Gastro Obscura's Guide to Where to Eat in Nashville - Atlas Obscura Lists

Gastro Obscura's Guide to Where to Eat in Nashville

Iconic eats, local dives, and historic haunts abound in Music City.

Every month, thousands of bachelorette parties don their TEAM BRIDE sashes and descend on Nashville. Over the past decade, the city has become nearly as synonymous with prenuptial debauchery as Las Vegas. But while there’s nothing wrong with riding a mechanical bull, depictions of what to do in Nashville, or currently, America’s “bachelorette capital,” overlook so many facets of this city’s storied past and dynamic present. 

Long before “Music City” became a tourism slogan, musicians from Jimi Hendrix to Etta James were working the stages here. Today, the capital of Tennessee is still a gathering point for both established and aspiring artists. Order a coffee and there’s a high probability that the barista making it is in a band—and that it’s great. On the fringes of Broadway, the hard-drinking center of the party scene, you’ll find some real gems for live performances, not to mention incredible dive bars and a few places to showcase your own chops on a karaoke mic.

Must-eat restaurants in Nashville are abundant, whether you’re looking for classic Southern meat-and-three restaurants, masochistically spicy fried chicken (and we tried them all—what food is Nashville known for more than hot chicken?), or buttermilk biscuits that practically levitate off the plate. From Somali sambusas to Kurdish-Turkish kebabs to Mexican birria tacos, the diversity of dining options is astounding. Here, you’ll find everything from pickle pizza to tiki cocktails, “recession specials” to old-school American soft serve, not to mention two of the best cheeseburgers ever made. Above all, these spots are a good time all their own, rhinestone-encrusted cowgirl hat not required.