City Guide / Nashville

9 Best Bars in Nashville With Live Music

By Landing | Jun 25, 2024
Live music stage in Nashville

From intimate acoustic sessions to energetic country concerts, Nashville has something for everyone. Here are the best bars in Nashville with live music.

Finding the best bars in Nashville with live music is no hard feat. On most nights, simply stumbling into a bar on Broadway Street gives you front-row seats to some of the country’s best live bands. 

This city has had its own soundtrack for centuries. From Dolly Parton to Taylor Swift, the list of music superstars who found success in the neon-lit, honky tonk bars goes on and on. And with over 180 live performance venues across the city, the only downside of living in Nashville is having to choose from so many fun activities at your fingertips. 

To help you build your concert schedule, here are nine of the best music venues in Nashville.

Nashville: The City of Music

Nashville established its musical prowess as soon as it was settled. According to local lore, the city’s first inhabitants played fiddle tunes after landing on the shores of the Cumberland River. But it might surprise you that the first person to call Nashville a City of Music was the Queen of England. After listening to the Fisk Jubilee Singers on their world tour, she reportedly proclaimed that the Nashville choir must come from a “city of music.” The moniker was later popularized by radio announcer David Cobb in the 1950s. 

Whatever the etymology, Nashville continues to live up to its name, producing some of the finest talent in the world. The city’s thriving concert scene — from intimate venues to iconic bars along lower Broadway — makes music an integral part of daily life, no matter where you go or where you’re from. 

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9 Nashville Music Venues

While Lower Broadway is the best street in Nashville for live music, bands and beer are all over the city. With low-key bars frequented by infamous country singers, rowdy honky tonks, and gorgeous concert halls with international acts, Nashville’s music scene has a vibe for every night of the week. 

If you’re looking for a place to catch music in Nashville tonight, choose from these top picks:

1. The Bluebird Cafe

  • 4104 Hillsboro Pike
  • (615) 383-1461
  • Tuesday–Saturday 5–11 p.m., Monday 5:30–11 p.m.

Don’t underestimate this small, unassuming bar located in a strip mall outside of downtown Nashville. The Bluebird Cafe is one of the world’s most iconic listening rooms — bars with a strict “shhh” policy to let guests and artists enjoy the music. 

This artist-first stance gives the bar its legacy. Superstars like Garth Brooks, Lady A, and Keith Urban were discovered here. Reserve your front-row table far in advance to discover the country’s next great songwriter. 

If you’re a budding Nashville musician, The Bluebird Cafe is a right of passage. It hosts open mic nights, songwriting contests, and Sunday spotlights for local and touring bands. 

2. The Station Inn

  • 402 12th Ave S
  • (615) 255-3307
  • Daily 7 p.m.–1 a.m.

This tiny club has been a Music Row staple since the 1970s, long before the Gulch district became the city’s chicest neighborhood. Loved by fans of bluegrass, Americana, and roots music, the Station Inn is a must-visit for music fans moving to Nashville. More than a concert venue, this intimate 200-seat bar feels like watching an impromptu concert erupt in your living room. 

The Station Inn has a first come, first served seating policy. Locals know to arrive long before the night’s talent takes the stage. Luckily, Southern staples like Moon Pies, pimento cheese, and Yazoo beer tide you over while you wait for the show to begin. 

3. The Basement 

  • 1604 8th Ave. S, Ste 330
  • (615) 645-9174
  • Daily 7 p.m.–1 a.m.

It’s fitting that a music venue called The Basement hosts some of Nashville’s best underground shows. On the scene since 2005, this punky bar with a love for music that crosses genres has a reputation for hosting secret pop-up shows for world-famous musicians, including Keith Urban, Emmylou Harris, and Metallica. 

A second location in East Nashville, the Basement East, has the same casual vibes for artists who have graduated from the small, underground bar. Regulars of the Basement East save up their appetites to enjoy Colombian empanadas from the food truck Chivanada in the bar’s parking lot. 

