There’s more to Nashville than honky-tonks, Carrie Underwood karaoke, bachelorette parties and hot chicken, so much more. And part of that is the city’s vibrant LGBTQ scene and its handful of bars and clubs catering to the community of locals and tourists alike. In Nashville, you can dance to Britney and Gaga between drag shows featuring Reba and Dolly-inspired queens, dine on local craft beer over a boozy brunch, or spend a night in one of the America’s last lesbian bars, Lipstick salon.
Nashville is a party town, and it’s not just for out-of-town country music fans (although its country roots permeate everyone). Whether you’re looking for fog machines and disco balls or an included Tailgate beer on Tuesday night (a Nashville favorite), here are some of Music City’s best LGBTQ bars and events.
Want to dance with all your heart? Next, head to Play, Nashville’s most popular gay club, (ironically or very intentionally) located on Church Street, sort of in Midtown, sort of downtown and not too far from Music Row. In Play, flagship drag queens frequently grace the scene, but Nashville’s favorite local queens are the main attraction. Here you can attend a drag show from 9pm on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, or just come shake it up until you can’t do it on the dance floor anymore. And if you want to make friends, the back patio is the perfect place to cool off and chat with people from all over the world.
Another great spot on Church Street (no pun intended), Canvas is an eclectic bar that’s quintessential Nashville: it’s a bit quirky, comfortably dark, has a mix of haphazard but thoughtful decor, and it’s is always a lot of fun. Known for its incredibly friendly bartenders and incredibly good food, Canvas is a great place to chat with strangers at the bar, dance in good company, relax at a karaoke party, or join in on an 80s music video dance party.
Biscuits and gravy and a drag show? Welcome to Nashville, baby. With an Asian-meets-South menu, featuring dishes like chicken katsu and waffles and barbecued pulled pork with Sriracha, Suzy Wong’s House of Yum is where you can drink last night’s booze in. company of queens you threw dollars next to at Play. With shows on Friday at noon and shows at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, be sure to reserve your spot for this boozy and inclusive brunch. Not necessarily an LGBTQ bar, this is a Nashville staple that, love it or hate it, is part of the Church Street scene.
According to The Lesbian Bar Project, “By the end of the 1980s, there were around 200 lesbian bars across the country. Now we think there are only 21. ”And luckily for Tennessee, the Lipstick Lounge in Nashville is one of them. Self-described as “a bar for humans”, this East Nashville treasure has it all: karaoke, trivia, boozy brunch, live music, a lovely patio, great food and, most importantly, a sense of purpose and a sense of purpose. truly inclusive community of everything. Nashville’s iconic bar, you won’t regret stopping by the Lipstick Lounge whenever its friendly doors are open.
A totally welcoming bar with super affordable drinks, Trax might not be the queer bar you hear about first, but it’s a bar you won’t forget. Located a little off the beaten track compared to some of Nashville’s other LGBTQ bars, Trax is a great place that caters to locals and tourists alike. The two-for-one specials will quench your thirst and the friendly staff and customers are good for the soul.
Right next to Play, Tribe is a slightly more subtle LGBTQ bar and lounge featuring a mix of weekly events, happy hours, food, and more. Dark and luminescent, Tribe can be the place to spend a boozy Sunday afternoon (it opens at noon on weekends) or a solid place to grab an after-work drink with special happy hour prices. But drinking isn’t Tribe’s only activity; Stop by Thursday for bingo and karaoke (and two-for-one drinks) or skip Sunday for an evening show or karaoke.
Mr. Nashville’s line dancing, sports and leather pageant call Pecker’s, an unassuming bar near downtown, my home. Here you can get (almost) anything you want: an LGBTQ honky-tonk, the game of Titan, a local singer-songwriter, karaoke, wings, bingo, beer in a glass bottle. and that Music City warmth that makes you feel like you belong even if it’s your first time in the Volunteer State.