Espresso martinis have been the “it” drink of the last year or so, and there are no shortage of places around town to find one. I’m no coffee connoisseur, so I offered reviews where I could (and will continue to add more), but I welcome your tips on the best ones!
Of course, as with any list on the Tip Jar, menus are subject to change, so please contact the restaurant before you go.
Everyone’s favorite breakfast/lunch restaurant has FOUR boozy coffee options! From a traditional espresso martini (with vodka and rum – so not too traditional), to one made with condensed milk (surefire way to impress me), there’s something to get everyone both buzzed and alert at the same time. Just be sure to go at an off-time or get on the wait list early! BMR is popular for a reason.
The 12South staple has 3 coffee cocktails on their brunch menu – an espresso martini (with vodka AND rum), a cold brew cocktail, and a traditional cocktail with coffee-flavored rum. Their dinner drink menu does not show any espresso drinks, but it never hurts to ask.
It only makes sense that one of the hottest spots in town would also serve the hottest drink. Even for a non-coffee drinker like me, this one is delicious.
A little extra: While the Twelve Thirty Club is in 5th and Broadway, it does not validate parking. However, 5th and Broadway does boast one of the most reasonable parking rates downtown. Or, if you’re willing to walk, Music City Center is sometimes less expensive and the library is always a great bet.
Come for the photo ops, stay for the espresso martini. As with most places downtown, Hampton Social’s drinks are a bit pricey, and their martini is one of the more expensive versions on this list. But, the very Instagram-able ambiance helps soften the blow.
At $12 (inclusive of Nashville’s exorbitant liquor by the drink tax!) the espresso martini at 5 Points Diner is one of the most affordable on this list. However, bear in mind that this is more of a cold-pint-of-beer type of restaurant. Worth a try if you end up there while in a cocktail mood, but I would maybe seek out another spot if you know a bougie martini is your objective.
The Fox Bar has a speakeasy feel, with an extensive cocktail list and beautiful presentation. It’s cozy and romantic, but not so romantic that you can’t go with friends.
Maybe it’s an unfair assumption, but it just seems to me that the places with coffee bars would also serve the best espresso martinis. Hearts has a full coffee bar, but it is a small place that doesn’t take reservations, so plan to go at an off-time or have a small wait.
Dedicated to those who lost their lives in WWII, Mel’s Overlord Bar does this French and History major’s heart good. They keep it local with Frothy Monkey cold brew as their base, but keep it international in their hearts.
One of my friends describes her decorative aesthetic as “jungle chic”, and I can’t think of a better description for Pearl Diver’s tropical vibe. Their espresso martini might also be the most unique on this list, made with chai infused rum. I drank this one at 6 pm which was a huge mistake…but I loved the flavor profile of the chai.
Geist’s vibe fits a bougie drink. While I suspect that many place’s espresso martinis are actually cold brew cocktails, Geist’s definitely is, so keep that in mind if you’re a purist.
I maintain my position that places which serve coffee are the best spots for espresso martinis, and Two Hands, the new Australian-inspired spot in the Gulch (across from Arnolds) is no exception.
A little extra: park behind the Voorhees building and Two Hands will give you a code for up to 2.5 hours free parking.
If you can handle the tourists and influencers, L.A. Jackson at the top of the Thompson Hotel offers a delicious espresso martini. It’s not listed on their online menu, but trust me – it’s there, and it’s yummy.
The brunch staple Milk & Honey closes at 3 pm. So, make sure you get there early to get your boozy caffeine fix!
Another cold brew cocktail, Mockingbird also keeps it local with Frothy Monkey. Go for the martini, stay for the gorgeous wallpaper!
Sinema is what cocktail dreams are made of. Dimly lit with an Old Hollywood feel and the prettiest bathrooms in the city, they also offer a choice of liquors to add to your coffee cocktail.
One of the only places on this list to offer an espresso martini as a happy hour special, the Electric Jane also serves a tiny cannoli with their drink, which makes for a delicious snack and a very cute Instagram photo.
Flatiron feels like the eye of the storm that is the Midtown bars, although it sits right at the end of the chaos. With a pretty bar and good happy hour specials (although not on this list’s drink of choice), it’s worth a visit – and the bartender tells me the liquor in the martini is equivalent to 1.5 shots of espresso.
A martini James Bond would approve of, Henley uses the finest ingredients for their version of the old-turned-newly-popular drink.
Another place where I’m not sure the vibe really matches the fancy factor of an espresso martini, Hi-Fi Clyde’s is nevertheless always a good time, and their brunch burger remains one of the best I’ve ever had.
I’ve actually never been to a Ruth’s Chris, and I want to know if they really give you white or black napkins depending on what you’re wearing, or if that’s an urban legend. Let me know, and also let me know how their martini is.
If ever a restaurant was designed specifically for Instagram, it’s White Limozeen at the top of the Graduate hotel. The server even offered to take my group’s pictures – we hadn’t asked. But, good Xennial that I am, I love some pink Dolly Parton kitsch and elaborate drinks. And, what’s more appropriate for Instagram than a pretty espresso martini?
Honestly, Fable’s extensive cocktail menu is a bit overwhelming. So, familiarize yourself before you go – or better yet, ask your server for guidance. (Hint: their espresso martini is currently listed on page 16 of the menu in the “Perfect for Dessert” section. However, they also have two other coffee-centric drinks on page 13, the “Potions” page.)
Another coffee shop turned bar, Americano Lounge has at least 6 coffee-based libations to suit your palate. Their jazzy atmosphere is perfect for sipping on a classic cocktail with a twist.
A little extra: parking in We-Ho is tricky, but there is a gravel lot behind Jackalope with plenty of space and only a short walk away.
As you might expect from a restaurant that pays homage to Ernest Hemingway, Earnest’s coffee cocktail is made with rum. And, it seems to be only available at brunch. Hemingway himself would surely approve of some day drinking.
Flamingo Cocktail Bar is another place with an espresso martini on the happy hour list. It’s hard to beat $10!
Did I miss any? Nashville menus are always changing, so if you find one that’s not on my list, please let me know! And if you have any reviews of the above – good or bad – leave a comment so we can all learn from your wisdom!