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If you’ve ever been to Nashville, Tenn., you know it’s the home of the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Grand Ole Opry, and the Ryman Auditorium.
On any given night, you can catch a live music performance in the streets or the bars. It’s loud and proud. But there’s a lesser-known street that’s worth a visit called Printers Alley. Nashville may be full of honky tonk, but it’s also full of history.
Let’s take a look at why you should add Printers Alley in Nashville to your itinerary the next time you head south.
What Is Printers Alley Nashville?
The name “Printers Alley” comes from Nashville’s connection to the printing and publishing industries. In the early 1900s, the alley was home to 10 print shops and 13 publishers.
In addition, Nashville’s two largest newspapers, the “Tennessean” and the “Nashville Banner,” had their offices here. Even into the later half of the 20th Century, Nashville was home to more than 36 printing companies.
Hotels, restaurants, and saloons also lined the street. During Prohibition, Printers Alley became the location of speakeasies.
It became the center of Nashville’s nightlife, and by the 1940s, nightclubs opened and welcomed talents like Chet Atkins, Waylon Jennings, The Supremes, Hank Williams, Barbara Mandrell, and Jimi Hendrix.
Where Is Printer’s Alley?
Between Third Avenue and Fourth Avenue in downtown Nashville, you’ll find Printers Alley. It connects Union Street on the north end to Commerce Street on the south end.
Today restaurants and bars line the north end of the street while businesses and offices line the southern end.
Is Printers Alley Nashville Worth It?
Printers Alley is a fantastic part of downtown Nashville. You can enjoy live music, food, and drinks – everything that defines Nashville. Hotels are nearby as well as parking garages.
You could stay on Printers Alley for a weekend and never go anywhere else in Nashville because it has it all right here.
Things to Do in Printer’s Alley Nashville
When you visit, there are a few places you should definitely stop in and see. From shows and bars to tattoo parlors, you won’t be lacking in entertainment.
However, it might be difficult to decide which location you’ll visit if you’re only in town for a couple of days.
Every Day is Mardi Gras at Bourbon Street Blues & Boogie Bar
Address: 220 Printers Alley, Nashville, TN 37201
This New Orleans-style bar has been part of Printers Alley for 25 years. Artists like James Brown and B.B. King have performed here. You can’t miss the NOLA-inspired glowing neon sign and twinkling lights from wrought-iron balconies, and you’ll savor the authentic Cajun and Creole cuisine. Visit The Big Easy in downtown Nashville.
Taste An Authentic Across the Pond Experience at Fleet Street Pub
Address: 207 Printers Alley, Nashville, TN 37201
For a taste from across the Atlantic, visit Fleet Street Pub for a smooth British brew or tasty fish and chips. English bangers, shepherd’s pie, and lamb sliders are some of the menu options that tip their hats to the pubs of England, Scotland, and Ireland.
Enjoy an international soccer game or just hang out and listen to rock music.
Pro Tip: Make the most out of your getaway to Nashville! Take a look at our guide on Planning an RV Trip to Nashville
Catch a Burlesque Show at Skull’s Rainbow Room
Address: 222 Printers Alley, Nashville, TN 37201
Since 1948, Skull’s Rainbow Room has been the center of Printers Alley. First owned by David “Skull” Schulman, he got love from so many that locals named him the mayor of Printers Alley.
Tragically, he died in 1998 and the location closed down. But in 2015, Phil Martin reopened the 140-seat bar and restaurant.
It now pays tribute to Schulman by featuring two of his jackets framed and displayed, the original checkerboard stage, and the black-and-white television that “Skull” watched wrestling matches on.
Every Friday and Saturday night, guests enjoy a Burlesque show starting at 11:00 p.m. Skull’s Rainbow Room also has live jazz music nightly.
Enjoy the View at Bobby Hotel Rooftop Lounge
Address: 230 4th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37219
For a completely different experience than the street-level bars and venues, head up to the rooftop lounge at Bobby Hotel. Ten stories above downtown, the rooftop lounge is walk-in only and first-come, first-served.
Guests can play yard games, sip specialty cocktails, order snacks, and sit in the glow of beautiful downtown views. Have a seat in Bobby’s retrofitted 1956 Scenicruiser and enjoy the night. You can also book a Nashville-themed room at the hotel and enjoy easy access to everything along Printers Alley.
Experience the Dueling Piano Bar
Address: 209 Printers Alley, Nashville, TN 37201
The Big Bang dueling piano bar is a place where you can relax and request your favorite tunes all night long. Nashville’s only dueling piano bar, The Big Bang is inside The Whiskey Shot.
You know you’ll experience a high-energy night with laughing, dancing, and singing when you visit on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night for the live all-request events.
Let Nashville Leave Its Mark on You at Nashville Ink
Address: 330 Commerce St, Nashville, TN 37201
Even though only one tattoo parlor made the list, it certainly earned it. Open seven days a week, Nashville Ink provides tattooing by some of the best artists in the country.
Nashville Ink was featured on Season One of Ink Master: Angels in 2017, where tattoo artist, Rose, won the challenge. The location also has a huge assortment of body jewelry for body piercings. So if you’re ready to change up your look, visit Nashville Ink on Printers Alley.
Keep in Mind: If you’re a fan of country music, then you need to add these 15 Country Songs to Your Next Road Trip
Nashville Is More Than Honky Tonks
Although Nashville is known as the “Country Music Capital of the World,” there’s more to this city than polished guitars and jeweled microphones.
Honky tonk is certainly a huge part of its history and culture, but Nashville has also branched out to include other forms of entertainment. But no matter what type of bar you go to or show you attend, you’re bound to have a good time on Printers Alley. Nashville won’t disappoint!
Have you ever been to Printers Alley in Nashville, Tenn.?