Nashville

The 13 Best Ice Cream Shops in Nashville

Cool off with something sweet.

Courtesy of The Baked Bear
Courtesy of The Baked Bear
Courtesy of The Baked Bear

When it’s summer in the city, specifically Music City, ice cream is front-of-mind. Nashville is blessed with some fine scoopin’ parlors, and you’ll probably be seeking out at least a couple from this list of the best. First, some ground rules. We’re talking ice cream, not gelato, frozen yogurt, shaved ice, etc. While those might also be delightful treats, they don’t make us scream for ice cream. Nope, we’re talking butterfat: in a cone, a cup, a float, or a milkshake. Sometimes you just have to stick with the classics.

Courtesy of Bobbie's Dairy Dip
Courtesy of Bobbie’s Dairy Dip
Courtesy of Bobbie’s Dairy Dip

Bobbie’s Dairy Dip

West Nashville
Since 1951, the first cone of soft serve from Bobbie’s Dairy Dip dripping down your arm has been an annual rite of spring. Forget about the swallows returning to Capistrano, Bobbie’s annual reopening after winter break is what many Nashvillians consider the official kickoff of the season, and a burger with a chilly chaser is the ideal way to welcome spring back to town.
How to order: Walk up to the window and place your order to eat at a picnic table or use Grubhub for carryout and delivery.

Fryce Cream

12 South
This weekend pop-up at the flexible restaurant space “Insert Chef Here” is the brainchild of Jeremy Barlow, an incredibly versatile chef who is as comfortable with fine dining as he is with ultra-casual street food. If you’ve already discovered the joy of dipping fast food fries into the frozen chocolate concrete that passes for a milkshake, you’re gonna love Barlow’s Fryce Cream! He offers gourmet soft serve flavors served with crispy fries that you can order dusted with exotic spice blends like “Nashville hot” or shawarma seasoning. Dip them in your ice cream or in available dipping sauces such as wasabi aioli or Barlow’s “magic sauce.” Add on a drizzle of honey peach syrup for a complete treat.
How to order: There’s a small dining area inside, but most people just walk up to order and then carry their bounty across the street to enjoy it in Sevier Park.

Courtesy of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams
Courtesy of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Courtesy of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Various
Since first arriving in Nashville more than a decade ago, Jeni’s has spread like mushrooms on the forest floor after a hard summer rain, expanding to nine locations around Middle Tennessee. It’s amazing what the power of selling high butterfat content frozen deliciousness will do for a company’s success. Their scoop shops almost always have a line of customers out the door waiting their turn to dive into a cup of rich, velvety ice cream featuring insane flavor combos like raspberry rose jelly donut, sweet cream biscuits and peach jam, or Boston cream pie.
How to order: Order online for local or nationwide delivery.

The Ice Cream Bar

South Nashville
For those who subscribe to the maxim, “Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first!”, this is an excellent place to start, because dessert is pretty much all they do. The colorful and festive decor gets the party started as soon as you walk through the door, and dozens of ice cream flavors choices will widen that grin even further. The menu features whimsical riffs on classic desserts like ice cream tacos and burritos, a chocolate martini, and even a cream dog with a churro on a bun standing in for the weiner. Food should be fun, and they get that here.
How to order: Call 615-490-3864 to order ahead, but this food really doesn’t travel that well. Eat it where you get it!

Courtesy of Pied Piper Creamery
Courtesy of Pied Piper Creamery
Courtesy of Pied Piper Creamery

Pied Piper Creamery

East Nashville
The premier scoop shop across the river from downtown is Pied Piper, a long-time neighborhood fixture that makes ice cream that tastes like you churned it yourself at a summer picnic. Fortunately, they do all the work crafting flavors like red velvet Elvis, s’mores, or caramel turtle cheesecake. They also make some fantastic ice cream pies if you call in advance to order one.
How to order: Dine in or pick up pints from Hunter’s Station a little closer to the urban core. You can contact them online for special orders.

Mike’s Ice Cream

Downtown
Unlike other downtown establishments that are named after celebrities that tend to chase off locals (we’re looking at you Kid Rock), Mike was a welcome addition to Lower Broad when he opened this throwback ice cream parlor in a historic building near the foot of Broadway. Hand-scooped cups and cones are just the start at Mike’s, so make sure to read the whole menu or you’ll miss out on old timey treats like egg creams, sundaes, and floats.
How to order: Order at the counter of call ahead to 615-742-6453 for carryout.

