Looking over the Cumberland River into downtown Nashville.

An Insider Guide to SoBro Nashville

From the late 19th to the early 20th century, SoBro was so rough that its rowdy saloons and brothels prompted the public to petition for its elimination. Ironically, the SoBro area is now Nashville’s most cosmopolitan neighborhood. Since the mid-1990s, when the city’s revitalization efforts began and the neighborhood gained its moniker (short for “South of Broadway”), it has become squeaky-clean and attracted boutique hotels, vibrant cocktail bars, award-winning restaurants, chic shops, and cultural destinations. Living in SoBro comes with all the benefits of downtown residency, yet with a friendly feel that draws young couples, entrepreneurs, and families.
SoBro is also Nashville’s most pedestrian-friendly neighborhood, meaning you can walk to major institutions like the convention center and Country Music Hall of Fame. With everything you could want just steps from your
Sentral SoBro apartment in Nashville
, SoBro epitomizes the “New Nashville” urban experience that locals have been preaching about.
Read on to see why.
Explore Nashville SoBro Map


From global flavors to classic Southern fare, you’ll never go hungry in SoBro. Photo Courtesy of Pie Town Tacos.
Dining in SoBro, Nashville, and surrounding neighborhoods like The Gulch offers more places to snag a bite or wet your whistle than you’ll know what to do with. You’ll find international flavors as well as iconic Southern fare — this is the home of hot chicken, after all — at a variety of price points. (Notably, in this carni-centric town, most restaurants offer a few vegetarian-friendy options.) Here are a few of our favorite places to eat and drink like a SoBro local.


Consider Arnold’s the gateway drug to a lifetime addiction to meat ‘n’ threes. The Arnold family has been serving up the classic Nashville lunch dish (a protein plus your choice of three sides) for decades, pocketing a James Beard Award along the way. The country-fried steak and mashed potatoes are iconic for a reason; “Arnold’s After Dark” offers dinner plus local beers on tap, craft cocktails, and a boilermaker special.
, 605 8th Ave. S.


Loyal fans of Chef Deb Paquette, aka Deb Heads, adore her artfully plated dishes at Etch, which reference global cuisines from Indian to Moroccan. Walk on the wild side with the buttermilk-brined, Sichuan-spiced fried chicken, or stay in the comfort zone with the Peruvian-tinged pork chop, melt-in-your-mouth roasted cauliflower, and olive oil almond cake.
, 303 Demonbreun St.


Whether you’re someone who geeks out about heirloom seeds and sustainable husbandry, or you simply love creative Southern cuisine, you’ll adore this local institution in a 19th-century mansion. The daily menu, dictated by what’s available, always has new dishes to try. Pro tip: If it comes from Bear Creek Farm or has the word “buttermilk” in the name, order it.
, 37 Rutledge St.


Blue booths, tiled floors, and a Parisian café–style patio make Liberty Common one of the prettiest restaurants in SoBro. And with a European-style menu devised by the same culinary team as
The Pharmacy
Butchertown Hall
, it’s also one of the most delicious. Daily oyster selections and steak tartare lean classic, while the croque madame waffle with truffle fries adds an indulgent Southern twist.
, 207 1st Ave. S.


Hot chicken, the formerly only-in-Nashville dish that’s setting mouths aflame nationwide, is the main attraction here. Dig into the signature dish, whose spiciness spectrum ranges from mild to “Poultrygeist” and cheer on hometown heroes the Tennessee Titans on the big screens. Once you’ve navigated the fine line between palatal pleasure and pain, lower the temperature with a boozy slushie.
, 719 8th Ave. S.


Yes, there’s often a line, but that just gives you time to ponder a very important question: dry rubbed ribs or pulled pork? Award-winning pitmaster Carey Bringle has been lauded as one of the BBQ chefs in the South for his aforementioned specialties (by the way, just order both!) and oddball sides like Kool-Aid pickles and saltines with cream cheese and pepper jelly.
, 903 Gleaves St.


