Honky-tonks are an essential part of the Downtown Nashville scene and, love them or hate them, you’ll probably end up at one sometime soon. While all honky-tonks by definition involve drinks and live country music, these 12 spots offer even more. Here is Nashville Guru’s guide to the must-visit honky-tonks on and around Broadway.
Must-Visit Honky-Tonks in Nashville
Tootsies Orchid Lounge
Tootsies is almost as iconic as its across-the-alley neighbor, the Ryman Auditorium, and much rowdier. Since opening in the 1960s, it’s steadily been a go-to for music lovers and now even features a trendy rooftop bar. You can also get a taste of Tootsies at the Nashville airport.
Robert’s Western World
This classic Lower Broadway honky-tonk previously housed a steel guitar manufacturer and a boot and apparel store, both of which still have a presence at Robert’s today. Live country music is played from open to close, and Western boots line the walls. Indulge your inner hillbilly and grab a fried bologna sandwich and a cold beer!
You might see a famous face or two at The Stage—Blake Shelton, Toby Keith, Miranda Lambert, and many more have popped up under the spotlights here. Even if your visit nets zero “real” celebrity sightings, the mural of country stars painted on the back wall sort of counts, right?
Famous Nashville is a multi-level honky-tonk located off of Broadway on 2nd Avenue. Stop in and experience breathtaking views from one of the tallest rooftops in town and performances from Nashville’s top new artists.
Some of the best nights out in Nashville end at Legends Corner. Maybe it’s the stiff drinks, maybe it’s the exceptional live music, maybe it’s the mix of old-timers and bachelorette parties existing in harmony. If there’s a line, it’s worth the wait.
One of the more family-friendly honky-tonks, Rippy’s is often a bit quieter than other places on Broadway. There’s still much fun and food to be had especially when it involves their signature ribs and Honky Tonk Tea.
Expect to hear a bit of everything coming from Layla’s stage: country, rockabilly, Western, Americana, bluegrass, and more. The crowds here are even more eclectic, as evidenced by the license plates the owners have collected and hung all over the bar. Bring in your old one and get a beer on the house.
The Second Fiddle
The Second Fiddle is where great country music and friendly folks come together. This honky-tonk, located on lower Broadway, is all about tradition and offers live country music seven days a week from local Nashville artists. When you visit The Second Fiddle, you’ll feel right at home.
Honky Tonk Central
Considering it takes up three stories and a full corner of prime Downtown real estate, it’s hard to miss Honky Tonk Central as you’re cruising down Broadway. This place also stands out by offering a different live band on each floor, incredible views of Lower Broadway, and electric energy from top to bottom. (If you need more convincing, it’s Kathie Lee and Hoda–approved!)
Nudie’s lays claim to the longest bar in Nashville—it’s 100 feet long and decorated with thousands of silver dollars—but this honky-tonk’s bragging rights don’t stop there. Grab a drink and gawk at millions of dollars of country music memorabilia made by Nudie Cohn, who dressed megastars like Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, and Elvis Presley.
This place is small, but there’s always enough room for swing dancing! If you prefer to sit, there’s plenty of beer and whiskey on hand to keep you entertained. No matter where you land at Whiskey Bent, don’t be alarmed by the giant stuffed bear overlooking the floor—he’s harmless.
If you’re looking to line dance on Downtown’s most prominent dance floor then the Wildhorse Saloon is the place for you. The iconic Nashville destination, located on 2nd avenue off Broadway, offers daily live music, complimentary line dance lessons, and select menu options featuring Wildhorse Saloon’s exclusive single-barrel Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey.
If you’re looking for celebrity-backed bars, be sure to check out our guide below for a list of options, including Miranda Lambert’s, Blake Shelton’s, Kid Rock’s, and more.