Locals’ 5 Favorite Bars in Nashville

Unwind in Music City with a drink (or two) at a bar where Nashville natives like to hang.

U.S. News & World Report

Locals’ 5 Favorite Bars in Nashville

Broadway in downtown Nashville, Tennessee.

Skip the tourist traps and grab a drink at these neighborhood watering holes.(Getty Images)

Locals like their bars like they like their whiskey: dark, mellow and a little on the smoky side. So if you’re visiting Nashville, Tennessee, and want to meet some of the folks who call Music City home, your best bet is to head over to one the many dive bars in town.

At the end of a long day, Nashvillians like to catch up over two-for-one pours at their favorite neighborhood watering hole. Locals are usually pretty friendly to newcomers, too, so don’t be taken aback if you find yourself invited to join the conversation or a friendly game of darts.

To find out where Nashville insiders like to go, U.S. News talked to local experts and concierges at some of the best area hotels. Here are their recommendations.

3 Crow Bar

If you want to avoid the typical bars that cater to tourists, 3 Crow Bar is a great place to unwind.

“A lot of the locals, especially people who live here on the east side, they like to go to 3 Crow. They were one of the first bars to really make Five Points what it is today,” says Brett Withers, Nashville Metro Council member. "One of the things that really helped them become so popular is the East Nasty Running Club. They do their run around the neighborhood on Wednesdays and then meet up there for happy hour afterwards."

The bar is also a great place to people-watch. If you can snag a spot by the windows, you have a clear view of the heart of Five Points, a district named for the spot where Woodland Street, Clearview Avenue and North 11th Street intersect in East Nashville.

Be warned that 3 Crow Bar does have some strict policies in place. Clearly posted on the front door is a sign warning patrons “No Bathing Suits. No Guns. No Crying.”

The bar is open every day from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m.

Dino’s Restaurant

Dino’s Restaurant.(Courtesy of Dino’s Restaurant/Andrea Behrends)

Nashville has changed dramatically within the past decade, but Dino’s Restaurant offers a peek into its past. Dino’s is one of the oldest dive bars in town and not a whole lot has changed since its doors first opened decades ago. If you’re looking for some late-night eats, it’s a great locale to grab a burger and a beer, and watch the line cooks hard at work behind the counter.

“If it’s before a concert at Ascend Amphitheater downtown, I’m a threat to show up at Dino’s. I just love it. Good burger, cold beer, great vibe,” says Butch Spyridon, president and CEO of Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp.

Dino's Restaurant is open Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 3 a.m., and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 3 a.m.

Mickey’s Tavern

Mickey’s Tavern.(Courtesy of Mickey’s Tavern/Travis Commeau)

When you walk through the door, you might need to give your eyes a few minutes to adjust. Lit by only two tiny windows and a handful of neon lights, Mickey’s Tavern is perpetually dark and intimate. It’s where the regulars claim their (practically) assigned seats at the bar, sip “the usual” and listen to whatever is playing on the jukebox, which is free every day until 7 p.m.

If you’re looking for the opposite of a raucous, bawdy bar scene, consider grabbing a beer at Mickey’s Tavern. The establishment proudly advertises itself as offering “No DJs. No bands. No karaoke. No trivia nights.”

One unique thing to note is that there's a great restaurant next door, Nicoletto’s Italian Kitchen. You’re welcome to bring your to-go order into Mickey’s and enjoy some homemade pasta at the bar.

Mickey's Tavern is open Monday through Friday, 3 p.m. to 3 a.m., and Saturday and Sunday, noon to 3 a.m.

The Red Door Saloon (Midtown Location)

The Red Door Saloon's midtown location is especially popular among college students given its proximity to Belmont University and Vanderbilt University.

In addition to offering a full bar, it’s also a great spot to grab a bite to eat. It's known for serving up some of the best steamed sandwiches and hot dogs in town. Piled high with melted cheese, coleslaw and onion, the Chicago Dog is a must-have if you’re especially hungry.

If you’re staying in downtown Nashville, it’s a quick 10-minute car ride to the Red Door Saloon. The saloon has a large patio out front where you can relax and take in the Nashville scene.

The Red Door Saloon is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. and Sunday from noon to 3 a.m.

Neighbors of Sylvan Park

A bit off the beaten path, Neighbors of Sylvan Park offers a unique taste of Nashville's nightlife, says Laura Cunningham, head concierge at the Hutton Hotel.

"With patio space available in both the front and back, it’s a great place to meet a friend for happy hour after work or drinks on a Saturday," she says. "Live music is played three nights each week, and ranges many different genres. It’s not uncommon to run into a friend, and is quite literally a place for neighbors to gather. In addition to typical bar food, Neighbors offers other locally loved snacks, including warm apples with cinnamon.”

Young professionals and longtime residents alike like to grab a beer or a cocktail at Neighbors. It's located in historic Sylvan Park, where you'll find Victorian homes and bungalows from the 1920s and 1930s that have been lovingly restored.

Neighbors is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m., Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.

To experience more of what Nashville has to offer, check out the U.S. News Travel guide.

Stephanie Sargent, Contributor

Stephanie Sargent writes about real estate and travel trends for U.S. News & World Report. She ...  Read more

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