4. The Listening Room Cafe

  • 618 4th Ave S
  • (615) 259-3600
  • Monday–Wednesday 11 a.m.–11 p.m., Thursday–Friday 11 a.m.–11:30 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.–11:30 p.m.

The Listening Room Cafe is the perfect excuse to hang out in SoBro, one of the best neighborhoods in Nashville. This no-frills Americana and country music venue, restaurant, and bar keeps the focus on good music and good food. Known for its acoustics, Listening Room Cafe is a great place to catch a writer’s round — a local musical tradition where several songwriters take turns playing one of their songs. 

5. Losers Bar & Grill

  • 1911 Division St
  • (615) 327-3115
  • Sunday–Friday 11 a.m.–3 a.m., Saturday 10 a.m.–3 a.m.

Losers Bar is a real winner for Nashvillians in search of a dive bar with great live music. The small venue attracts big local songwriting royalty. You might just sit at the bar next to a patron responsible for some of the country’s biggest hits. And it’s not uncommon for chart-toppers to climb onstage to sing a tune while patrons play shuffleboard and pool. 

There are plenty of Nashville restaurants with live music to choose from, but there’s nothing like enjoying a plate of hot chicken and a beer while listening to the jukebox. 

6. Cannery Hall 

Cannery Hall has something for everyone. After an ambitious remodel, the historic live music venue reopened its doors with three stages, converting the infamous Cannery Ballroom, Mercy Lounge, and High Watt concert rooms into Cannery Hall, the Mil, and Row One Stage. 

While many Nashville venues tend to rein in on a single genre, Cannery Hall is the place to catch an eclectic lineup, from Adele to the Cold War Kids. And even though it’s not technically a bar, don’t worry — you can grab a drink to enjoy while you watch a show.

7. Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge

  • 422 Broadway
  • Daily 9:30 a.m.–3 a.m.
  • No phone number available

If there’s one thing you must do in Music City, it’s hit a honky tonk. These bars, found across the South, promise two things: cold drinks and live country music. 

Nashville is full of honky tonks, but none have contributed to music history like Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge on Lower Broadway. The legendary original owner, Tootsie Bess, slipped money to struggling singer-songwriters, creating a homey vibe that lives on today. 

If you visit the former home of the Grand Ole Opry at Ryman Auditorium — another must-do activity — Tootsie’s is just across the alley. Just keep in mind that Tootsie’s is no longer a little dive bar. Expect long lines of locals and travelers eager for an unforgettable Nashville experience.

8. Robert’s Western World

  • 416B Broadway 
  • (615) 244-9552
  • Daily 11 a.m.–3 a.m.

If the line at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge is too long, you might have better luck down the street at Robert’s Western World. Don’t let the tourist-heavy downtown location fool you. This iconic Lower Broadway honky tonk is still a popular spot for Nashvillians. 

Spontaneous line dancing and bands playing seven nights a week aren’t the only thing that attracts crowds to this live music bar. The kitchen’s legendary “recession special” is a Nashville favorite. It includes a fried bologna sandwich, a Moon Pie, and a PBR. 

9. Tennessee Brew Works

  • 809 Ewing Ave
  • (615) 436-0050
  • Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.–8 p.m.

Most Nashville breweries leave the honky tonk vibes to the dives that line Lower Broadway. But Tennessee Brew Works lives up to Music City’s legacy with live music every day. For country music fans and serious beer drinks, this is some of the best beer in town. The bar has more than a dozen beers on tap, including one-of-a-kind seasonal brews. 

End the Night With Landing

After a night of line dancing, honky tonks, and, hopefully, an impromptu concert from a country music star, you need a comfortable place to lay your head. 

Landing has comfortable, fully furnished apartments in Nashville for people who want to stay a few nights or a few months — or longer. Plus, Landing doesn’t charge application fees, security deposits, or additional fees, meaning you’ll have more cash on hand for fried bologna sandwiches and concert tickets.