A graphic designer, writer, and photographer walk into a bar… and turn right back around if the bar ain’t pretty. Luckily, we made a list of our favorites in East Nashville to save you time.
I fully believe in the power of a detail influencing the experience you have at a bar or restaurant. I crave being in spaces that have beautiful lighting, furniture, menus, music, branding, and drink/food presentation. It’s just satisfying being in beautifully curated spaces. I crave environments that allow me to relax and let go a little bit, especially with an Old Fashioned in hand. When bar and restaurant owners desire to make their space become an experience, that’s where you’ll find me. And as a designer, the passionate folks are who I want to work with. Here’s my top 5:
- Atta Boy: This speakeasy is unassuming on the outside, with it’s American-traditional graffiti art on the exterior walls. In fact, you might just drive right past the bar if you’re not paying attention. You have to knock to get in (like a good speakeasy requires), and wait until the host answers. It’s worth the wait though because the interior is beautiful. Pay attention to the wallpaper, the seating, the lighting, and the amount of people the bar allows in at one time. The environment is calculated so that you can enjoy yourself fully. There are no menus, true to any underground bar during the Prohibition. You describe what type of flavors that you enjoy, and the mixologists will make it happen – but remember, only types of alcohol that were smuggled during the Prohibition era are served.
- Pearl Diver: The newest tiki bar on the east side does not disappoint. Holy smokes even the exterior is to die for! Their extensive drink menu comes with extremely unique tropical drinks as well as spin-offs of the classics, and the menu looks good doing it. Some drinks even get lit on fire (calling all pyros). There are even porthole windows to match the oceanic theme.
- Rosemary & Beauty Queen: Rosemary & Beauty Queen has been a loyal friend to Proof, as the bar is only a few blocks from our office. Que the happy hour! RBQ is a historic-home-turned-bar and it’s everything you’d dream it would be. A living room for lounging, stained glass windows, and a back patio. You can never go wrong with a drink choice at this bar, and if you’re hungry, they have a food truck out back that serves Asian bites like Bao Buns. Yum!
- The Fox: Talk about a curated environment. Hidden on the bottom floor behind Nicoletto’s Italian Kitchen, this cocktail den is a gem you don’t want to miss. Every single detail has been thought out and hand-chosen. And when you see the space for yourself, you’ll understand. The bathroom even has cotton hand towels. It’s the details that keep me coming back, people. They even have vegan options for eats, too. The space marries elegant and homey all in one. The bar, seating, menus, and signage were all made by local Nashville artisans. They supported local, and so should you.
- Inglewood Lounge: Try not to be impressed when you enter, I dare you. This small cocktail bar is unassuming from the outside, but so worth it on the inside. The bar sometimes has smooth live music, and the drinks are always on point. This mid-century styled bar is a perfect place for an intimate group that just wants to lounge. Don’t forget to check out the wallpaper. You won’t regret it.
Our hood has plenty of good spots to offer – add these to your list and odds are you’ll head back again and again.