The Whisky Lover's Nashville Travel Guide (2024)

November 11, 2019 –––––– Larry Olmsted, , , ,

The Volunteer State was once home to hundreds of distilleries, but since Prohibition, Tennessee whiskey has been dominated by just two names: Jack Daniel's and George Dickel. That's changing fast. The epicenter of the action is Nashville, which for years has been emerging as one of the nation's hottest tourism cities. More than ever Nashville lives up to its moniker of Music City, expanding beyond country music to include live performances in all genres, while its red-hot culinary scene is equally diverse, from Southern classics to award-winning gourmet chefs. There are several suddenly trendy neighborhoods, new museums, non-musical entertainment, and boutique hotels seemingly opening monthly. Adult beverages have been diversifying as well, with the opportunity to tour and taste your way through whiskey, beer, sake, and cider, all in one day.Nashville's many neighborhoods and their offbeat names often confuse visitors, but they are very small and close together, with downtown and most popular areas contiguous, concise, and easily navigated, both on foot or by way of Lyft and Uber drivers—with some of the lowest rates of any popular city. Public transport is limited, but the airport is very close, and several hotels offer complimentary house cars. Several companies also offer guided distillery tours, including Tennessee Whiskey Tours and Mint Julep Tours.

Day One

They say it's the most important meal of the day, and a good base for what's to come, so hit Biscuit Love, a wildly popular breakfast specialist in the Gulch neighborhood. They make stellar biscuits in both traditional styles (rolled and dropped), source their own heritage-breed pigs, and specialize in hearty, inventive biscuit sandwiches and benedicts.

The Whisky Lover's Nashville Travel Guide (1) Nelson's Green Briar Distillery, best known for its Belle Meade bourbon line, offers a top-shelf small distillery tour, with a close-up look at the charcoal-filtering process that defines Tennessee whiskey, historic pictures and artifacts, and a wonderful tasting room.

Nashville's two oldest and best-known distilleries are Corsair and Corsair—this pioneer has grown so fast it now has two urban locations. Both offer tours, tastings, co*cktail bars, and the company's staggering array of spirits—more than two dozen labels—with limited editions and one of the only whiskeys distilled from quinoa, more often spotted in superfood salads than whiskey. Other offbeat options include Graniac 9-grain bourbon (including buckwheat and spelt), the popular Ryemageddon, and Triple Smoke, plus gin, rum, and absinthe. Both locations are great, but when the sun is shining head to the Marathon Village spot, which also houses a brewery, to enjoy spirits and craft beers in the outdoor courtyard.It also sits less than two blocks from Nelson's Green Brier Distillery. The original facility started producing whiskey around 1860, and Green Brier holds Tennessee's 5th license (to put this in perspective, Jack Daniel holds the 514th). Charles Nelson's plant closed in 1909 due to state-mandated prohibition, and the name disappeared until 2006, when his great-great-great-great-great grandchildren, brothers Charles and Andy, relaunched in the city. It's a top-shelf small distillery tour, with a close-up look at the charcoal-filtering process that defines Tennessee whiskey, historic pictures and artifacts, and a wonderful tasting room. They are best known for their five Belle Meade bourbons (straight, single barrel, and sherry, madeira, and XO Cognac finished); their Tennessee whiskey will be released as a 4 year old this year. A limited amount was aged 2 years in smaller 30-gallon barrels and is available at the distillery.Marathon Village is an industrial neighborhood that once produced Marathon automobiles. The current warehouse revival includes the distilleries, a Jack Daniel's merchandise shop, Tennessee wine tasting room, and Antique Archaeology, the retail treasure trove from the team behind History Channel's hit American Pickers.Nashville is famous for its Honky Tonk Highway, a strip of neon-festooned downtown bars featuring live music from morning to night, so unlike other music-centric cities where the action starts after dark, you can catch rising stars any time. If you're hungry for both an afternoon snack and great music, the Broadway classic is Robert's Western World, a deep, dark, welcoming old-school spot devoted to cheap drinks, country music, and the signature five-dollar “Recession Special”—a fried bologna sandwich with chips and a cold PBR. Open only on Fridays and Saturdays, it's worth the short detour to Proper Saké, a new addition to Nashville's booze scene, making high-quality artisanal sakés. There are only a handful of producers open to the public in the U.S., so see what rotating selections are on tap.

The Whisky Lover's Nashville Travel Guide (2) Robert's Western World is a deep, dark, welcoming honky-tonk in downtown Nashville, offering cheap drinks, country music, and fried bologna sandwiches.

