Nashville Bar Scene: What to Wear (Including Shorts!)

From the Author: I've lived in Nashville for 12 years, and my wife was born here. We love Broadway and know it well, having worked downtown for five years. As a tour guide at the Musicians Hall of Fame, I always speak with visitors, and I'm thrilled to give you my local advice. If you have any questions, we respond quickly to comments!

Can You Wear Shorts in Nashville Bars?

Yes, you can wear shorts in Nashville bars – especially in summer! As far as clothing is concerned, almost anything goes. Most honky-tonks in Nashville require casual dress. Shorts, T-shirts, and hats are very common.

You must have the basics, so remember that “No Shoes. No Shirt. No Service” applies to Nashville bars. Casual attire is standard on Broadway. You’ll commonly find men in jeans, t-shirts, and hats or ladies in short dresses, hats, and boots. Trust me, you don’t need to worry about what to wear.

Nashville is a unique place where you are not judged. You are encouraged to dress up and have a good time.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Sometimes bars don't like it when people wear athletic shorts. If you played basketball in the afternoon and then came to Broadway, that is the only time you might not get in. Dress shorts and/or denim are fine.

Nashville Dress Code

In Nashville, dressing for the bar scene is all about embracing your personal style with a casual flair. Think jeans paired with your favorite T-shirt or a chic hat to add a touch of individuality. Ladies, why not showcase those boots with a playful skirt or shorts? And gents, a crisp T-shirt or a casual button-down will do the trick. Remember, while Nashville's vibe is laid-back, opting for dress shorts over athletic ones is your best bet for a seamless night out. So, come as you are, add a sprinkle of your unique style, and dive into the music and fun Nashville has to offer without a worry about dress codes!

Tips for Dressing for a Night Out on Broadway

My general advice for going out on Broadway is basically: wear whatever you want. Casual clothes is where it's at in Nashville. A common sight on Broadway is women wearing boots with shorts or skirts. Not a lot of women wear boots with jeans because the jeans will cover their boots. That would remove the reason to wear boots (to be seen!). If you want to wear boots, you'll be in good company.

Outfit Ideas For Each Season


Spring in Nashville is like opening a box of Crayola—you never know what you're gonna get. Some days are warm; some are chilly. So, layering is your best friend. Picture this: a breezy lace tank under a light denim jacket (because denim never goes out of style here), paired with your favorite jeans. And for the footwear? Ankle boots. They're like the Swiss Army knife of shoes—perfect for any spring day adventure. Don't forget a hat that says, “I'm here to see where the day takes me.”


When Nashville turns up the heat, it's all about staying cool while looking hot. Denim rompers and white cowboy boots? Yes, please! It's like wearing a summer breeze. But if you're feeling the sweater vibes without the sweat, try a knitted tank with those trusty denim shorts. Summer in Nashville means boot season isn't over—it's just getting started with knee-highs that make you feel like a country music star about to hit the stage.


Ah, fall—the time when Nashville dresses in pumpkin spice and everything nice. The denim-on-denim look is not just accepted; it's encouraged. Roll up those sleeves, cuff those jeans, and top it off with a cowboy hat that tips a nod to Nashville's roots. Graphic tees celebrating this vibrant city, paired with black denim shorts and a jacket for the cooler evenings, will have you blending in like a local leaf in autumn.


Winter in Nashville might sound like a soft country ballad, but your outfit can still rock. A babydoll black dress with boots and a denim jacket keeps you cozy and stylish. And for those sweater weather enthusiasts, a sweater tank paired with jeans and suede boots adds just the right amount of warmth and cool. It's like a hug you can wear.

Related: 17 Trendy Nashville Outfits: Charming Southern Fashion Meets Big City Chic

For men, it's most common to wear jeans and a T-shirt or collared shirt with a jacket as an option.

Nudie's Honky-Tonk on Broadway has the following dress codes. As you can tell, the dress standard is set quite low 😉 This should give you a good idea of the baseline on Broadway in Nashville.

