Drifters BBQ

1008B Woodland St.
Nashville, TN 37206
websiteDrifters BBQ - Wings3 stars

Barbecue: anywhere you go in Nashville, you’re almost certain to find some great options for smoked meats. Drifters BBQ, just east of the city, is a nightlife spot that offers live music, good craft beers, ample patios for games and a great menu of affordable barbecue dishes. I would primarily call the spot a good nightlife option and place for music near downtown, with the added plus of good food that is served late into the night.

The food here is barbecue-focused, with a lot of different smoked meats represented. Among the good items on the menu worth trying:

  • Barbecue wings: Whole chicken wings cooked in a dry rub and smoked before being char-grilled. I do like the hint of smoke; without being fried, it really adds something to the meat. That said, the char-grill was overdone on the edges of the wings which left them burned, taking a good degree of the flavor and charring it out. Because of this, they’re best with a barbecue sauce.
  • Pulled chicken: The chicken is a white meat, also smoked and served plain, with a little bit of seasoning, opening up the possibility to top with barbecue sauce of your choosing. Not bad at all.
  • Pulled pork: The pulled pork comes in sandwich form, and it’s fantastic. The meat is tender and moist, and once again it stands on its own without need for sauce. But the sauce makes it even better.
  • Barbecue sauces: You have half a dozen options, any of which can be dispensed from the corner of the bar. The “Sweet and Smokey” is a basic, molasses-based sweet sauce, while the “Texas” sauce is a bit more vinegary with a tangier flare. And the “Buffalo” and “Atomic Buffalo” are both burning up, but they’re worthwhile. Some of the sweeter sauces are indistinguishable from one another, though.

The spot attracts people of all kinds, and its music stage certainly means some nights are busier than others. But while there are a lot of barbecue places in town, not a ton of them fulfill this particular niche, open late and with plenty of other reasons to stick around. All-in-all, some dishes are great, some are good, and it’s a destination to be enjoyed for convenience.


  • Drifters is a place for nightlife; with games to play, and a huge patio to enjoy, and a stage for live acts. The kitchen is open later than some surrounding places, too.
  • Give a try to the barbecued wings, though they can be a little burned.
  • The barbecued meats are served without sauces, with the idea being you can top with one of several from the bar. Some of the tastes blend together, but spicy and sweet are good themes.

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