The thriving boutique hotel scene started with the music-themed Hutton Hotel ten years ago, and the property is better than ever after a top to bottom facelift, with great lodging, food, drink, and music, plus complimentary house cars (a Tesla and SUVs). The biggest new addition is Analog, an acoustically stunning 300-person performance venue that has already hosted Grammy Award-winning acts. It has an exceptional bar and deep whiskey list, and it's open till 2 a.m., so visit when you return to the hotel after dinner. If you want to try the city's most famous dish, Nashville Hot Chicken, Hattie B's is just behind the hotel, but be forewarned: they take “hot” very seriously and this is only for true spice lovers. A great upscale but casual option is the new Woolworth on 5th, a hot downtown spot from one of Nashville's top restaurateurs. Housed in a building on the National Register of Historic Places, the former Woolworth store's lunch counter represents an important piece of American history. It was the location of one of the sit-ins to protest segregation during the 1960s civil rights movement. The counter has been re-created and the defunct space restored to its former grandeur, with an upstairs bar full of historic photos and a live music venue downstairs. Elevated Southern-inspired food includes exceptional fried chicken, peppered ribs, and family-style one-pot dishes like chicken and dumplings or peanut and pork stew. The curated co*cktails riff on classics like the Shopper's Delight, a reinvented Manhattan with Buffalo Trace bourbon, earl grey simple syrup, and house-made lemon bitters.

Day Two

Near Nashville's must-see downtown attractions, Puckett's Grocery serves hearty Southern fare all day but is beloved for its decadent breakfasts. The Elvis-themed King's French toast is stuffed with bananas and peanut butter, while the Southern Stack piles tender barbecued pulled pork on sweet potato pancakes with fried apples, fried egg, and home fries. Even if you've never danced the two-step, do not miss the exceptional Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville's top attraction. Other nearby highlights are the Johnny Cash Museum, famed letterpress art gallery-cum-museum Hatch Show Print, and tours of the Ryman Auditorium, a former 1893 church now known as the “Carnegie Hall of the South.”

The Whisky Lover's Nashville Travel Guide (3) Peg Leg Porker, Nashville's most beloved barbecue joint, offers a varied range of whiskies—including its eponymous brand—to wash down wildly addictive pulled pork nachos and supremely satisfying dry ribs.

To quench your post-culture thirst, pop into the five-star Hermitage, Nashville's classic luxury hotel, home to the dark wood and leather Oak Bar, which claims the city's largest bourbon library, offering more than 130 selections. Whiskey 101 tasting flights begin at just $12, while pours from the private label Jefferson's Presidential Select 18 year old are a cool $100, plus an offering from the barrel of Stitzel-Weller purchased in 1991, the final year of the distillery's operation. Next, head to Pennington Distilling Company, in the Nations neighborhood, where a dozen bars have opened in the past year. Pennington started in an industrial aircraft hangar-style building in 2011. Enjoy the gritty tour, strolling through the bottling line and filled pallets followed by drinks at the recently expanded tasting area; the distillery is looking to open a downtown visitor center soon, but also add to its production and storage space. Pennington offers flavored whiskeys and Davidson Reserve rye made using 100 percent rye grain, but they're best known among locals for Pickers vodka. Their new Tennessee whiskey was unveiled in spring of 2019. If you can't get to Pennington you can sample their spirits at their airport kiosk on your way home. Right next door is Fat Bottom Brewing, known for its American, India Pale, Golden, and Red ales. Tennessee law prohibits restaurants in distilleries but not breweries, so many guests partner up visits to Pennington with Fat Bottom, which has weekend-only brewery tours and the Hopyard, an outdoor beer garden with eclectic Southern-influenced comfort food.The gluten-free crowd may want to head straight for Diskin Cider, a recently opened entertaining, dining, drinking, and hangout space that takes advantage of the weather with indoor and outdoor areas that offer games and fire pits. They produce both classic English dry cider and non-traditional variants like pineapple and sweet tea. These are designed with specialty co*cktails in mind, using fresh herbs from the on-site gardens, along with ciders and several local craft beers on draught. There are scheduled tours, but it's more of a casual hangout, with live music, farm-to-table cuisine, and a big Argentinean-style asado grill. Just around the corner is Nashville Craft Distillery, last on the tour, and arguably the most interesting.

The Whisky Lover's Nashville Travel Guide (4) Hattie B's Hot Chicken serves Nashville's most famous dish, but be forewarned—they take "hot" very seriously, and this is only for true spice lovers.

