The Best Nightlife in Memphis, Tennessee

You'll find a whole host of bars and blues Clubs on historic Beale Street
You'll find a whole host of bars and blues Clubs on historic Beale Street | © Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Alyson Krueger
5 November 2020

For a booming nightlife scene, look no further than Memphis – the home of Elvis Presley and rock’n’roll certainly still knows how to party. On Beale Street you can dance and sing in the footsteps of music legends, and all over town there are speakeasies, wine bars, nightclubs, live music venues and places to play drinking games. Check out these party spots on your next adventure to Memphis, Tennessee.

The Blind Bear

Bar, American, $$$
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This prohibition-style Speakeasy is located in the heart of downtown Memphis. The cocktail menu, which it aptly named Giggle Water, is second to none with creative concoctions like the Muddy Water Slushy (moonshine mixed with french vanilla cappuccino flavor.) The hibernation menu is aimed at night owls with late night snacks including oyster po’ boys and seasoned french fries topped with beef.

Knifebird Wine Bar

Wine Bar, Italian
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Knifebird is a chic, cozy wine bar in the hip Cooper Young neighborhood. The wine list consists of varieties and brands from all over the world. There is also a top-notch beer and cocktail list for those who don’t want wine. The salads, sandwiches and cheese and meat boards are more than just snacks; beautifully presented, they are works of art.

Lafayette's

Bar, American, $$$
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In the 1970s Lafayette’s helped launch the career of big-name musicians. Billy Joel, Barry Manilow and Leon Russell all played here before striking it big. Now this live music venue is where locals head seven nights a week to discover new artists or listen to their favorites perform. Sit on the balcony for a bird’s-eye view of the action. The food menu is extensive, and there is something for everybody.

Memphis Rec Room

Craft Ale Bar, Bar, American
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Memphis Rec Room is a 6,000sq ft (557sq m) playground for adults. This bar is all about games. You can battle old or new friends at ping pong or foosball. There are ample board games to go around from Jenga to Cards Against Humanity. Groups can lounge on sofas while playing video games that are displayed on 20ft (6m) screens. On a nice day you’ll find corn hole and flip-cup battles on the patio.

Rum Boogie Café

Cafe, Pub Grub, BBQ, American, $$$
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On Beale Street, packed with bars and live music venues, Rum Boogie Café stands out. More than 200 guitars autographed by stars including Elvis Presley and Billy Joel line the walls. There is live music seven days a week from homegrown bands that play a mixture of blues, country, gospel and rock’n’roll. The restaurant has also won awards for its crawfish and gumbo.

Loflin Yard

Cocktail Bar, Craft Ale Bar, Bar, Nightclub, American, $$$
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Loflin Yard is a sprawling outdoor bar and restaurant in downtown Memphis. Once the home of downtown’s carriage fleet, there is a barn where bands now play live music. There are two lawns with rocking chairs, lawn games (including axe throwing) and bonfires. Try a barrel-aged cocktail made with local spirits or a craft beer made at one of the breweries in the neighborhood. The food menu offers southern treats from brisket nachos to pimento cheese burgers.

Railgarten

Cocktail Bar, Diner, Bar, Nightclub, American, $$$
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Railgarten offers an entire universe of fun. The bar spans 1.5 acres (0.6ha) and has something for everybody. There is a ping pong bar, an ice cream parlor, a speakeasy that serves absinthe, a tiki bar and a diner. Outside are playgrounds, volleyball courts, bonfires and stages where some of the best bands, from Memphis and around the country, perform regularly. Come early and stay all night long; there is a lot to explore.

BB King's Blues Club

Bar, Restaurant, South American, $$$
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This is the original BB King’s Blues Club, the place where the greatest blues musicians of all time rocked out at night and honed their craft. The club still hosts live performers seven nights a week, some up-and-coming and some legendary, that explore all genres of music. Grab a table to enjoy some authentic Memphis barbecue (don’t miss BB’s Famous Lip Smacking Ribs) while you soak up the music.

The Silly Goose

Bar, Pub Grub, American, $$$
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The Silly Goose is the place to go if you want to have fun near the hubbub of Beale Street but not be enmeshed in it. This sexy bar is filled with antique furniture, glittering chandeliers and a fireplace. It’s a place where you can get cozy with a date or make new friends on the dance floor. The bar is also known for its pizza, made in a wood fired oven.

Art Bar at Crosstown Arts

Cocktail Bar, American
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Art Bar in Crosstown Arts is a true speakeasy; many locals don’t even know it’s there. It’s located in the gigantic Crosstown Concourse, a multi-use development that used to be a Sears distribution center. Inside the bar you’ll find multiple rooms, each with their own decor and style. Browse the space before choosing your favorite. Then lay back and indulge in one of the inventive cocktails on the menu.

These recommendations were updated on November 5, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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