As you probably already know, Nashville is fondly known as Music City and is a melting pot of culture and nightlife, buzzing with the energy of live music, tantalizing cuisines, and a vibrant bar scene. While the city is renowned for its country music and lively tourist attractions, there’s an undercurrent of local favorites that offers a more authentic experience. These aren’t your typical honky-tonk bars—these are the beloved hideaways where locals go to escape the hustle and bustle, unwind with friends, and enjoy good drinks and great music.
Lucky for you, we’re here to give you a glimpse into that other side of Nashville—the local side! So let’s raise a toast to some of the best local bars in Nashville, the city where you can escape the tourists.
The 12 Best Bars in Nashville, Loved By Locals
1. Music City Bar & Grill
Location: 2416 Music Valley Dr, Nashville, TN 37214
Nestled in the heart of Opryland, Music City Bar & Grill is a haven for those seeking a classic Nashville experience without the tourist crowds. This local gem is known for its warm and inviting atmosphere, replete with rustic wood paneling, neon signs, and a stage that plays host to some of the city’s finest local musicians every night of the week.
What truly sets Music City Bar & Grill apart, though, is its dedication to promoting local talent, offering an eclectic mix of live music ranging from country and rock to blues and alternative. And let’s not forget the drinks! This bar prides itself on serving ice-cold beers and a wide selection of spirits, making it the perfect place to kick back and let loose.
2. Scoreboard Bar & Grill
Location: 2408 Music Valley Dr, Nashville, TN 37214
Just a stone’s throw away from the famous Grand Ole Opry House, Scoreboard is a local watering hole that effortlessly blends the energy of a sports bar with the soul of a music venue. Its vintage sports memorabilia, large-screen TVs, and sprawling outdoor patio create a welcoming space that’s just perfect for locals and tourists alike.
But the real score here is the live music: Every night, the stage is set on fire (not literally!) by local talent who keep the crowd entertained with a mix of country, rock, and blues. Pair that with its award-winning smoked BBQ and a cold beer, and you’ve got a winning night out in Nashville.
3. The Nashville Palace
Location: 2611 McGavock Pk, Nashville, TN 37214
Once a favorite haunt of country music legends like Randy Travis and George Jones, the Nashville Palace lives up to its reputation as a local institution. This is the spot to indulge in the nostalgia of classic country music in a setting that exudes old-world charm, complete with a large dance floor, cozy booths, and a stage that has seen countless memorable performances.
The bar’s extensive drink menu is complemented by Southern comfort food, setting the stage for a night of music, dance, and camaraderie. The Nashville Palace isn’t just a bar—it’s a piece of Music City’s history that continues to resonate with locals year in and year out.
4. Santa’s Pub
Location: 2225 Bransford Ave, Nashville, TN 37204
Don’t let the double-wide trailer fool you—Santa’s Pub is one of Nashville’s most beloved dive bars, known for its Christmas-themed decor, cheap beers, and no-frills karaoke. The atmosphere is as warm and welcoming as Santa himself, with patrons often sharing tales and tunes well into the night. No wonder locals call this one of the best local bars in Nashville.
This cash-only bar is a favorite among locals who appreciate its relaxed vibe, friendly staff, and, of course, the chance to belt out their favorite songs. So, dust off your vocal cords, grab a beer, and get ready for a night of fun and unpretentious revelry!
5. The Local Nashville
Location: 110 28th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37203
The Local is a cozy bar and music venue located in the vibrant neighborhood of The Nations. With its homey decor, local craft beers, and a stage that hosts some of Nashville’s best musicians, it’s no surprise that it has quickly become a favorite among residents and is frequently ranked one of the best local bars in Nashville.
Music takes center stage here, with live performances every night, showcasing a range of genres from country and Americana to rock and pop. It’s a place where music lovers can enjoy an intimate performance, a good drink, and a chance to connect with the community.
6. Never Never
Location: 413 Houston St, Nashville, TN 37203
Tucked away in the artsy Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood, Never Never is a bar that proudly embraces its unique character. Showcasing minimalist, industrial decor that pays homage to its roots as an old Nashville welding shop, this bar has successfully transformed the former workspace into a stylish yet inviting drinking spot. Its spacious outdoor patio provides the perfect setting for patrons to unwind, while the relaxed atmosphere offers a refreshing alternative to Nashville’s more traditional bar scene.
Never Never’s approach to hospitality is reminiscent of the bar’s former life, favoring strength and authenticity over passing trends. The establishment’s ethos, rooted in acknowledging the fleeting nature of human existence, encourages patrons to pause time and cherish the company of others—so pull up a bar stool, share your story, and be part of its ever-evolving narrative. Always ready to lend an ear, this bar truly embodies the spirit of Nashville’s evolving bar scene, combining modern aesthetics with a genuine, friendly vibe.
7. Greenhouse Bar
Location: 2211 Bandywood Dr, Nashville, TN 37215
Tucked inside an actual greenhouse, this bar is an oasis in the heart of Nashville, offering an original drinking experience amidst lush greenery and twinkling lights. Its botanical-inspired cocktails, local beers, and eclectic food menu make it a refreshing departure from the typical Nashville bar scene. This is one of our favorite spots located outside the tourist strip and a top contender for one of the best local bars in Nashville.
