Middle Tennessee is famous for its live music, and our bar and restaurant scenes are a delectable extension of our thriving music culture. From the most casual and cozy spots to elegant dining rooms, you can find excellent live music in a diverse array of locations throughout the region. To help you find your new favorites, we’ve written this guide to our Top Ten Live Music Spots in Middle Tennesse--more specifically, restaurants and bars.

Bon Appetit, and happy listening!

Live Oak
1530 Demonbreun St. | Nashville

Live Oak on Music Row in Nashville is a vibrant spot where live music, cold beer, and whiskey come together. Known for its relaxed atmosphere, it offers a diverse menu featuring burgers, chicken, and bar eats, perfect for kicking off an evening. We love their well-poured, affordable drinks, especially when one wants a break from the plentiful pricy options on Broadway.

Live Oak is spacious and hosts regular live music performances, making it a favorite for both locals and visitors. The venue offers an array of fun activities, too, including outdoor games like Cornhole, Giant Jenga, and Giant Connect 4, along with indoor options.

The social atmosphere, combined with great beer and food, makes Live Oak fun any day of the week. Located away from the hustle and bustle of downtown, Live Oak provides a somewhat quieter, more focused musical experience. Its special events, like Filthy Fridays, are particularly popular, and their welcoming outdoor area is a delight in warmer weather.

AJ's Good Time Bar
421 Broadway | Nashville

AJ's Good Time Bar, established by country music legend Alan Jackson in 2016, is a prime spot for experiencing Nashville's renowned Lower Broadway scene. Alan Jackson's rule of "ONLY COUNTRY MUSIC" ensures an authentic Nashville experience, making it a must-visit for country music enthusiasts.

This vibrant venue, located just steps from the historic Ryman Auditorium and within walking distance of the Country Music Hall of Fame, features three unique floors and a rooftop bar offering stunning city views and live music on all levels.

Housed in Broadway's oldest building, which has a rich history as a Civil War hospital, Nashville's first used record store, and the home of Bullet Records, AJ's Good Time Bar blends historic charm with contemporary entertainment. Each floor offers a unique glimpse into Alan Jackson's career and personal life while showcasing some of the best live country music in town. Stop by to enjoy live music, delicious drinks, karaoke, and catch the game on the many screens!

Puckett’s
120 4th Ave S. | Franklin

Puckett's, originally a small grocery store in Leiper's Fork, Tennessee, has grown since the 1950s into a beloved chain of seven restaurants known for their Southern classics and slow-smoked BBQ. Renowned for its live, local music in a laid-back atmosphere, Puckett's fosters a sense of community, making it a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

Puckett’s Franklin, the first full-service restaurant established in 2004, has become a popular destination, particularly noted for its songwriter rounds. Visitors consistently praise the excellent food and service, highlighting dishes like Chicken Fried Chicken and the must-try cinnamon roll bread pudding. The live entertainment further enhances the dining experience. 

Puckett’s has become a go-to spot for many, including those visiting Franklin for medical treatments, providing comfort and joy through its delicious food and vibrant atmosphere. With its combination of delicious Southern cuisine, live music, and outstanding hospitality, Puckett’s in Franklin, TN, continues to be a cherished gem.

The Bluebird Cafe
4104 Hillsboro Pike | Nashville

The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville is famed not just for its food but for the challenge of securing a reservation, reflecting its status as one of the city's most coveted venues. Renowned for its nightly songwriter's rounds, the Bluebird offers a menu of simple yet satisfying appetizers, sandwiches, pizzas, and desserts.

Tucked away in a small strip mall outside of downtown Nashville, this 90-seat venue might appear modest, but inside lies its true nature: this is a revered listening room where songwriters—both emerging and established—perform their original music. You may have seen The Bluebird Cafe on the show Nashville, or perhaps in the documentary about this legendary venue. Either way, you no doubt know that this historic cafe has been where artists like Mary Chapin Carpenter, Kathy Mattea, Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Garth Brooks, Carole King, Faith Hill, and Townes Van Zandt fist made their mark on Nashville’s music scene.

The intimate setting captivates audiences, offering a unique opportunity to hear songs from the creators themselves. Alongside the musical experience, patrons can enjoy a weekly entrée feature, seasonal dishes, delectable desserts, and a wide selection of beverages. The Bluebird Cafe continues to be a sacred space for music lovers and a must-visit for an authentic Nashville experience.

Twelve Thirty Club
550 Broadway | Nashville

The Twelve Thirty Club, co-created by Justin Timberlake and restaurateur Sam Fox, offers a sophisticated blend of a honky tonk, supper club, and rooftop bar, all inspired by the elegance of the Prohibition Era. Located at the intersection of 5th & Broadway in Nashville, this multi-level venue spans 38,000 square feet and delivers a lavish dining and entertainment experience reminiscent of the 19th-century private supper clubs that stayed open until 12:30 a.m.

The Twelve Thirty Club features three distinct floors, each with its own unique ambiance: the Supper Club, offering nightly live music in a chic, Art Deco-inspired setting; the all-day Honky Tonk, providing continuous live music; and the Rooftop Bar, open daily with DJs spinning tunes. The venue promises an indulgent night with exceptional food, drinks, and live performances.