Founder Bruce Boeko previously ran a DNA lab (think CSI) and now pours his passion for science into distilling. Let your whiskey-geek run wild as Boeko reveals how alcohol is made, complete with white boards and historic context. “I'm more likely to talk about how beer was accidentally discovered by ancient Mesopotamians than the usual story of rediscovering a ‘lost' secret family moonshine recipe.” Small groups are always led by Boeko or his co-distiller, with lots of hands-on touching and smelling. The tour offers something new for both first-time and veteran distillery visitors, with three sample pours. The Nashville Craft lineup consists of unaged spirits, including gin, honey liqueur, and a rum-style spirit made from local sorghum, while the Fugitives whiskey trio includes a blend, an unaged, and a Tennessee.Nashville offers excellent regional dinner options for every budget. One of the city's most coveted tables is Husk, the gourmet modern Southern eatery from James Beard Award-winning chef Sean Brock. Husk proudly showcases local distilleries, along with complex co*cktails like the Never Cry Wolf, using the bar's own single barrel bottling of Elijah Craig, vermouth, oloroso sherry, amaro, and bitters. For something more casual but equally delicious, head back to the Gulch neighborhood to Peg Leg Porker, the city's most beloved barbecue joint. Start with the wildly addictive pulled pork nachos before moving on to the best dry ribs you'll ever taste. It's order at the counter roadhouse-style, but the full bar has surprisingly varied whiskies, including their own Peg Leg Porker, rumored to be made at George Dickel. It's a high-corn bourbon that adds charcoal filtering, usually associated with Tennessee whiskey but not prohibited in bourbon. Releases have included a no age statement, an 8 year old, and a 12 year old.

Once satiated, take in some local music at Nashville's newly-opened bar/lounge/restaurant House of Cards. This throwback is a hidden speakeasy-style, high-end (jackets required) magic-themed cabaret lounge, with magicians working the restaurant floor and a small theater that is home to a rotation of 20-minute stage shows. Located beneath the Johnny Cash Museum, it features a menagerie of arts and antiquities, including a playing card collection that dates to 1490. The lengthy whisky list features both American and scotch, but groups of two or more shouldn't miss the classic punches, presented in vintage cut-crystal bowls. In addition to great drinks, there is a full dinner menu, cigar garden, and feats of prestidigitation that make a fitting farewell to this magical city.

The Whisky Lover's Nashville Travel Guide (5) Pennington Distilling Company in Nashville's Nations neighborhood hosts gritty tours followed by drinks in a recently expanded tasting area.

Distilleries, Breweries, and Cidery

Corsair Brewstillery Marathon Village 1200 N. Clinton St. #110Corsair Distillery Wedgewood Houston 601 Merritt Ave.Diskin Cider 1235 Martin St.Fat Bottom Brewing 800 44th Ave. NorthNashville Craft Distillery 415 Hagan St.Nelson's Green Brier Distillery 1414 Clinton St.Pennington Distilling Company 900 44th Ave. NorthProper Saké 628 Ewing Ave.

Bars & Restaurants

Analog 1808 West End Ave.Biscuit Love 316 11th Ave. SouthHattie B's Hot Chicken 112 19th Ave. SouthHouse of Cards 119 3rd Ave. SouthHusk 37 Rutledge St.Oak Bar 231 6th Ave. NorthPeg Leg Porker 903 Gleaves St.Puckett's Grocery 500 Church St.Robert's Western World 416B BroadwayWoolworth on 5th 221 5th Ave. North


The Hermitage Hotel 231 6th Ave. NorthHutton Hotel 1808 West End Ave.


Antique Archaeology Marathon Village; 1300 Clinton St., Ste. 130


Mint Julep ToursTennessee Whiskey Tours

The Whisky Lover's Nashville Travel Guide (2024)


Are there shuttles from Nashville to the Jack Daniel's Distillery? ›

The Jack Daniels Distillery is located about 90 miles from Nashville in historic Lynchburg, Tennessee. Our Whiskey trail shuttle service is the best way to get from Nashville to Lynchburg, TN, and back.

What is whiskey jam in Nashville? ›

Whiskey Jam is a time-tested source of great live music. For over 7 years, we have hosted some of music's best writers & artists, often before they become household names. For the artists, we provide an honest & discerning crowd.

Is whiskey jam 21+? ›

Come celebrate great original music in the heart of downtown ⁂ 6PM 21+ & FREE.

How do you enjoy Tennessee whiskey? ›

There are many ways that people enjoy Tennessee whiskey. Some like to drink it straight while others prefer it on the rocks. A splash of water will tone down high-proof whiskeys and make them more approachable. Straight shots are popular and it's mixed into a number of shooter recipes.

Is Nashville known for whiskey? ›

They craft a variety of spirits, including moonshine and bourbon. Jack Daniel's is arguably one of the most well-known Nashville distilleries and is certainly worthy of your time! Want to have some Tennessee Whiskey with your coffee? If you haven't tried it yet, don't knock it.

