Regular barflies, pool tables, cheap beer — and the lingering smell of smoke that pollutes your hair long after you leave — are all defining characteristics of true dive bars. Nashville’s most beloved dives have a charm and character all their own, which is why we’ve included them here, on our list of Music City’s best, most dive-y-est (ignore our grammar!) dive bars. Many are housed in nondescript, concrete structures, while others pulse with better music than you’ll hear anywhere else in town. A few of them even have pretty decent food. Enjoy our tour of some of Nashville’s oldest and most authentic dive bars.
Nashville’s Best Dive Bars
The American Legion Post 82
3204 Gallatin Pike, Nashville, TN 37216 • (615) 228-3598
Call for hours
Many great acts have played — and still play — at The American Legion Post 82. A favorite night among locals is Tuesday, better known as Honky Tonk Tuesday Nights. The music plays from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. at this dimly lit spot, which is no longer smoker friendly.
43 Hermitage Ave., Nashville, TN 37210 • (615) 242-0910
Hours: Monday through Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 3 a.m.
The Batter’s Box is only a few blocks from Broadway, but this bar is far from being your typical honky-tonk. The smoker-friendly bar promises strong drinks and good pizza. The inside is cozy, and the patio offers fresh air and decent views of downtown.
407 49th Ave. N., Nashville, TN 37209 • (615) 297-7257
Hours: Monday through Sunday, noon to 3 a.m.
Dare we say this is the best dive bar in Nashville? For many years, this has been the go-to bar for residents of The Nations, but the neighborhood feel, good food and friendly staff make this a place people from all over return to time and time again. Count on good live music, and expect to see the regulars playing a few rounds of Golden Tee.
1028 16th Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37212 • (615) 726-0446
Monday and Tuesday, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.; Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 3 a.m.; Sunday, noon to midnight
You will find Bobby’s on Music Row, making it a spot visited by just about everyone in the music industry. Mondays are for songwriters, Wednesday afternoons are for Sam’s Jams, Thursdays are for comedy, and Sunday nights are for young writers. At all other times, you are promised cold beer and cool country.
2102 Blair Blvd., Nashville, TN 37212 • (615) 269-5509
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Brown’s opened in 1927 and is one of the most well-loved dives in town. More than a watering hole, Brown’s is home to great bands, friendly folks and delicious cheeseburgers. They are said to have the oldest beer license in Nashville and have remained family run for 45 years. Brown’s is a non-smoking bar.
411 Gallatin Ave., Nashville, TN 37206 • (615) 226-3566
Hours: Monday through Friday, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Sunday, noon to 3 a.m.
Dino’s calls itself the oldest dive bar in Nashville, and despite a recent visit by Justin Bieber as well as new ownership, the bar remains almost the same as the day it opened. Miranda Whitcomb Pontes and Alex Wendkos reopened the bar in early 2015, and other than the addition of a patio and extended menu, not much changed. Swing by for delicious burgers and chili cheese fries. You won’t find cigarette butts or even a lingering smell inside, and the bar is family-friendly before 8 p.m.
921 Woodland St., Nashville, TN 37206 • (615) 228-6422
Hours: Monday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 a.m.
Holding court in East Nashville for more than 20 years, Edgefield sells $2.75 pints and $8 pitchers. This might just be the smokiest bar in Nashville, but the pool tables, dartboards and burgers make it worthy of a visit.
2105 Greenwood Ave., Nashville, TN 37206 • (615) 226-9697
Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to midnight; Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 3 a.m.
Step up and order a drink alongside seasoned bar goers and discuss the latest wins in NASCAR. In addition to a NASCAR conversation, you might also witness the occasional bar fight or stellar karaoke performance at Fran’s. Enjoy the ambiance of the florescent lighting and concrete bar, and sip a few $2 beers. As most dive bars do, Fran’s has that familiar smoky smell and only accepts cash.
The Gold Rush has been a longtime staple on Elliston Place. Since its opening in 1974, the bar has served hundreds of bean rolls. Last summer they made a few updates to the space and menu, the most notable being their new non-smoking policy. But not to worry, the famous bean roll remains.
2600 Franklin Pike, Nashville, TN 37204 • (615) 678-5489
Monday through Sunday, 4 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Tears were shed last fall when word spread that Melrose Billiard Parlor was closing. With a 70+-year history, the local joint has a long list of regulars. Thankfully, it is back open for business. Austin Ray (M.L. Rose and the Sutler) closed the bar for a quick cleaning and a few changes before reopening it at the end of December. Good news for nonsmokers: it is now smoke-free ’til 10 p.m.
2225 Bransford Ave., Nashville, TN 37204 • (615) 593-1872
Hours: Monday through Sunday, 4 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.
Santa’s gained national recognition as one of America’s best dive bars — for good reason. Housed in a trailer, filled with smoke and home to some of the best karaoke in town, Santa’s is nothing short of fun. The bar is cash only, but the beer is always cold. For an authentic experience, head to Santa’s on a Sunday for live country music from Santa’s Ice Cold Pickers.
115 27th Ave. N., Nashville, TN 37203 • (615) 320-0345
Hours: Monday through Sunday, noon to 3 a.m.
Established in 1896, The Springwater is one of the oldest bars (if not the oldest) in Nashville. It’s said that Al Capone used to gamble at this joint and that Taylor Swift has sipped a cold beer here as well. The live music is good, and the air is no longer smoky.
1401 Fourth Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37210 • (615) 419-2253
Hours: Tuesday, 7 p.m. to 3 a.m.; Thursday through Saturday, 7 p.m. to 3 a.m.; Sunday, 7 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Tin Dog is a great neighborhood bar in the Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood. Small and smoky, the cash-only bar welcomes smokers and just about anyone else. Occasionally, you will hear live music or stumble upon a cookout.
3208 Gallatin Pike, Nashville, TN 37216 • (615) 432-2402
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 a.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
It’s the $2.25 beers (cash only) and karaoke that keep people coming back to Turn One. This dive bar might not immediately catch your eye as you are driving down Gallatin Pike, so be sure to look out for the nondescript brick building.
327 Hermitage Ave., Nashville, TN 37210 • (615) 301-8675
Hours: Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Saturday, noon to 2 a.m.; Sunday, noon to 10 p.m.
Twin Kegs II is much like the original in terms of burgers and beer, but it’s now home to the arts. Every day you can hear live music. On Wednesdays you can enjoy comedy, and there is an on-site art gallery with a monthly artist in residence. Leave your cigarettes at home as this is a non-smoking establishment. This location might be a hair less dive-y than the Thompson Lane location, but it’s still considered a dive bar to us!
The Villager Tavern
1719 21st Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37212 • (615) 298-3020
Hours: Monday through Friday, 2 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.
The only one of its kind in Hillsboro Village, The Villager Tavern is a true dive bar with smoking allowed inside, dartboards, a good jukebox and a loyal clientele. If you happen to see someone sipping beer out of a dog bowl, wish them a happy birthday because that is a sure sign they are celebrating.
Heaven knows these are fighting words, listing our favorite dive-y-est dive bars. Did we miss your favorite dive? Tell us about it — share you opinion with us on Facebook!
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