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I first visited Nashville, Tennessee for work about fifteen years ago. Since then, I have come back whenever I’ve had the chance. It’s laid back and full of great food, drinks, and music venues. I also love a stroll near the Cumberland River. After visiting in July 2020, and realizing that the nine-hour drive from Kansas City was actually quite pretty, I have returned four times since. My most recent trip was in January 2023. These trips have given me plenty of time to visit a few old and new favorite spots for a cocktail. If you find yourself in Music City, here are some Nashville bars you won’t want to miss. Cheers!

Published originally in October 2020 and fully updated in March 2023.

1. The Patterson House

  • Address: 1711 Division Street
  • Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 4pm-1am | Friday and Saturday, 4pm-2am
  • Scores:
    • Hospitality: 5.0, everyone is super friendly, knowledgeable, and welcoming. Southern hospitality all around.
    • Atmosphere: 5.0, low-light, swanky but not stuffy
    • Drinks: 5.0, I have never had a drink here I didn’t love, and I’ve visited at least four times over the years

The Patterson House is such a gem and it’s historically significant to me. This was the first craft cocktail bar I visited, nine years ago. I remember walking into the bar through the velvet curtains and feeling transported. It’s stuck with me ever since. The bartenders work hard to bring interesting flavors to the menu. You will definitely find combinations and ingredients here that you may not be familiar with, in the best way. The bar is located at the end of Music Row, which houses the record label offices, radio stations, and recording studios. So, you might be sipping among walking legends.

During one visit, my sister-in-law and I toasted to our July birthdays with these delicious drinks. I had the one on the left, Buck’s Novices, made with blanco tequila, grapefruit, Merlet Crème de Pêche, ginger, Campari, and house hellfire bitters. It was so good, I tried to convince them to sell me some bitters so I could recreate at home. That wasn’t possible, but I still want to try it with the bitters I use in my Fire Margarita. My sister-in-law had a drink called Mr. Jackpots! It’s made with mezcal, Cocchi Rosa, Terra Firma, Giffard Pamplemousse, cucumber, and Campari. Both were excellent.

2. The Fox Bar and Cocktail Club

  • Address: 2905B Gallatin Pike (it’s around the back of the building, and parking is a little confusing so they have instructions)
  • Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 5pm-midnight | Friday-Saturday, 5pm-2am
  • Scores:
    • Hospitality: 5.0, I love nothing more than sitting at a bar alone, having someone make me drinks and chatting with me the whole time
    • Atmosphere: 5.0, seriously couldn’t stop taking photos
    • Drinks: 5.0, so many amazing things to choose from, the hard part is picking

If you’ve never visited a bar where you feel like moving in, The Fox Bar and Cocktail Club will probably change your mind. The warmth and impeccable interior design of one of the most recommended Nashville bars will have you relaxed in no time. (This is the place every bartender or IG friend from the city told me not to miss.) And, we haven’t even started talking about the drinks, or the miso deviled eggs. On my most recent trip, I took some friends and we all enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere and the beautifully designed menu.

I started with the light and refreshing Sparkling Milk Punch (on the left). In addition to the beautiful glass, the cocktail was outstanding. Packed with flavors you don’t often see on a menu, the drink is made with Barsol Pisco, Batavia Arrack, pear, ginger, spiced cranberry, milk, lemon, and sparkling wine. I also enjoyed the Fox Old Fashioned No. 5. The custom fox ice had me thinking that I should add a custom ice stamp like this one to my gift guide. The Fox Bar’s Old Fashioned features Buffalo Trace X House Bourbon, Amaro Montenegro, Demerara, Angostura bitters, orange bitters, and lemon oil.

nashville bars fox bar and cocktail club jenn with a cocktail

On my most recent visit in January 2023, I enjoyed the “Maybe She’s Born with It” cocktail. It is made with Angel’s Envy bourbon, lime stock, apricot, pistachio, ginger, and rose.