What alcohol is made in Nashville? ›

Experience Nashville Craft Distillery

We produce whiskey, gin, sorghum spirits and other craft spirits, and in keeping with our love of science, our distiller-led tours give visitors a behind-the-scenes look at the technical details of fermentation and distillation.

How long does it take to drive from Nashville to Jack Daniels Distillery? ›

The fastest way to get from Downtown Nashville to Jack Daniel's is to drive which takes 1h 35m and costs $13 - $20. How far is it from Downtown Nashville to Jack Daniel's? The distance between Downtown Nashville and Jack Daniel's is 92 miles. The road distance is 73.6 miles.

Is it worth going to Jack Daniel's Distillery? ›

The tour culminated at a tasting facility where we all were able to sample the various Jack Daniel's products. This facility is well worth the time and cost to visit. The only draw back is the small village around the facility closes up by 6pm during the off season...and it is a dry county. No where to eat!

What bar does Garth Brooks own in Nashville? ›

Those in Nashville's downtown area will be able to officially “slip on down to the oasis” on March 7, when the grand opening is held for Garth Brooks' Friends in Low Places Bar & Honky Tonk. Brooks acquired the property, located at 411 Broadway in Nashville, in December 2021.

What is the name of Dolly Parton's bar in Nashville? ›

White Limozeen is a Dolly Parton themed indoor-outdoor rooftop bar that sits atop Graduate Nashville on West End Ave. located within walking distance of Vanderbilt University.

What is Blake Shelton's Nashville bar called? ›

Ole Red - Blake Shelton Downtown Bar.

How old do you have to be to go to whiskey jam in Nashville? ›

This event is 21 and over.

Who is the owner of Whiskey Jam? ›

Catch songs and interviews featuring Jam Fam alumni with Whiskey Jam Founder, Ward Guenther on The Ward Guenther Show exclusively on Apple Music.

What is the whiskey fest in Nashville? ›

Each year the Nashville Whiskey Festival brings together whiskey novices and connoisseurs for two days of education, live music, great food and whiskey tastings!

Can you buy bottles at Jack Daniels Distillery? ›

In fact, it was not until 1995 that the Distillery was even allowed to sell commemorative bottles on location. Today, however, up to six different bottles are carried in the White Rabbit Bottle Shop, but with the restriction that each is no larger than 750ml in size…

How much does it cost to tour Jack Daniels Distillery? ›

Tour prices range from $20 to $100.

What is the signature drink of Tennessee? ›

The classic signature drink for Tennessee is Jack and co*ke. Just grab a glass, fill it with ice, Jack Daniel's Old No. 7, and some Classic co*ke.

What is the drink of Nashville? ›

"The Bushwacker has been a mainstay of the Nashville bar scene for about a decade now," says Austin Smith, owner of Nashville's popular hot chicken restaurant, Party Fowl.

What is the name of the famous bar in Nashville? ›

Details. Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, a Nashville country music institution and world-famous honky-tonk, has operated across the alley from the Ryman almost continuously since 1960. Its proprietor from 1960 to 1978, Hattie Louise “Tootsie” Bess, bought the lounge called “Mom's” and named it for herself.

What is the most visited distillery in Tennessee? ›

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — With more than 5 million visitor in 2023, Ole Smokey Distillery reigned as the most visited distillery in the world! The distillery was founded in 2010, and became the first federally licensed moonshine distillery in East Tennessee.

How far is Nashville from the Jack Daniel's distillery? ›

The Jack Daniels Distillery is located about 90 miles from Nashville in historic Lynchburg, Tennessee. A Signature Transportation tour service is the best way to get from Nashville to Lynchburg, TN, and back.

What is the most popular alcoholic drink in Tennessee? ›

If you're a Tennessean, it won't surprise you that whiskey is our favorite drink — Tennessee Whiskey is world-famous, after all.

What is the most popular beer in Nashville? ›

You guess it, Budweiser is the most popular beer in Tennessee. Budweiser is not only the most popular beer in Tennessee, 26 other states agree. According to, they found the 70 most popular beers in the country. Then, they went to google to see which beer is searched the most in each state.

Does Nashville have shuttle buses? ›

Multiple shuttle buses or mini shuttles can be rented for small events or venues needing a large pick up, shuttle service or transportation needs in Nashville.

How long is the Jack Daniel's distillery tour? ›

Tour duration: 1 hour, 10 min. Closed on New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Jr Day, Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas.

How far is Nashville from the bourbon trail? ›

How far is the Bourbon Trail from Nashville? The start of this bourbon trail is the Jim Beam American Stillhouse, which is 2.5 hours drive from Nashville.

How much does it cost to go to the Jack Daniels distillery? ›

Ticket prices & discounts

Tour prices range from $20 to $100.

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