Julie United States 20 Comments

The Bluebird Cafe is one of the most popular destinations in Nashville. Most people come to listen to talented artists play their music in the writers-in-the-round. This is enough to sell out the tickets at Bluebird Cafe every night and leave others waiting in line, hoping to get a seat. But the Bluebird Cafe reached a whole new level of popularity when it was regularly featured on ABC’s “Nashville” television series. Now people come to the Bluebird Cafe just to get a peek into this very famous Nashville spot.

Tim and I visited the Bluebird Cafe at the advice of friends. We were naive to the fact that the Bluebird Cafe is such a popular place in Nashville, but as the line for seats steadily grew to over 60 people, we quickly learned how hot this place is. With proper planning (and maybe a wait in line) we tell you how to get a seat at the famous Bluebird Cafe.

How to Get a Seat at the Bluebird Cafe

Option #1 Purchase Tickets on Bluebird Cafe’s Website

This is the easiest and most time effective method. Tickets can be purchased directly on Bluebird’s website. It is a small venue with only 20 tables. Tickets go fast!! I talked to a person in line who was lucky enough to reserve her tickets online. She said that within ten minutes of the tickets becoming available online, they sold out. Therefore, you need to be ready to purchase your tickets as soon as they are available.

  • For Friday, Saturday and Sunday shows, tickets are available Monday 8 am CST of that week.
  • For Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday shows, tickets are available one week ahead of time (Tuesday for Tuesday, etc.) at 8 am CST.
  • For Monday, seats are first-come first-served for the 6 pm open mic show and the 9:30 pm show.

There is a $4 reservation fee. You can only reserve up to 6 seats.

To purchase tickets online or to get more information from the Bluebird Cafe website, click here. I highly recommend you take a look at the Bluebird Cafe website and read their procedure on reserving your tickets.

Option #2 Wait in Line for the Remaining Seats

So, what if you don’t have reserved tickets? There still is a chance to get into the Bluebird Cafe but be prepared to wait in line.

Tim at Bluebird Cafe

For the first show, there are first-come, first-served seats available in church pew seating (10 to 12 seats). If there are any cancellations, those waiting in line can also get these seats. 

For the late shows, both the bar and the pews are reserved in advance. You can wait in line but you will only get a seat if there are any cancellations or no-shows.

Bluebird Cafe LineHow long will you have to wait in line? Between 2 to 3 hours before opening time. We were here on a Saturday (in 2015). Doors opened at 5:30 for a 6:30 show. We were the first ones in line at 2:50 pm. At 3:00 groups of people started queuing and by 3:30 there were at least 20 people in line. The line continued to grow until 5:30 and at our last count there were over 60 people in line.

This option only works for the first show of the night Tuesday through Sunday. The second show is reservation only, although they will take walk-ins for the few cancellations they may get. So, if you don’t get into the first show of the night, most likely you are out of luck.

Where to Wait in Line. When looking at the Bluebird Cafe, those waiting for the first-come, first-served seats stand to the right of the door. There is a sign on their storefront with instructions.

Inside the Bluebird Cafe

Those with reserved tickets get seated in tables spread about the room. These are the best seats to have.

The 10 to 12 walk-ins get the church pew seating. There are several pews arranged in “stadium style” seating. The disadvantage to these seats is that you do not have a table to put your food or drinks on, but at least you have a seat!!

Bluebird Cafe

Before and during the show, waitresses serve food and drinks. You can come hungry because you can order dinner off of their menu.

Is there a minimum age? Nope. Kids are allowed although they are not permitted to sit at the bar.

How much does it cost? For those who enter as a walk-in, there is no charge. For those who reserved their tickets online, there is a $3.28 surcharge per person. You will also be charged a $10 food and drink minimum (per person).

Bluebird Cafe

Two Story Road at Bluebird Cafe

About Our Experience

We arrived at the Bluebird Cafe at 2:45 on a Saturday in February. Tim and I pulled up to a strip mall, wondering if we were at the right place. I double checked Google maps…how can something so iconic to Nashville be tucked away in a tiny strip mall? Well, we were in the right place.

When we saw there was no line we decided to wait. Maybe it would be worth it. Honestly, we had no idea what the Bluebird Cafe was all about, we were just there on recommendations from many of our friends.

Bluebird Cafe BarAs the line grew and grew, we knew that the Bluebird Cafe must be something special. At 5:30 we were led inside, took our seats at the corner of the bar (bar seating is no longer available for walk-ins) and ordered our food and drinks. During the course of the hour guests filtered in and then the artists took their seats in the center of the room.

