Eat & Play

Eat & Play

Nashville boast a number of restaurants that double as recreation destinations. Although there are plenty of attractions that also serve food, these seem to stand out as 50-50 propositions to eat and play.

Note: Many ideas listed in 50+ Activities for Kids and Families  aren’t just for kids so give that post a look too.

Nashville Underground

Broadway. Located amid the honky tonks is this spot featuring “Broadway Bull and Bowl.” There are TWO mechanical bulls, bowling lanes, duckpin, retro arcade games, a stage for live music, and multiple rooftop experiences including options for private parties. I’ve enjoyed several tasty items from their menu–including their hot chicken which stands up well to the chicken specialists. If you’re looking for more of an adrenaline rush, they also provide a shuttle to the Nashville Armory, a shooting range. (Photo above: Nashville Underground website)

DraftKings

Downtown. You probably associate the name with online betting but this experience is described as “Nashville Live Downtown.” It’s non-stop televised sports including watch parties on the first floor. Upstairs is the PBR Cowboy Bar with high-energy country music and a mechanical bull. The menu, created by James Beard nominee John Suley, is several notches above typical honky tonk and sports bar fare. Check the website for happy hour specials. Note: all online gambling must occur using your personal phone.

Pinewood Social

SoBro. Tucked away amid the historic trolley barns of Rutledge Hill, Pinewood Social manages to combine bowling with a level of sophistication. In addition to the six lanes, the private courtyard offers a deck for sunbathing, a small pool, and bocce’.

6th and Peabody

SoBro. They’ve crammed a lot into this little property. It’s home to Yee-Haw Brewing, Ole Smoky Moonshine sampling bar, Daddy’s Dogs hot dog stand, White Duck Taco Shop, indoor and outdoor stages, two Jumbotrons, and a patio with corn hole and other games. Plus, you can take a brewery tour.

Bad Axe

Play lumberjack for a while in the Paul Bunyan Room, then step into the Blu Ox, Bad Axe’s in-house restaurant. Mostly sports bar fare plus a nod to Canada with its poutine fries sporting cheese curds.

PuttShack

North Gulch. A 20-something friend visited recently with her pals and said this high-tech indoor miniature golf course is a blast. In addition to three 9-hole courses, there’s a bar, restaurant seating, and a private room. Kids are allowed until 8pm, then it’s 21+ until close.

What about "real" golf? Allow me to introduce you to all the public golf courses in the Nashville area.

HiFi Clyde’s

Midtown. My cousin Jim sold sinks and toilets when this was a plumbing supply business; now it’s a lively spot for a bite, a beer, and a bit of play. In addition to all-day brunch, the menu includes sandwiches, salads, and tacos. Play DJ with the juke box or you can amuse yourself with foosball, shooting hoops, ping pong, a shuffleboard table, or watching your favorite sport on TV.

Brooklyn Bowl

Germantown. Despite the name, it’s known primarily as a concert hall to locals. My neighbor took his family to bowl and was impressed with the above-bowling-alley quality of the menu. Nineteen lanes plus a bunch of huge TV screens.

Kung Fu Saloon

Midtown. Inside are skeeball, Galaga, and other vintage video games–free to play. Outside on the patio are Connect-4, cornhole, and a seesaw. The short menu is basically sports bar food but the Cap’n Crunch fried pickles did catch my attention.

Jasper’s

Midtown. I thought Jasper’s was just a combination casual restaurant and grab-and-go market. Oh, but wait–there’s a game room with air hockey, Pac-Man, skeeball, hoops, giant Jenga, and more. More airy and well-lit than your standard sports bar.

TopGolf

East Nashville. Cross the Jefferson Street bridge from Germantown, look to your left, and you’ll see ginormous towers of netting. Welcome to Top Golf. First and foremost, it’s a fancy driving range but there are also games, a bar, and food service at your tee. Adjoining it is The Cowan, a really sharp music venue.

Teeline Nashville

West Nashville. You saw curling on the Olympics and thought, “I could do that.” Here’s your chance to check your chops at Nashville’s only curling venue. There’s also bowling, food, and drink.

Villager Tavern

Hillsboro Village. A well-worn smallish neighborhood hang-out that offers a short-but-tasty menu (gumbo and roast beef po’ boys), a selection of beers, and FREE darts. There’s also an open mic night on Sundays.

Moxy

Hillsboro Village. You don’t have to be a hotel guest to be a patron in the bar which has a pool table and a variety of games. If you’re paying for food or drink, the recreation is free. Also, there’s frequently a DJ on weekends.

Game Terminal

South Nashville. Imagine a museum of video games–except everything is hands-on and operational in this huge arcade. And did I mention “pinball”? When you want to take a break, there’s a patio and along with multiple bars. It’s about two miles southeast of downtown in an industrial district. FREE admission for 21+ because they’re counting on you spending at the bar. The menu is typical sports bar fare. Under 21 is $10 until 8pm, then goes 21+ for the rest of the evening. Most games are free; a few require tokens. Private rooms available.

Eastside Bowl

Madison. Just off Briley Parkway on the north side of East Nashville, this former K-Mart now serves as a music venue, diner, and bowling alley. The arcade houses ’80s-era video games and pinball. Foodwise, the savory shepherd’s pie is famous for being a signature dish at the now-departed Family Wash.

Dave & Buster’s

Opry Mills. The place is huge and offers a lot–bowling, video games, virtual reality experiences, and more–with a non-fussy American menu. Although alcohol is available, I’d say this is about the most kid-friendly place on this list. There’s even a menu for people with allergies.

Bigger into fun than food

These places offer a minimum of food options but score high in fun.

  • K1 Go Kart Racing

    East Nashville. The last time I visited this humongous warehouse, it was a textile recycling facility. Now it’s out with the threads, in with the treads. The course is almost a quarter-mile where electric karts can travel up to 45 mph. It is located in an industrial area about a mile south of Nissan Stadium.

  • No Quarter

    East Nashville. If pinball’s your game, this snug little bar has more than a dozen games to test your skills. Private parties can be arranged.

  • H-Cues

    Hillsboro Village. Recently renovated billiards hall above Pizza Perfect. A Nashville tradition now reborn.

  • PINS

    The Gulch. Foosball, pinball, bocce, duckpin, and pinball–name your game and order your beverage of choice. It shares a building with 16-Bit Bar+Arcade which boasts 30 nostalgic video games. Located at 1102 Grundy Street, good times will be had by all. Happy hour specials Monday-Friday until 7pm. On Sundays until 8pm, kids bowl free and get a free soda.

  • Up/Down Arcade Bar

    East Nashville. A quarter won’t buy you much these days–except maybe here. Most of the 80 video games are throwbacks to the ’80s and ’90s but there’s also skeeball, bocce’,  plus-sized Connect4, and more. The menu is big into beer and cocktails but you can also get a housemade pizza.

Recommendations for Southern Dining

  • Hot Chicken These folks are specialists in poultry purgatory.
  • When Not Everyone Wants Hot Chicken  These restaurants have wider (and less spicy) offerings.
  • Barbecue  From Texas brisket to Carolina pulled pork, we can satisfy your cravings.
  • Meat-and-Threes   Downhome dining on fried chicken, chicken’n’dumplings, banana pudding, and such.
  • Local Favorites  Not all of Nashville’s greatest hits are musical…and these are places locals love.