Make Your Way Downtown to Try These 6 Franklin Cocktail Spots

The half-mile stretch that is downtown Franklin’s bustling Main Street is packed with every good thing imaginable: adorable shops, impressive restaurants that span fine dining and comfort food, friendly visitors, and, of course, plenty of local watering holes. We’ve come a long way when it comes to cocktail offerings over the years, evolving from a few small (albeit excellent) bars to innovative cocktail programs at swanky spots, a historic wine bar, a distillery, and even our own speakeasy. 

From girls’ nights to work happy hours, boozy bar crawls and toasts to special occasions, downtown Franklin has a spot for it all. Check out these six new and time-honored drink destinations on Main Street. 

Bestia Mare

It’s no secret that Tennessee is landlocked (although, we’re grateful for the Harpeth River that winds through Franklin), which made securing our own seafood-forward restaurant on Main Street all the more exciting. From the team behind Culaccino comes Bestia Mare, which merges the beloved Italian flavors with coastal influences. We’re here to talk cocktails, though, and Bestia Mare stacks right up there with the best of them, offering a menu of re-imagined favorites like a watermelon margarita and an herby martini alongside a beer and wine menu. 

Gray’s on Main

The Gray’s marquee is a Main Street icon and has drawn many visitors to the pharmacy-turned-restaurant since 2013. The beautifully restored 19th century building pairs well with the menu of elevated Southern dishes and knock-your-socks-off cocktails. Sip on a seasonal concoction like the wintery Stag’s Leap made with whiskey and apple butter, or the vodka-forward Morning Glory with spiced pear liqueur while you enjoy live music and good company. 

O’ Be Joyful

Gray’s on Main’s next door neighbor is not to be missed. This small but mighty cocktail bar focuses on bourbon and whiskey, offering one of the best old-fashioneds in town (pro tip: always order a mint julep. They don’t always have the ingredients, but when they do, it’s *chef’s kiss*). The whiskey list may take up five menu pages, but fear not, there are other spirit options as well as beer and wine, plus some bar food. 

Amendment XVIII

Big news: Franklin has a speakeasy! Amendment XVIII (that’s 18, you’re welcome) was originally in Westhaven and was one of my favorite cocktail bars in the area. The new digs are located behind Mellow Mushroom… as in, you have to go to the back service entrance off the square. Once inside, locate the “Frankenstein” switch box, pull the lever, and a green light will come on alerting staff that you’re waiting. You’ll then be ushered to a cozy table and treated to an impressive book of cocktail options. 

Stable Reserve

Coffee shop by day, cocktail bar by night. This Main Street newcomer, housed in what was once horse stables, comes with its own line of spirits. It’s a tough choice between a caffeine kick or a cocktail, but Stable Reserve offers both in a cozy, lounge-style space. The espresso martini here is to die for, made with their own bourbon cream liqueur. Yes, you can buy a bottle to keep in your own cabinet. 

JJ’s Wine Bar

There’s an old but oh-so charming white house situated north of the square on Main Street with a delightful surprise waiting inside. JJ’s Wine Bar is known for its wine (as its name suggests), but you get to be a kid again here, thanks to the vending machine system. Pre-load a JJ’s card, then use it to dispense a taster or a full glass of a variety of wines from chic machines. In addition to the wine, there’s a full bar with spirits and beer, as well as snacks like dips and flatbreads.