Top 15 Honky Tonks & Music Venues in Nashville
So much to do, and so little time to see all the sights while in Music City! Country Music Marathon’s very own Grassroots Ambassador, Ashley L. Evans, has compiled a list of what to do, see, hear, eat and drink, from a local’s perspective. Put your boots on y’all, because we are going to tell you about some of the best places to visit in Nashville!
1. The Stage
The Stage is one of the newer faces on Lower Broadway’s legendary live music scene. Look for prime seating up in the balcony, so you can catch an up close look of all the up and coming stars that perform at The Stage!
Boot store by day and a honky tonk by night. Certainly a local favorite, but the tourists are getting wind of the stars who have visited — Merle Haggard, Dwight Yoakam, Tom Petty, Kid Rock and Rascal Flatts… just to name a few. Come in wearing your dancing shoes but do not be surprised to walk home in a new pair of boots.
A staple on Broadway… so much so, we even have a mini-version at the airport. It’s a magical place, where stars duck in the back door, after performing at the Ryman, located behind this legendary honky-tonk.
4. The Ryman
The most famous venue in Nashville, opened in the late 1800’s, and is home to the Grand Ole Opry “the show that made country music famous”, was designated a National Historic Landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places in the US.
Just off Broadway, adventure down Second Avenue. Bring your boots, and get ready for some line dancing with a live house band. Don’t know how to line dance or two step? They will teach y’all!
6. Station Inn
Cool authentic beer & food spot, known for hosting some of the biggest names in country, bluegrass & roots music. Alan Jackson & Dierks Bentley being some of the more recent names to take the stage.
Down “Printer’s Alley”… don’t let the “Nude Karoke” sign distract you along the way. For real blues and jazz, keep heading to the end of the row, and grab a seat tucked away in the balcony in the Louisiana feel of a bar. It’s got a small stage, but a big sound, from a variety of talented musicians.
Opened 1982, the Bluebird Café is one of Nashville’s true treasures, offering original music seven nights a week, in an extremely intimate setting. You might be among the first to hear what will be a future country classic, while relaxing in a church pew.
9. Tin Roof
The start of Midtown. You’ll catch Top 40 country artists in for a bite to eat, and stick around for live music nightly. More of a college party scene, but then again, who comes to Nashville to “grow up”? Live it up!
10. Winner’s Bar
Should you find extra play days post marathon, Whiskey Jam is how the local musicians do “Saturday night right”, only on a Monday night. Starts about 8:30pm, and anyone and everyone can be spotted there – top 40 artists of any genre, as well as #1 hit song writers – who jump up to jam some tunes to keep your jaw dropping for a one of a kind, won’t-ever-happen-again, kinda experience.
11. Loser’s Bar
Next door to Winners. Again, never know who may be sitting next to you enjoying a beverage, likely a local Bushwacker (pretty much an adult version of a Wendy’s Frosty)… best to hit up past midnight as you close down the night, and they have a great out door porch, shuffle board and video golf in the back room. Live music nighty, with special well-known sit in’s.
12. 5 Spot
Over in East Nashville, you might have seen it featured on NBC’s hit show “Nashville”, a great dive to catch some up and coming artists with more of a Rock or Americana Folk sound, as well as country artists playing “secret shows”.
Their new location is walkable from Broadway. The sound is warm & amazing. On special nights, they host songwriter circle sessions, where it’s almost a campfire feel, and a DI cable comes out of the middle of the floor for song writers to plug into and be right in the middle of the crowd.
14. Music City Roots
A weekly concert and live radio show, live from the famous Loveless Café Barn. Be sure to get some food over at Loveless Cafe while you’re here. The biscuits are heavenly, especially with the peach jam.
15. Santa’s Pub
Double-wide trailer, the owner looks like Santa, and all they take is cash. Simple, straight to the point, and its Christmas all year long. There is a tiny lil’ dance floor, and a karaoke machine… but you never know who may show up to sing… Kacey Musgraves as well as Nashville’s Hayden Panettiere (Nashville’s “Juliette Barnes”) are supposed regulars.
Ready to ROCK Nashville? Visit the Country Music Marathon event page for details.