The Five Best Country Bars On Broadway
It’s a simple fact of life. If you’re visiting Nashville, you have to go to a country bar on Broadway Street. The only question is—which one? With so many famous Nashville bars, it’s tough to know exactly where to start. Luckily, you really can’t go wrong. Where there’s live music, there’s a good time.
But there are a few spots that do it better than the rest. To get you started, here are the five best country bars in Nashville:
1. Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge
Almost as famous for its patrons as it is for its paint job, Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge has been a Nashville honky tonk staple since 1960. The iconic, orchid purple building would be tough to miss, even if it wasn’t one of the best country bars on Broadway.
But, no one misses Tootsie’s. Because with three-levels to host three live bands, a legendary list of customers, like Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline, and one of the most popular rooftop bars in Nashville, it’s simply a must-visit.
While the thing to do here is undoubtedly grab a cold Bud Light and hit the dance floor, it’s also a great spot to get lunch. Pair a burger and fries with some live music, and bonus—it won’t be nearly as crowded in the afternoon.
2. Honky Tonk Central
When it comes to this downtown Nashville mainstay, the name tells all. Honky Tonk Central is indeed one of Broadway’s most bustling honky tonks. An absolutely massive establishment on Lower Broadway, this lively restaurant and bar is a favorite for its long menu of craft cocktails and tasty eats.
Of course, good food and drinks alone don’t typically cut it in on Broadway. You’ll also find three stories of live entertainment, plus a collection of fun balconies overlooking downtown Nashville.
The Honky Tonk Central is also a big hit with private parties, like bachelor and bachelorettes, as they have larger areas and balconies set aside for big groups.
With so many bars on Broadway stacked with local talent, it can be hard to choose a spot based on the music alone. That’s where Nudie’s comes in. Besides three levels of good tunes, Nudie’s is halfway to being a full-scale museum. Housing millions of dollars of memorabilia from legendary costume creator, Nudie Cohn, it’s the place to go to soak in music history.
The walls are lined with costumes designed for icons like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and even Elvis Presley. Grab a cocktail at their bar—the longest in all of Nashville—before roaming the building to check out Nudie’s work.
For anyone getting tired of all the country, this also happens to be one of the rare spots on Broadway where you can find the occasional rock band or DJ.
4. Ole Red
If you’ve been touring Broadway for a while, you might be getting tired of the dive bars and old school honky tonk vibes. Enter Ole Red.
An elevated take on the classic Nashville country bar, this Blake Shelton-inspired restaurant and live music venue takes things to a whole new level. Literally—at its rooftop lounge, “The Lookout,”—and figuratively, with its modern design, airy interior and gourmet menu.
Patrons here love the rooftop bar, which has great views of downtown Nashville. From one side, you have views of the Cumberland River and Nissan Stadium. From the other, you’ll see the Nashville skyline and Broadway strip. The menu features Southern classics and innovative takes like Redneck Nachos, plus cocktails, draft beer and wine.
Broadway bars in Nashville come in a lot of different flavors. Some are more about the bar, less about the music. Some are more about the music, less about the drinks. Some might serve food, but are really all about drinking and dancing.
And then there’s a select few—like Rippy’s—that juggle being a restaurant, a live music venue and a bar all at the same time. This is where you go when you want dinner and a show. The perfect spot to cozy up to a big BBQ platter while a guitar sings on stage, Rippy’s is one of the rare honky tonks on Broadway that serves seriously good food.
If you’re short on time, Rippy’s is your place! You’ll get a taste of Nashville BBQ, good country music and the downtown scene all in one.
While these famous Nashville bars are some serious crowd favorites, there’s really nothing like finding that magical spot of your own.
Our best advice is bar hop through Broadway to check out bands, grab lunch and chat with the bartenders. Go in the day, go at night, hit a rooftop bar, try out the bottom floor. Every little nook and cranny of the Nashville honky tonks is a good one!