Y’all. I love Nashville. I love exploring the town, eating all sorts of delicious foods, catching live music in a seemingly unlimited number of venues, shopping at the adorable boutiques, attending world-class athletic events, and going out on the town – specifically Lower Broadway.
“But KB! You’ve written about Lower Broadway already?” Yes, but that was way back in 2017! Many places have come and gone, but my love of the area remains strong. I decided it was time for a update. Without further ado, I present my updated guide to what is (and isn’t) worth it on Nashville’s iconic Lower Broadway!
Special thanks to Cameron Hesson of Cameron Hesson Photography for the gorgeous images used in this post!
Need to Know
Lower Broadway is a strip of bars defined by their flashing signs, nightly live music, thirsty visitors, and an almost guaranteed fun night. It’s like Las Vegas, but a whole lot more country. Traditionally, these venues were all honky tonks. Now, there’s a healthy mix of the traditional honky tonk style and some more club-like venues.
Nights out in Nashville tend to start a little bit early, especially when the weather is nice and the rooftops are open! Some nights, I have gone straight from dinner to a rooftop, meaning I’m out from about 8PM until when the bars close at 2AM. This makes for some long nights, so make sure you’re eating a filling meal and drinking lots of water – you do not want to be that drunk person puking in the alley beside the Ryman at midnight.
Parking downtown is crazy, so definitely plan on taking a Lyft or Uber to get downtown. The bars are often just as crazy as parking, especially now that Nashville has become THE Bachelorette Party destination. If you notice a long line out the main entrance at any of the bars, head around the back (if they’re by the Ryman) or around to the side, as many have a secondary entrance.
Finally, most everywhere takes cards, but I always make sure to have a bit of cash on me. Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville has an ATM if you’re in need of cash!
Known For: The iconic lilac colored building and famous clientele
Address: 422 Broadway
The first bar I’m want to talk to y’all about is probably the most iconic bar on Lower Broadway: Tootsie’s. Tootsie’s is a world-class honky tonk that’s played host to basically everyone who’s anyone since it opened in the 1960s. Recently, Tootsie’s has been in the news for being the venue Miley Cyrus chose for her album release party and for hosting Pink after her Bridgestone Arena show. Even when the acts aren’t household names, the music at Tootsie’s is good. There are 3 main levels with 3 stages with live music from open to close.
I tend to hang out on the second and rooftop levels, as the groups there make sure to mix the music up; the first level typically sticks to more traditional honky tonk music. They typically update their Facebook page with news when someone famous is stopping in, so make sure to check it before you go!
Legends Corner Broadway
Known For: Great music, cheap beer, and an old-timey vibe
Address: 428 Broadway
Legend’s is one of my favorite bars on Broadway and I firmly believe it is seriously underrated. The music is always incredible, it’s never too crowded, and you can get craft beer at market price. Market price! That means delicious beer for what a Bud Light would cost anywhere else on Broadway. Legend’s decor is a true tribute to country music with old vinyl records, instruments, and symbols of the greats lining the walls.
If you’re phone is running low on battery, grab a stool at the bar and plug in – the entire bar is lined with outlets (so convenient!). Head upstairs for great views of the band on stage (you can even see who’s playing). I like hanging out on the back patio, where you get an up close and personal view of the many bachelorette parties, locals, and tourists stumbling down the alley beside the Ryman.
Rippy’s Smokin’ Bar & Grill
Known For: Great food, lots of seating, and a fantastic view of Bridgestone Arena
Address: 429 Broadway
Rippy’s is right across from Bridgestone Arena’s plaza, so it’s the perfect place to people watch before a hockey game or event! I especially love going to Rippy’s during the day and don’t think it’s as fun once the sun goes down. Rippy’s is a great place for sports fans to spend their evenings, though, as they have tons of TVs around.
Make sure to grab some food while you’re there, as Rippy’s has some of the best food in Lower Broadway. You never have to wait very long for a table or spot at the bar because they have ample seating on both levels. Personally, I like sitting upstairs near the stage since Rippy’s always has solid music. They’re pretty good about updating their Facebook, so check it out and see if they’re running any specials!
