There’s something about hidden rooms and members-only clubs that elicits intrigue. Whether we’re looking to swim, sip cocktails, or witness the art of magic, Nashville has quite a few hotspots to indulge us. We’ve rounded up some of the city’s trendiest establishments — some private and some open to the public — where you can enjoy membership benefits or merely a delightful air of mystery.
Nashville is home to some exclusive private clubs that are so popular their membership list fills up before you can blink (we’re looking at you, The Standard Club!). From pool clubs to cigar lounges, it’s all about the venue and the perks that come with it.
200 2nd Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37201 • (615) 925-3878
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to midnight; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2:30 a.m.
The Register is Nashville’s newest social club, hitting the scene in October and bringing a luxury-filled membership experience and networking hotspot to the heart of Nashville. With four levels devoted to both work and relaxation, The Register has everything from a 6,000-square-foot event space to a rooftop cocktail bar (which will be accessible to the public when it opens in spring, 2021) with gorgeous city views. It’s the third floor that offers the members-only perks, however, with a private bar, lounge, specialty coffee bar, boardroom, personal workstations, and exclusive corporate opportunities. There are onsite “Experience Specialists” to serve as a sort of concierge for all of your needs, including booking travel and reservations and securing event tickets. The club membership even comes with a mobile app for easy access and communication.
Bar: Cigar Especial
701 4th Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37210 • (615) 915-2514
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to. 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight
VIP Member hours: 24/7
Located a stone’s throw from The Gulch, Bar: Cigar Especial is a cigar lover’s heaven. An inviting, brick-walled space with plush leather couches, the downstairs lounge is open to the public for cigars and custom-crafted cocktails, while the upstairs is for members only. The iconic, ’60s-era vibe channels your inner Don Draper. “You walk into 100 cigar bars, and you get 100 different vibes,” says Managing Partner Tony Block. “We’re not pretentious. We have a very classic style, and we make classic drinks, and that’s kind of our thing. We lead with cigars.”
The members-only third floor is where the magic happens, with 60 cigar lockers, three rooms for members to conduct business or kick back, and a full kitchen that serves everything from hamburgers to bone-in ribeyes. For $800 a year, the membership includes a cigar locker, nonalcoholic refreshments, and 24/7 access via an outdoor keypad. There are some tasty side benefits, too. Chef-trained, Tony is known to surprise members with festive feasts, recently bringing in Muffalettas from New Orleans and brats from Sheboygan, WI. Not to mention the 30 pounds of crawfish he flew in for Fat Tuesday, which he appropriately paired with Hurricane cocktails. Whiskey and bourbon distillers are known to drop in for tastings, and occasionally, cigar manufacturers stick a cigar in each member’s locker. Benefits, indeed.
The Swim Club at the Dive Motel
1414 Dickerson Pike, Nashville, TN 37207 • (615) 650-9103
Hours: Monday through Sunday, noon to sundown
The Dive Motel makes a splash in more ways than one. It’s not only a 23-room motel with a disco vibe; the Swim Club is a 21-and-over pool club where you can enjoy an all-access pass to lounging and all things swim-related. Owner and designer Lyon Porter explains that his inspiration for the concept stems from necessity. “Nashville is God’s sweaty armpit all summer,” he jokes. “I had to have a pool, and this seemed like the most fun way to get through the summer that I could think of!” Their hot tub is worth a dip, too.
A Pool Club membership guarantees you an exclusive, poolside spot that even the pandemic can’t steal, complete with access to the Dive Bar and Lounge, which serves drinks and food all day and late into the night. Until recently, pool members and motel guests were the only ones allowed at the pool due to COVID restrictions, but they reopened to the public on September 12. The bar area and pool deck now have limited seating, and pool passes are $15 on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, and $20 on Fridays and Saturdays.
Even some of Nashville’s public hotspots have hidden perks. For some establishments, it’s more about the mystery than the membership.
The Rabbit Hole at Henley
2023 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203 • (615) 340-6378
Hours: Thursday through Saturday, 6 p.m. to midnight
You may be familiar with Henley, Midtown’s “modern American brasserie” in the Kimpton Aertson hotel. But did you know there’s a secret chef’s table inside the kitchen called the Rabbit Hole? Tucked away from the rest of the restaurant, the intimate setting with dark walls and rich velvet curtains exudes enchantment. As if that won’t pique your curiosity, the room is also hidden behind a bookcase, offering a completely private space to enjoy a meal.
The evening’s menu is confidential, and no two menus are ever the same, so each dinner is a new adventure. It’s an ever-changing, multi-course tasting experience that pairs seasonally driven Southern ingredients and modern technique, alongside impeccably handcrafted cocktails. Though the Rabbit Hole isn’t back to accepting reservations just yet, they expect to do so before the end of the fall.
House of Cards
119 3rd Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37201 • (615) 730-8326
Hours: Wednesday and Thursday, 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.; closed Mondays and Tuesdays
Just when you thought private dining couldn’t get any cooler, House of Cards bestows the art of magic and illusion upon Music City. From card tricks to sleight of hand, the establishment takes us to a whole new (and enigmatic) level of dining, with an elevated menu that ranges from caviar and cocktails to filet mignon and cigars.
Discreetly located beneath the Johnny Cash Museum, guests are accompanied to the underground venue by way of a secret tunnel. The entire facility is shrouded in mystery, with rare vintage magic posters and even a handcuff device owned and created by Harry Houdini himself. Fans of David Lynch will appreciate the Twin Peaks-esque hallway that leads to the restrooms. A ticket accompanies each dinner entrée, giving entry into the quaint in-house theater, where skilled magicians perform riveting illusions that leave you baffled and on the edge of your seat.
The House of Cards menu is classic, with appetizers such as a delicious roasted pork belly and Indian-spiced scallops, along with hearty entrées like duck leg confit. Handcrafted cocktails are aptly named with fun titles like “Disappearing Act” and “Levitation.” If you’re looking to bring the whole family, the Sunday brunch is both delicious and entertaining for all ages.
Red Phone Booth
136 Rosa L Parks Blvd., Nashville, TN 37203 • (615) 915-3876
Hours: Monday and Tuesday, 4 p.m. to midnight; Wednesday and Thursday, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Sunday, 5 p.m. to midnight
Though the Red Phone Booth has cigar lockers and cigar members, the establishment itself is not a private membership club. It’s actually the fun and secretive entry feature that lands it on our list of hidden gems. There’s something utterly beguiling about stepping into a London phone booth and dialing a secret code for building access. And while the secret code isn’t all that secret (you can email the folks at Red Phone Booth to obtain it), it opens up the door to a prohibition-style world that takes you back to the days of speakeasies and turn-of-the-century cocktails. Owner Stephen de Haan says, “We welcome guests in and talk about the fact that we’re turning back time 100 years. We bring in 300-pound blocks of ice and chip out every ice cube. We specialize in turn-of-the-century cocktails, squeezing every juice fresh — cranberry, lemon, lime, you name it. There are lots of wonderful craft bars out there, but what we hang our hat on is the fact that we do these cocktails from the golden age of cocktails, the late 1800s and early 1900s, precisely and perfectly every single time.”
With sultry, jazzy music to create the perfect barroom ambiance, guests can enjoy a menu that’s updated daily and specializes in classic pizzas. Cigar enthusiasts can enjoy the humidor and extensive cigar selection, and cigar members can take advantage of the exclusive opportunity to reserve a couch for entertaining clients and friends.
We hope you enjoy discovering Nashville’s hidden hotspots!
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