Bright Light city gonna set my soul on fire! Okay, Elvis was talking about Las Vegas but when it comes to enjoying a night out, look no further than Memphis.
The city of the home of Rock ’n’ Roll certainly knows how to party. From casual drinks in one of the laid-back bars in downtown to watching live music over Beale Street, there’s no night out like a Memphis night out.
From spectacular speakeasies to some of the most exciting nightclubs in Tennessee, here are the best party spots to make the most of Memphis’ nightlife.
Best bars in Memphis
The Blind Bear
This prohibition-style Speakeasy is located in the heart of downtown Memphis and is a super swanky and cool bar that is one of the highlights of Memphis nightlife.
Their cocktail selection really hits the spot thanks to its creative concoctions like the Muddy Water Slushy, The Flapper and the Bootleggers’ Mule with Ole’ Smokey Blue Flame Moonshine.
You definitely get a sense of the past with its 30s inspired décor and as well as great music, they also have a trivia night on Wednesdays and poker night on Tuesdays.
As it’s a speakeasy, if you want to get in on Friday and Saturday nights, you will need the (sort of secret) password which is posted on Facebook and Twitter in order to gain entry.
If all the password cracking is making you hungry, why not opt for one of the dishes from the hibernation which includes oyster po’ boys and seasoned french fries topped with beef.
Art Bar at Crosstown Arts
Another night, another speakeasy! But we think that the Art Bar in Crosstown Arts is certainly worth a visit. It’s a true speakeasy; even many of the locals don’t even know it’s there. It’s almost a legend amongst Memphis nightlife.
Inside the bar, you’ll find a great selection of cosy nooks each with its own decor and style to chill out with a cocktail. We love the concoction called ‘Flowers for Hours’ which is a delightful fusion of gin, crème de violette, dandelion honey and a sucker punch of lemon.
Each room is furnished with colourful mid-century pieces, vintage paintings and small decorative object de art.
Best live music venues in Memphis
This live music venue is not only legendary amongst Memphis nightlife but it’s also helped launch the careers of musical legends like Barry Manilow, KISS and Billy Joel.
Nowadays this live music venue is where locals and tourists alike go to watch up-and-coming musicians perform. It boasts live bands seven nights a week, from local and touring acts playing rock ‘n roll to jazz to blues and everything in between.
You can even enjoy your music with a meal – Lafayette’s food menu is extensive, and there really is something for every taste and is open 7 nights a week.
Rum Boogie Cafe
Based on the infamous Beale Street, packed with bars and live music venues, the Rum Boogie Café truly stands out. More than 200 guitars autographed by stars including Elvis Presley and Billy Joel adorn the walls.
You can enjoy live music seven days a week from homegrown bands that play a mixture of blues, country, gospel and rock’n’roll.
Legends like Carl Perkins, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Joe Walsh and others have hung out here and it’s no secret it’s one of the pinnacles of Memphis nightlife.
When it comes to live music, the super cool Railgarten reps Memphis hard.
From on-the-rise hip hop collectives to local Americana legends and everything in-between. As well as being one of the best live music venues in Memphis, there’s also a ping pong bar, an ice cream parlour, an absinthe speakeasy, a tiki bar and a diner.
Without doubt, Railgarten’s one of the standout attractions in Memphis nightlife.
Best nightclubs in Memphis
Paula & Raiford’s Disco
D.I.S.C.O! Paula & Raiford’s Disco is one of the favourite and most well-known Memphis nightlife spots.
This two-story nightclub features balloons, chandeliers, leather couches, fog machines, disco balls, handprints on the wall, and most important of all – great music that you can shimmy to!
This glitzy club is open every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 9 p.m. until 3 a.m.
The Electric Cowboy
Take everything cowboy or cowgirl and make it a bit well clubby!
Think cowboy hats mixed with glitter and laser lights. If you ever had ‘go to a country nightclub’ on your Memphis nightlife bucket list, then a trip to the Electric Cowboy has to be on the cards.
If you have some serious country moves or are more of a newbie then a night out trying line dancing is a fun way to spend an evening out in Memphis.