Courtesy of Elliston Place Soda Shop
Courtesy of Elliston Place Soda Shop
Courtesy of Elliston Place Soda Shop

Elliston Place Soda Shop

Midtown
Before moving into a refurbished building next door, Elliston Place Soda Shop used to hold the distinction as Nashville’s oldest restaurant still operating in its original location. After more than 80 years in business, they deserved a bit of an upgrade, but the new dining area still exudes the retro cool vibe of the original. They’re best known for their shakes that are often smuggled into rooms in the many surrounding hospitals as a treat for a patient who is tired of cafeteria food. While it’s tough to beat the classic Neapolitan flavor trio of chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry, don’t miss out on other options with add-ins like Oreos, Butterfingers, or Nutter Butter.
How to order: Order online for carryout.

Gracie’s Milkshake Bar

West Nashville
Whatever started the trend of over-the-top milkshakes with so many toppings that they loom over the rim of the glass, we can’t say we’re mad at it. At this cozy little shop in the L&L Market Food Hall, they create shakes that are total clickbait on the ‘Gram, even if they are pretty difficult to actually consume. With toppings atop toppings, you can turn a Gracie’s milkshake into a six-course meal, as long as that meal is dessert.
How to order:
These pieces of culinary art wouldn’t survive carryout or delivery anyway, so step right up and order from the counter.

Legendairy Milkshake Bar

Downtown
Nashville’s original extreme shake shop, Legendairy is nationally known for their photogenic ice cream treats. Served in a glass jar rimmed with chocolate, marshmallow, peanut butter, or vanilla icing, these shakes are based on classic ice cream flavors and syrup drizzles that are then tarted up with any number of sprinkles, cookie crumbles, cotton candy, brownies, donuts, cheesecake, or fruit. Moderation is not something they practice at Legendairy. 
How to order: You’ll need to be on-site to place your order, but you might want to preview the menu online in advance, because it’s, well, a lot.

Courtesy of Hattie Jane's Creamery
Courtesy of Hattie Jane’s Creamery
Courtesy of Hattie Jane’s Creamery

Hattie Jane’s Creamery

Downtown
After years of attracting Nashville ice cream lovers to the ‘burbs to enjoy their luscious small-batch ice cream made from milk provided by local cows, Hattie Jane’s has finally opened their first location in the big city. Their stall in the massive new Assembly Food Hall is already introducing the masses to their brand of classic Southern flavors like brown butter pecan, nana puddin’, and Mulekick made with Muletown roasted coffee beans.
How to order: Hattie Jane’s isn’t taking orders online quite yet, but they intend to soon, so keep an eye on their website.

Mimi’s Ice Cream and Coffee Shoppe

Donelson
This family affair has been around for three generations, with the grandson of the original Mimi currently in charge. They haven’t changed much about the place in all those years, but the nostalgic charm is what attracts tourists to the area around Gaylord Opryland Resort anyway. The kitchen makes two dozen old-school flavors by hand every day, and they take advantage of seasonal flavors like peach and pecans to whip up specialties at the peak of freshness.
How to order: Call 615-724-1201 in advance for carryout orders.

Courtesy of The Baked Bear
Courtesy of The Baked Bear
Courtesy of The Baked Bear

The Baked Bear

Midtown
Two friends from California looked at the ice cream market and decided they saw a gaping hole in the usual offerings: nobody was serving a real kickass ice cream sandwich. They decided to do it themselves by opening The Baked Bear, and eventually bringing an outpost to Nashville. The three-step ordering process involves choosing a cookie from a long list of options ranging from chocolate chip to red velvet, selecting from a dozen ice cream flavors to slide between those cookies and then picking either syrupy or crunchy toppings to finish it off. If you’re feeling adventurous, add the fourth step of asking them to warm it up for you.
How to order: Order online for pickup or delivery.

