Memphis is a vibrant city, globally recognized for its musical heritage, rich history, and distinctive culture. Home to musicians and singers across various genres, Memphis cherishes its deep musical roots. Visitors can immerse themselves in the city’s unique culture through its soulful music, savory barbecue, and deep-rooted passion for all things musical.
But there’s more to Memphis than just great barbecue. The city offers a diverse range of attractions, restaurants, accommodations, and events, ensuring there’s something for everyone. Named one of the “World’s Greatest Places 2021,” Memphis invites you to explore its many highlights, from the imposing Memphis Pyramid to the charming local shops, and from the lively Beale Street to the abundant outdoor activities.
When it comes to nightlife, Beale Street is often the first stop. It’s a lively hub often compared to New Orleans’ Bourbon Street. Downtown Memphis, both on and off Beale Street, offers a myriad of options for night owls. Beale Street is unique in Tennessee as it allows visitors to walk between venues with a drink in hand. As the evening wears on, you can explore the bustling venues near the waterfront.
In this guide, you’ll discover detailed information on the best places to party, practical tips for an enjoyable and safe night out, and an overview of the costs associated with partying in Memphis. So, gather your pals, slip into your dancing shoes, and prepare for an unforgettable excursion into the spirited world of Memphis nightlife.
Where to Party in Memphis
Nightlife in Memphis is centered around a few key areas, making it convenient to hop from one spot to another. Here are some of the city’s most vibrant districts to explore after dark:
Beale Street: This historic street is the heart and soul of Memphis nightlife. Known for its blues clubs, neon lights, and lively street performers, Beale Street offers an authentic Memphis experience that’s not to be missed.
Overton Square: This thriving district is home to a diverse array of bars, music venues, and restaurants. The atmosphere here is a bit more laid-back, but no less lively, than Beale Street.
Cooper-Young: Known for its hip, bohemian vibe, this neighborhood offers a range of bars, brewpubs, and live music venues that cater to a diverse crowd.
South Main: This district, located in downtown Memphis, features a mix of elegant lounges, unique bars, and intimate music venues.
Memphis Nightlife Tips and Advice
Like any city, while Memphis is generally safe, it’s essential to stay alert and take basic precautions. Keep an eye on your belongings and never leave your drink unattended.
The legal drinking age in the United States is 21. You’ll need to present valid ID if you want to purchase alcohol.
Tipping is customary in the US. Generally, you should tip your bartender or server 15-20% of your total bill.
Memphis has a reliable public transportation system, and taxis and rideshares like Uber and Lyft are readily available.
Most bars and clubs in Memphis have a casual dress code, but some upscale venues may require more formal attire. It’s always safe to go with smart-casual when in doubt.
Cost of Partying in Memphis
Drinks: A beer typically costs between $4-7, a glass of wine is about $6-10, and cocktails range from $7-15, depending on the venue.
Cover charges: Some nightclubs in Memphis may have a cover charge, usually around $5-15. Always check their website or social media for specifics.
Taxis and rideshares: Depending on the distance, you can expect to pay around $10-20 for a short ride within the city.
Located in the hip South Main Arts District, Silly Goose is a popular nightclub that combines art, music, and a lively atmosphere. The club features an industrial-chic design with exposed brick walls, high ceilings, and a vibrant mural that sets the stage for a memorable night out.
Silly Goose offers an eclectic mix of music genres, ranging from indie and electronic to funk and soul. The dance floor comes alive with energetic beats, while the bar serves an impressive selection of craft cocktails, beers, and wines. The club’s unique blend of art, music, and friendly vibes makes it a go-to spot for locals and visitors alike.
The Cove, located in the heart of Midtown, stands out for its unique nautical theme, creative cocktails, and impressive rum selection. The interior is reminiscent of an old-world pirate ship, complete with dim lighting and vintage decor, creating an atmosphere that is both intimate and intriguing.
While the bar offers an assortment of beers and wines, it’s their creative cocktail menu that truly shines. From classic favorites to innovative mixes, the bar’s expert mixologists skillfully blend flavors to create unique drinks that never fail to impress. Oyster lovers can also indulge in their fresh offerings, making The Cove an ideal destination for a relaxed evening out.
Flying Saucer Draught Emporium
For beer enthusiasts looking to explore an extensive selection of craft brews, Flying Saucer Draught Emporium is a must-visit destination. Located in the historic downtown area, this beer-focused nightclub offers a laid-back and inviting atmosphere for beer lovers to gather.
Flying Saucer boasts a vast range of draft and bottled beers from local breweries and beyond. With over 200 beers on tap, including rare and limited releases, beer enthusiasts will have plenty to discover and enjoy. The knowledgeable staff is always ready to recommend the perfect brew to suit your taste preferences. The relaxed setting, great beer selection, and friendly atmosphere make Flying Saucer Draught Emporium a go-to spot for beer lovers in Memphis.