3. Urban Cowboy Public House

  • Address: 1603 Woodland Street
  • Hours: Friday-Saturday, 4pm-midnight | Sunday-Thursday, 4pm-11pm
  • Scores:
    • Hospitality: 5.0, very warm and welcoming staff
    • Atmosphere: 4.8, rustic and charming 
    • Drinks: 4.8, pretty darn delicious

The Urban Cowboy Nashville is part of a trio of properties that celebrate cowboy culture and decor. (The other two locations are in New York, The Catskills and Brooklyn.) The Nashville outpost is a hotel and a public house. The kitchen serves the most amazing food from Roberta’s Pizza (of Brooklyn fame). I enjoyed my cocktails on the outdoor patio next to a blazing fire. The perfect place to be on any evening.

I enjoyed the Twenty Grand, on the left. It’s a blend of mezcal, reposado tequila, mango, jalapeño, and lime. It was a nice, spicy refresher. The rim packed quite the punch. I also had the Go for Gin which was a delicious treat. Made with gin, black currant, lemon, thyme, egg white, and prosecco, it was the perfect nightcap. I chatted with the waitstaff and enjoyed the fire while I sipped.

4. Geist Bar + Restaurant

  • Address: 311 Jefferson Street
  • Hours: Friday-Saturday, 5pm-10:30pm | Monday-Thursday, 5pm-10pm | Brunch served Saturday-Sunday, 10am-2:30pm
  • Scores:
    • Hospitality: 4.8, super busy place with friendly but busy staff
    • Atmosphere: 4.8, the inside of the building is beautiful, we sat outside in a between buildings area
    • Drinks: 5.0, spot on cocktails

Originally opened in 1886 by German immigrant John Geist Sr., the John Geist and Sons Blacksmith Shop was the city’s oldest business in continuous family ownership and operation. The building was restructured with the current brick in 1900. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 and operated as a blacksmith shop until 2006. After a meticulous renovation to preserve the heritage of the building, Geist opened in 2018. It quickly became a favorite and continues to be one of the best Nashville bars. They serve upscale European and American food alongside delicious cocktails and wines.

The drink on the left is the Baller Old Fashioned. It’s a blend of Blantons, rock candy syrup, and bitters. The drink on the right is one I couldn’t resist ordering–the Chili Nelson. Besides the great name, it also contains some of my favorite flavors. It is made with gin, green chile, lime, and pineapple. Yum!

5. Lyra

  • Address: 935 West Eastland Avenue
  • Hours: Monday-Saturday, 5pm-10pm | Closed Sundays
  • Scores:
    • Hospitality: 5.0, when I’m at a place that’s busy but the waitstaff treats me like I’m their only guest, that’s top marks from me
    • Atmosphere: 5.0, does it get better than an interior that looks like a magazine and a leafy patio?
    • Drinks: 4.8, the menu is solid

When you think of Nashville Bars, a Middle Eastern restaurant may not come to mind. However, some of my favorite cocktails have come from Middle Eastern restaurants. Like Byblos in Toronto. Lyra was no exception to this flavor discovery. Plus, you get the added benefit of enjoying a delicious and healthy meal with your cocktails. I did both on my visits to this East Nashville spot.

My first visit was on a Saturday afternoon, so I enjoyed a snack with my drink. The Muhammara is a roasted red pepper dip with pomegranate and walnuts, and comes with seeded crackers. I ordered a side of veggies to enjoy with it as well. The stunner on the right is the Evil Monkey. It’s a well-balanced cocktail featuring Diplomatico rum, banana, dry curaçao, za’tar, lime, and tiki bitters. It was a great tropical sip. My second visit was dinner with friends and we all enjoyed a delicious feast paired with cocktails.

