No trip to Nashville for the HCCA would be complete without venturing to a nearby country bar, and since this is Nashville there are plenty of options.
The area has a history of housing some of the most upbeat, honky-tonk, dosy-doe-tastic bars this side of the Mississippi River. These venues have served as career-launch pads for some of the country music industry’s most prolific artists, many of whom spent years honing their skills in the Nashville open mic circuit.
With so many great rustic options to choose from, let’s take a moment to highlight the five best country bars in Nashville that you should check out during the HCCA.
Jason Aldean’s Kitchen + Rooftop Bar
One of the hottest country musicians in the world is also the owner of the self-titled “Jason Aldean’s Kitchen & Rooftop Bar” in the heart of downtown Nashville.
This bar offers great access to nearby entertainment venues like Bridgestone Arena while offering spectacular views of the Cumberland River and Greater Nashville.
With four levels to explore, you’ll have plenty of space to mingle and soak up the atmosphere. Since 2018, this venue has hosted several big-name artists including Mr. Aldean, and continues to be among the premier destinations for live music in Nashville.
Aldean’s offers great food throughout the day, including a tasty brunch that includes Southern yum like chicken and waffles and an old fashioned country skillet. Oh, and don’t forget about the mimosas.
For dinner you’ll want to try the bison burgers or prime fillet. No reservations are needed, just show up and have a good time.
The Bluebird Cafe
The Bluebird Cafe is an iconic destination for witnessing musical performances by established singer/songwriters as well as up and comers who will soon be stars. Located just outside of downtown Nashville, this 90 seat venue has an unassuming appearance. It’s known for being one of the most celebrated “listening rooms” in the area, which means it’s all about the music.
The Bluebird Cafe has great food and drinks options including local Tennessee beers and tasty appetizers. It’s definitely a MUST attend if you’re into the city’s music history.
Check out their website for availability on the day you’re planning to go.
The Patterson House
Enjoy the Midtown neighborhood of Nashville by visiting this intimate, seated cocktail bar. Upon entry you’ll have access to some of the top mixologists in Nashville, providing you personalized craft cocktails that are perfectly attuned to your tastes.
It’s also frowned upon to use cell phones at the bar. This means you’re actually supposed to, you know, talk to each other. What’s that?!
Think of it as a speakeasy but even more low key. The Patterson House is a unique Nashville experience.
There are no reservations here and the wait typically runs between 10 minutes and 1 hour.
Old Glory is a spacious cocktail bar that melds fine beverages with classy surroundings. This late-night spot is a fun place to unwind and sip on some well-crafted drinks.
It’s located in what used to be the boiler room for White Way Cleaners and contains features that were there since the 1920’s including a coal hopper and smokestack. If you’re trying to pinpoint this place from the street, good luck. It doesn’t have a sign. Instead you should look for a gold triangle around a doorway on Edgehill Avenue.
You can email Old Glory at firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations.
Never Never is in a converted industrial building located at 4th and Houston Street and it’s very exclusive, well kinda.
The catch here is that there are no drink names on the menu. Bartenders, otherwise known as mixologists, will ask you personally what spirit you’re into and then mix it into a special cocktail you’re sure to enjoy.
The hip South Nashville district is quickly becoming a hotspot for trendy bars and hangouts and Never Never is quickly becoming one of the best. It’s a great environment for locals and visitors alike.
For more information about their hours, check out their Facebook page.
Honorable Mention: pH Craft Cocktails
Cocktail mixing is a science and pH Craft Cocktails takes the “science” connection quite literally. Their mixologists ought to wear lab coats and goggles because they create cocktails that mix flavors with precision.
Their happy hour food selections are also quite nice. Chicken & House Slaw Sliders and Grandma’s Snack are among the 5-7pm favorites. There are also $7 cocktails served during this time, which blows other big cities out of the water in terms of affordability. These include A Long Way from Oxford and Jamaica Queens, Stand Up!
They don’t seem to take reservations so best advice is to come early and allow time.
Get a Group Together and Enjoy
These signature Nashville bars are the perfect spot for hanging out after a long day of learning at HCCA. Explore these venues safely (and responsibly) with your new friends.