City Guide / Nashville

What Is Music Row in Nashville?

By Margaret Littman | Jun 23, 2022
Man strums guitar in Music Row in Nashville

“Music Row in Nashville” is a phrase folks toss around a lot, but do you know what Music Row really is? In many ways, this neighborhood in Midtown is the heart of Nashville, Tennessee, otherwise known as Music City.

If you’re looking to live in Nashville and are getting a feel for what the different neighborhoods are like, here is your guide to Music Row, including where you can find it, what the area is like, and some of the top attractions on offer:

What is Music Row in Nashville?

No, it isn’t Lower Broadway, the neon-lined, tourist-welcoming strip of honky-tonks and bars in downtown Nashville (although it is often confused with it!). Instead, Music Row is the section of Nashville where the country music publishers, record labels, and recording studios are located. This is where stars are made, where publishers pair artists with songwriters for co-writes for a hit record, and where deals are signed. Taylor Swift even lived in this neighborhood once!

The neighborhood runs roughly between 21st Avenue South and 16th Avenue South, although most people think of it as two streets: 16th Avenue South and 17th Avenue South, which are parallel one-way streets lined with old houses turned into music studios and high-rise office buildings. Essentially, Music Row sits in the center between the Vanderbilt University campus and the popular Gulch area.

When you head into this area, particularly after a major awards festival, you’ll see banners hanging from windows congratulating artists on awards, new releases, and sales milestones. The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and other music industry agencies have offices on Music Row, too.

Things to do in Music Row in Nashville

Conventional wisdom is that there’s not much to do in Music Row if you don’t have an appointment with one of the country music publishers. It’s true that if you want to kick up your heels at Miranda Lambert’s, Casa Rosa, Tootsie’s, Nudie’s, Honky Tonk Central, or the Ryman Auditorium, you need to head downtown. Or, if you’re looking for the Grand Ole Opry or Gaylord Opryland, you need to head 12 miles east.

But it’s not entirely true that there’s nothing but offices in this historic neighborhood. In fact, it can be a good destination for entertainment and live music for locals looking to explore this Tennessee city beyond downtown.

Consider some of these picks of the best restaurants, bars, and attractions in Music Row in Nashville—then brag to your friends about finding these hidden gems beyond Broadway and the city center:

1. Bobby’s Idle Hour Tavern

Bobby’s Idle Hour Tavern has had a couple of different homes in the Music Row area and should be your first stop as you explore this Nashville neighborhood. Through the decades, it has maintained its reputation as the place to hear singer-songwriters play and test out new music. This neighborhood bar is a low-key option for listening to some live music and learning about country music.

2. Tin Roof

Tin Roof is located just on the north side of Music Row and is a great place to see local musicians play. The vibe here is a bit higher-energy than Bobby’s, and this venue features great music, whiskey specials, and happy hour drinks, along with a full food menu if you’re looking for a restaurant to grab some food.

3. The Electric Jane

Also on the north side of Music Row, The Electric Jane is a live music venue, restaurant, and bar beloved by locals. At 7,500 square feet, this is a bigger entertainment venue with room for larger shows. Folks like to come to this restaurant and lounge for late-night eats as well as weekend brunches.

4. Patterson House

One of the city’s most refined bars, Patterson House is a no-standing-room bar where the emphasis is on cocktails crafted specifically to your tastes. We recommend scoring a reservation here before swinging by, as the room can get packed quickly. Above Patterson House is Catbird Seat, a 32-seat, a reservations-required restaurant serving a multi-course tasting menu and a front-row seat to all of the action as your chefs prepare your food.

5. RCA Studio B

This historic landmark is considered the birthplace of “Nashville Sound,” with stars like Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, and others recording many well-known songs here. RCA Studio B is now owned by the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum but has been preserved in all of its retro glory. Want to visit this music hotspot? Buy tickets through the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to go inside, or just walk by if you just want a selfie with this major landmark in country and live music history.

7. Any Old Iron

If you want some sequins to dress for your next stage performance or just your next night out, head to Any Old Iron. Owned by Andrew Clancey, this boutique on Music Row is the place to stop, with glorious bedazzled clothing on offer.

8. Edgehill Village

On the edge of Music Row, Edgehill Village is a quaint, charming collection of businesses and restaurants where it is easy to pass an afternoon or evening. Eat breakfast at Egghill restaurant, have lunch at Sadie’s Nashville, eat dinner at Bella Napoli Pizzeria, and grab drinks at Old Glory, a stunning bar located in an old cleaners’ boiler room. Barcelona Wine Bar is another popular Edgehill Village restaurant.

Tips From a Landing Member

Jess Goudreault

“I went to Barcelona Wine Bar with two girlfriends, and we each ordered three tapas to share with each other. That means that yes, we had nine dishes covering our entire table, and we wouldn’t let our waiter take any plates away until we were completely finished. That included the leftover sauce from the meatballs that we dipped our bread into. No shame.”

— Jess Goudreault, “How I Spent Three Months Living in Nashville

9. San Antonio Taco Co.

Called “Satco” by locals, this scaled-back taco shop is best known for (and loved for!) its large deck and buckets of beer. Many a Vanderbilt and Belmont student has passed a sunny afternoon on the patio of San Antonio Taco Co. Don’t sleep on the queso!

10. Scarritt Bennett Labyrinth

Music Row isn’t all about the loud music and tasty beers (not that there’s anything wrong with that). You can have a more contemplative time walking through the outdoor Scarritt Bennett labyrinth on the campus of this college for Christian workers.

11. Public art in Music Row

Equally relaxing is strolling along Music Row to take in its one-of-a-kind sculptures and other pieces of public art, including Alan LeQuire’s Musica and a sculpture of music producer Owen Bradley sitting at the piano, both of which are off Division St. You can also snap a picture of the guitar sculpture in front of RCA Studio B. Don’t be surprised if you see some bus tours swing by to check them out, too!

Looking to live in Nashville?

Choose a furnished apartment rental with a flexible lease from Landing in Midtown, and all of these Music Row’s charms (and more!) will be just steps from your door. With an extended stay in Nashville, you won’t feel like you have to see everything at once, you can return to Music Row’s restaurants, cafes, bars, and historic sites again and again. Learn more about Landing today!

Margaret Littman

Margaret Littman tells the stories of the people and the places of the South. From her home on the Cumberland River in Nashville, she researches restaurants, honky-tonks, paddling destinations, and bootmakers in the region. Her work has appeared in Preservation, Condé Nast Traveler, Real Simple, PUNCH, and many other publications. She writes guidebooks to the southeast under the Moon imprint. Life in Nashville has allowed her to acquire a boot collection but not the ability to carry a tune. She recently finished paddleboarding in all 50 states.