The menu includes delights such as chilled seafood towers, turkey pastrami sandwiches, and Prime Rib Sandwiches, complemented by classic cocktails. The club’s atmosphere, service, and music are consistently top-notch, making it a standout destination year after year.

Jane's Hideaway
407 Gallatin Ave. | Nashville

Jane's Hideaway, a former Printers Alley favorite, has relocated to East Nashville, where it continues to delight guests with nightly Americana, roots, and traditional bluegrass performances starting at 8 p.m. Reflecting the eclectic vibe of its new neighborhood, the menu offers unique cocktails, French bubbly on tap, and an array of dishes such as beet salad, okra fries, chicken pot pie, osso buco, and beef tenderloin.

On Tuesday nights, Grammy-winning artist Melody Walker hosts an Americana and roots songwriter showcase, open to all with no tickets required. The venue showcases virtuoso musicians who put a modern twist on bluegrass and Americana, whether it’s the house band or guest artists, creating an upbeat atmosphere true to East Nashville's diverse music scene.

Jane’s Hideaway also features a seasonal menu of reinvented Southern classics, including sharing plates, sandwiches, and supper items like personal pot pies and sweet tea pork chops. While reservations are recommended for the 8 p.m. live music start, walk-ins are welcome when space permits.

Skull's Rainbow Room
222 Printers Alley | Nashville

Skull’s Rainbow Room, a renowned venue since 1948, is nestled in a cozy basement within Printers Alley. Over the years, it has hosted legendary musicians like Etta James, Paul McCartney, Elvis Presley, and Johnny Cash. After closing for over a decade, it reopened in 2015, continuing its legacy with nightly live jazz and a revamped, upscale steakhouse menu, complemented by some of the finest cocktails in Nashville. Reservations are highly recommended.

Acme Feed & Seed
101 Broadway | Nashville

Acme Feed & Seed, located at the end of Lower Broadway, is an astounding multi-level venue that offers nightly live music, a diverse menu, and a rooftop with gorgeous city views. Set in a historic late-1800s building, it features various genres of music across multiple floors, including a dedicated concert space. The menu ranges from mouth-watering Nashville hot chicken to refreshing sushi, complemented by a wide selection of beers and frozen cocktails.

Acme Feed & Seed captures Nashville's past, present, and future with four floors and over 25,000 square feet (about four times the area of a basketball court) of space along the Cumberland River. The first floor, known as the "Funky Tonk," offers live music, fast-casual dining, 28 draft beers, and an Acme Farm Store with local goods. It also houses Acme Radio Live, which further promotes the Nashville music scene.

The second floor is a restaurant-lounge ideal for socializing, featuring 22 TVs, country music artifacts, the full menu, and an extensive bourbon/whiskey collection. The third floor, "The Hatchery," serves as a versatile private event space with historic charm and panoramic river views.

Acme’s rooftop bar, frequently voted the “Best Rooftop Bar” by Nashville Scene readers, offers breathtaking views of Broadway, the Cumberland River, Nissan Stadium, and Riverfront Park. It features an open-air, partially covered space with retractable doors for all-weather enjoyment and hosts a range of events throughout the year, so be sure to check their calendar as you plan your visit.

Kimbro's Pickin' Parlor
214 S Margin St | Franklin

Kimbro’s Pickin’ Parlor, located in Franklin, Tennessee, is an intimate music venue hosted in a historic home. Known for its welcoming Southern porch, this off-the-beaten-path spot features nightly live music and jam sessions.

Originally opened in 2005 by songwriter Ron Kimbro as a pickin' parlor, it transitioned into a full-fledged music venue under partner Will Jordan in 2007. The venue has hosted notable artists like Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, and John Prine. In addition to its rich music scene, Kimbro’s offers a fantastic selection of homemade foods, a variety of imported and local beers, wines, and other beverages.

The venue includes a bar and restaurant offering a diverse menu ranging from pizza to gourmet burgers. Kimbro’s, located two blocks from Main Street in The District, exudes a unique charm that defies conventional business models, creating a beloved community hub.

Renowned for its eclectic atmosphere and top-notch live performances, Kimbro’s has received accolades such as second place for "Best Live Music Venue" in The Tennessean's 2013 poll. Whether you're a local or a visitor, Kimbro’s promises an unforgettable night out.

Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar
220 Printers Alley | Nashville

Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar, located in Printer's Alley, Nashville, has been a lively music venue for over 25 years. Known for its vibrant neon sign and wrought-iron balconies, the bar offers a taste of New Orleans with authentic Cajun and Creole cuisine, cold beer, and signature cocktails like the Big Easy Hurricane.

The bar is famous for its daily live music, featuring a mix of local talents and legends such as James Brown and B.B. King. The atmosphere is electric, with a diverse crowd that easily becomes friendly over great music and good vibes.

The venue also hosts unique musical experiences where musicians are randomly paired, creating spontaneous and memorable performances. With its blend of tasty food dishes, spirited drinks, and top-notch entertainment, Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar offers an unforgettable night out, capturing the soulful essence of New Orleans right in the heart of Nashville.

The Takeaway

While the aforementioned ten venues are our picks for 2024’s Top Live Music Spots, Middle Tennessee is home to dozens more! If your favorite didn’t make our list, we would love for you to tell us about it in the comments below.

As always, we thank you for your readership and your excellent knowledge of our beautiful region. Enjoy your summer!

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