In May 2010, when the rain came through Nashville and the historic floods took out neighborhoods, businesses and homes, a long-standing restaurant located at Rock Harbor Marina, Blue Moon Waterfront Grille, took a beating. Three years after the restaurant’s demise from the flood, ten partners came together to revive this waterside restaurant and bar, which is back and better than ever.

Originally named Jack’s Shack, the former Blue Moon building leaned a little to the left and served nothing more than cold beer. After three incarnations, the destruction of the flood and three years spent dormant, Blue Moon Waterfront Grille was back open for business with nods to the past alongside a whole new menu, staff and structure. But one thing that has remained the same throughout each iteration is the waterfront view. The humid air of Nashville’s summer mingles with the cool breeze that comes off the Cumberland River’s water as you approach Rock Harbor Marina and Blue Moon Waterfront Grille. This is the feeling that keeps drawing folks away from the hustle and bustle of Music City to a waterfront spot where everyone is welcome. Patrons drive the 20 minutes from downtown Nashville, leave their cars and cross the floating bridge while donning suits, khaki pants and dresses as boaters dock their boats and stop in wearing flip-flops, tank tops and shorts. And they are all coming for the same thing: Davidson County’s only true waterfront restaurant.

“It is where food and fun meet water’s edge,” says Joel Sullivan, one of Blue Moon’s partners, with a smile on his face. “The ambience is the defining factor, but is amplified by the food and service.”

Open from mid-March through the middle to end of October, Blue Moon transports patrons to the likes of Charleston’s or Beaufort’s marinas as you watch paddleboarders (Paddle Up is Blue Moon’s next door neighbor), fishers and boaters pass by. As you very well know, there is nowhere better to be on a balmy Nashville day than waterside with a cocktail.

Blue Moon Waterfront Grille is a waterfront restaurant in Nashville

As you walk up to Blue Moon Waterfront Grille, you instantly feel transported to a place that feels far away from Nashville — despite its close proximity to Belle Meade and The Nations.

Grab a seat a Blue Moon Waterfront Grille

The hostess (or one member of the lively staff of 40) will help you grab a seat that offers great views of the marina, floating stage and/or the televisions. No matter what you are looking for, Blue Moon has it.

We love this sign at Blue Moon Waterfront Grille

Yes, Blue Moon Waterfront Grille is a respectable joint — as long as you are wearing shoes and a shirt you are more than welcome! Blue Moon’s ten partners — Tom Loventhal, Charlie Loventhal, Fred Nance, Craig Nance, Dougie Ray Smith, Glen Smith, Kim and Greg Adkins, Joel Sullivan and Brad Thomason — revived the restaurant and made it the spot it is today.

Try out Blue Moon Waterfront Grille!

There is both indoor and outdoor seating at Blue Moon Waterfront Grille, along with a great full-service bar.

No seat is a bad seat at Blue Moon

Enjoy the view as you watch boats, paddleboarders and ducks on the water. On Wednesdays, Blue Moon hosts songwriters nights, and on Fridays, bands play on the floating stage. On those days, come ready to hear some feel-good music!

Blue Moon Waterfront Grille is out go-to spot in the summer

The water fountains dance beside the restaurant and enhance the calming effect of the serene setting.

Dine on the water at this Nashville restaurant

Bring the kids along for dinner and they will be entertained for hours!

Chef David Billings, referred to by Joel as “the wizard behind the curtain,” is to thank for the seafood-heavy menu that blends modern American and Caribbean influences. “We kept the signature items, such as the coconut fried shrimp and the grit cakes, but have allowed the menu to morph over time,” Dougie Ray, partner and general manager, shares. You can find everything from tequila shrimp, mahi-mahi tacos and po’ boys to pork BBQ nachos, burgers and wings on the menu. And if you have any fond memories of Rainbow Key (a former restaurant off White Bridge Road), you will be pleased to find a few similar menu items. Glenn Smith, former owner of Rainbow Key and current partner at Blue Moon Waterfront Grille, recommends the coconut shrimp, jerk chicken and fish tacos, while Dougie insists you try the dessert. And if you can’t decide between the Mississippi mud pie and the Key lime pie, opt for the latter, or better yet, try them both.


Wednesdays and Fridays are packed with music lovers, and on weekends, the 175-seat restaurant is inundated with brunchgoers, but our favorite time to grab a seat in the open-air restaurant, drink in-hand, is as the sun sets over the Cumberland. “It is a spot where you can come and people know your name,” Dougie shares, and we agree. It is definitely a place where you can kick back, relax and soak in summer.

Fried food and cold beer at Blue Moon Waterfront

Call us crazy, but a cold glass of Blue Moon beer tastes a little bit better in a spot that shares its name — especially when paired the fried seafood. Choose from shrimp, oysters and catfish, all of which are fried to perfection.

The Jerk chicken at Blue Moon Waterfront Grille

The famous jerk chicken is marinated in jerk spices and citrus, grilled and served over black beans and rice with grilled pineapple salsa and teriyaki glaze!

Dive into one of Blue Moon's beach-y cocktails

Our personal favorite, the Mango Madness, combines mango rum, pineapple juice and orange juice with a float of grenadine. It is super sweet and makes you feel like you are kicking back under the coconuts.

Grilled salmon at Blue Moon Waterfront Grille — YUM

The pistachio-crusted salmon comes grilled or blackened with lemon crema on a bed of yellow rice. It is another favorite among the choices of entrees.

Try appetizers and cold drinks at Blue Moon!

If you are just going to Blue Moon for a snack and a cold drink, order up a few appetizers — the calamari is looking pretty good to us!

One of the best patios in Music City is on the waterfront!

Cheers to long afternoons on the water! Watch the sun go down and take advantage of this hidden gem. You’d be hard pressed to find a more unique atmosphere and patio in all of Music City!

Blue Moon Waterfront Grille is located at 515 Basswood Ave., Nashville, TN, 37205. Hours are Monday through Thursday, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. To learn more, call (615) 356-6666 or click here.

Thanks to Leila Grossman of Grannis Photography for today’s beautiful photos!


Looking for more great patios? Check out our list of all the great spots around town!