La Michoacana Premium

South Nashville
You don’t really know what ice cream obsession truly is until you visit a Mexican scoopery. Baskin-Robbins’ 31 flavors wouldn’t even take up the first page of the menu at La Michoacana, where rows of freezers line the walls filled with both familiar flavors and more exotic ones that are popular in Latin America. Step outside your usual comfort zone to experience flavors like passionfruit, rice and raisin, queso, and tamarind. You’ll be rewarded for your bravery with some truly unique ice creams that will expand your mind and tickle your tastebuds. 
How to order: You really need to lay eyes on all those tubs full of ice creams, but you can order for delivery via DoorDash.

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Chris Chamberlain is a Nashville born and raised food, drink and travel writer who is a pretty accomplished cook in his own right. But even he has trouble cooking a decent medium-well burger over an open fire, so you can often find him at one of these places leaving it to the professionals. Follow the burger-meister on Twitter @CeeElCee.

Nashville

How to Get into Nashville’s Best Speakeasies and Secret Bars

Nashville's speakeasies have impeccable cocktails and even better vibes.

One More Cocktail Club
One More Cocktail Club
One More Cocktail Club

It’s not like it’s difficult to find a spot for a proper cocktail in Nashville, except when it’s intentionally hard. Some of Nashville’s finest bars are a little more hidden away, to create a sense of exclusivity and limit crowds so that talented bartenders can offer the sort of individualized attention that their inventive drinks deserve. Besides, it’s nice to have a conversation at a bar where you don’t have to yell to be heard. Here are some of our favourite places to chill.

The Fox Bar & Cocktail Club
The Fox Bar & Cocktail Club
The Fox Bar & Cocktail Club

The Fox Bar and Cocktail Club

South InglewoodThe talented mixologists at The Fox are a big part of the attraction, and some of their novel takes on classic cocktails have actually won national awards in recipe contests. But even if all you want is a proper gin and tonic, you’ll be delighted by the cozy library vibe of the East Nashville emporium. The bar staff insists on seasonal, locally sourced ingredients, so the drink menu changes frequently. Don’t worry if your favourite rolls off, because there’s sure to be something new to delight you.

Danielle B. Atkins
Danielle B. Atkins
Danielle B. Atkins

Attaboy

East NashvilleAn outpost of the James Beard Award-nominated NYC cocktail bar, Nashville’s version of Attaboy is no slouch either. Well, the building is kindy slouchy, a cinderblock edifice hidden away in an alley where guests are invited to “knock gently” to gain entry. If the bar is full, you’ll have to wait outside, but once you gain entrance, the fun really begins. Bartenders interview patrons about their drink preferences and then compose cocktails on the fly to fulfil their wildest dreams. Sit at the bar or settle into a blue velvet booth to enjoy a completely crafty cocktail or two.

Hidden Bar
Hidden Bar
Hidden Bar

Hidden Bar

DowntownThis subterranean lair in the Noelle hotel downtown is intentionally difficult to find. The entrance is through a door you’d probably never pass through unless you work for the hotel cleaning staff, but it’s a passage to something wonderful. Hidden Bar often stages thematic pop-ups that extend to both the riotous decor and the drink list, and large-format drinks are designed for sharing, so bring a few friends.

Skull's Rainbow Room
Skull’s Rainbow Room
Skull’s Rainbow Room

Skull’s Rainbow Room

Printer’s AlleySkull’s has been a Printers Alley institution since the middle of the last century, except for the few years it was closed when notorious club owner David “Skull” Schulman was murdered, reportedly by someone that knew he always kept the evening’s cash receipts in the top pocket of his trademark overalls. Since reopening, the showroom has revived the old-school vibe with nightly jazz and burlesque shows, classic cocktails served from an elaborate wooden bar and a restaurant that features an excellent chophouse menu. It’s easy to forget the time during an evening at Skulls. Heck, it’s easy to forget what decade it is.

Bar Sovereign
Bar Sovereign
Bar Sovereign

Bar Sovereign

SoBroTucked away in a nondescript strip mall among the towering hotel buildings of SoBro, Bar Sovereign’s entrance is marked only by a small golden plaque that is fortunately close to eye level. Inside is a wonderland of bold artwork covering the walls, a sculpture created from a disassembled piano behind the bar and a menu of interesting and affordable cocktails that is rare to find amongst the nearby tourist destinations. The atmosphere gets a little wilder late at night when DJs spin tunes for the party people and industry folks looking to blow off a little steam at the end of a shift.

