Lonely Planet Writer

There's a new way to party in downtown Nashville – on a barge!

Move over hayrides, limos, party buses and pedal taverns – there’s a way to party in downtown Nashville, without being stuck in traffic. The Pontoon Saloon is the first ‘party barge’ in the city, launched by local resident Andrew Ostrowski this summer. For $45, visitors and locals can book a spot on a two-hour cruise down the Cumberland River, passing the downtown honky-tonks and Nissan Stadium.

Nashville streetscape
Downtown Nashville, Tennessee. Image by: f11photo/ShutterstockRF

Ostrowski’s custom-made, 50-foot pontoon boat has plenty of seating and tables, plus a wraparound bar rail at the front. This being Music City, there’s also a sound system that allows customers to play their own music using Spotify. The boat holds about 45 passengers.

‘You get the fun party scene, you get people from all over that come on board, and you get the outdoors without the congestion of downtown Nashville,’ Ostrowski told the Tennessean.

One thing the Pontoon Saloon doesn’t supply? Food and drink. Passengers must bring their own, though the boat has ice and coolers. At least two staff members are present for each cruise, and no swimming is allowed due to the strong current on the Cumberland.

After only two months in operation and almost no advertising, Ostrowski says he’s receiving some 60 inquiries a day about bookings. He plans to host themed cruises, like a beer cruise, Titans tailgate parties and a special run for the 21 August solar eclipse.

The Pontoon Saloon is just the latest ‘group party’ option for Nashville visitors, whose numbers have exploded in recent years. Due to the level of interest, Ostrowski is considering adding to his fleet. ‘Everyone is asking about the second boat!’