Experience Honky Tonk Culture on Nashville’s Broadway

Nashville Broadway Street
Broadway in Nashville

A meeting in Nashville wouldn’t be complete without country music and whiskey, two things that truly define this Tennessee mecca. While meeting planners can plan a tour of the Johnny Cash Museum or drive attendees outside the city to visit the Jack Daniel Distillery, Nashville’s iconic Broadway street is really where the Nashville magic begins. It is chock full of live music venues and whiskey parlors that give songwriters and bartenders outlets to test their hands at becoming Nashville’s next famous musician or whiskey distiller. One place that is perfect for groups is Whiskey Bent Saloon.

Part live venue, part event space and part whiskey tasting room, Whiskey Bent Saloon gives meeting attendees a taste of what Nashville nightlife is like. While I was there, a local band covered today’s popular country music, such as Big & Rich’s “Save a Horse [Ride a Cowboy],” encouraging the raucous crowd to sing and dance along—typical of most Nashville bars. Meeting planners can arrange for groups to watch bands from the more low-key balcony, or meeting attendees can opt to get rowdy in the crowd.

For larger groups, Whiskey Bent Saloon rents out its Frontier Room—complete with a large stage, full bar, outdoor patio and separate restrooms—where the meeting planner can choose the live entertainment act. In Nashville, there’s plenty. After all, this is the land where street performers are turned into famous musicians and Garth Brooks, Taylor Swift and Trisha Yearwood could be sitting at the table next to you at dinner.

With the largest selection of whiskey on Broadway, Whiskey Bent Saloon also offers a whiskey tasting experience with the Whiskey Guy. Meeting attendees will learn about the origins, flavor profiles and differences between Bourbon, Rye, Scotch, Irish and—perhaps the most coveted in the area—Tennessee whiskies. The Whiskey Guy will lead the group (of at least 20) in a blind tasting of three to five whiskies, in which attendees can interact and discuss the differences of the whiskies before they are told the specific kinds at the end of the tasting. Some lucky groups can even book a special Master Distiller whiskey tasting to learn about the whiskey-making process.

Meeting attendees who are looking for some classic honky tonk, Robert’s Western World—home of the fried bologna sandwich—has some of Broadway’s best traditional country music. The Don Kelley Band plays classic hits by Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline and Hank Williams Sr. almost nightly. Another venue with some boot-stomping tunes is Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge. Both venues can be rented out for corporate events.