The Second Fiddle
Known For: Music in a more intimate setting
Address: 420 Broadway
The Second Fiddle is one of the classic Lower Broadway honky tonks. Country music memorabilia lines the walls, the vibe is more laid back than the big bars owned by country stars, and the giant fiddles above the bar make for a great snap. Plus, it’s low-key haunted.
Music at the Second Fiddle is hit or miss: either it’s the best music available on the entire drag for the night or reminiscent of bad karaoke. I recommend seeing who’s playing before you go if it’s an option!
You’ll have a great time as long as you’re around great people, which is typical of the Second Fiddle as it’s one of few bars on Lower Broadway that Nashville locals actually frequent.
Known For: Their large collection of license plates and bluegrass bands
Address: 418 Broadway
Layla’s is one of the older honky tonks on Lower Broadway and is a little piece of Nashville history. The space is so inviting, the bottles of beer are always cold, and the servers are friendly. The beer and cocktail lists are pretty short, so don’t expect to drink anything too fancy here. Luckily, they have a food menu with delicious eats – try the poblano popper bites!
I love Bluegrass music (I am a Kentuckian, after all!), which means I really enjoy visiting Layla’s. If you don’t like Bluegrass music, chances are you won’t like Layla’s. Thankfully, they’re amazing at updating their live music schedule, so you can always see who’s on! Don’t know who’s playing? Still drop in, you might be surprised by a country music icon like Garth Brooks!
Pro tip: bring a license plate to add to their collection and you’ll score a free drink!
Known For: Having serious musicians
Address: 419 Broadway
Hours: 11AM-3AM (weekends)
From the outside, Nashville Crossroads looks like every other generic honky tonk on Lower Broadway, but they are very, very far from! Crossroads has some of the best music on the strip. Seriously, they only book the most talented folks around. Don’t let the laid back atmosphere fool ya, though! Crossroads, the musicians, and even other patrons won’t hesitate to call you out if they see you playing on your phone while someone is on stage. One of my favorite things about Crossroads music is that the bands playing tend to play original stuff – a welcome change from the cover bands around the rest of Lower Broadway! You can always try to see who’s playing at Crossroads, but they aren’t the best at updating their website. Don’t worry, though, as you’ll likely love whatever act goes on!
AJ’s Good Time Bar
Known For: Karaoke, cheap beer, and being owned by the legendary Alan Jackson
Address: 421 Broadway
The “AJ” in “AJ’s Good Time Bar” stands for Alan Jackson, legendary country music star and owner of the bar. The main level of AJ’s is known for hosting acts singing good ole’ country music and pouring cheap beer. You’ll find the real fun upstairs, though. There’s usually karaoke or a DJ spinning throwback jams, depending on the night. AJ’s isn’t the best at updating their site, so it’s hard to know who will be playing in advance; they do have a list of artists who have previously performed at the bar, though! I recommend popping in to AJ’s just to peek around and see if it’s worth staying. I’ve had some of my most fun Nashville nights out at AJs over the years.
Robert’s Western World
Known For: Fried bologna sandwiches and classic honky tonk music
Address: 416 Broadway
Robert’s Western World is honestly one of the most slept on bars on Lower Broadway. I mean, where else can you get a fried bologna sandwich, chips, moon pie, and a beer for $6? (This deal is called the “recession special” and might just be the best deal in town!) Even better, Robert’s Western World never has a cover…ever!
The music at Robert’s Western World leans towards classic country tunes; if you’re looking to get away from top 40 country covers, head straight here! They even a Sunday service, a totally unique experience on probably the most sinful street in Nashville.
Known For: Their country music murals and giant guitar
Address: 412 Broadway
Decoration around The Stage is like one big love letter to Nashville. The main floor sports a huge mural featuring some of the greats of country music, a giant guitar mounted on the wall, and framed and signed pictures of familiar faces in the industry. The music is always solid, no matter which level of the building you’re on; you can even find out who’s playing before you go.
The Stage is home to cheap liquor, but if you’re a beer fan, brace yourself – they only serve bottles here. I suggest heading straight to the rooftop once you’re inside, as it offers the best people watching on the drag. Like Tootsie’s, The Stage has a back entrance through the Ryman alley.
