Exploring East Nashville’s Dive Bar Scene
Nashville is known for a lot of things: country music, world-class fried chicken, and, of course, plenty of honky tonks. The name isn’t just fun to say, it’s fun to experience! Nashville dive bars in particular look like they’re straight out of a movie, and you’ll be sure to find yourself dancing in your dreams after seeing them for yourself.
So, put on your dancing shoes, and get ready to savor the flavor of East Nashville’s bar scene as you bask in the neon glow of these hotspots.
Cheap drinks, good food, and Happy Hour that starts at noon — we don’t need to say more, but we’ll indulge you. Duke’s arrived on the scene in 2015, quickly becoming a staple among locals who love the tiny bar for its no-frills charm and epic collection of vinyls that spin every night. From psychedelic beats to soul tunes, there’s always more than you expect at this unassumingly spectacular hangout.
If anyone who’s anyone lived in East Nashville, they’d go to Mickey’s. The beloved tavern is delightfully simple. Their food menu has two items: a grilled cheese or hot ham & cheese. They know what their people want.
Catch them on a Tuesday through Saturday after 5 and grab some Mexican grub from local eatery Tantismo.
As far as music goes, you won’t find a DJ, band, or karaoke machine in sight. Our ears are grateful. Instead, Mickey’s keeps it classy with an award-winning jukebox. We’re not kidding; Nashville Scene bestowed the honor to the tavern in 2016.
There are also darts, pool, and foosball to play while you chat up the locals and get to know what’s really happening around Five Points.
From afar, the neon glow of the Pearl Diver’s sign is reminiscent of a quintessential small-town diner. Inside, you’re ushered into an island-inspired oasis lovingly referred to as “the ship.” It even has portholes!
The Pearl Diver is more upscale than you may expect from a dive bar, and its tropical flare makes it a great change of pace from American fare. The menu boasts no shortage of options of flavor. Enjoy some egg rolls and vegetable lo mein; order a pu pu platter for the table!
Or just go with what works and order tacos. You can never go wrong with tacos.
Pearl’s bartenders serve up a delicious collection of classics like the minty mojito, fun-loving paloma, and fresh, fruity margaritas. There’s also a host of unique cocktails to try, like Fountain of Youth, a blended concoction of pineapple, coconut, vodka, Velvet Falernum liqueur, and supergreens powder.
For something a bit out of the ordinary, but still super-Nashville, book a table at Pearl Diver’s. (Yes, it has reservations, and they fill up fast.)
Nashville’s oldest dive bar is entering its 50s, but it doesn’t look a day over 1970. Vintage charm is served up seven days a week, along with the two things you’ll always find in abundance at Dino’s: burgers and beer, in that order.
The watering hole is known across the country for its cheeseburgers; they were voted among the top 3 burgers in America by Bon Appetit magazine, and featured on Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” TV series.
Dino’s is family-friendly until 8 pm; then, it’s for the 21+ crowd only. Whenever you swing by, be sure to come on an empty stomach so you can savor “Dino’s fine food” at its best.
The Red Door Saloon East
If you’re into the roadhouse vibe of some Nashville dive bars, then don’t let the door hit you on your way into this saloon. Vintage grunge decorations drench the old-school ambience, and there’s a large-ish screen TV mounted above the bar for you to catch the game.
Stop in for some shuffleboard and cheap pints, along with beloved bar fare like nachos, hot dogs, and pretzel bites. A small but satisfying selection of American beers are available by the bottle and on top.
Enjoy a laid-back atmosphere no matter when you drop in, and while you’re there, do yourself a favor and order one of their beloved Bloody Marys.
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