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.
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.
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.
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.
Legends Corner has the perfect location and the perfect vibe for a Nashville honky tonk. Covered with posters and country western memorabilia, Legends invites locals and tourists alike to kick back and join the party. With some of the best contemporary musicians on the Nashville scene, this downtown honky tonk provides guests with fabulous music, a great atmosphere, and affordable drinks. At night Legends is open only to a 21 and older crowd. Be ready to spot celebrities from time to time.
The Stage on Broadway is one of the biggest hits in Downtown Nashville. This authentic country western club rocks all week long, so expect to see a crowd and line every night, but it is worth the wait. The vibe is fun and celebrity sightings are a common occurrence. Celebrity sightings include Miranda Lambert, Ricky Skaggs, Clay Walker and Jo Dee Messina.
Tucked away beneath Encore in Downtown Nashville, Etch has been hailed as one of the best fine dining establishments in the city. Thanks to culinary genius Deb Paquette, Etch has become known for dishes with bold flavor profiles and colorful presentations. The full bar and open kitchen with bar-like seating allows patrons to interact with Paquette and her kitchen staff, creating a whole dining experience not found elsewhere. The comprehensive wine list and decadent dessert round out the fantastically creative menu. Be sure to book in advance, as this popular restaurant is always buzzing with patrons.