Whether you’re sipping a cocktail under the stars, enjoying a bite surrounded by tropical plants, or simply taking in the serene ambiance, the Greenhouse Bar offers a tranquil retreat from the hubbub. It’s a bar where you can escape the every day, if only for a few hours!
8. Robert’s Western World
Location: 416 Broadway # B, Nashville, TN 37203
No list of cool Nashville bars would be complete without a nod to the city’s legendary honky-tonks, and Robert’s Western World stands out among them. Located on the historic Broadway, this bar is a celebration of traditional country music, offering live performances every night, a dance floor that’s always buzzing, and a selection of drinks that would make any cowboy or cowgirl happy.
Robert’s isn’t just about the music and drinks, though. It’s also home to the famous “Recession Special”—a fried bologna sandwich, chips, and a Pabst Blue Ribbon for just $6! If you want a taste of the real Nashville, this is the place to get it, where the music is always playing, the beer is always cold, and the welcome is always warm.
9. The Patterson House
Location: 1711 Division St, Nashville, TN 37203
An upscale cocktail lover’s paradise, this speakeasy-style bar exudes an air of timeless elegance. The attention to detail is evident in everything from the vintage decor to the exquisite cocktails, each meticulously crafted with high-quality ingredients to ensure an optimal drinking experience.
The dimmed lights and cozy ambiance transport you back to the Prohibition era, making it an ideal spot for an intimate date night or a leisurely evening with friends in an intimate setting. If you like to snack as you sip, check out the wide food menu, offering shareable snacks to hearty meals and sweet treats. Be on the lookout for a future post on our favorite speakeasies in Nashville.
10. Hidden Bar at Noelle
Location: 200 4th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37219
Tucked away in the heart of downtown within the historic Noelle Hotel, the Hidden Bar is a secret gem treasured by locals. This speakeasy-style hideaway offers an intimate, distinct bar experience that effortlessly blends vintage allure with a dash of modern whimsy. The bar features a rotating seasonal theme that transforms the space, adding an element of enchantment to each visit. Be it a lush indoor jungle or a twinkling winter wonderland, the Hidden Bar’s atmosphere is undeniably captivating!
But the allure of Hidden Bar extends beyond its aesthetics. Known for its artful and innovative cocktails, each drink is crafted with precision, using fresh ingredients and artisanal spirits. These creative concoctions are not only delightful to taste but are visually stunning, making each drink an experience in itself. Whether you’re a local looking to unwind in an exclusive setting or a visitor yearning to discover Nashville’s best-kept secrets, Hidden Bar at Noelle is an enchanting destination you won’t want to miss and one of the best local bars in Nashville.
11. 3rd and Lindsley Bar & Grill
A little off the beaten path, 3rd and Lindsley Bar & Grill is adored by locals for its commitment to top performances: For over a quarter-century, this bar and music venue has been hosting fantastic local and international musicians, offering an eclectic mix of genres that caters to a diverse audience. The tiered seating layout guarantees a great view of the stage, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the music fully.
What’s more, the bar has an interesting drink menu, including a delightful range of beers and inventive cocktails like the Elderwand (Harry Potter fans will have to try that one!). And despite its dive bar vibe, the food at 3rd and Lindsley surprises and impresses with a selection that satisfies both your hunger and your taste buds.
With excellent service, great sound, and a location that’s easy to access with ample parking, 3rd and Lindsley offers a relaxed setting to enjoy quality music, tasty food, and good company, making it a must-visit for anyone seeking an authentic Nashville experience.
12. Skull’s Rainbow Room
Location: 222 Printers Alley, Nashville, TN 37201
Venturing into the historic Printers Alley, you’ll stumble upon Skull’s Rainbow Room, an iconic Nashville establishment that has been serving up libations and live entertainment since 1948. The walls of this bar echo with music history; it’s a place where legends like Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash once graced the stage. Today, Skull’s continues to be a beacon for music and culture lovers, offering an atmosphere that’s rich in history and character.
The bar provides an impressive selection of eclectic cocktails, beers, and wines to suit every palate, but it’s not just the booze that draws the crowds… it’s burlesque. Skulls is home to a touch of vintage glamour that you won’t find anywhere else.
So next time you’re in town, why not skip the tourist traps and step into the real Nashville? The one that’s etched into the wood of the bar counters, woven into the strum of the guitars, and poured into every local brew. And if you’re looking for more insider tips and local gems, don’t forget to check out our Grits & Grace. From the best local eats to must-see attractions, we’ve got the inside scoop to help you experience Nashville like a local.
Remember, the city’s vibrant spirit is best experienced not in the grandeur of its famous landmarks but in the intimate corners of its local bars, where every night, Nashville comes alive in the strum of a guitar, the clink of a glass, and the chorus of a song that you’ll remember long after the night is over. So, come join us and tune into the rhythm of Nashville—we promise with this list of the best local bars in Nashville, you will experience a trip you won’t forget.