Michael Ray released some of his best work to date when he dropped his 2023 EP, Dive Bars & Broken Hearts. While continuing to deliver real country music to his fans, the singer-songwriter proved that dive bars and broken hearts go hand in hand from start to finish.

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Not only did Ray work with multi-platinum producer Michael Knox on this project, but he also enlisted some of the most famed songwriters in Music City. Ray, along with Morgan Wallen, Hardy, Jesse Frasure, and Josh Phillips, are among the songwriting credits on Dive Bars & Broken Hearts.

“It felt like ‘Dive Bars & Broken Hearts’ was one a wrap-around thing of the last few years in my life. It was just something that I love the name and the title of it, but it just screamed ‘country music,’ and was something that felt like all of us could relate to,” Ray said.

The title track, “Dive Bars & Broken Hearts,” was the first song Ray fell in love with when it came to creating this EP. Ray notes that there are pieces of him in each of the six songs he released.

For Ray, as most of us can agree at some point in time, a dive bar is exactly where you’ll want to go when you’re healing a broken heart. There’s always a lot to look forward to, including live music (you could always request a Michael Ray song, too), good food and drinks, and so much more.

“What I love about dive bars is you can just be yourself. You can show up any way you want to, and you’re always welcome,” Ray said.

So, where would Ray suggest going if you had a broken heart or were simply looking for some off-the-clock fun in general? Lucky for you, we had him reveal his top 5 favorite dive bars in Nashville.

  • 5. Losers

    As it is for most locals in Nashville, one of Ray’s favorite places in the area is Losers located in Midtown (right next door to Winners).

    “Just a great place, great atmosphere. One of those places, being a Nashville local, where you can go out by yourself and go into Losers, and you’re going to end up finding everybody that you know right there. So it’s just a good, country honky tonk,” Ray said.

    Losers Bar & Grill

    1911 Division St, Nashville, TN 37203 / (615) 327-3115

  • 4. Bobby's Idle Hour Tavern

    It’s “Music Row’s Legendary Neighborhood Bar,” as Ray told us, and back in the day, you never know who would pop in between writing sessions for a drink or two (with their guitar) and play on the corner stage. Bobby’s Idle Hour is “one of those historical Nashville dive bars that you got to go check out” during your next trip to Nashville.

    Bobby's Idle Hour Tavern

    9 Music Square S, Nashville, TN 37203 / (615) 649-8530

  • 3. Robert's Western World

    Yes, it’s located on Broadway but according to Ray, aside from being a Nashville staple, it has that dive bar and honky tonk feel to it. If you’ve ever been to Robert’s Western World in Nashville, then you know exactly what he’s talking about. It’s one of the “Dive Bars & Broken Hearts” singer’s favorite bars located on Broadway and one of the best to find great bands while in town. Ray also suggests ordering a fried bologna sandwich, a moon pie, and a cold PBR when you walk through the doors.

    Robert's Western World

    416B Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203

  • 2. Santa's Pub

    If you’re looking for a great dive bar, great karaoke, and an overall great time, then look no further than Santa’s Pub. Ray says this dive bar, in particular, brings back memories for him and will most certainly make you feel at home.

    “As a guy, a fellow trailer kid who grew up in a double-wide trailer, it brings back some family memories. You know, when I go in there. Smoky. My grandma smoked Misty Menthol 120’s. So it kind of takes me back a little bit,” Ray said.

    Santa's Pub

    2225 Bransford Ave, Nashville, TN 37204 / (615) 593-1872

  • 1. The 5 Spot

    The 5 Spot will always have a special place in Michael Ray’s heart. Not only does he describe it as “a cool, just little dive bar with great people and great drinks,” but it’s also where he celebrated the release of the Dive Bars & Broken Hearts EP. Plus, it’s the first stage he performed his current single, “Spirits And Demons” with Meghan Patrick, live for the first time.

    The 5 Spot

    1006 Forest Ave, Nashville, TN 37206 / (615) 650-9333

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