If you’re looking for authentic Mexican street fare with a dash of Music City flair, come to this yellow-roofed bungalow in the Pie Town district (so-called for its wedge-like shape). Tacos come with traditional Mexico City–style fillings (carne asada, al pastor) or with a Nashville twist (hot chicken or hot cauliflower) — the latter a good excuse for a second margarita.
, 614 Ewing Ave. . 


This unassuming Japanese restaurant in the historic Cummins Station development has become an instant favorite of well-traveled sushi fans. Against the no-frills interior, expertly assembled rolls are the stars of the show, along with cooked dishes like tempura and teriyaki.
, 209 10th Ave. S. #215


One of the best things about SoBro Nashville? The number of watering holes within walking distance. Photo courtesy of 6th and Peabody.
Nashville is a going-out town. There are places to work while sipping sustainably sourced coffee, grab a cheap beer and keep score on your favorite game, or impress a business associate with a craft cocktail and stunning views of the city. No matter the ambiance you are searching for, SoBro has got it with spots that cater to neighborhood folks — not just the tourists.


Not sure if you’re in the mood for a brewery or distillery? Visit both. At this eat-drink-and-be-merry complex, you can keep it low-key with tastings of Ole Smoky moonshine or get rowdy sipping on suds from Yee-Haw Brewery in the beer garden. Plus: Cornhole, a music stage, and one of the largest screens in Nashville for showing sports.
, 423 6th Ave. S.


SoBro’s most eclectic watering hole has grandma’s-basement decor, dance parties, and bartenders known for pouring them stiff. Soak it up with a visit to Black Dynasty, the ramen joint located in the back alley.
, 514 5th Ave. S.


If you’re looking for the real Nashville — or simply a place to snag your last Bud of the night — come to this SoBro institution. Locals wax poetic about the cheap drinks, surly bartenders, and hangover-curing pizza.
Facebook page
, 43 Hermitage Ave.


Known for its Old World European flair (think crystal chandeliers and white tablecloths) and for serving the best cheesecake in town, Café Intermezzo is the perfect spot for a cappuccino or bottle of French Chardonnay on the elegant patio.
, 205 Demonbreun St. 


Enjoy your Cuban (a latte sweetened with condensed milk) and avocado toast or Dozen Bakery pastry with a clean conscience: This award-winning café located in a former diesel engine repair shop is zero-waste and carbon-neutral. Just make sure to come early — the passionate baristas, unique flavors, and beautiful art mean the place fills up quickly.
, 15 Hermitage Ave.


The seasonally inspired cocktails, chaise lounges, and private cabanas make for strong resort vibes at this 21st-floor rooftop bar. But the atmospheric setting and food by Michelin-starred chef Tony Mantuano (spring for the lobster mac & cheese) are refined enough to impress a colleague — as are the sweeping views of the city.
, 401 Korean Veterans Blvd.


You can kill an entire day (in the best way possible) at this adult playground featuring a bar, restaurant, swimming pool, bowling alley, and bocce court. Observe carefully and you might see deals going down, bachelorettes whooping it up, and Reese Withersoon and Steven Tyler eating side-by-side.
, 33 Peabody St.


Created out of a carport at an old apartment complex (now the boutique Bode Hotel), Sidebar’s stark all-black interior is the perfect backdrop for the well-curated Pop Art and photography that lines the walls. The ever-changing cocktail list features spirits even mixology aficionados haven’t seen before.
, 401 2nd Ave. S.


Music City certainly has a place or two to stock up new tunes, like Third Man Records. Photo courtesy of Third Man Records.
From hand-pressed records to handmade suits, SoBro loves its local artisans and designers. Here you can find classic and totally on-trend clothing to update your Nashville wardrobe, books for your coffee table, even staples for your pantry. From jewelry to jazz up an LBD to made-to-order attire, anything you need is literally steps from your Sentral SoBro door.


