beale street is the most famous street in memphis, drawing millions of visitors each year. with bars pulsing with live music every night, some of the best barbeque you’ll ever have, and its proximity to both the river and the fedex forum, entertainment abounds along these two blocks of downtown memphis.
as memphis was recently named one of the world’s greatest places by time*, beale street is sure to see an uptick in visitors this year from both locals and tourists alike. if you find yourself on beale street anytime soon, below are some of my favorite spots.
we all know this is what the main draw is. memphis is the birthplace of blues and the home of rock and roll, and if you time it right you can catch some great artists playing up and down beale street. my favorite places to listen to live music are bb king’s and rum boogie cafe. and this summer there is a great music series happening every thursday in handy park.
blues city café has my personal favorite ribs in the city, and i have long been a fan of the gumbo at king’s palace café as well. and the fare at both bb king’s and rum boogie is also excellent. oh! and if you’re there late night the burgers at dyer’s are a must-try.
it has admittedly been a while since i have gone out dancing on beale street, but tin roof is always a good time. i know people go to jerry lee lewis’ as well, but i think those days are behind me.
beale street is the only street in the state of tennessee where you can legally drink outside, so if you don’t want to go inside any of the bars or clubs you can always grab a drink from one of the many roadside bars and enjoy them on the street or in handy park. however, if you change your mind silky’s is always a great place for a drink. college students love the iconic divers, but we had one at our last college reunion and they’re not as tasty when you’re in your 30s. bb king’s [sensing a theme?] is also great, as is alfred’s.
the alfred’s second-floor patio is one of my favorite spots on beale street, especially on a saturday afternoon when the weather is good. you have a great view of all the happenings without having to deal with the crowds, and i love taking new-to-memphis visitors there.
i admittedly don’t spend a ton of time on beale street at this point in my life, and this list is very specific to the places i visit when i am there, but whenever i do it’s always an entertaining time.
*i am being very gracious and not trashing the reporter whose only mention of barbeque was a texas-style beef ribs and brisket food truck. i’m sure it’s delicious, but if it’s your first time in memphis, do yourself a favor and try the pulled pork. please.