Tonight’s performance featured five singer/songwriters. Their talent was incredible. You do not have to be a country music fan to appreciate the music here. Never have I listened to an artist when I’d be laughing during one song and almost in tears during their next song. Plus, the interaction and camaraderie between the artists made the whole experience even more enjoyable. The Bluebird Cafe is a small venue, which gives it an intimate yet casual feel.

Listening to the artists perform their music was amazing and remains our favorite thing we did in Nashville. We would go back to Nashville just to go to the Bluebird Cafe again.

So, get in line early! It is absolutely worth it. The Bluebird Cafe was our favorite thing we did in Nashville and we would wait in that same line and do it all over again!

Going to Nashville? Check out our related articles 12 Best Things to do in Nashville and Where to Eat in Nashville.

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How to get a seat at the Bluebird Cafe


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Comments 20

  1. Avatar for Edna Phelps
    Edna Phelps

    Do you have T-shirt’s etc for sale and do you have to have reservations to get them
    We are coming to Nashville in September and would love to buy something from the Blue Bird Was a hugh fan of the tv Nashville show

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      We are not directly affiliated with the Bluebird Cafe. You will have to contact them directly about T-shirts (link is in the post). Cheers, Julie

  2. Avatar for Hannah

    Hi Julie!

    Thanks for the great article, hoping I’m quick enough to get a reservation! Just curious, how long do shows usually last?


    1. Avatar for Julie Post
  3. Avatar for Julie
    1. Avatar for Julie Post
  4. Avatar for Lauren Catlin
    Lauren Catlin

    We had a large group and we were only able to get one four-top table, but we have three additional people in our group. Any suggestions on how to buy 3 more reserved tickets? The show sold out in 6 minutes. Thanks!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      I think that once the show is sold out, you cannot purchase anymore reserved tickets. The other three people in your group may have to arrive very early to get the first-come, first-serve seats. You might want to contact the Bluebird Cafe to see what they recommend. – Julie

  5. Avatar for Dan Sifuentes
    1. Avatar for Julie Post
  6. Avatar for Bluebird Cafe
    Bluebird Cafe

    Hi Guys,

    The Bluebird Cafe here! Thanks you for this great article. A few small corrections, for the early show the pews are unreserved, which means we have about 10-12 walk-up seats available. For the late shows both the bar and the pews are reserved which mean we only have about 5 or so walk-up seats available.

    Also, the reservation fee is $3 plus tax.

    Thanks and see you soon at the Bluebird Cafe.

    Team Bluebird

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Thanks for this update!! And also thanks for a fabulous time…the Bluebird Cafe was our best experience in Nashville. Cheers, Julie

  7. Avatar for Paola Castillo
    Paola Castillo

    So on a Monday night- do you also suggest getting there 2 hours in advance? so like 3:30pm? Or would showing up closer to 5pm be okay? I’m going this weekend and am able to fit it Monday night.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Paola. I think it is better to get there early and know you will get a seat than to arrive too late. On a Monday, maybe 5 pm is OK, although I do not know for sure. If it were me, and if I really wanted to make sure I got a seat, I’d get there around 3:30 pm, maybe even closer to 3. That’s just my advice based on our experience. If you go, let us know what time you got there and how it worked it for you. Our readers would love to know what to expect on a Monday night! Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for Alice

        Paola did you go ? I would love to hear how it worked for you. We are going to Nasvhville and will be in town Sunday and Monday night. Wondering what time to arrive for a Sunday or Monday show. I get really worn out standing in line for over 3 hours.

  8. Pingback: Nashville's Legendary Bluebird Cafe: How to get a seat! - PatriciaSTRAUS Nashville Luxury Real Estate

  9. Avatar for Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams
    Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams

    I really wish I read this before I went last week! I highly recommend to visitors during the summer months to use caution when waiting in line as the heat was unbearable. There is no cover from the sun and unfortunately the heat index was really high when I went. We had a good spot in line but we didn’t last more than 10 minutes waiting (as we decided to leave they announced they were over capacity). That day they only let about 30 people into the cafe for the writers night show. I can’t wait to go back and try again during the Fall or Spring.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Amanda. Wow. It sounds brutal to have to wait in line during the summer months. Thank you for sharing your experience!! – Julie

  10. Avatar for Amanda jean
    Amanda jean

    Hi! I’m going to Nashville next week…if we get reservations online (hopefully) do we still need to wait in line? Thanks!!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Amanda,

      No, you do not have to wait in line if you get online reservations. Your reservation will guarantee your seats. But I did see a lot of people with online reservations arriving early (about a half hour before opening time). There is a separate line for “advance ticket holders.” Enjoy!! It’s a fabulous experience!


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