Nashville is known for the famous neon lights of lower Broadway that we call “Nash-Vegas.” It's the strip of honky-tonks on lower Broadway that attract swarms of cowboy hat-wearing tourists. I don't blame the Broadway crowds. The music flows onto the streets year-round, and it's a raucous good time.
But did you know that just a short Uber ride up Broadway is a neighborhood called Midtown that still has live music, cold beer on tap, and rooftop bars? The good news is that it's a little less crazy than Nash-Vegas.
In this post, you'll find intimate, live music venues hosting inspired, up-and-coming singers and songwriters. You might bump into celebrities or meet the next Brooks & Dunn, Taylor Swift, Earl Bud Lee, or Keith Urban at the venues listed below.
Midtown is a Nashville neighborhood located to the Southwest of downtown. It's a 9-minute drive from downtown Nashville and a 4-minute drive from lower Broadway. This area includes the prestigious Vanderbilt University, the historic Music Row, The Parthenon, and Centennial Park. A popular nightlife spot is Division Street, with eight bars and restaurants within walking distance of each other. Because of its location near Vanderbilt, it has the feel of a college town.
If you're looking for the loud music, bar hopping, and bright lights experience, and you don't mind the crowds, go to lower Broadway. For a more low-key and chill experience, hang out in Printers Alley. To experience the the best live music that Nashville has to offer, you'll want to see our guide by clicking here. Maybe you'd prefer to find a restaurant with live music?
In this post, we'll start at Division Street, a popular destination, as all the bars and restaurants are within walking distance of each other, with a good choice of food and drink. Unfortunately, there's no parking on Division Street, so I suggest you get a ride. If you must drive, there is good parking on 18th Avenue or in one of the residential areas nearby.
All the bars listed below are popular, but each has a unique attraction. There is a selection of hard-rocking party venues, upscale cocktail bars, and laid-back popular Nashville staples with cold beer and live music. Enjoy!
Midtown Nashville Bars – Division Street
Kung Foo Saloon
The Kung Foo Saloon is a popular Midtown bar featuring an outdoor patio area on AstroTurf with a giant screen to watch the game. You’ll also find many FREE retro arcade games, including Pacman, NBA Jam, Mortal Combat, and Galaga. They even have a ping-pong table. It has a very relaxed vibe that is shaded and relaxing during the summer and warm during the winter as it’s heated by fire columns.
From Friday to Sunday, the place will be pumping with loud music from a DJ, so you may find conversation difficult. During the weekdays, however, is a more relaxed atmosphere. Ensure you take advantage of the private karaoke room and outdoor mini bar.
Try the fried pickles and cheeseburger egg rolls. Overall, Kung Foo comes highly recommended. Learn more here.
Winners Bar & Grill
Winners Bar and Grill is a local favorite known for local artists serving great live music. The Whiskey Jam is a hit every Monday and kicks off around 9pm with fantastic music. Like Kung Foo Saloon, they are slow during the week, and you could almost have the place to yourself. From Friday to Monday, however, the area is packed.
Check out the excellent rooftop bar with great local music and a casual atmosphere.
The beer is ice cold, and they have a menu of stiff drinks that won’t disappoint. Overall, Winners Bar is a hugely popular bar in Nashville. They also call themselves a restaurant but don’t expect great things from the food. Learn more here.
Losers Bar & Grill
Losers is a well-known Nashville dive bar. Dive bars are known for being unglamorous and old-style, and Losers aren’t an exception. You’ll either love this bar or hate it.
The live music is excellent, and it’s a great place to day drink and hang out as they are open all the time. When there’s no live music, the DJs are good.
They have a rooftop bar, and it is packed and loud on Mondays to Sunday nights.
Just a heads up, the bouncers/security are known for being unreasonable and rude. In addition, they’re known for throwing people onto the street for looking sideways at them. Learn more here.
Like the other bars on Division St, the Dogwood has excellent live music with a solid mix of pop and hip-hop from the 90s – 00s.
Unlike other bars, The Dogwood has good food, not just sloppy bar food. You should try sweet potato tots, hot dogs with chili, and fries.
Here’s a local tip: DO NOT open a tab at the bar. The payment system isn’t tight, so you might get some unexpected charges throughout the night, which won’t be easy to reverse.
Other than that, it’s a nice, gentrified, modern bar. You should like it. Learn more here.
The Slider House
The Slider House is a more laid-back atmosphere. No live music, topless women, or beer on tap. Instead, their specialty is their food. They provide gourmet sliders 7 days a week, and the reviews are outstanding.
They provide both indoor and outdoor dining and fun events like trivia. Check their Facebook page for the latest things going on. I’d suggest it’s a fun place for a company meeting.
Although you can get all sorts of chicken and beef, I highly recommend the fish slider and the black and bleu with blackened sauce – fantastic.
They are open until 3am on Friday and Saturday, so if you’ve had enough drinking, stumble down the street and grab something to eat. Learn more here.
Hopsmith Tavern is a classy bar and restaurant. In my opinion, it’s the best location on Division Street. Unlike the other bars on the street where the food can be hit or miss, Hopsmith serves genuinely good food with cold beer on tap.
The staff is friendly, and the best part is there isn’t a line around the block for Sunday brunch. I suggest the Mac and Cheese, BBQ Brisket Sliders, and the Honey Pepper boneless wings. Amazing.
