Johnathan’s Spinach Artichoke dip with Yazoo Hop Perfect IPA

Nearly two years ago I moved home to Nashville after living in Los Angeles for five years. All five years I lived in beach towns, including Santa Monica, Venice and Hermosa Beach. One thing L.A. boasts is a good happy hour around every corner. L.A. offers a community-driven environment that subconsciously encourages people to get out, eat out and explore the city. With Nashville’s recent growth, I was excited to move back.

While I love the south, and Nashville will always be my home, I am frustrated at the lack of solid happy hours in Nashville. Restaurants seem to think that giving 2-for-1 drinks from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. is happy. Really? People don’t get off work until 5 p.m. Perhaps some restaurants haven’t identified – or they disregard – who their demographic is. Those that are moving to Nashville are young people: recent college graduates; musicians, bartenders, baristas, models and actors trying to make it in a new market; or young professionals continuing their careers in a new city. My point is this: Give us a reason to come out and meet everyone that’s new to this town. Don’t turn us into one of the stereotypical memes about millennials who are broke as soon as they receive their paycheck.

Cabana’s on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday’s has 2-4-1 pizza and 2-4-1 Yazoo beers…what?!?

I had the happy hours down when I lived in Hermosa Beach. One place had pizza and a pitcher of beer for $12 and a beer and a burger for $8 – all night. Another restaurant had $1 Fireball shots on Friday nights until close, along with $1 tacos and $2 quesadillas and burgers. The next pub had a $5, all-you-can-eat taco bar with $2 Coronas until they were gone. These restaurants offered happy hours that lasted until 8 p.m., or even 10 p.m. Happy hours didn’t require you to go home right after because the one deal cost you $10.

C’mon, Nashville. The South is a place of giving and a place of creating community. The last thing we all want to see is Nashville turn into a bunch of uppity yuppies walking around with their noses in the air, paying $14 for a cocktail. Let’s encourage this town to remain humble and down to earth. And that starts with the community that the town itself creates.

With that being said, my rant is over. I’ve wandered the city to find the best happy hours in Nashville. I haven’t yet made it to all the spots I want to try, but here are some of the best Nashville happy hours that I recommend:

Cabana – I was impressed with this place because they offer 2-for-1 pizza and 2-for-1 Yazoo beer every Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights. And the pizza is delicious! Wednesday nights are “Girl’s Nite Out” with $4 martinis, $4 wine and $6 appetizers. And yes, Cabana extends these specials to the gentlemen as well.

Tavern – Tavern has been a go-to for me since I moved back to Nashville. What makes Tavern’s happy hour so special is that it offers 2-for-1 beer, wine and cocktails from 2 p.m. until 10 p.m. Thursdays. I can hit the gym after work and still make it to happy hour. Tavern has a cool environment, a variety of quality food, outdoor seating and lots of TVs.

The bottle caps appetizer at M.L. Rose is a mix of fried veggies – okra, jalapenos and pickles.

M.L. Rose – I love M.L. Rose so much. It has two locations and each offers a dollar off beer, wine, liquor and appetizers Monday through Friday, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The location on 8th Avenue offers 2-for-1 beer Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to close, and the location on Charlotte Avenue does the same special each Thursday. I highly recommend the bottle caps for an appetizer if you’re into fried veggies – okra, jalapenos and pickles.

The Sutler – The Sutler is a Nashville staple, and it keeps its happy hour going late Monday through Friday. It has half-price beer, wine and cocktails from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the saloon, then continues in the wine cellar from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. with 2-for-1 glasses of wine.

Cilantro – Cilantro is a Mexican grille in the Melrose area that offers an extended happy hour. From 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., you can get 2-for-1 margaritas. But watch out! Cilantro will soon be revising its happy hour to offer extended times and more specials.

Cilantro’s house made margarita’s are made with Sauza’s Gold Tequila.

Jonathan’s Grille – Jonathan’s Grille offers so many fantastic specials every day of the week. And with locations across the greater Nashville area, it’s very accessible. Happy hour is Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and includes 2-for-1 beers and double pours on wine and liquor. Jonathan’s also offers select appetizers for $6 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. It doesn’t stop there though. Wednesday is “Ladies’ Night” with $6 martinis and wine and $6 plates, like chicken tacos and chicken quesadillas. But I’m still not done. There are two beers of the month each month, which are 2-for-1 all day long.

Happy hour at The Family Wash is Monday through Saturday with half-price beer and cocktails-on-tap.

The Family Wash – The Family Wash is an eclectic spot in East Nashville with a cute interior and a fun, dog-friendly outdoor sitting area. Happy hour is from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday with half-price beer and cocktails-on-tap, plus half-price appetizers, like hot beer cheese dip and fried cauliflower. The fried cauliflower is like an explosion of flavor in your mouth. So much so that I won’t try to explain it, you’ll just have to try it for yourself.

Flyte – I really liked Flyte. The regular menu is pricey, but the happy hour menu is awesome. From 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday you can enjoy a dollar off draft beers, $2 select bottled beer, $4 well drinks, $5 select cocktails and $6 house wine. Plus, there are solid appetizers on the happy hour menu. Flyte has a relaxed environment, making it the perfect place to mellow out after a long day.

TCB Reporter Julianne Lackey is a freelance writer and Nashville native. 

Photography by: Lauren Hamilton