Music City may be most famous for its country scene, but the city has something to offer everyone in terms of live music. A recent influx of talented musicians from a variety of genres in the past few years has created an incredibly diverse music scene. Some important things to know before hitting up the bars and honky-tonks of Nashville: The bands work for tips, so ditch the extra cocktail in favor of showing some love to the musicians; bands playing on Broadway encourage requests, so brush up on your favorite country tunes old and new; and many bars in the city allow smoking, so if that’s going to bum you out you might want to check with the venue beforehand.
If you want to snag a seat at Nashville’s legendary songwriters mecca, the Bluebird Cafe, you better get your tickets for the 90-seat venue early, as they sell out even when unknowns are playing. That’s because the club has cultivated a reputation of being the place to catch whoever is set to become the next big singer-songwriter. In order to get a seat, you must either use the venue’s online reservation system or just arrive early and cross your fingers. The Bluebird is also known for featuring surprise star performers. There is a quiet policy at the venue, as it typically features a small group of songwriters playing acoustic instruments. The focus here is the music. If you’re looking for someplace loud and rowdy, don’t go to the Bluebird expecting to find a honky-tonk.