6. Fable Lounge

nashville bars fable lounge
  • Address: 114 28th Avenue North
  • Hours: Monday-Sunday, 5pm-11pm
  • Scores:
    • Hospitality: 5.0, everyone was very inviting and I enjoyed nice conversations throughout my visit
    • Atmosphere: 4.8, this place is massive which means good for a crowd but I felt a little overwhelmed with options
    • Drinks: 5.0, I tried a trio of delicious drinks

Fable Lounge opened in January 2020. Located next to Centennial Park in the West End, this bar has what it takes to be around for years to come. Their dreamy, story-driven vibe, coupled with moody velvet and leather decor, transports you to another place and time. In addition to occupying two stories, they also have a cigar bar, outdoor patio with fire features, and a piano lounge. There are two bars, one on each floor, and a full kitchen that serves up delicious dinners, snacks, and desserts.

The menu is full of story-inspired drinks. I ordered the Lofty Linx (left), which was delicious. Made with Bols Genever, lemon, dry curaçao, and orange cinnamon shrub, it was balanced and refreshing. The other drink came courtesy of a slight mix-up in ordering, but that’s a nice problem to have. The Tiger’s Triumph features Boulard Calvados, Wild Turkey Rye, egg white, lemon, and apple chai syrup. It was especially good and perfect for Fall. You’ll definitely want to add this place to your Nashville bars to visit list.

7. Pinewood Social

  • Address: 33 Peabody Street
  • Hours: Monday-Thursday, 7am-11pm | Friday, 7am-1am | Saturday, 9am-1am | Sunday, 9am-11pm
  • Scores:
    • Hospitality: 3.8, not the most hospitable spot but if you are with a group you’re left to enjoy yourselves
    • Atmosphere: 5.0, this place is gorgeous and perfectly retro
    • Drinks: 4.8, solid drinks

I’ve visited Pinewood Social three times. I had an amazing breakfast on my first visit and a great cocktails during my other visits. I love the vibe of this place, the bowling alley, and the dipping pools you can rent by the hour. The interior design is well done and is an Instagrammer’s paradise. With plenty of seating and a great location downtown, this is one bar in Nashville you should definitely visit.

My favorite part about the bar is the copper top. It’s perfectly reflective and a great backdrop for photos. While I was there, I enjoyed the 4am in Oaxaca. It’s a delicious combo of mezcal, lemon, passionfruit, cacao, ancho chile, and angostura bitters. I really enjoyed this tiki-Mexican hybrid. The rest of the drink menu is really nice. They feature a lot of local spirits, like whiskey, but have a wide variety to suit any palate.

8. Butcher & Bee

  • Address: 902 Main Street
  • Hours: Monday–Thursday, 5pm–9pm | Friday, 11am–2pm & 5pm-10pm | Saturday, 10am–2pm & 5pm-10pm | Sunday, 10am–2pm and 5pm–9pm
  • Scores:
    • Hospitality: 5.0, everyone was very inviting and I enjoyed nice conversations throughout my visit
    • Atmosphere: 5.0, the patio was as beautiful as it was relaxing
    • Drinks: 4.7, the drinks I’ve had are delicious and the menu is full of fresh flavors

Hailing from Charleston, SC, this second location of Butcher & Bee is a real treat. I enjoyed brunch on their beautiful patio. The food was outstanding! The cocktail was one of a list of seasonal options similar to a Gazoz, which is a mix of fruit, a flavored syrup, and carbonated water. You can also add a shot of booze. This one was gin with peach syrup and thyme. It was very light and refreshing. Based on the menu and the bar inside, it’s definitely a restaurant that should make your Nashville bars list.

9. White Limozeen (inside the Graduate Hotel)

  • Address: 101 20th Avenue North
  • Hours: Monday–Friday, 3pm–midnight | Saturday-Sunday, 10am–midnight
  • Reservations are strongly suggested.

In the state in which the legend was born, you’ll find a Dolly Parton-themed cocktail bar and pool. White Limozeen is a must-visit for any Dolly fan. It’s completely over-the-top and awesome. Sadly, I didn’t have a reservation and the place was already packed, but they were nice enough to let me take a peek around and take a few photos. If you’ve ever been, I’d love to hear what you thought of the drinks.

Thanks for checking out my list of the best Nashville bars. Any places I missed that you love? Drop it in the comments.

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