Bailey’s Sports Grille
Known For: Ping pong and pool tables
Address: 408 Broadway
Bailey’s Sports Grille is basically a sports bar that’s got a little bit of honky tonk edge to it. They have lots of TVs showing lots of sports. After the games have played, a (typically solo) act will hit the stage with some music. There’s lots of seating, but the food is only okay and the service is dismal. Bailey’s does, though, have several rentable pool and ping pong tables, which makes it an okay place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of Lower Broadway.
Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row
Known For: Having cocktails on tap, lots of whiskey, and the tallest roof on Lower Broadway
Address: 400 Broadway
Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row is a bit of an enigma to me. First off, the bar started out in Arizona and became hugely popular before Dierks (very wisely) opened up a location in Music City. Second, the food here is very wide ranged – they serve everything from chicken and waffles to fettuccine. Finally, Whiskey Row markets itself as a “gastropub,” while serving up some crazy cocktails. It’s all over the place, but my goodness this place is great. I love the vibe, the food, and the music all through Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row SO much.
Whiskey Row’s ground floor is (honestly) nothing too special. They’ll have a band on playing country hits, and usually that group is pretty enjoyable! Upstairs, though, is the real winner. Guitars hang from the ceiling, a gorgeous motorcycle sits above the bar, and the music ranges from country to hip hop DJs. It’s seriously fun. The rooftop sports a great lounge area, top notch views of Lower Broadway below, and a great DJ.
There’s often a wait outside later into the night, so go around 10:30 to avoid the crux of the crowd! If there is a line outside, though, it’s usually worth the wait.
Downtown Sporting Club
Known For: Ax throwing, a rooftop patio, hotel rooms, and replacing Paradise Trailer Park Resort
Address: 411 Broadway
Hours: 9AM-1AM (weekends)
Honesty time: I almost didn’t include Downtown Sporting Club on this list because a) I’m VERY bitter that they closed Paradise Trailer Park Resort (aka the best bar to ever exist) to make way for this new bar and b) because I haven’t visited (because of the aforementioned bitterness). Who knows, maybe my heartbreak will go away and I’ll warm up to the idea of Downtown Sporting Club soon.
While I haven’t visited, I’ve heard that Downtown Sporting Club can be fun. There’s ax throwing, a cool looking rooftop, and an all-day restaurant – all great things! Plus, there are 20 hotel rooms on the premises if you’re looking to stay incredibly close to the Lower Broadway action. If you visit, please let me know about your experience in the comments!
Nudie’s Honky Tonk
Known For: Blues music and having the longest bar on Lower Broadway
Address: 409 Broadway
Nudie’s Honky Tonk is an experience, to say the least. The billboards up and down the interstate make it seem like Nudie’s only claim to fame is having the longest bar on Lower Broadway, but it’s much better than just that. Nudie’s has the music set up right by the front door, so you’ll be able to see the band as you come in. They’ll likely be playing the Blues, a unique treat for patrons who have been listening to country music all night. Nudie’s also has a pretty great bar menu – my favorite is the Nashville hot dog.
Nudie’s is named for Nudie Cohn, the tailor who made the costumes for some of the greatest acts in country music. His convertible hangs over the bar and some of the costumes he made line the walls. It’s basically heaven on earth for country music fans.
Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville
Known For: Tropical vibe and an older crowd
Address: 322 Broadway
Hours: 11AM-2AM (weekends)
Margaritaville is Jimmy Buffett’s island oasis come to life. Nashville isn’t exactly close to the beach, so this is a place to visit if you want to sip overpriced cocktails while watching beachy videos and listening to Jimmy’s greatest hits and other tropical music. Unless you’re a Parrot Head (aka Jimmy Buffett mega fan) or trying to hit every single bar on Lower Broadway, I’d skip out on Margaritaville. Margaritaville’s lobby does have an ATM, though, if you’re needing to grab some quick cash!
Honky Tonk Central
Known For: Having great views of downtown and very few bathrooms
Address: 329 Broadway
I’ve gotta be honest, I am not a big fan of Honky Tonk Central. The drinks are fairly expensive, the groups on stage are very pushy for tips, there is only one bathroom per level, and I know of several people who have been robbed here (pickpockets). It’s crowded, but the balconies on the upper levels offer one of the best views of Lower Broadway. If you’re gonna go to Honky Tonk Central, I recommend going before it gets too crowded.
