There’s no shortage of basketball in this burg, and we hear the occasional mutterings about hockey, but for most in this office, football is the sport. The. Sport.
With that settled, we move on to the business of football watching. Home on the sofa with a bag of pretzels is fine, but Music City is chockablock with some prime game-watching locales. A nice variety of suds on tap, intriguing menu choices, 70-inch TVs and some serious people watching make it worth the effort to score a prime barstool or booth before kickoff.
If you’re smart, you’ll show up with time to spare , which we suggest wasting with our favorite Nashville drinking game: Have everyone who’s wearing the jersey of a former Titan (because they just can’t let go and/or are too cheap to buy a new one ) buy a round for the group. We promise you’ll be warm and fuzzy by halftime.
The play clock is ticking, so let’s get to it:
Sam’s Sports Grill
They blast it out in boldface type: When Sam’s opened in 2000, they wanted to be Nashville’s No. 1 sports bar. Given their spot on everyone’s list, it’s reasonably safe to assume they’ve arrived.
Handmade burgers, homemade soups and so forth dominate the menu, and all the televisions are hi-def. They’re also up high enough so that the split-loyalties fans (UT and Vandy, we’re looking at you) can watch competing games without getting whiplash.
The Crow’s Nest
Tucked into a corner of Green Hills, first-timers can usually find the Crow’s Nest based on the game-day volume. The menu isn’t your standard bar fare (there’s plenty of that to be had, but there are some upscale twists as well — it’s Green Hills, y’know). We recommend the homemade pizza rolls.
The requisite number of television screens (lots) is on full display, and there are multiple patios for those moments when your eardrums crave some downtime from post-touchdown jubilation.
The Corner Pub
Another relative newcomer (since 2004, but for some of us a joint that opened in 1970 is still an interloper) is The Corner Pub.
The menu’s got plenty of variety, and there’s plenty of room to spread out for the game.
There’s a serious collegiate vibe, but we’re reasonably certain they let the pro fans in as well. The Hot Chicken Chunks are a must-try, despite their less-than-appetizing name.
Not sure what it is with sports bars, but you see a lot of “the biggest and the best” in their promotional materials. We’re not ones to quibble (or measure dimensions), so we’ll let it slide.
All that’s to say that Jed’s is indeed pretty good-sized, and when they say they show every major sporting event “and most non-major ones” we don’t think they’re kidding. We may make up a sport (Tiny Tots Little League, anyone?) just to watch them try to find the channel. They also want you to tell them which of their food items should be called “famous,” so don’t miss this opportunity to get in on the ground floor.
It’s been a brunch favorite for decades, and the aptly named Sportsman’s Grille is well worth a stop for non-Sunday games as well. They’ve expanded the brand to include the Gerst Haus in East Nashville, as well as Melrose Billiards, so these folks know what they’re about.
The menu is five steps beyond remarkable — try the ribs or the French dip — and there are enough televisions scattered around to ensure easy viewing.
Village Pub & Beer Garden
Your faithful correspondent has a bone to pick with this particular establishment. When he is on healthy walks through his neighborhood, the smells emanating from the doors are enough to make him swoon, drool and otherwise cause alarm to those nearby.
Pedestrian perils aside, The Village Pub took over an older home and kept all the coolness, then threw in some outside tables (they have “garden” in their name, after all), and whipped up a solid menu to go alongside the myriad craft beers on tap. Fair warning: the Pred-friendly venue even has a hockey room, so football types may need to start campaigning for their own sweet suite.
Go for the burgers, stay for the darts … and watch a game or three. From its rehabbed building down on 8th (the Melrose neighborhood, for those far hipper than we) to a new outpost on Charlotte in Sylvan Park, M.L. Rose is a big draw for many reasons, not the least of which is that it has a neighborhood feel in both locations, even when it’s packed.
Lots of beers and other libations mix things up nicely, and ask about the specials, both those on and off the menu. No, we’re not going to tell you.
(But if we were going to tell, we might start with the brisket quesadilla.)
Beyond The Edge
This is another spot your faithful correspondent often saunters by, and knows that to go in is to fall face down into some flautas. Or a patty melt. Which is a pretty eclectic mix right off the top.
Chow-hounding aside, this is an East Nashville game day tradition, and small wonder. It’s smack-dab in the middle of 5 Points, and there’s a television in every conceivable direction. Some Titans fans park nearby, start their day here, and then saunter back afterward. We’re not up for that kind of exercise, but we salute them.
A good mix of beers and bar fare sets Jonathan’s up nicely for games, and for the Bellevue crowd that hates driving all the way into town for their beer/game combo, it’s the place to be.
Where to begin? 70+ beers on tap, a 60-foot bar … and that’s just the downtown location (there now are five). The menu covers several states (continents, even), and on the weekends you can gander as the bikers roll up and admire each other’s chrome.
And if you don’t get at least one bushwacker while you’re there, you don’t deserve to be taking up stool space.