Other features include a private karaoke room on the second floor available every Friday night. Seating is available for indoor and outdoor dining, and it’s kid friendly. Learn more here.
The Red Door Saloon
The Red Door Saloon is one of the more popular bars on Division Street. It’s a “Chicago” style bar known for its fast service and friendly crowd. It’s known as a regular hangout of celebrities, so you never know who you will bump into.
It’s more of a chill bar than the others; it features a large open patio and indoor and outdoor seating. Learn more here.
The Patterson House
The Patterson House is a high-class cocktail bar with high-quality service from the friendly staff and a great show of drinks. It’s an upscale, intimate bar with top-shelf spirits and quality ingredients created by a professional mixologist. But, if there is one thing they are known for, it’s the incredible drinks.
A few pointers:
First, it’s pricey. However, it’s an upscale bar. Expect to pay about $20 per drink. There is usually a line to get in, so pick a good time.
The food menu is also to die for, with raving reviews. They service everything from seafood to tater tots and cheeseburgers. One reviewer said it was the best cheeseburger they ever had. Learn more here.
More Midtown Nashville Bars
Broadway Brewhouse is a bar and grill with good food and cheap drinks. Located on Broadway, just a short ride up from the lower Broadway honky-tonks and close to the surrounding hotels and Division Street. The staff is friendly, and it’s one of the places left that lets you smoke inside. Learn more here.
The Stillery has two locations in Nashville, 2nd Avenue, and Broadway in Midtown. They serve cocktails in mason jars, brick-fired pied, and juicy burgers. You can expect live music from Thursday to Sunday.
Locals rave about the menu. They have over 3000 reviews on Google and maintain a 4.6 rating. That’s saying something. Learn more here.
The End is a Rock N Roll dive bar. They provide a small club, Nashville music experience. They only serve drinks and have a cooler in the back with water to stay hydrated.
This bar isn’t for everyone. However, it’s popular as bands from all over the country come in to play. It’s small, cramped and gets hot but you won’t experience anything else like it in Nashville. Learn more here.
Springwater claims to be the oldest and continuously open bar in Tennessee. They are open 7 days a week with $1 off drinks during happy hour between 3pm-6pm. They also have live music 7 nights a week. You’ll find great live music, a pool table, and other games. It’s a popular Nashville bar.
The Local Nashville is a bar and live music venue and a beloved venue for locals. They serve 24 local and domestic beers on tap including a full bar and cocktail list. The kitchen is open daily and serve fresh, local ingredients. For a full list of upcoming live events, click here.
The Fable Lounge is an upscale cocktail bar and restaurant. Located right next door to the Parthenon and Centennial Park, it provides a unique atmosphere and good food. Simply ask the staff to surprise you with a cocktail and make sure you try the cheeses, meats, wines, rum, and gin. Visit them here.
Cross Eyed Critters
Cross-Eyed Critters is a bar and restaurant with a karaoke stage with animatronic backup singers. Every heard of that?!?
If you’re looking for a lower key karaoke bar that isn’t on Broadway, Critters is the place to be. You’ll enjoy the fun atheistic, food and DJ. Check it out here.
Analog at Hutton
Located on West End Avenue, Analog at Hutton is a music venue that give you and up-close experience in a living room setting. The bar serves drinks and cocktails. It’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For a calendar of events, click here.
The Row Kitchen and Pub
The Row Kitchen and Pub has been a hangout for singers and songwriters for over 30 years. These walls have helped shaped country music history in Nashville. Not only will you bump into the poets of Nashville, but you’ll also find a good time with food and drinks. Learn more here.
Hurry Back is a simple bar with ice cold beer on tap. It’s located on the historic Ellison Place. The building used to hold a market. You can still find elements of it today. It has a cool retro feel with bingo, trivia nights, and super Nintendo. Learn more here.
Corner Bar at Elliston Place
The Corner Bar at Ellison Place is a great place to watch the game and has been said to be the best bar in the area. It’s a friendly place with lots of games, and tv’s all over the walls to watch the game. Learn more here.
Midtown Hotels Nashville
The following hotels are within easy walking distance to all the above bars. They are also located close to downtown and all the major attractions.
Hampton Inn Nashville/Vanderbilt (Best Value)
Just a short work to Vanderbilt University it includes a pool, hot breakfast, gym and high speed internet. It's also only a short distance from major Nashville attractions. Learn more.
Embassy Suites by Hilton
The Embassy Suites is close to Vanderbilt University and all major Nashville attractions. It has all the amenities you would expect from Embassy Suites including washing machine, free Wi-Fi and is pet friendly. Learn more.
Virgin Hotels Nashville
Located a 14-minute from Vanderbilt, Virgin Hotel includes a restaurant, private parking, gym and bar. Learn more here.
Hilton Garden Inn Nashville Vanderbilt
Hilton Garden Inn is only one mile from Music Row and Vanderbilt. It has an indoor, heated swimming and hot tub. Learn more.
Hotel Fraye Nashville
Hotel Fraye is a beautiful hotel with city views, free and private parking and 10 minute walk from Vanderbilt. Learn more.
Courtyard by Marriott Nashville
Located within a 3 minute walk to Vanderbilt it features an outdoor pool and free in-room WiFi. Learn more.