Rum Boogie Cafe's Blues Hall features live music every night of the week. The venue itself isn't the most glamorous, but the talent is undeniable. The resident performers, Dr. Feelgood Potts and his band play Friday through Monday. It's located next to the Rum Boogie Cafe, which is known for its delicious Cajun and barbecue dishes. Make a night of it and visit this venue for some great blues.
B.B. King's Blues Club as the name would suggest is owned by legendary blues musician B.B. King and features some of the best blues music in Memphis. From the regular appearances of Ruby Wilson - who can belt out a tune and entertain a crowd as well as anyone - to the special concerts by groups such as Booker T, this club consistently delights visitors and locals alike. There is a menu of ribs, barbecue and other entrees, as well as snack items, but most people come here for the music, not the food. The dance floor rocks every night of the week. Reservations are required for special concerts.
Hi-Tone has a cool bar which serves a decent variety of drinks, especially some cheap beer. It's definitely the local favorite for live music, with lesser known bands as well as big names like Elvis Costello and Duncan Sheik having performed here. Check the website for performance schedules and specials on wings and drinks.
This bar has wrap-around windows that let you see the dancers bopping and jiving from the outside, or watch the street scene on Beale from the inside. Autographed guitars hang from the ceiling, offering proof that musicians such as Carl Perkins, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Joe Walsh and others have hung out here. The house act, James Govan and the Boogie Blues Band, performs at Rum Boogie Café when there isn't a visiting artist. The kitchen serves several dinner and snack items, but the Rum Boogie is famous for its red beans and rice.
Take a cue from the sign outside and enjoy a Guinness at Celtic Crossing. A traditional menu of pub food like Irish beef stew, fish and chips, and shepherd's pie is made even better by weekly specials. Traditional Irish music played by local musicians can be heard several times per month, and trivia night is always popular. When they don't have live music, you might catch great local DJs providing the musical entertainment for the evening. Check the website for information on music and events.
Take a trip back in time at Blind Bear, a speakeasy-style bar in downtown Memphis. Classic cocktails like the Moscow Mule, Manhattan, and Cosmopolitan are featured in the drinks menu. However, the bar snacks have as much draw as the drinks. Try the chicken sandwich, turkey burger, or white cheddar mac and cheese. There's an outdoor patio that's great for people watching, while the interior is decorated in dark hues and dimly lit. The bartenders add to the festive atmosphere by dressing in costumes from the roaring '20s.
Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar is perfect for those who want to try a little bit of everything. Sample soups, salads, entrees, desserts, and of course, wine, in flights. The seafood flight features small portions of Maine lobster and crab pie, a sea scallop Benedict, and shrimp and grits. The atmosphere is perfect for a romantic evening out or an intimate dinner with friends.
This hot spot used to be a pharmacy, was also rumored to be a brothel upstairs. Now Earnestine and Hazel's is leading the revival of the South Main area. Music and the jukebox (rumored to be driven by ghosts) at the bar bring in the late-night crowds and the famous soul burgers keep them satiated as they listen. Weekend nights feature a piano bar upstairs early in the evening, R&B or jazz later and, often, late night jam sessions with local musicians. The clientèle changes as the evening goes on, with the action really starting around midnight. On Sunday afternoons, there is live music from a variety of local groups. Ghost tours of the haunted rooms upstairs draw curious thrill seekers.
Dining at Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen is more akin to dining at a friend's house than dining at an acclaimed restaurant (even though it has garnered many accolades). That's because it's built in a former residence. Dine in the homey interior or get some fresh air in the backyard, where the chefs grown their own herbs. Taste the fresh flavors in pastas like the tortellini with celery root, parsley, butter, and truffle. Enjoy a creative cocktail and finish off your meal with a delectable dessert - the marscapone cheesecake.
Before you go inside Java Cabana, stop and look at the window for a few minutes. Drop a few coins in the Elvis Impersonator's shrine to see what happens. After you have soaked in the memorabilia and hodge-podge collections, go inside for an experience right out of the beatnik era of the '50s and ‘60s. If you are lucky, you will be there for one of the frequent poetry readings by local writers, or some retro music played on acoustic guitar. Oh, yes—the coffee's pretty good,too. No alcoholic beverages served.
Hog & Hominy was lauded as one of the top five newly opened restaurants when it was launched. This place is family-owned and it shows. The service is quite good and the food served is Italian cuisine with a Southern twang. The most famous dishes on their menu are the duck sausages and the bourbon pecan curd pie. There is also a bocce court for patrons to enjoy. They only reserve half their tables and leave the rest for walk-ins, so if you feel like going out for a family dinner or enjoying a wholesome meal with friends, this is the place to head to.
If you want to venture away from the usual tourist spots in Memphis to hear some live music, Wild Bill's is a great option. While it's a bit out of the way, the lively atmosphere, cheap drinks, and unbelievable talent will make you glad you made the trek. When the music starts playing, people are get up and start dancing. So don't be shy, and join in!