With an attentive staff giddy with excitement to tell you about their latest “shackets” (shirt-jackets), flare jeans, and graphic tees sporting sayings like “Save Water Drink Champagne,” it’s no wonder this locally-owned boutique has three locations and counting. Our favorite is in The Gulch, just over the road from Sentral SoBro — go to refresh your wardrobe with trendy color block knits, vivid patterns, and retro comeback styles.
, 601 8th Ave. S.


Though located on the ground floor of Noelle hotel, Keep Shop goes well beyond your typical hotel gift shop, offering a carefully curated selection of goods from local Music City designers and makers. This charming, upscale boutique is where you’re guaranteed to find the perfect gift for even the pickiest people. Our personal fave: lush skincare finds from the local Clary Collection.
, 200 4th Ave. N.


While the digital nomad life has accustomed many to wearing sweats to the “office,” custom suits are still in vogue. Those who fantasize about Savile Row will be in their element at Stephen Richards’ atelier, where you can sift through thousands of fabrics to design the suit of your dreams. Now you know where Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes gets his GQ-worthy attire.
, 1254 Martin St.


The bourgeois feel of a New Orleans grocer mixed with the expediency of a New York bodega makes The Southernaire the ideal go-to market. Regionally sourced produce and in-house hot sauce share shelf space with craft beers and cold brew from neighboring coffee chain The Frothy Monkey.
, 150 3rd Ave. S.


For fans of Jack White, who founded the independent record label in 2001, this sanctuary is the place for White Stripes memorabilia and swag. If you’re simply in search of new music, the vinyl freaks that run Third Man Records love recommending albums and explaining how they’re pressed in house. Study the liner notes, cocktail in hand, afterwards at the newly opened Blue Room Bar around back with an always rotating lineup of guest DJ’s and live music.
, 623 7th Ave. S.


For those who love to layer on the jewelry, Uncommon James caters to all tastes, from funky and geometric to elegant and romantic. Founder, TV personality, and modern-day fashion icon Kristin Cavallari curates the cheeky selection of home goods, candles, and casual clothing at her flagship store.
, 601 9th Ave. S.


Crossing John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge into downtown Nashville.
Downtown Nashville isn’t all honky-tonks, shops, and eateries — the countless neon signs make way for cool parks, picturesque bridges, and other outdoor spaces filled with Southern charm. While a hyper-urban area, SoBro still offers plenty of spaces, small and large, to get your steps in or grab some fresh air. SoBro’s many outdoor options are also a great place to socialize, people-watch, take a reprieve, or simply enjoy the landscape.


Directly across from the impressive downtown library, Church Street Park is a lovely place to take a break from busyness. With plenty of seating, you can find many local business people chilling out in between meetings. Meanwhile, complimentary events, from artist talks to jazz concerts, make it easy to infuse your week with a touch of culture.
, 600 Church St.


Constructed during the Civil War to commemorate the Union capture of Nashville, the imposing stone fortress is the only gray you’ll see at this urban oasis. Come at sunset to experience the epic views and rugged walking trails or in the spring when sheep called the Chew Crew “mow” the lawn.
, 1100 Fort Negley Blvd.


The slow rise of the bridge is slightly intimidating at first sight — it often looks vertical — but the spectacular panoramic views that await you are worth the climb. Built in the early 1900s, the bridge’s boardwalk-style sidewalks and 15-foot bike lanes are an ideal place to people-watch, snap photos, exercise, and take in the Nashville skyline.
, on the downtown side, access is on 3rd Ave S. 


Nashville’s answer to the Hollywood Walk of Fame reminds you who put Nashville’s legendary sound on the map. A pathway of more than 60 granite stars serves as your Music City history guide and inspiration for which artists to include on your playlist, from familiar legends like Reba McEntire and Roy Orbison to rock ‘n’ roll surprises like Jimi Hendrix.
, 121 4th Ave. S.


