There’s a reason we created the ‘So local I don’t go to Broadway’ shirt. It’s because, well, I don’t spend time on Broadway…anymore. Save for the occasional out-of-town visits from friends, I really try to avoid the place. But, I spent plenty of time there in my college years and 20’s and am happy to report that I still remember them well enough to give a solid rundown of Nashville’s long-standing Broadway joints.
A run of celebs have recently opened Honkey Tonks on Broadway, but if you’re in Nashville for a good time, I suggest starting with the originals for the true Music City experience. (Sorry, Dierks.) Here are my top picks:
1. The Stage
The first thing you should know about The Stage if you aren’t a local is that there’s a back door in the alley behind the building. Usually, the back-door line is much shorter (you’re welcome). The Stage always has a killer band taking requests. Coupled with the large dance floor there are plenty of good times waiting to be had here.
2. Paradise Park
My husband told me he loved me for the first time at Paradise Park, so it’s got that going for it in my book. But even before that, P. Park was hands-down my favorite Broadway bar. It doesn’t have quite the longstanding history of Tootsie’s or The Stage but you really can’t beat the pitchers of beer and trailer park vibe. It’s exactly the scene that this West Coaster imagined when moving down south.
Rippy’s can be a good place to kick off a good ‘ole afternoon of drunken Nashville fun because they serve food. So, if your tank is running low after an afternoon of day drinkin’ or you’re getting tipsy a little too quickly, head up to the Rippy’s rooftop and grab some fries and chicken fingers. To be clear, this isn’t a foodie-paradise, but back in my Broadway days, was one of the only Honkey Tonks that served an actual meal. The music here is solid and the downstairs bar is good late-night once the crowds start to clear out.
A Nashville staple, Robert’s is a classic Nashville honkey tonk packed with country flare and filled with music that’ll make you bust a move in your cowboy boots. I never spent as much time at Robert's as the top three picks on this list, but really for no good reason. The layout of the place is a bit narrow so go early if you’re claustrophobic.
This signature purple bar opened on Lower Broadway over 60 years ago and the place is still packed. If you’re looking for a true Broadway original, Tootsie’s should be your first stop. Don’t forget to check out the rooftop for a killer downtown view.