Known For: Beer pong, shots served in medicine cups, and having a replica of the Iron Throne
Address: 316 Broadway
Y’all, I love Tin Roof. Tin Roof has 2 stages. Downstairs typically has music you can dance to and upstairs is more hang out and enjoy. Sometimes, the upstairs stage won’t have a group, so check and see who’s playing before heading up!
Upstairs, though, is home to all sorts of awesome arcade games that patrons can play; sometimes, they even have beer pong. They also have a super cool photo booth and a replica of GOT’s Iron Throne (though it is much smaller than I imagine the actual one is). If you go to Tin Roof, I really recommend ordering a John Wall Shot, a blue concoction created by John Wall while he played at the University of Kentucky. Tin Roof hosts Kentucky Sports Radio during the SEC tournament when it’s in Nashville, so the shot has become pretty popular.
Known For: Their Prohibition theme and signature cocktails
Address: 312 Broadway
The Valentine is an “upscale saloon” concept in the heart of Lower Broadway. It’s a great place to spend your night, the food is pretty solid, and the Prohibition theme makes the Valentine stand out from the other honky tonks around. The drinks at the Valentine, though, are expensive and the cocktail list is pretty short. I recommend coming here for the music and dancing after you’ve gotten your buzz from other bars around.
Also, if you’re a Georgia fan, The Valentine bills themselves as the destination for all Dawgs. They host game day viewing parties and more for friends and fans of Georgia.
Broadway Brewhouse & Mojo
Known For: Alcoholic milkshakes and a long beer list
Address: 1900 Broadway
The first thing you need to know about Broadway Brewhouse is that they have a drink called the Bushwacker, which is basically an alcoholic milkshake. In my opinion, that’s the only good thing about this bar. You have to seat yourself and flag down a waiter for food, which tends to other patrons hovering over you at night so they can snag your seat the second you leave. Broadway Brewhouse allows patrons to smoke and the ventilation isn’t the best, so you can’t escape the smell. Broadway Brewhouse does have an extensive beer list and fair prices, so a lot of bachelor parties end up making this one of their stops along the main drag.
Known For: Strong drinks, rowdy atmosphere, and great dancing
Address: 308 Broadway
Crazy Town is the place to go if you’re wanting to get rowdy. The drinks are expensive, but very generously poured and it’s easy to get a bartenders attention. The bands playing cover everything from classic country to top 40 hits to their takes on iconic songs – I once heard an amazing acoustic cover of “My Neck, My Back” here that I still think about like once a week. The third-floor DJ keeps everything high energy and ensures everyone is having a good time. If you need a break from the craziness inside, head up to the roof for some people watching and fresh air.
Pro tip: head next door for free samples, ice cream, and loads of sweets at Savannah’s Candy Kitchen before heading in to Crazy Town. You won’t regret it.
Tequila Cowboy and Wanna B’s
Known For: The Cadillac hanging over the bar, a mechanical bull, and very intimidating karaoke
Address: 305 Broadway
Hours: 11AM-3AM (weekends)
Tequila Cowboy‘s back room is one of the best kept secrets on Lower Broadway – they almost exclusively play hip hop music and it’s always a dang good time. The main bar area is so retro and I’m obsessed with every bit of it from the 1960s cadillac hanging over the bar to the mechanical bull and arcade games set up to entertain visitors. My only complaint about Tequila Cowboy is that they’re pretty lenient on fake IDs, so the crowd is very young compared to other bars around.
Wanna B’s Karaoke Bar is attached to Tequila Cowboy but be warned, it’s not your average karaoke place. On crowded nights, they’ll only let “real” singers up to the mike. Other nights have aspiring karaoke singers waiting hours for their turn, as the DJs often take bribes and push the rest of the list back. The bartenders are very slow and it’s hard to get a drink. I recommend going to one of the karaoke bars along Printer’s Alley, as they have much better service and are only a few minutes walk away.
