Enjoy a Relaxing Night Out at East Nashville's Best Bars

East Nashville is known for being hip, trendy, and artsy--but the folks on the east side of town know how to enjoy a good night at the bar, too. From high-class cocktail bars like Holland House to laid-back pubs where you can find a good game of darts, East Nashville is a great neighborhood for night life. 

If you're in the mood for a glass of wine, look no further than the backyard at Rumours East. Looking for live music? There's a reason why The Family Wash has earned a reputation as one of the best music bars in the city--go see it for yourself. If you want to skip the crowds and enjoy a fine pint, the Village Pub is the best place for you.

The best part about going out in East Nashville is that you can leave your fancy shoes in the closet. East Nashville bars don't skip on quality--in fact, some bar tenders on the east side have received national press for their creative cocktails. But high quality doesn't mean a stuffy atmosphere in this part of town. Check out our guide to the best bars in East Nashville and plan a long night so you can hit a few of them before last call arrives.


Rumours East
Photo courtesy of Daniel Howard

Located in a historic home, Rumours East is the perfect setting for a nice glass of wine or a craft cocktail. The restaurant seating area is set up around a fireplace, while bar patrons can pull up a stool at a handmade wooden bar. But the best seat in the house can be found right out the backdoor. The courtyard at Rumours is perfect for a date night or dinner and drinks with friends. With a large pergola, soft lighting, and lush gardens, a seat outside is perfection when the weather is agreeable. If you need a bite to eat with your glass of wine, the cheese plate is always delicious.

Recommended for East Nashville's Best Bars because: Rumours East offers an impressive wine menu (with a cheese plate to compliment your glass), and the outdoor seating is both comfortable and soothing.

Megan's expert tip: Ask for a seat in the courtyard when you arrive. The brick patio, herb garden, and lighted pergola provide the perfect setting for sipping on wine.

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The Pharmacy Burger Parlor & Beer Garden
Photo courtesy of Daniel Howard

Designed like a throw back to the old days of soda fountains and classic burger joints, The Pharmacy has had a constant line out the door since it opened. Burgers are on trend to be sure, but The Pharmacy bucks those trends by offering traditional American burgers. The kitchen staff has experimented with a few off-the-beaten-path menu items, like a falafel burger, but the farm burger (a beef patty topped with bacon and a fried egg) is a perfect, classic meal. The back half of the restaurant opens up to the backyard beer garden, making it a perfect place to enjoy the open air under the safety of a roof. When the weather is right, head straight to the beer garden for your meal and a few drinks.

Recommended for East Nashville's Best Bars because: Modeled after a traditional German Biergarten, The Pharmacy offers one of the only legitimate beer gardens in Nashville.

Megan's expert tip: The beer garden is where it's at. Take a seat at one of the long tables and order a few beers.

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The Family Wash
Photo courtesy of Daniel Howard

This laundromat-turned-neighborhood bar is known for its cozy vibe, fantastic music, and delicious shepherd's pies. This hangout is the ideal place if you're looking to hear some local music--especially if you're a fan of soul, rock, jazz or classic country. The food is hearty bar fare that will keep you full, the music is free, and regulars pack in regularly to line the walls. The size of the bar is pretty small, so come early and be prepared to wait for a seat. Come in on Tuesday for pie and pint night: For $10 you can get a pint of beer and a shepherd's pie!

Recommended for East Nashville's Best Bars because: The Family Wash is a neighborhood favorite. The cozy bar almost went out of business once, and devoted regulars stepped in to save it.

Megan's expert tip: Come in on Tuesday for pie and pint night: For $10 you can get a pint of beer and a shepherd's pie!

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The Holland House Bar and Refuge
Photo courtesy of Daniel Howard

You might have seen this East Nashville haunt featured in a national publication in recent years. The knowledgable bar and waitstaff has been lauded for their knowledge of hand-created drinks and locally-sourced ingredients. If you're looking for a favorite drink, ask the bartender for guidance. Holland House is one of the most upscale bars in East Nashville, but it doesn't require a suitcoat or fancy outfit. The decor is elegant with soft lighting, a gorgeous bar, and dark wood floors and tables. The restaurant recently expanded the outdoor seating if you want to enjoy a drink on the patio.

Recommended for East Nashville's Best Bars because: This quaint bar and restaurant is a double threat: amazing cocktails and a delicious food menu.

Megan's expert tip: Make a reservation before you go. Bar seats fill up fast, and getting a table on short notice is nearly impossible.

