Nashville Bars With The Best Live Music

If you're visiting Nashville, where should you go for the best live music? With a bar offering live tunes on every corner, pinpointing the best is tough. To find out, I asked local Nashville musicians for their top spots.

This post highlights the best venues for all types of live music. If the rowdy downtown scene isn't your style, I've included places with a more laid-back vibe. Beyond downtown, check out historic Printers Alley and Midtown.

While you can find music everywhere, I've listed the top-rated music bars for a genuine live music experience.

Roberts Western World

For the past eight years, Roberts Western World has been named the “Best Honky-Tonk” in Nashville by The Nashville Scene. Is it the best bar on Broadway? That's for you to decide. Every year, it's voted as having the best country music on Broadway. With a rich history, it's been known as “Roberts Three Doors Down,” “Roberts Lounge Room,” and “Rhinestone Western Wear.”

Jesse Lee Jones, originally from Sau Paulo, Brazil, owns Roberts Western World. Passionate about country and gospel music, Jesse moved to the U.S. to pursue his dream. He transformed Roberts from a western clothing store into the beloved honky-tonk it is today.

Roberts has hosted top musicians like Don Kelley, Guthrie Trapp, JD Simo, Daniel Donato, and Brent Mason. Today, you can enjoy staple bands like Kelley's Heroes and Brazilbilly. For the full band schedule, click here.

Experience the best live country music in Nashville at Roberts Western World. Enjoy a bologna sandwich, drink a beer, and soak in the atmosphere. It's a Nashville must-visit!

The Basement East

The Basement East is a prime music venue for live music in Nashville. Since 2015 the club has hosted Dashboard Confessional, Alice Cooper, Dawes, Cage The Elephant, Lukas Graham, Brandy Clark, Maren Morris, Chris Stapleton, and more.

It's located in East Nashville and is known by local musicians as one of the top places to see live music in Nashville.

The Flamingo Cocktail Club

The Flamingo is a cocktail club and coffee bar with a diverse selection of live music throughout the week. They showcase local bands/artists who showcase their talent. They have renowned cocktails, disco balls, lights, and music. It creates a cool vibe.

The Exit/Inn

The Exit/In is a legendary music venue in Nashville that has been supporting alternative music acts since 1971 despite the city's strong country music scene. It was the first place in Nashville to host songwriters' nights and has hosted acts from a variety of genres, including Kings of Leon, Sheryl Crow, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Steve Martin. The venue remains a treasure and an important part of Nashville's music scene.

The 5 Spot (East Nashville)

The 5 Spot has live events every night of the week. This includes Motown Monday, Country, Urban Music Writers Rounds, 80's dance parties, Funky Good Times, Topo Tuesday, and more. To check out upcoming events at this popular Nashville music venue, click here.

The East Room

The East Room is a music and comedy venue in East Nashville. It's a great place to see up-and-coming local and touring talent. They have free open mic comedy on Tuesday nights and a monthly dance party. Shows start at 8 pm and the club is only open to 18+.

The End

The End is a Rock N Roll dive bar in Nashville in Midtown. The bar has hosted such bands as R.E.M., The White Stripes, and Sleater-Kinney. This venue provides a small club experience with all kinds of music genres. It's a major stepping stone for many up-and-coming local and touring acts.


Tootsies is where artists, songwriters, and pickers want to earn their chops by playing on this hallowed ground. It's a place where musicians can network and practice before hitting the bigger stage. It's the most famous bar in Nashville and a breeding ground for talent.

Today, it would be a crime to visit Nashville without visiting Tootsies. Ask any local which bar you should see; this is one of the first to roll off the tongue. Like most bars on Broadway, they are open seven days a week from 9:30 a.m. to 3 a.m. You'll find three live music floors, including a rooftop bar with a view overlooking Nashville. You can feel the history of Nashville within these hallowed walls.

AJ's Good Time Bar

AJs Good Time Bar has been voted the number one honky-tonk in Nashville by Billboard Magazine. As the name suggests, it was founded by country music legend Alan Jackson. On each floor of the building, you'll notice that it represents a part of Jackson's career. You're only a step away from the Ryman and Tootsies, so when you're done over there, swing into AJ's.

AJ's will knock your socks off with live country music on every floor, every night of the week. They even have karaoke every night of the week starting at 7 p.m.

Best Live Music Outside Broadway

The Station Inn

For over 40 years, The Station Inn has been a mecca for bluegrass and American roots music fans. Only the best musicians play here, making it the go-to spot for an authentic Nashville pickers experience.

Famous names like Dierks Bentley, The Time Jumpers, Sturgill Simpson, and Alison Kraus had their start here. Tribute nights honor bluegrass legends, adding to the venue's charm.

Unlike the rowdy honky-tonks on Lower Broadway, The Station Inn is a listening room where attendees are asked to be quiet and appreciate the show. Doors open at 7 pm, with the show starting at 9. Located in the Gulch, the bar serves pizza, nachos, hot dogs, and snacks. Enjoy a true bluegrass experience in this unique setting.

3rd & Lindsley

Located just a few blocks from the Country Music Hall of Fame, 3rd & Lindsley Bar & Grill is a live music venue with great music, food, and drink. Each week, they have a packed schedule of live bands ready to go. So if you are in Nashville and don't want to go to the rowdy downtown district, this is the place to go.

It's located in an old building in Nashville, and the staff is well-organized. It features a large stage with many tables and seating in the large restaurant and bar area.

You will find all kinds of bands, from country to rock, and all sorts of performers, from local bands to big names like Vince Gill and Steve Wariner. Learn more here.

The Ryman Auditorium

I have included the Ryman Auditorium in this list because although it isn't a music bar per se if you are visiting Nashville and want to hear incredible live music, how could I leave it out? You'll find jazz, pop, blues, comedy, and more almost every night of the week.

It doesn't matter who is playing; if you're in town, you need to buy tickets. It's known as the mother church of country music.

The Ryman was the original home of the Grand Ole Opry that hosted country music icons like Hank Williams, Kitty Wells, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, and Loretta Lynn.

On display at the Ryman are George Jones's blue suit and Johnny Cash's suit, among others.

Bluebird Café Nashville

The Bluebird Café

The Bluebird Café started as simply a café. Today, it's a songwriter's listening room and probably the most well-known café in Nashville. Music, songwriting, and Nashville come together at the Bluebird. Being a songwriter's town, Nashville needed a place to host local musicians who wanted to share their music. The Bluebird Café established itself as just that place.

The Bluebird Café is in the Nashville neighborhood of Green Hills. You must buy a ticket online for each show, which sells out fast. There are usually only about 75 seats available after artists' guests.

Backstage Nashville

Backstage Nashville is a songwriter's show attracting crowds from all over. It features a weekly show with Nashville's top songwriters and rising talent. You'll hear the most significant country hits live and learn the stories behind them.

Food, drink, and great seats are available. There isn't a bad seat in the house. It's been described as a place where the Grand Ole Opry meets the Bluebird Cafe.

You've heard that Nashville is a songwriting town; this is where the songwriters gather.

The building is in the heart of downtown Nashville and within walking distance of most of the downtown hotels. Unfortunately, the shows are only once a week, and you'll need to buy your tickets online.

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