Jason Aldean’s Kitchen + Rooftop Bar
Known For: The epic rooftop, great dancing, and delicious drinks
Address: 307 Broadway
Y’all, there is one thing I absolutely hate and it’s eating my words, which is exactly what happened the first time I went to Jason Aldean’s. “Ugh, another bar by a country singer? Do we have to go? I don’t think it will be fun.” But *spoiler alert* it’s the most fun I’ve had on Broadway since Paradise Park (my former favorite) closed. The rooftop bar was spinning throwback jams (I’m talking Jonas Brothers, Justin Bieber, Hannah Montana…all the greats, really), was packed with people, and served up great drinks. Plus, the views of the city were unreal. The 2 hours I spent my first time there solidly convinced me that Jason Aldean’s would be my new go-to spot in Nashville, and that’s exactly what it is now.
Like most bars, Jason Aldean’s is multi-level. Downstairs has more of a “barn” vibe and usually has a group on stage playing country music. Upstairs is full of pool tables, comfy couches, and a great view of the stage below. The rooftop, in my opinion, is the best spot! It’s partially covered so you can still have a great time when the weather is iffy.
Update October 2019: A Facebook post went viral this month detailing a terrible racial profiling incident at Jason Aldean’s. After the post, more stories of mistreatment at Jason Aldean’s surfaced. I refuse to frequent any establishment that allows the mistreatment of any potential customer, regardless of gender, race, or sexual orientation. I cannot continue to recommend Jason Aldean’s until they address AND fix these ongoing issues.
Whiskey Bent Saloon
Known For: Taxidermy decor, wide whiskey selection, and a great dance floor
Address: 306 Broadway
Whiskey Bent Saloon lives up to their name with an amazing whiskey selection! Plus, the drinks are very fairly priced. Music tends to lean towards the more contemporary end of the country music spectrum. The dance floor set up is incredible, so you can definitely get your boot scootin’ boogie on.
It gets VERY hot in this bar on warmer nights, so prepare yourself for the heat (and the accompanying sweat). Whiskey Bent Saloon does not serve late night snack food, so don’t head in if you’re looking for something to munch on.
Luke Bryan’s 32 Bridge
Known For: Sushi and the live music on the roof
Address: 301 Broadway
Luke’s 32 Bridge is truly something. It’s one of the only bars on Lower Broadway where you can find live music on the roof. Bonus: you can be outside listening to live music and eating sushi from Luke’s because why not? They also have all sorts of American food and craft cocktails downstairs. The food is seriously awesome.
Unfortunately, Luke’s is not handicap accessible. Thankfully, though, their rooftop is connected to Jason Aldean’s (who is handicap accessible) and you’re able to go back and forth between the two most nights. Also, Luke’s is a pretty big tourist destination, so people get their phones and wallets swiped quite a bit – make sure you’re keeping an eye on your stuff!
Known For: Brunch, craft cocktails, and being owned by Blake Shelton
Address: 300 Broadway
*We were too busy looking at the cool moving lyrics on the Ole Red sign that we forgot to snap a pic. Sorry, y’all!*
Old Red has the best brunch on Lower Broadway (and y’all can quote me on that). The “Lookout” rooftop set up is seriously incredible and offers a laid back brunch vibe with great food and drinks while letting you gaze down at the shambles of Lower Broadway below.
Ole Red below offers more of a family friendly crowd, so don’t be surprised if you see parents and their teens listening to live music before around 10PM. Speaking of the music, it’s always solid at Ole Red! For some reason, though, the lower levels of Ole Red always have some sort of lingering trash stench that’s somehow worse than every other bar on Broadway, so I tend to go straight upstairs to the Lookout.
Known For: BBQ, fair prices, and donating some of their proceeds to the families of fallen soldiers.
Address: 208 Broadway
Hours: 9AM-3AM (weekends)
Redneck Riviera is one of the newer bars on Lower Broadway and honestly I was surprised to find a place owned by a guy who sings “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy” to NOT be a total trash fest. The bar is clean as heck, the drinks are fairly priced, and they donate a portion of their nightly proceeds to the families of fallen soldiers. Plus, the decor is any patriotic person’s dream – I’m talking red, white, and blue everywhere and even a giant beer can American flag behind the bar. The music is your typical country, and the only time there isn’t music is when they do Titan’s gameday parties (yes, please!).
Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk & Rock ‘n’ Roll Steakhouse
Known For: Being a giant space owned by Kid Rock
Address: 221 Broadway
Kid Rock’s is the newest mega bar to open on Nashville’s Lower Broadway and everything about it is exactly what you’d expect from Kid Rock. Every single thing is so over the top and borders between “okay that’s kind of cool” and “oh my god that’s so annoying.” The best part is the band stage, which is super tall and has the band elevated along the wall over the dance floor and bar below. The drinks and food are both pretty expensive, and are getting mixed reviews. I had an $11 bourbon and ginger ale here that wasn’t worth the price. For the moment, I don’t plan on going back until it appears they’ve worked out all the kinks of being a new bar.
Known For: Moonshine, moonshine, and more moonshine
Address: 207 Broadway
Bootleggers Inn is one of the hidden gems of Lower Broadway. It’s never too crowded, drinks are pretty inexpensive, and the music upstairs is always top notch. Unfortunately, they allow smoking upstairs, so you have to stand the smell of smoke to hear the better acts playing at this bar.
The decor is basically like a classy redneck’s man cave came to life. There’s mason jar chandeliers, a mason jar American flag, whiskey barrel lids, and all sorts of hunting items scattered around the bar. Bootlegger’s is famous for their moonshine margaritas. They even have about a dozen different flavors of moonshine for visitors to try out. Try the jalapeño – you won’t regret it.
Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery
Known For: A looooooong beer list and decent food
Address: 111 Broadway
Rock Bottom is one of the best places to find a huge beer list on Lower Broadway. That’s about the only stand out thing about this place. The food is not super memorable, the atmosphere isn’t as great as other places on the drag, and the service is just okay. Though they advertise themselves as a nightlife option, Rock Bottom is more of a restaurant and closes early. The massive space is usually pretty empty, so it’s a good option if you’re looking to sit and enjoy a beer.
Known For: Hot chicken, having a TV on the floor, and lawn games on the roof
Address: 105 Broadway
Hours: 11AM-Open Late (they’re not super clear about when they close)
I’m going to try and be unbiased since Nashville Underground is owned by the love of my life (Gavin DeGraw) and his brother, but damn this place is cool! The rooftop and third floor are the place to be late night. Seriously, they’ll be packed out. The rooftop sports lawn games and great views of the river. There’s a light up dance floor on the third floor where a DJ spins great music to dance to. Downstairs is lined with TV’s, making it the perfect place to watch sports while eating hot chicken and other Southern staples. They are even opening a bowling alley in the bar soon! Run, don’t walk, to Nashville Underground!
Hard Rock Cafe
Known For: Being a Hard Rock Cafe
Address: 100 Broadway
Hours: 10:30AM-1AM (weekends)
Nashville’s Hard Rock Cafe markets themselves as a nightlife location, but it’s far from. I mean, it is a Hard Rock Cafe, after all. Yes, they have live music and serve drinks, but that’s really all they have to offer. It’s a fairly small space, the food is the same as any other Hard Rock, and the bar closes early compared to other Lower Broadway hot spots. I’d only visit Hard Rock if I knew someone performing or if I collected the t-shirts.
Acme Feed & Seed
Known For: Killer views of the river from the roof and great food
Address: 101 Broadway
My friends haven’t been able to stop talking about ACME Feed & Seed since this large complex opened their doors a few years ago. ACME is a four-level bar with a different theme on each level. The first floor resembles a barn and serves up some of the best food on Lower Broadway – we’re talking ribs, catfish, fried chicken, and alllllll the southern goods! They even do brunch (11/10 recommend!). Head upstairs to the second level if you’re wanting a more luxe/nightclub like feel; you can even grab some sushi while you’re there. The third level serves as an event space, so it’s not usually open. ACME’s real winning space, though, is the rooftop. The rooftop features the best views of the river around. Sometimes, they even offer yoga classes on the roof! It’s seriously cool.
Whew! That was a long list, but I feel you’re incredibly prepared to take on Nashville’s Lower Broadway now. I’ve been out all over the world, but there’s something about Nashville that keeps bringing me (and thousands of others) back. The lights, music, and varied venues make it the perfect place for everything from a low-key night out to a party destination.
PS. Planning on staying in Nashville awhile? Check out my guide to Nashville murals!