a caipirinha) for under ten bucks (and without having to brave the bougie cocktail bar atmosphere). This place is the real deal, the perfect crossroads where the gin fizzes flow as freely as the PBR. They also leave the pretenses at home when it comes to their food. Everything on the menu costs five dollars, from house nachos to gussied up hot dogs to their own twist on the meat and three. But don’t pigeonhole them, these folks love a theme and you very well may catch them serving gumbo on Mardi Gras or empanadas for cumbia night. Come for a few casual rounds of pool, to catch a live set in the corner of the bar, or to give it everything you’ve got on the dancefloor at one of their vinyl DJ nights with musical offerings as diverse and interesting as their cocktail lists (see: Bonga Selecta every Sunday for some of the city’s best salsa, merengue, reggae, and afrobeat.) Follow them on Facebook 📍 Directions  |  📞 Call 

Dino’s Bar

$ ★ 4.7
Supposedly the oldest dive bar in Nashville, this late night diner (that just happens to also serve beer) hits like a punk rock version of Happy Days and has been lauded far and wide by many (most notably the late great Anthony Bourdain). And if that’s not blessing enough, it’s also heavily sprinkled in Dolly Parton memorabilia. This nostalgic and lively after hours mecca is the spot where Nashville goes to wind down or keep the party going after a long night of drinking and dancing. The greasy diner food sometimes gets mixed reviews, though die hard fans swear by the griddle and all of the toasted bun covered, grilled onion smothered, melted cheesy goodness it produces. The cheap beer prices and unique atmosphere are pretty tough to beat. With rock and roll blaring out of the speakers and burgers, hot chicken, and breakfast fare pumping out of the kitchen ‘til 3 am, you never know just who you’ll run into at the dark, crowded ordering window or upstairs on the bustling dining patio. Heed Guns ‘n Roses and exercise a little patience as the line tends to get crazy, and don’t forget to grab extra napkins to sop up all the burger grease and vintage charm this place is dripping in.

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Fran’s Eastside

$ ★ 4.5 Your first mistake here is walking in the front door—not because going to this bar is a bad idea (on the contrary, it’s a great move, trust us). It’s just that if you walk in the front door at Fran’s, you’ll find yourself center stage, smack dab in the middle of a regular’s hellbent and heartfult rendition George Strait or Wynona Judd. The safest way to avoid accidental stardom or upstaging a serious aficionado at this combination pool hall/karaoke nirvana is to enter through the side door (you’re welcome). Formerly a beauty salon, the yellowed cinder block watering hole opened in 1970 and though it isn’t particularly beautiful in any sort of classic sense, it does have a certain rough and tumble je ne sais quoi that’s near impossible to deny. The bar is covered floor to ceiling in all kinds of funky knick knacks and paintings donning the likenesses of everything from kittens to Jim Morrison. However, the real works of art here are the handwritten signs, stating “Not responsible for broken bones” or “The bar don’t loan money or give credit”. Mondays and Tuesdays are reserved for pool, but the real magic happens Wednesday through Sunday, when the stern but supportive resident KJ (who coincidentally shares both first name and a seemingly similar temperament with Sam Elliot circa Roadhouse) hosts karaoke. Though the clientele is mostly regulars, both the occasional tourist and celebrity stumble in in search of the real Nashville. And if watching these folks of different strokes try and make sense of one another doesn’t whet your appetite, maybe the $2 Buds and the bevy of pork rinds, peanuts, slim jims, and corn dogs will. Follow them on Facebook 📍 Directions📞 Call 

Villager Tavern

$ ★ 4.5
Tucked right in between Vanderbilt and Belmont Universities, this beloved hole in the wall has been well-steeped in college tradition and debauchery for five decades and family-owned for three. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places, as it was the original entrance to the beautiful Hillsboro Theater. Since then, the building has traded in its silent movie patrons for local beer nerds and dart enthusiasts, as well as out of towners looking for some local color at the foosball table or the pac-man machine. Don’t be fooled by the collegiate pomp and circumstance; this smoky lil’ joint has plenty of tricks up its sleeve beyond their cheap beer and rock solid jukebox. If you happen to pop in on your birthday, you’ll be treated to a three and half pint dog bowl filled with beer and forever immortalized in a photo on the wall alongside everyone who stuck their tongue in the same dish you did.

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Melrose Billiard Parlor

$ ★ 4.3
Often referred to as “the best kept secret in Nashville”, the Melrose’s slogan is “If these walls could talk, they wouldn’t shut up.” That’s been their story since they opened in 1944 and they seem to be sticking to it. Just like their tagline, this neon soaked pool hall seems to be straight out of a film noir (Some locals call it “The Golden Rail” while others lovingly refer to it as “the Dirty Melrose.”) Located underground in an abandoned bowling alley with no signage to mark it, the Melrose feels less like a bar and more like a Tarantino set, with its dark and dingy yet stylish atmosphere. The Melrose stays open til 3 am seven nights a week and runs a half off well drink special that lasts all day— and with five billiard tables, a snooker set up, and a host of other sports including ping pong, shuffleboard, foosball, and darts, it’s not hard to stay entertained. But if you find yourself struggling, let your imagination run wild envisioning all of the things these walls have seen in their impressive seventy year tenure. And maybe, just maybe, if you have enough to drink, they’ll start telling you their secrets.

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