Jun 2, 2023 - Food and Drink

Nashville's Rice Vice makes list of top bars in the U.S.

The bar at Rice Vice.

Photo: courtesy of Rice Vice

The Rice Vice hype train is reaching a national audience, as Esquire magazine named the Nashville saké bar one of the best bars in the entire nation.

Flashback: Loyal Axios Nashville readers were ahead of the curve. We spotlighted Rice Vice and its attached brewery Proper Saké when it opened at its new location off East Trinity Lane last year.

Flashback even further: Nate and Adam have been frequenting Proper for several years, turning Friday after-work drinks into a weekly tradition and befriending the bartender (Hi, Courtney).

  • There are precious few saké breweries in the entire country and only one in Nashville.
  • Owner Byron Stithem handbuilt the bar and seating with his father-in-law. He mastered the traditional Japanese brewing method and offers a variety of sakés to accommodate newcomers and hardcore rice nerds alike.

💭 Nate's thought bubble: It's kinda like that punk band you love when they first come out, and they're all rough around the edges and loud. Then they start to make catchy, poppier songs and your non-punk friends start listening, too.

  • No matter how popular Rice Vice gets, under no circumstances will we cease drinking there.
  • If I could recommend one drink at Rice Vice, it would be a menu newbie called Variant, which is slightly bubbly and faintly tastes like a delicious pear without being too sweet.

What they're saying: "This is that rare sake bar that doesn't try to mimic a spot you'd find in Tokyo. It feels like it couldn't be anywhere but East Nashville," Esquire says in its write-up.

  • Lucky us.

Go deeper: The best bars in Nashville, sorted by atmosphere

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