Forget long walks on the beach. Our favorite pastime? Drinking on rooftops.
There are few things better than spending a night (or afternoon) in the city with a cold beverage and a bird’s eye view, and Nashville offers no shortage of rooftop bars to help you do just that. In fact, it seems like the Broadway bars are getting rooftops faster than Oprah can give away cars.
But we have good news for those of you who want to avoid the madness of the honky tonks while still enjoying sips under the stars. From boutique hotels to local favorites off the beaten path, we’ve put together a guide to Nashville’s more “elevated” rooftops – from craft cocktails to being quite literally elevated 27 stories above the streets.
Whether you’re planning your next vacation, girls’ or guys’ night or date night, these spots are perfect for any occasion.
Photo credit: @bobbyhotel
Bobby's Rooftop Lounge
Like the rest of the decor at Bobby, which blends chandeliers and old auto parts, the rooftop at Bobby is an eclectic mix of things that shouldn't go together but do – so, so well. This entirely outdoor space serves as an exclusive hotel pool by day and a bar at night. The bar area features open seating atop a color-blocked, tiled floor, while nearby an oversized Greyhound Bus has been transformed into an open-air lounge – shag carpets and all. The pool deck is open to patrons, and it's not uncommon to see people sprawled on lawn chairs and cabanas in their best going-out attire. Be sure to head around to the back side of the bar, where an expansive, open patio gives you incredible views of the river and Titans stadium.
Photo credit: @ellingtonsmidway
Ellington's Mid Way Bar & Grill
If you've been trying to figure out what rooftop Don Draper is tumbling from in the Mad Men opening sequence, look no further. Ellington's, located in the newly-opened Fairlane Hotel, is what mid-century dreams are made of, with lush leathers, dark hues and plenty of Old Fashioneds to go around. The wrap-around outdoor terrace on this fourth-story restaurant has plenty of lounge-like seating, fire pits and perfect views down one of Nashville's prettiest avenues. The terrace lounge area is open seating, while the outdoor tables are seated. The full menu is available everywhere on the terrace.
Photo credit: @rarebirdnash
Perched 13 stories atop the beautiful Noelle hotel, Rare Bird gives you a birds-eye view of the city. Where the lobby of Noelle screams "elegance" with rich golds and velvets, Rare Bird is airy, fun and laid back – without losing any of its class. Think tropical hues like salmon and turquoise, wicker rocking chairs, leather bar stools, and sleek, clean lines. One of the most unique aspects of Rare Bird is the wall surrounding the patio made completely out of glass, giving you an expansive perspective on all Nashville has to offer. Rare Bird serves up creative small plates such as pickled shrimp, ceviche and build-your-own butcher boards to accompany its menu of cocktails, beer and wine.
(Pro Tip: Bobby, Ellington’s and Noelle/Rare Bird are all on the same block. Make a night of it by rooftop hopping without the cost of extra Uber rides).
Photo credit: @l27rooftop L27
One of the newer additions to Nashville’s ever-expanding skyline is the 27-story Westin hotel, with its stunning rooftop gathering spot, L27. More than just a bar, L27 serves a full menu of mouth-watering snacks and entrees, including mashed avocado, lobster rolls and blackberry kiwi pavlova. Part indoor lounge, part poolside terrace, L27 showcases its chic and elegant design in every detail, from the velvet seating inside to the mosaic tile and glass pool on the patio. If that’s not enough to convince you to make a visit, L27 is the highest rooftop in Nashville, 12 stories taller than other spots on this list. Be sure to check out the 28th story loft, which overlooks the pool deck (AND has its own bar).
Photo credit: @lajacksonbar
Located in the posh Gulch neighborhood, L.A. Jackson will quell any doubts you have about Nashville’s reputation as an “it” city. Perfect for those nights where you just want to get dressed up and go out, this indoor/outdoor rooftop bar on top of the Thompson Hotel offers sweeping views of the skyline along with upscale appetizers, regional brews, and craft cocktails. Its swanky interior and chic clientele gives us all the big city feels, but its menu of small bites such as catfish chips and venison poppers is distinctly Nashville.
Photo credit: @viragonashville
A few blocks from L.A. Jackson, Virago offers a different perspective on the Gulch neighborhood. One of Nashville’s most well-known sushi spots, Virago is chic and modern with an upscale downstairs dining room and second story patio that overlooks the city. The rooftop terrace features covered booths with striking barnwood decor and open bar seating facing Nashville’s historic Union Station hotel. Though the sushi is the draw, you certainly won’t be mad about stopping in for a cosmo and having your own Carrie Bradshaw moment.
Photo credit: @uprooftoplounge
Up, a rooftop lounge
While you’re in the Gulch, be sure to swing by Up on top of the Fairfield Inn and Suites. Located a little farther outside of downtown, Up gives you panoramic views of the Nashville skyline in a laid-back lounge environment. Though the Fairfield might not be the first place you think of going for a taste of the local flavor, the menu features dishes like hot chicken tacos and grilled cheese bites, along with signature cocktails created by in the in-house mixologist.
With so many options to help you raise the rooftop experience in Nashville, your hardest decision will be which view to Instagram first.
What are your favorite rooftops in Nashville? Let us know in the comments!
Kristen Shoates is a Nashville-based writer and marketing strategist and one of the writers at The Nashville Guide. She is passionate about telling stories and helping entrepreneurs and world changers turn their visions into reality. Kristen co-owns Sky Studios, a Nashville music lessons and recording studio, with her husband, and in her free time, loves travel, music, books, being outdoors, and any chance for a new adventure. You can find her at www.kristenshoates.com or on Instagram @kristenshoates.