Located in the popular Cooper-Young district of Midtown, Alchemy offers an upscale bar experience with a focus on artisanal cocktails. With its chic decor, warm lighting, and spacious outdoor patio, Alchemy provides a sophisticated atmosphere that is perfect for a classy evening out.
The bar boasts an extensive menu of cocktails, with something to suit every taste. Their mixologists aren’t afraid to experiment, creating unique and flavorful concoctions that keep patrons coming back for more. Apart from drinks, Alchemy also offers a menu of contemporary American fare, perfect for pairing with their delightful cocktails.
The Absinthe Room
For those seeking a unique and enchanting nightlife experience, The Absinthe Room offers a one-of-a-kind destination. Located in a historic building, this intimate nightclub pays homage to the allure and mystique of absinthe, a spirit long associated with artists, writers, and bohemian culture.
The Absinthe Room features an extensive selection of premium absinthes, carefully prepared using the traditional ritual. Guests can indulge in the green fairy’s elixir while enjoying live music performances, including jazz, blues, and acoustic sets. The dimly lit setting, antique decor, and absinthe-inspired cocktails create an ambiance that transports you to another era.
Best Nightclubs in Memphis
The 616 Club is a hidden gem in Memphis, known for its cozy and intimate atmosphere, live music, and welcoming vibe. Tucked away in the South Main Arts District, this local favorite offers an authentic Memphis experience for music enthusiasts.
Step inside the 616 Club, and you’ll immediately feel the soulful ambiance that permeates the air. The venue features exposed brick walls, vintage decor, and an intimate stage that showcases talented local musicians. From blues and jazz to rock and R&B, the diverse lineup of artists ensures there’s something for everyone.
The club also boasts a well-stocked bar, offering a variety of beers, spirits, and handcrafted cocktails. Grab a drink, find a seat, and let the music transport you to the heart of Memphis’s vibrant music scene. The 616 Club is a must-visit destination for those seeking an authentic and memorable night out in the city.
Paula & Raiford’s Disco
If you’re seeking a distinctive and unforgettable nightclub experience, Paula & Raiford’s Disco is a must-visit. Known for its fun, retro atmosphere, this club is a beloved institution in Memphis. With its mirror-ball-lit dance floor, leather couches, and classic disco tunes, Paula & Raiford’s offers a trip back in time to the golden age of disco.
The club is owned and operated by Paula Raiford, whose father, Robert Raiford, was a legendary figure in the Memphis club scene. The signature cocktails served in 32-ounce souvenir cups add to the festive spirit. At Paula & Raiford’s, it’s all about letting loose, dancing, and having a great time.
Another gem in Memphis’ nightlife scene, Purple Diamond is a sleek and stylish nightclub that offers an upscale experience. Located in the heart of downtown Memphis, this club boasts a sophisticated ambiance and a high-energy atmosphere that attracts a trendy crowd.
Purple Diamond features state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems, ensuring an immersive and unforgettable clubbing experience. The club’s lineup includes top local and international DJs spinning a variety of genres, from EDM and hip-hop to house and techno. The spacious dance floor, VIP areas, and attentive staff contribute to the club’s reputation for delivering a memorable night out.
The Blues Night Club
This iconic venue is an absolute must-visit for any music lover. As the name suggests, The Blues Night Club is a haven for blues music in Memphis. It offers live performances from some of the most talented local musicians and occasionally hosts international acts. Besides the quality music, guests appreciate the club’s warm atmosphere, friendly staff, and extensive drinks menu, featuring everything from classic cocktails to local craft beers. Don’t miss out on their renowned jam nights, when talented artists take the stage for impromptu performances. Whether you’re a blues enthusiast or a casual listener, an evening at The Blues Night Club will undoubtedly be a highlight of your Memphis nightlife experience.
For those looking to dance to the infectious rhythms of Latin music, Rumba Room is the place to be. Located in the heart of downtown Memphis, this vibrant nightclub brings the heat with its lively atmosphere, pulsating beats, and energetic dance floor.
Rumba Room features an impressive lineup of live bands and DJs specializing in Latin music genres like salsa, bachata, merengue, and reggaeton. The club’s spacious dance floor invites patrons to let loose and showcase their moves. Whether you’re a seasoned dancer or simply want to immerse yourself in the lively Latin vibes, Rumba Room promises an unforgettable night of music and dance.
Memphis Nightlife Conclusion
The Memphis nightlife scene reflects the city’s rich cultural heritage and vibrant musical legacy, offering a variety of experiences for all tastes. Whether you’re immersing yourself in the bluesy allure of Beale Street or exploring the sophisticated bars of Overton Square, you’re guaranteed a memorable night out in Memphis.
Whether you’re a local or just visiting, the nightlife of Memphis is something to be savored. This comprehensive guide will help you navigate the city’s nighttime offerings and create lasting memories in this soulful southern city. So, get ready to eat, drink, dance, and dive headfirst into the electrifying nightlife of Memphis.