Considering Nashville’s music notoriety and history of nightclubs, you’d think the oldest bar would be a swank, historic destination. It is not swank. The reviews we read on Yelp, in fact, called it “the divyest dive bar you’ll find.” One review even said, “walked in, turned around and walked right back out. I still smell like smoke”. We went to Nashville prepared to clutch our wallets close and watch our backs for a knife fight. We arrived in the early afternoon, under the protection of broad daylight, and took pictures of the near windowless, signless, painted shed like exterior. Not deterred by the broken window in the front, determined to fulfill our mission of visiting the oldest bar in every state, we held our breath and walked in.
We were immediately greeted by Angel, a very friendly sweet bartender. There was no one else in the bar yet, so we took a seat at the bar and looked around. The atmosphere was definitely divey but with charm and character. They weren’t serving any food yet in the afternoon, but invited us to bring over barbecue from Hog Heaven next door which was so good we went back for more. By the time we were on our second beer, there were 7 or 8 patrons who had strolled in, about half through the back door, who not only all seemed to know each other but were friendly enough to strike up conversations with us. We learned this is the quintessential local bar where everybody knows each other and are warm and welcoming to strangers.
It was hard to find much on the history of The Springwater Supper Club. I mostly just found local reviews and stories about the place. According to these unverified tales, Al Capone partied here when things got hot up north. Jimmy Hoffa also threw back a few at the club, but most recently, The Black Keys shot their “Little Black Submarine” in front of the red glitter curtained stage. The club is now the hot destination for punk and indie music, and we are told that the place takes on a whole different atmosphere at night. This place lives up to its seedy reputation in the best possible way!