A Night Out At McFadden’s


Bridal parties and 20-something fans of Journey, rejoice! Your mother-ship has landed.

This past weekend, my friends and I decided to hit up McFadden’s Restaurant & Pub. Located at 134 2nd Ave North, McFadden’s is a mega-pub chain concept, operated in 10 other cities across the US. From my experiences with the versions in Boston and DC, I can tell you that Nashville’s is no different.

McFadden’s operates on a simple formula; Take a huge restaurant space, make it look like an irish pub, offer ridiculous happy hour specials and watch the lines get longer. The evening we were invited, my friend had gotten us a spot “on the list” along with a $10, all-you-can-drink happy hour from 9 pm until 11 pm. The happy hour specials lived up to everything we hoped for but I have to say that overall, I wasn’t impressed.

The Good

McFadden’s has a ton of corporate money backing it. This means for all of its lack of originality, McFadden’s has two big draws; 20 large flat-screen TV’s and happy hour specials. The staple is $10 all-you-can-drink beers and rail/well drink happy hours from 9 until 11 pm, every Thursday through Saturday.

The Bad

Though the Nashville-based GM has done an admirable job trying to make McFadden’s Nashville feel like a local bar (including hiring a crack bar staff), you can’t escape that feeling that the concept is a bit out of place. Most noticeable to me was that unlike other McFadden’s, Nashville’s only has one real bar. This means that people cram into about 1/6th of the entire space leaving a cavernous back room unfilled and erie.

Additionally, remember me saying something about being “on a list?” Yeah, apparently everyone’s on the list. It’s gimmicks like that and the Coyote Ugly-esqiue bar dancing that has undermined McFadden’s legitimacy in other cities, rendering them more like Disney World than real, local bars.

The Bottom Line

If all you are looking for is a place to take a huge party, McFadden’s Nashville is a great place to do it. If not, trust me when I say I have been here for 4 weeks and can already tell you there are better places to go.

3 Comments so far

  1. Jay (unregistered) on August 28th, 2007 @ 3:40 pm

    “It’s a chain bar” is all you’d have to have said.

  2. Jared (unregistered) on August 28th, 2007 @ 7:06 pm

    Meh, I tried to give them as much of a fair shot as possible. The one in DC has ended up becoming incredibly pretentious. At least this one has a shot of avoiding that fate, albeit a small one.

  3. Chris Wage (unregistered) on August 29th, 2007 @ 1:05 pm

    I’m surprised they haven’t put a back bar in the space in the back.. It was always vaguely underused and empty even when it was Market Street, too..

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