What might be overlooked by most passers-by is the greatest bluegrass club in Nashville, maybe even the world. Bluegrass musicians all over come to the Station Inn to entertain die-hard bluegrass fans every night. Special guests have included Dolly Parton, Gillian Welch and Randy Travis, and you can always count on the sounds of these singers to take you back in time to an era of pure mountain music. Admission prices vary, depending on the performer.
Don't let the name fool you, you can't buy buckles or boots here, but you certainly should wear them when you come. A good-looking Stetson hat wouldn't hurt either. Robert's Western World is a Nashville country music legend and its popularity has revitalized the entire Broadway area. Crowded, smoke-filled and always noisy, this traditional honky tonk offers a cramped floor for two-stepping with your sweetheart and plenty of tables to relax with the coldest beer around, but be forewarned there is no line dancing here. Its strictly 21 years and over after 10p.
Ever heard of Garth Brooks? That's right, his first performance was at the Bluebird. And it is this mystique that calls young singers and songwriters looking for their chance at stardom. Monday nights are open-mike, so take your chances with the unknown acts. This is a haven for the struggling artist and the established country star, making it a Nashville tradition for both locals and tourists.
Long ago, when country music superstars were performing at the Grand Ole Opry, Tootsie's Orchid Lounge became famous for featuring those stars when the 'big show' was over. Fans still come here to see top-name performers and local artists alike, and the atmosphere hasn't changed a bit. The stage is small, but the sound is still huge. And country music lovers still ring up enormous bar tabs, just like in the old days.
Located in the historic Cannery building, Mercy Lounge has an interesting past. It began its journey in 1863 as a flour mill and later became a coffee grinding shop. In 1957, the Dale Company took over the building and manufactured processed food items, such as jams, peanut butter and jelly. In the early 1970s, a restaurant and theater sprang up in the building. Famous artists such as Jimmy Cliff, Iggy Pop, Lenny Kravitz and Robin Trouer have performed at this venue. The lounge has a seating capacity of 500 and an adjacent room that has pool tables and pinball machines. The Mercy Lounge opens its doors at 8 in the evening every day except Sunday.
The Exit has long been the source of live entertainment in the Elliston Square area, but over the course of its history it has suffered neglect. It is amazing that a club that was featured in movies and books, and even Rolling Stone magazine, could fall into such disrepair. Unwilling to see the club close down, Ned Horton stepped in and took over ownership. Today, after much renovation, including a new sound and lighting system, Horton has rebuilt the Exit's reputation as a premier music venue. Changing the name to Exit/In and booking a more eclectic mix of artists, Horton brought this little club, as well as the entire Elliston Square area, back to life.
Holder Family Fun Center offers guests a 24-hour recreational getaway. While the main activity is bowling, this indoor fun center also includes billiards, darts, an arcade and a snack bar. The 11th Frame Lounge bar area inside the center is reserved for ages 21 and over and offers live entertainment on Fridays and Saturdays, a weekly writer's night, a poker tournament and weekly karaoke. Monthly bowling specials and league information are listed on the center's website and Facebook page. Group rates, party packages and reloadable arcade cards are also available. -Lynn-nore Chittom
Sam's All American Sports Bar has been voted "Best Sports Bar" in Nashville seven times by the Nashville Scene Magazine, and they know what they're talking about. With two locations, one in Hillsboro Village and one in Hendersonville, all of Nashville has an opportunity to enjoy a game at Sam's. Unlike many chain restaurants and bars, Sam's puts just as much emphasis on their food as they do on the big game. The pizzas are handcrafted and creative and the burgers are juicy and delicious, but nobody really goes to Sam's just for the food, as there are plenty of other options in the area. Check out their website for Happy Hour specials and events. You'll be sure to have a great time at Sam's. -Lynn-nore Chittom
In 1974, a little country grocery store was the site of a weekly jam session. Musicians would come from miles around to "pick a little" on the guitar and sing favorite tunes. The Jam Session evolved into what is now a favorite family-style restaurant. Tresa Street and her band performs on Friday nights and Bob Payne and his band perform on Saturday nights. You can be the first to listen to upcoming new talent on Tuesday nights since the microphone is open to amateurs. No alcohol served and smoking is prohibited, but bring your appetite. The pork barbecue and chicken are some of the best around. Long Hollow Jamboree & Restaurant is only 11 miles north of Nashville.
Take in the atmosphere of the Australian Outback while enjoying mouth-watering entrees and high-quality service. Serving dinner only, Outback Steakhouse offers an extensive menu featuring appetizers, chicken, ribs, steak, seafood, pasta, salads and desserts for moderate prices. Family-friendly, the casual restaurant has something for everyone at its numerous locations in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Outback Steakhouse also offers call-ahead seating and curbside take-away. Check website for locations and menu selections.
Traditional country music, delectable food and chilled beers are a regular offering at the Swingin' Doors Saloon. The place is a haunt for groups of friends who wish to spend an evening filled with fun and good music. Their are two seating areas, the one upstairs is pretty private and perfect for a date-night. The downstairs seating occupies the spacious bar and stage area which is graced by many country music artists. Their Catfish Basket comes highly recommended with some of the classic craft beers.