Starting beside Ascend Amphitheatre and extending down to Broadway, Riverfront Park provides your pick of places to work out, play games, or walk your pup. If you’re a water lover, the view of the Cumberland River is divine. A dog park, alfresco exercise area, and basketball courts reside next to the ampitheatre where the industry’s top acts play.
, 310 1st Ave. S.


The exterior of this state-of-the-art concert hall, inspired by 19th-century European architecture, is as elegant as the inside. Begin by wandering through the Community Plaza and spending some time with the bronze “Recording Angel” statue. After seeing that gilded beauty, walk half a block down to the public courtyard to toss coins into the picturesque water foundation topped off by the Birth of Apollo statue. (Of course, you can come here for world-class music performances too!)
, 1 Symphony Pl.


Of course music is king in Nashville, where you can catch contemporary concerts while also getting a peek into the past, like at the National Museum of African American Music. Photo courtesy of the National Museum of African American Music. 
Just a stone’s throw away from Sentral SoBro are world-class museums, eclectic art spaces, and music venues where you can see stars born. As one of the more cultured areas of the city, SoBro makes it easy to be in-the-know about what artists are making waves. Up-and-coming and established musicians headline the local clubs and high-end art can be found all around from the lobbies of the boutique hotels to the contemporary galleries off of Church Street.


For more than 30 years, this beloved venue has provided dinner and a show with artists like Chris Stapleton, Lady Antebellum, and house act The Time Jumpers (Vince Gill’s Monday night Western swing band.) Arrive early to scout a table as the main floor and balcony fill up fast.
, 818 3rd Ave. S.


A former ice cream parlor is the perfect setting for humorous, colorful, and modern art that ranges from mixed media collages to vintage movie posters. Brave the crowds during a First Saturday Art Crawl or come by during the week to see gritty street photography by Michael Ray Nott or whimsical portraits by Danielle Duer.
, 215 5th Ave. N. 


The Frist has a knack for curating exhibitions that are intriguing to art aficionados while still being accessible to all. Its exhibits explore topics from climate change to the creative processes of Frida Kahlo and Pablo Picasso. Other draws: the stunning Art Deco architecture of this former post office, and the fantastic gift shop.
, 919 Broadway


This working museum has cranked out letterpress prints and posters since 1879. Visit the Haley Gallery to view posters from 1928 to 2018 for artists like Bessie Smith, the Beastie Boys, and Bob Dylan. Take a tour to learn about Hatch’s heritage, see how prints are made, and create your own.
, 224 Rep. John Lewis Way S.


Music purists will be in their element at a writer’s round where you can catch gifted talent trying out new material. Side-by-side every night several musicians perform acoustic sets, tell stories, and show off their lyrical skills. The stark, bare bones setting at the historic Harvester Tractor building (the venue’s fourth location) puts the emphasis where it belongs: on the budding talent.
, 618 4th Ave. S.


The main cultural attraction at 5th & Broad is where visitors come to learn the complete story of the African American musical tradition. From the 1600s until present day, seven genre-based galleries serve as an entry-level guide to blues, jazz, gospel, R&B, and hip hop — and give behind-the-scenes insight into the artists behind our favorite albums.
, 510 Broadway


While Nashville is known for music, it didn’t have a thriving jazz club until Rudy’s Jazz Room came onto the scene in 2017. Dark and moody, yet warm and inviting, the club has a New York–meets–New Orleans feel and pairs its hot live music with classic Creole dishes, including gumbo, shrimp po’ boys, and red beans and rice.
, 809 Gleaves St.
Explore Nashville SoBro Map

ABOUT THE WRITER Lily Clayton Hansen is an author, TED-x speaker, and actor who has written two books about Nashville, including the best-selling Word of Mouth: Nashville Conversations. During her eight years as a SoBro resident, Lily lived at the Ryman Artist Lofts beside a dynamic mixture of artists, musicians, and performers. 

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