By: Kylie Condon

Lez Explore: Nashville

When people hear “Nashville” they might immediately think country music, but this Tennessee city is so much more than that. I had the privilege of living in Nashville for a couple months while I was working there.  I was a little nervous at first because I’ve really only lived ever in big city liberal bubbles like New York or Los Angeles so I wasn’t sure how this Southern city, in a pretty conservative state, would treat me.  I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Nashville is actually an LGBTQ+ friendly city that was for the most part, very accepting.  For the couple months I called Nashville home, I found some favorite local spots that are great stops if you ever find yourself here and want to venture beyond the honky-tonks on Broadway.

Lipstick Lounge

Lipstick Lounge is located in the hipster East Nashville neighborhood.  With a bench outside in the shape of lips, this place is hard to miss.  This bar was right around the corner from where I was living so it easily became a frequent watering hole.  While not an exclusive lesbian bar, it’s definitely female dominated and lesbian owned.  It’s actually even advertised as “Nashville’s bar for humans.”  Needless to say, this place is accepting of all.  With good food, trivia, bingo, live music and karaoke, this place definitely has something for everyone. Just be cautious when trying your hand at the mic, because after all this is Nashville- a city where nearly everyone is a singer that can blow any amateur karaoke-er away.  Something to note is that Lipstick occasionally charges a cover, but the fun atmosphere is always worth it.  Also, bonus points for a cute outdoor seating area!

Play/Tribe

I’m grouping these together because they’re right next-door and have the same owners.  These two bars can be found on Church Street, which is known as Nashville’s “gay district.”  Play and Tribe may have the same owners, but these spots have very different vibes.  Play is a wild, 18+ late-night dance club.  At Play, you’ll find drag shows and parties going on nearly every night that everyone is invited to – gay, straight, and everything in between.  If you’re feeling low-key, Tribe might be more your scene. Tribe is an upscale “video bar” located next door with music videos constantly on loop.  The bar has a much more laid back vibe with a modern and classy interior.  Tribe is also connected to a restaurant, again owned by the same folks, called Suzy Wong’s House of Yum.  So you can comfortably chill at Tribe and order food from next door if you’re too lazy to walk over.

Suzy Wong’s House of Yum

Sunday is basically a gay holiday and Nashville has no shortage of Sunday Funday activities.  I’d recommend starting your Sunday off at Suzy Wong’s House of Yum for a fun and sassy Drag Brunch.  Unlike many drag brunch spots, the food is actually good here!  It’s run by Arnold Myint, who you might recognize from Bravo’s “Top Chef.”  The restaurant is actually named after Arnold’s drag person “Suzy Wong.”  Suzy’s menu has your brunch basics with an Asian Fusion twist.  The tasty dinner menu at Suzy Wong’s also deserves a mention.  Suzy Wong’s is ideally situated right next to Tribe and Play so you can safely stumble your way over to either once you have a good brunch buzz going.

Trax

Trax is a little off the beaten path and very different from the other bars mentioned.  It’s located south of downtown Nashville near a set of train tracks, hence the name… Trax.  It’s basically a divey sports bar with a very relaxed vibe.  I first came here with my friend who was visiting from New York City, so it was a unique experience from the typical gay bars we’re used to.  The clientele was a little older, made up of mostly gay men and a few women.  All the patrons were seated on stools that surround the bar watching a football game.  My friend and I, who are much less interested in sports, felt a little out of place but decided to stick around for a drink anyways.  The other customers eventually warmed up to us and said they were mostly watching football for the hot guys in tight pants.  We quickly got along well and I met some of the nicest people I’ve met in a bar before.   As more and more regulars came by, with the bartender and patrons on a first name basis, Trax started to feel like the gay “Cheers.”  I’d definitely recommend checking out this hole in the wall if you’re looking for a truly southern and local LGBTQ+ bar experience.

**To follow Kylie and see more travel photos, follow her on Instagram @kyliegurrl and @lezexploreinsta

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