by Marketing on Friday, February 24th, 2023 at 11:00am.
In Nashville, our bar culture runs the gamut from world-famous makers of one-off craft cocktails to slingers of PBR. We cherish the wide range of experiences available to us here, and we’re just as likely to drop $15 on a cocktail as we are to spend the evening ordering beer on tap. Because most of us meander from spot to spot throughout the year, we’ve developed a keen eye for the drinks, details, and décor that set a bar apart from the rest.
With that in mind, we’re excited to put forth our list of the Top Eight Unique Bar Experiences in Music City.
Audrey, Sean Brock’s renowned Appalachian restaurant, is also home to a bar situated on the floor above. When you enter this calming, Zen-inspired cocktail bar, you won’t be presented with a menu; rather, you’ll be shown a basket of five items of fresh produce. Choose one, and it will be blended with one spirit and one mystery ingredient from the minds behind the restaurant’s research and development team.
These three ingredients will result in one of the best cocktails you’ve ever had—and you will never experience it again. These ephemeral creations result from a unique mélange of ever-changing components, which is why each cocktail is unique to that time and place.
In Nashville, Von Elrod’s is known as our own twist on a traditional German beer garden—a.k.a. a beer-lover’s paradise. Von Elrod’s boasts a sprawl of both indoor and outdoor space where 35 local and international beers are on tap, and salty soft pretzels are always at your fingertips. The menu of hot German food is divine, the vibe is fun and breezy, and the beer is flowing; what more could one want in a Southern beer garden?
Acme Feed & Seed is well known as a three-story restaurant and bar with an extensive offering of both domestic and imported premium beer, wine, and spirits. Today, though, let’s talk about their rooftop bar, which we submit is one of the best in Nashville. The views of both the Cumberland and Broadway are a perfect representation of downtown, so take some time to take in the sights during your time aloft.
In addition to the delicious cocktail blends that are on tap, Acme’s Rooftop Bar offers mixed drinks and an extensive array of on-tap beers.
Everything about Pearl Diver is unexpected. We wouldn’t expect an auto upholstery garage to be converted into a delightful bar. We wouldn’t expect Nashville to be home to a Caribbean-themed rum bar. We definitely wouldn’t imagine such a space to be so thick with tropical plants and palm trees.
Yet here we are, and the results are fantastic. Come to Pearl Diver for the wildly delicious drinks, stay for the upbeat tropical vibe, and be sure to take advantage of the perfect selfie opportunities you see throughout the bar.
Open the petite book of drink offerings, then order unique shots, classic cocktails, shooters, beer, wine, or tropical drinks rimmed with spices. Whether you stay at the bar or nestle into the cozy private booths in the back garden, you’re sure to have a great night at this tropical escape.
Part of the 21c Hotel, Gray & Dudley hosts art pieces from the hotel museum’s “Menagerie” collection. While you sip your selection from the staggering selection of aperitifs, brandy, gin, mezcal, rum, scotch, tequila, vodka, wine, and craft cocktails, you can browse the display of sculptures, paintings, and mixed-media offerings. Take a look above you to enjoy the artwork that’s suspended from the ceiling, then imagine how many times you’ll need to return to make your way through their immense offering of libations.
To that we say: there’s no time like the present to get started.
Hidden among the soaring buildings now towering over SoBro, a single-story commercial strip stubbornly holds its ground. Due in part to its location, and with a nod to its subtle signage, Bar Sovereign is able to remain unknown to most, even locals.
If you’ve been even once, though, we’re positive you keep going back. Bar Sovereign’s incredibly unique art, unusual and delectable craft cocktails, and pleasantly uncrowded vibes make this hidden gem one that has a dedicated cult following.
A converted welding shop with a sign that only reads “BAR,” Never Never’s understated vibe allows it to fly under the radar of many Nashville visitors. A charming, chill spot featuring live music, a patio, showstopping tequila sangria, and absolutely no televisions, Never Never hopes you and your companions ditch your screens and indulge in warm, friendly conversations. Don’t forget to high-five over the $4 Coors Banquet!
Old Glory is an escape into the world of speakeasies that sprang from the teetotaler movement that dominated Nashville beginning over a century ago. Descend into this former boiler room through a door surrounded by a yellow triangle painted over historic bricks, down a concrete spiral staircase (hang onto the gold-hued railings), and into the bar and lounge.
Nashville is home to one of the most competitive craft cocktail scenes in the South, yet Old Glory is a clear standout, joining the ranks of our favorite cocktail destinations. Take the bartender’s recommendation based on your palate, then branch out to other unique creations if you dare. If you love coffee, you must try their bourbon poured over a crisp, icy cube of cold brew coffee.
As you enjoy your drink, do take a look around the space. You’ll see the former boiler room’s original coal hopper, smokestacks, and electrical boxes, all of which date back a century!
We love all of Nashville’s vibrant bar scenes; from honky-tonks to neighborhood secrets, speakeasies to glamorous getaways, there’s no wrong way to have fun on a Friday night in Music City.
If you have a favorite spot that didn’t make our cut, we want to hear about it from you! Leave us a comment below, and we’ll check out your suggestion for our next guide to the bars of Nashville and the rest of Middle Tennessee.