Memphis Nightlife

There is little differentiation between bars and club in Memphis, as practically every venue has live music at least a couple of nights a week. Beale Street is the hub of activity and is lined with clubs that stay open until the early hours. Clubs charge a small admission fee and on Friday and Saturday nights there’s a busy security checkpoint on the street with a $10 fee to enter on Saturday nights in the summer. Weekly updates of events in the city can be found in local newspaper The Commercial Appeal ( Meanwhile, the cultural scene in Memphis is dominated by popular music.

Clubs in Memphis

Club 152

Set amid the glut of clubs on Beale Street, this is a music venue on three floors attracting a younger crowd. Some of the hottest local bands play live rock, blues and soul music downstairs. Upstairs, The Shadows nightclub is downtown's premier place for DJs and dance music. Usually the last bar open, which can draw a mixed crowd, but go early and you’re likely to see some good local music.

Telephone: +1 901 544 7011

Live Music in Memphis

B.B. King’s Blues Club

Perhaps the best-known but also most touristy place on Beale Street, this venue was founded by legendary blues musician B.B. King (who passed away in 2015). The B.B. King’s Blues Club All-Stars make for a lively house band between touring acts ranging from soul and rock to blues musicians.

Telephone: +1 901 524 5454
Earnestine and Hazel's

More popular with the locals, this one-time brothel is now a lively joint with late-night rhythm and blues, soul and jazz music. Billed as a ‘dive bar’, it’s a modernised version of a juke joint, though still retains an air of authenticity thanks to its history. Local and touring musicians will look in, and the place is rightly famous for its tasty Soul Burgers and infamous for its haunted jukebox.

Telephone: +1 901 523 9754

The FedExForum is a major venue for concerts and sports events such as basketball and boxing.

Telephone: +1 901 205 1535
Mud Island Amphitheatre

Mud Island Amphitheatre is a popular 5,000-seat outdoor concert venue on the banks of the Mississippi River. It’s played host to acts such as Alabama Shakes, Beck and Robert Plant.

Telephone: 1 800 507 6507, +1 901 576 7241.
Rum Boogie Café and Mr Handy’s Blues Hall

These two interconnected live music venues are a must for those soaking up Beale Street’s vibe. Rum Boogie Café, serving up BBQ and Memphis blues, is lined with music memorabilia including autographed guitars from artists as diverse as Elvis, Billy Joel, Bon Jovi and Aerosmith. Smaller, older and with a more legitimate atmosphere, Mr Handy’s Blues Hall bills itself as the last true juke joint on the legendary street. Local blues artists play nightly and on the walls there are plenty of photos of WC Handy, ‘Father of the Blues’ and signatures of blues fans who have stopped by to pay homage over the years.

Telephone: +1 901 528 0150
Wild Bill's

For the ultimate in cool blues, those in the know take a taxi to this no-frills juke joint that's so good the locals like to keep it to themselves. It’s here that you’re likely to see near-legendary names play in intimate surroundings, and you’ll be flush with the feeling that you’ve stolen a march on the tourist hordes of Beale Street. Cosy table arrangements mean you get to know your neighbours well.

Telephone: +1 901 207 3975

Culture in Memphis

Germantown Performing Arts Centre

This acoustically advanced, 864-seat venue hosts a variety of professional world-class performers each year. Opened by the late Ray Charles in 1994, it is home to the IRIS Chamber Orchestra. Modern dance, jazz and world music are all catered for.

Telephone: +1 901 751 7500.
Orpheum Theatre

The main performing arts venue is a restored vaudeville palace, the Orpheum Theatre. It is the venue for Broadway series shows and performances by Ballet Memphis, which boasts national and international award-winning dancers and stages contemporary ballets by choreographers such as Trey McIntyre, as well as classical works like The Nutcracker.

Telephone: +1 901 525 3000
Playhouse on the Square

Memphis has a lively theatre scene, and for professional productions, this venue stages a large number of Broadway musicals. It has a sister theatre, Circuit Playhouse, which offers still more plays and the occasional premiere.

Telephone: +1 901 726 4656
Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.