Nashville is synonymous with live music and awesome nightlife—a place in which tourists consistently flock to join in on the action for a while and allow their adventurous spirits to soar. A music-heavy and a music-lover’s city to say the least, Nashville boasts hundreds of live music venues, where performers crank out tunes from a number of different genres and styles, particularly in the Country/Western musical style that literally put this city on the map.
In the following piece we will spotlight several of these great live music venues, from large halls that accommodate thousands to back alley dive bars where the music flows every night; and provide some of the reasons why each of these fantastic establishments have captured the attention and the hearts of so many local regulars and out-of-town tourists.
An enjoyable and often funky hotspot, The Tin Roof is a Nashville live music venue where the music, both old and new, plays well into the night. This well-attended bar and venue has become a staple of the city’s wild nightlife scene, attended regularly by loyal locals and tourists from every corner of the globe.
At the Tin Roof Bar, there is always a wide variety of music and musicians to hear, from established stars to new singers and songwriters trying to get discovered, and the patrons are always more than happy to listen, Featuring live music six days a week, the Tin Roof is the hot place to go in Nashville for an after-dinner drink or an energetic, let-your-hair-down night out. Both the college kids and working crowd of the city tend to flock to this fun-loving bar on their day off, not just for the amazing drinks, but for the music that always has everyone toe-tapping and hip-swinging in the joint. Tourists who head to the Tin Roof should be very alert for the occasional celebrity to drop by, as many have been known to turn up for a night of music and fun.
The Mercy Lounge
One of the most popular live music venues in its part of Nashville, the Mercy Lounge lures an assorted crowd of music addicts and laid-back partygoers. The atmosphere is vintage classy at the Mercy Lounge, complete with red lighting, lush sofas and curvy bars that compliment the comfortable, bohemian vibe.
Live music is played five to six days at the Mercy Lounge, including some very well-known artists who will stop by to jam with local bands. In addition to the great music, the venue features pool tables and retro pinball machines that definitely add to the entertainment offerings of the upstairs lounge, while the establishment’s new Cannery Ballroom downstairs provides a space for private events and larger concerts.
Lower Broadway has been a fixture in downtown Nashville for decades, a place in which out-of-town tourists come in droves to witness the heart and soul of country music; and where locals of the areas bring their family and friends to get a genuine sense of what Nashville is all about.
Within Lower Broadway guests can take a seat at the many famous bars and order a cool drink from the staff of friendly and knowledgeable bartenders and servers. Recent live music acts in the venue have included Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, Roberts Western World, Legends Corner and The Stage.
Lower Broadway is also home to Honky-Tonk Central, a multi-tiered club where music from all different types of genres is offered on every level. One of the levels, known as Rippy’s, is famed for its rocking house bands and mouth-watering BBQ, while the level known as Merchant is a little more upscale and sophisticated, offering some of the best dining on the block and wines from an extensive wine list.
The Ryman Auditorium
If the name sounds familiar, it should. The Ryman Auditorium is one of the most renowned country music venues in the world, and has even hosted events like the Academy of Country Music Awards. Unquestionably one of Nashville’s most adored music venues, The Ryman is the premier destination for any music aficionado or simple fan longing to take in a concert from their favorite performer, or to tour a legendary performance space that has hosted so many great singers and bands over the years.
The Ryman Auditorium was originally built as the Union Gospel Tabernacle in 1892 by Captain Tom G. Ryman. Today, it is one of the most famous music venues in the country (as well as a National Historic Landmark). With their top-notch acoustics and history, the Ryman has an almost spiritual, hospitable feel. Ryman also offers daytime tours, so guests of Nashville can explore the majesty of this venue at their own pace and according to their schedule. Tourists can easily spend two hours in the museum and, but don’t forget to stop for a bite at the Cafe Lula, where fresh and healthy grub is always on tap.
Grand Ole Opry
The Grand Ole Opry is not only the most popular music venue in Nashville, but also the city’s most well-visited attraction. Considered an iconic piece of Americana, the Grand Ole Opry is renowned as country music’s biggest and most famous stage—a place aspiring artists daydream about as they make their way up the musical ladder.
What was once merely a radio broadcast in the 1920s, the Opry, as it is familiarly known, is today a live music venue that hosts some of country music’s biggest stars, as well as up-and-comers dreaming of stardom. A unique and magical experience, tourists and even locals flock to this theater to take in brilliant performances and create unforgettable memories. For an extra cost, some of these lucky patrons can even get an once-in-a-lifetime, behind-the-scenes look at this famous theater. Each Friday and Saturday night before the show, a backstage glimpse into both new and old country history is available, ensuring guests will never forget the day they visited the Grand Ole Opry.
image credit: Tootsie’s