Bay 6
Bay 6
Bay 6

Bay 6

East NashvilleThis microbar has a double punny name. First of all, it is, indeed, crammed into the sixth bay of what used to be a self-service car wash before the building was converted into an elevated food and drink court with international carryout restaurants occupying the other quintet of stalls. Secondly, the menu is intentionally basic, with simple, well-made cocktails designed to be served quickly so that guests can enjoy them in one of the very few seats in Bay 6 or carry them out to the lively outdoor patio where patrons enjoy their food from one of the options at The Wash.

Green Hour
Green Hour
Green Hour

Green Hour

GermantownBy day, Tempered Fine Chocolates occupies this space, but on Thursday through Saturday evenings, they unpack the bottles, build a bar and flick on the green light that lets tipplers know that Green Hour is now in session. Dedicated to the exotic “Green Fairy,” absinthe, the bar offers pours of more than a dozen versions of the anise-flavoured spirit. Enjoy a classic absinthe service with drops of water to open up the aromas and flavours or order a flight of three for comparison. The bartenders also employ absinthe in an array of exotic cocktails, but if you don’t like licorice, you might want to pass.

Never Never
Never Never
Never Never

Never Never

Wedgewood-HoustonIt’s not like they’re trying to hide Never Never. It’s just that the former welding shop is so non-descript and hidden away next to the railroad tracks, you might need someone to show you the way to the front door. It’s worth the hunt, though, because the cocktails are both clever and cheap. Enjoy small bites, beer, wine and cocktails at the amiable dimly-lit bar or discover the patio oasis out back that feels like being a guest at a friend’s house party.

Minerva Avenue
Minerva Avenue
Minerva Avenue

Minerva Ave

North NashvilleDress to impress at this Tennessee State University neighbourhood cocktail lounge. A tall fence surrounds the compound to provide privacy, but once you knock for admission, you’ll encounter an expansive outdoor deck with cabanas, fire pits and an outdoor bar. Inside, it’s a little more vibey with plush booths, dramatic lighting accents as well as nostalgic music and artwork. Smokers can enjoy hookah service and cigars, and bottle service is available for high rollers.

One More Cocktail Club
One More Cocktail Club
One More Cocktail Club

One More Cocktail Club

DowntownTucked away in the hallway outside of Level 3 South at the Assembly Food Hall, One More Cocktail Club feels like worlds away from the tourist throngs below. There’s only room for a couple of dozen guests in the chic lounge, so everyone is treated like a VIP. The menu is a mix of new craft cocktails and classics, with special attention paid to creating beautiful works of art including appropriate garnishes. A tight menu of red, white and bubbly wines is also available for those in the know.

Pushing Daisies Underground Margaritas
Pushing Daisies Underground Margaritas
Pushing Daisies Underground Margaritas

Pushing Daisies

DowntownIf you park on the top deck of the garage below the Fifth + Broad retail/dining/entertainment complex across from the Bridgestone Arena, you’ll actually have to walk down to get to Pushing Daisies, home of “underground margaritas.” Named after the class of cocktails that feature citrus, sweet and sour, this hot new lounge concentrates on the tequila version of the whiskey sour or daiquiri. Margaritas are crafted using luxury ingredients and quaffed by a hip crowd of guests enjoying pumping music and dramatic lighting. It’s definitely a scene to be seen.

The Late Great
The Late Great
The Late Great

The Late Great

Demonbreun/Music RowFor the first year this cocktail lounge at the Virgin Nashville was open, it wasn’t really open. Instead, it was a private membership club with an entrance hidden away even from hotel guests. Now, we civilians can make reservations for a three-cocktail “experience” in this shrine to music and creativity, decorated like the writers’ lounge outside the legendary recording studios on nearby Music Row. Private memberships are still available if you’re so inclined and still flush with those songwriter royalty checks.

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Sarah Carter is a writer and country music lover living in Lebanon, Tennessee. Follow her (mostly southern) regional exploits and stories on Instagram.

Chris Chamberlain is a food, drink, and travel writer based out of his hometown of Nashville. Find him on Twitter @CeeElCee.

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