Nashville is known for being the Country Music Capital of the World, which is why it’s affectionately known as Music City. While there is a ton of great, live country music and you have a pretty good chance to run into some of country’s most popular stars here, not everyone likes country music.
However, we are here to tell you that Nashville is still definitely worth visiting if country isn’t your thing, which is why we put together this guide for Visiting Nashville for People Who Hate Country Music. Because quite frankly, we don’t like country music…
Many of the traditional “Must-dos” in Nashville that you will find on what to do in Nashville lists won’t be applicable if you don’t like country music. You can skip Broadway, the Ryman Auditorium, and many of the other bars with live country music.
Where to Stay in Nashville if You Hate Country Music
East Nashville is located east of downtown Nashville and famed Broadway across the Cumberland River. It’s a much more down-to-earth neighborhood that will give you the real feel for Nashville compared to the “Woo Girl” Bachelorette parties of Broadway and will get you away from the country music bars lining Broadway.
East Nashville is filled with outstanding restaurants, bars, cafes, and shops. Even just walking around the neighborhoods is a treat as you can experience what it’s like to live in a different part of the city.
Look for a nice, affordable Airbnb in East Nashville to if you want to visit Nashville but hate country music!
If you’ve never used Airbnb before we highly recommend it! Here’s a code for first-time users where you can get $30 in travel credit when you book a place.
Now that you’ve booked a place to stay, you need things to do for your time in Nashville!
Where to Eat in Nashville if You Hate Country Music
As mentioned, East Nashville offers plenty of wonderful spots to eat!
Bongo East and Game Point Cafe
If you are looking for a coffee to get your quick morning caffeine fix, start your day off at Bongo East and Game Point Cafe. They are a locally owned, full-service cafe that is also completely stocked with tons of board games.
Bongo East and Game Point Cafe also offer adult beverages later in the day, so you can stop back in for an afternoon pick-me-up with more coffee or play board games later into the night with friends and a few beers.
Breakfast or Brunch
Graze is the place to go in East Nashville if you are looking for a plant-based breakfast or brunch. The vegan restaurant is smaller, but has a big menu that offers many different options. It’s a little further out in East Nashville on Eastland Ave., but it’s worth the walk, drive, or Uber.
Everything on the menu looked delicious, but the Hot Tempeh Biscuits were mouth-watering and paired well for brunch with the turmeric kombucha.
Pinewood Social is another unique Nashville brunch option with it’s open seating, nearly 360° bar, bowling alley, and lounge area. It was also featured on Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown Nashville episode.
Pinewood is a popular spot and is less than a mile from downtown and Broadway, but it does not have the country music vibe you are trying to avoid on this Nashville trip. There may be a little wait for a spot to eat, but don’t be afraid to sit at the bar. If you’re looking to go bowling, make a reservation in advance as it usually fills up.
The Southern V
For lunch, get out of East Nashville and head over to North Nashville for maybe one of the best vegan restaurants we have ever been to, The Southern V.
The Southern V offers up traditional southern-style Nashville cuisine, but it’s all vegan! Make sure to try their Nashville Hot Chick’n. If you want to guarantee your food right away, get there early because there can be a line!
They’re only open two days a week, and their menu is constantly changing. Make sure to arrange when they’re open with your Nashville itinerary, so you can enjoy this can’t miss restaurant in Nashville!
Five Points Pizza
If you are back in the East Nashville neighborhood at night trying to avoid Nashville’s country music scene and want a quick, inexpensive dinner, check out Five Points Pizza.
This pizza-by-the-slice joint was rated by USA Today as the Best Pizza in Tennessee! It’s fast, cost-effective for traveling on a budget, and delicious. Best of all, you avoid all the obnoxious bachelorette parties! You can’t beat that!
Got a Sweet Tooth?
Five Daughters Bakery
Five Daughters Bakery, home of the 100 layer doughnut, is one of the best and most unique doughnuts that we have ever tried. They have a variety of flavors and types and are beyond delicious.
Pick one up after you have brunch at Graze and save it for later in the day when you’re craving something sweet.
Where to Drink in Nashville if You Hate Country Music
Naturally, Nashville is full of country bars with live country music. However, it’s assumed that because you are reading this, that is exactly what you are trying to avoid. Luckily, Nashville has a lot of great bars that are essentially void of the country music you are trying to escape.
The Patterson House is an upscale, hidden bar with probably the best cocktails in Nashville. It’s located right near Music Row, even though there’s no country music in the Patterson House.
When you walk up to the rather unassuming house, you might not even notice it’s a bar. Go inside past the host and it suddenly transforms into a grand, luxurious bar that captures a sophisticated, yet cozy feel. The Patterson House is a must-visit in Nashville if you want an amazing, handcrafted cocktail in a sophisticated setting.
Nelson Green Brier Distillery
What’s a visit to Nashville without a distillery tour?
The Nelson Green Brier Distillery tour is an outstanding distillery tour that’s located right in the city of Nashville. While there’s no country music here, it’s as close to “country” as you are going to get with the places to drink with the bars listed in this post.
Nelson Green Brier Distillery is a slice of Tennessee and Nashville history all rolled into one. The tour is very informational in terms of history and distilling, but it’s also humorous. At the very end, you get overloaded with samples of Belle Meade Bourbon, Tennessee Whiskey, and different types of liqueur made right there.
Skull’s Rainbow Room
This little gem of a non-country bar is actually located just a couple minutes off Broadway on Printer’s Alley in downtown Nashville. Skull’s Rainbow Room has been around since 1948 and offers excellent piano music and burlesque shows to go along with decadent cocktails.
Hidden Bar at Noelle
Right around the corner from Skull’s Rainbow Room is Hidden Bar at Noelle. Noelle is a boutique hotel in downtown Nashville with a hidden bar on the inside.
The actual hidden bar on the inside is a little difficult to find and took us a while, so be patient and discreet when trying to find where it is. So, “How do you get to Hidden Bar at Noelle?,“ you might ask.
Go to the elevator and take it to the lower floor. Once you arrive at the lower floor, there is a bar, but it is not the Hidden Bar. Look around for a door labeled ‘Storage.’ Open it. In there, you will find Hidden Bar at Noelle in Nashville!
The food and drinks are great, and it’s a wonderful atmosphere. Plus, you will be totally free of country music!
Rudy’s Jazz Room
Lastly, Rudy’s Jazz Room will provide you a refuge from country music in Nashville. This one is pretty obvious as it is called a “jazz room.” They have live jazz music, food, and drinks in a cozy, authentic jazz club setting.
On certain nights, they allow audience members who want to play a jazz tune sign-up and hop on stage in a sort-of open-mic night setting. This is great if you want to hear local talent or are trying to build your own jazz career in Nashville.
While Nashville is best known for country music, and nowadays high-pitched screaming bachelorette parties, there is plenty to do in Nashville if you hate country music and want no part of it.
Following this guide to Nashville for People Who Hate Country Music will allow you to explore a lot of what Nashville has to offer without having to endure any of the honky tonk country music you want to avoid.
Even if country music isn’t your thing, but you want to experience that side of Nashville too, it is still a great city to visit. Becca has been to two different bachelorette parties in Nashville, and they were both a blast. However, Nashville is more than just country music. If you are interested in a long weekend trip to Nashville that has some country and some not, check out our other post How to Spend a Long Weekend in Nashville.