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Top 10 Old-Fashioned Soda Shops and Fountains in Tennessee

In the early and middle decades of the twentieth century, soda shops, also known as soda fountains, were popular gathering places.


These eateries were often located in drugstores. The pharmacist's practical chemistry knowledge was put to use at the soda fountain.


Because of this understanding of chemical reactions, drinks containing syrup concentrate, ice cream, carbon dioxide, and water were developed.


As a result, flavored sodas, sundaes, and ice cream sodas, as well as incredible treats, were created.

Tennessee Family Vacation

Soda fountains served more than just sweets and snacks. They were popular gathering places, particularly for teenagers and young adults, and in some communities, they served as social hubs.


While the old-fashioned soda fountain fell out of favor after bottle caps were invented, these nostalgic establishments across Tennessee are keeping the tradition alive.


WEST TENNESSEE

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163 Beale St, Memphis, TN 38103


In 1876, Jewish immigrant Abraham Schwab opened a store on Beale Street. Over its 136-year history, A. Schwab has become a Memphis institution, beloved by many generations.


This family-owned general store & soda fountain offers an authentic mercantile experience that still greets visitors from around the world. Children of all ages enjoy an assortment of old-fashioned delights. A. Schwab’s original hardwood floors, antique pine display tables (built in the alley behind Beale), old-school merchandise, and rich family history make it one of a kind.


Their motto is "If you can't find it at Schwab's, you're better off without it."

 

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60 S Washington Ave, Brownsville, TN 38012


Originally built by the United States Post Office in 1935, the building was purchased by the Livingston’s family in the late 1970’s when the Post Office moved to its present location.


The Livingstons turned the building into a home furnishing store and maintained business there until 2021.


Now an eatery, you can go back in time as you enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert surrounded by a collection of antiques. This retro-themed soda shop has all the ingredients necessary to create your favorite shake, malt, float, soda, sundae or sandwich.

 

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132 E. Mulberry Street, Collierville, TN 38017


The Silver Caboose's soda fountain is one of the few remaining original soda fountains in Tennessee. Dating from the 1800's, it has been in continuous use with its marble top and gleaming old soda pumps.

 

MIDDLE TENNESSEE


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2105 Elliston Pl, Nashville, TN 37203


Elliston Place Soda Shop has been serving up classic meat-and-three plates and soda shop specials in the heart of Music City for over 83 years.


From the very beginning, Elliston Place Soda Shop has been located in the heart of Music City’s “Rock Block.” Nashville artists discovered this landmark restaurant decades ago. They opened a new space, right next door to the Soda Shop that features new talent and old friends. Don’t forget to check out the jukebox that is spinning tunes while the staff is making shakes!


The Soda Shop is known for having amazing milkshakes and fountain treats but also serves one of the best cheeseburgers in Nashville.

 

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118 N Water Ave, Gallatin, TN 37066

Located on the Historic Downtown Square in Gallatin, TN, Swaney's has been a staple since the 1950s. Originally a prescription drug store with a soda fountain, it became a very popular spot to enjoy malts, shakes and beverages.


Reopening in 2015 across from Gallatin's historic courthouse, it continues to provide a place for family & friends to gather for great food & fun! Serving a variety of hand-crafted burgers, old fashioned milk shakes & fries, Swaney's delivers a warm atmosphere with live music and regularly scheduled events! Come pay us a visit!

 

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7802 Highway 25 E, Cross Plains, TN 37049


Come experience the historic charm of the past. Thomas Drugstore and Soda Fountain is a 1930's soda fountain that dispenses the finest in ice cream treats.


This is a historic site that you will certainly want on your list of places to see in Tennessee. Listed on the national register of historic places.


Located @ the 4-way stop, downtown Cross Plains.

Serving ice cream treats and drinks from 10AM to 6PM.

 

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608 S Congress Blvd, Smithville, TN 37166


Originating in 1881, F Z Webb & Sons Pharmacy and Gifts relocated to their current location in 2017. Bringing back the nostalgia of an old fashioned soda fountain and lunch counter, they serve salads, soup, sandwiches and more. Grab a stool and enjoy lunch and a hand-spun milkshake, float, soda, sundae or cone. Stop in and be served by a "Jerk" (a real soda jerk).


Lunch is served Monday-Friday from 10:30-2:00.

 

EAST TENNESSEE


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601 Glades Rd ste 20, Gatlinburg, TN 37738


Glades Soda Fountain has been in business for 30+ years in the Morning Mist Village on Glades Road, as part of the Great Smoky Mountains Arts and Crafts Community.


This old-fashioned soda fountain in Gatlinburg offers ice cream dishes, phosphates & floats, sodas & sundaes, milkshakes & malts. Owned and operated by The Mitchell Family.

 

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Tinsley-Bible Drug Co has been serving the areas of Dandridge and Jefferson City since 1911.


They offer an old-fashioned soda fountain and lunch counter that brings historic charm to the pharmacy. The lunch counter is open Monday to Friday from 8a.m.-2p.m..


Stop by and make sure to try their famous "Bible Burger" or hand-dipped cone.

 

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225 W. Rockwood StreetRockwood, TN 37854


This drugstore is home to an old-fashioned soda fountain, complete with its original green marble counter from the 1890s.


Stop and enjoy a chocolate milk shake, made the old-fashioned way of course, or an ice cream cone or Cherry Smash.

 

For more information about Unique Eats in Tennessee, visit the Tennessee Family Vacation Explore page.

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