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Red Door Saloon East
Photo courtesy of Daniel Howard

This unique watering hole doesn't hold a large crowd. That makes it perfect for weeknight beers, happy hour drinks, and weekend night hangouts. The decor is interesting and will keep you occupied if your party starts to get bored. Look for skulls and cross bones, funny quotes, photos of celebrities, and walls lined with wine corks. If you're craving a drink during the day, you'll find plenty of like-minded folks hanging out on the deck at Red Door East. Red Door has a laid-back atmosphere, and usually carries a number of American beers in bottles and on top. The best part is, the beer's always ice cold.

Recommended for East Nashville's Best Bars because: Red Door East is a hotspot for young musicians, freelancers, and other folks to want to stay out late every night of the week.

Megan's expert tip: This isn't a good place for people who are sensitive to cigarette smoke.

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Mickey's Tavern
Photo courtesy of Daniel Howard

Mickey's is the epitome of a neighborhood bar. Some of the same regulars have been sitting at the bar since before the join operated under its current names. People who live nearby come in to spin their favorite songs on the jukebox and get a good game of darts going. Mickey's is one of those bars that doesn't look like anything special, but it offers a place for large groups and good friends to gather. Instead of sitting at a table all night, you can play pool, videogames, foosball, and darts. The bar keeps a good beer list on tap and they mix drinks with quality spirits, like Corsair gin, Maker's Mark, and Bulleit Rye.

Recommended for East Nashville's Best Bars because: Mickey's is the perfect dive bar when you want a laid-back night at the bar.

Megan's expert tip: Bring a handful of quarters for the juke box, foosball table, and video games.

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No 308
Photo courtesy of Daniel Howard

No. 308 is one of the most unique bars in the city. The d├ęcor is decidedly mod, with low coffee tables, angular furniture, wood paneling and taxidermy. Lounge at one of the back tables or grab a seat at the bar. If you sit near the bartenders, you can peruse the pages of classic literature while you wait for your drink. The menu also tips a hat to literary greats, with drink specials like the Bukowski and the William S. Burroughs. If you don't like a loud vibe, come early for a great drink and the chance for good conversation before the music gets cranked. If you like a late-night crowd, you'll be pleased to find a great dance party around 10 or 11 on some weekend nights.

Recommended for East Nashville's Best Bars because: There aren't many places in Nashville where you can get a fantastic cocktail and a dance party in the same place.

Megan's expert tip: Once a month, No. 308 hosts a 90s dance party with all the hits.

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3 Crow Bar
Photo courtesy of Daniel Howard

It's a dive bar, yes. But 3 Crow Bar is the kind of place you can go to cut loose, let your hair down, and hang out with large groups. If you're not the type who can sit at a bar stool for hours, the dart board is calling your name. If you're looking for a good place to enjoy a drink or two during the day, you'll find plenty of like-minded people hanging out at 3 Crow on weekday or weekend afternoons. If you're making a long night of it, 3 Crow has an extensive menu that will fill you up and keep you from getting too tipsy.

Recommended for East Nashville's Best Bars because: 3 Crow Bar is an East Nashville staple. Everyone knows where it is and locals love it.

Megan's expert tip: If you're not a smoker, grab your drink at the bar and head to the patio. Even when it's hot outside, the trees provide plenty of shade.

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Mad Donna's
Photo courtesy of Daniel Howard

One nice thing about Mad Donna's is that the bar upstairs is separate from the downstairs dining room. It's common for night owls to head to the restaurant for dinner (try the burger!) and then go upstairs to hear local music at the bar. On Sundays, the line snakes out the door as people wait to get inside for brunch and the delicious drinks that go along with it--including a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar. If you're heading to the east side during the evening, check out the calendar at Mad Donna's. The bar upstairs hosts talented local songwriters who will make you want to hang around for a while.

Recommended for East Nashville's Best Bars because: This neighborhood staple is known for having one of the best brunch menus in the city.

Megan's expert tip: Make your way to Mad Donna's for brunch and mimosas.

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Village Pub and Beer Garden
Photo courtesy of Daniel Howard

The Village Pub and Beer Garden is a little off the beaten path, but it's worth a venture into East Nashville if you're looking for a laid-back spot to eat and drink. "The pub," as locals call it, is a melting pot of different types of people with one common love: good beer. The owners stock local and regional breweries, rotating a solid list of seasonal and limited-edition brews. Since its opening in 2010, the delicious beer list and "everybody knows your name" vibe has made Village Pub an incredibly popular neighborhood bar. If you're hungry, don't miss out on a house-made hot pretzel with beer cheese dip.

Recommended for East Nashville's Best Bars because: The Village Pub has a rustic neighborhood vibe that suits the middle class residents surrounding the bar.

Megan's expert tip: The pub is stocked with board games, so look for a fun game to play while you sip on your drinks.

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Meet Megan Pacella

Megan Pacella has lived in Nashville for the better part of a decade. When she's not on the road researching stories for outlets like USA Today Travel, USA Today Experience Food and Wine,...  More About Megan