  • No sleeveless undershirts, no cut-off shirts, no jerseys. Fashionable tank tops are permitted.
  • No large chains. 
  • No clothing management considers vulgar, offensive or otherwise likely to cause a disturbance.
  • No motorcycle club or gang affiliation displays of any kind. 
  • Sandals and flip-flops are permitted but not recommended.
  • Footwear must be worn at all times. 

What to Wear in Nashville Bars

In general, Nashville does not enforce a dress code. If there are dress codes enforced, it's rare. Most of the time, you'll get away with what you want. You'll see lots of T-shirts, jeans, hats, jackets, dresses, cowboy boots and hats.

Even the high-class cocktail bar, The Patterson House, does not enforce a dress code.

As mentioned above, the honky-tonks on Broadway are casual. However, there is one bar on Broadway that is known for upholding a dress code.

The Twelve Thirty Club is located on upper Broadway and requires “cocktail or business casual attire. Well-kept jeans are permitted, and we kindly request guests to limit the wear of beach attire and sportswear while dining in the Supper Club.”

What to Wear in Different Seasons

The weather in Nashville from December to April ranges from really cold to mild. I'm writing this in January, and the weather today is a balmy 65 degrees.

It would be best if you were prepared to wear warm clothes like long pants and comfortable shoes.

During the summer, be prepared for HOT and humid conditions. Make sure you wear lightweight, breathable clothing like cotton or linen. The website Style Your Occasion recommends “shorts, tank tops, dresses, and an extra layer for nighttime.” We suggest items like slip dresses, bandanas, and denim cutoffs.

Are Bars in Nashville Strict?

In Nashville, you can expect to be asked for ID to enter any bar on Broadway. Many bars will scan your ID at the door with a blacklight to see if it's fake. Also, the bartender will likely scan it if the doorman doesn't do it. In Tennessee, the law is that anyone found using a fake ID will have their driver's license suspended for one year. Underage people using a fake ID face community service and fines.

Remember, it's in the best interests of the bars to not let underage people drink; the cost is exceptionally high for them.

If you get caught with a fake ID, the bar will likely confiscate it.

Now, are you likely to be arrested on the spot for using a fake ID? No. The bar will most likely confiscate it and throw you out.

Nashville bars have tens of thousands of customers of legal drinking age. They spend thousands of dollars every weekend, so the comparatively small amount they make from you isn't worth risking their license.

You still have options if you are under the legal drinking age of 21.

If you are with your parents or legal guardian, you can go to Tootsies Orchid Lounge before 7 in the evening. Wildhorse Saloon, The Station Inn, and Robert's Western World. Generally, you can go with your parents up until 8 pm to most bars.

When do Bars Close in Nashville?

In Nashville, Tennessee, all bars are legally mandated to cease alcohol service at 3:00 AM. Typical closing times range between 2:00 AM and 3:00 AM, though exact schedules can vary significantly from one venue to another. For instance, The Stage tends to close at 2:30 AM, while Robert's Western World usually closes its doors at 3:00 AM. For the most accurate information, refer to each bar's official website or contact them directly. Despite the late hour, numerous local diners and food trucks operating around the clock provide an opportunity for a late-night meal. Street activity tends to diminish significantly during these early morning hours in Nashville.

How Do I Not Look Like a Tourist in Nashville?

The way to not look like a tourist in Nashville is to avoid cowboy hats and cowboy boots. Locals don't wear that kind of attire (unless you're a country music star!). Instead, locals in Nashville usually wear casual clothes. However, feel free to dress up. In the trendy parts of Nashville like West End, East Nashville, or 12 South, you'll find eccentric clothing, colorful hair, and clothing that is, in my conservative opinion, “out there .” One thing is for sure: no one will look down on you for being a tourist.
Millions flock here to enjoy downtown all year round. So come on down; you are welcome here!

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