(Bar) Hop to It: The Best Drinks in Memphis

Yes, it's true: Yours truly gets paid to check out the best places to grab a drink in Memphis. And yes, everyone in town wants to be me - or at least get invited to come along. And since drinking is never something one should do by oneself, my friends and I are happy to share our favorite bars with you - hopefully that will help to assuage your jealousy.

While Beale Street may be the epicenter of partying in Memphis,  and is a must-explore drinking destination of its own, there's just one Beale bar that made our list this time - and that's not because others aren't as worthy. But to get a real feel for this city and it's people, for its vibe and its music, one needs to venture out all over town.

Our list of the 10 Best Bars in Memphis takes you from Beale Street's Silky O'Sullivan's, where Silky's legend - and pet goats - hold sway, to the swanky lounge at the historic Peabody Hotel, to the Cooper Young neighborhood and its incredibly varied nightlife scene.

There's a real (friendly) competition going on in Memphis right now, between downtown's Beale establishments and other bars, with Midtown and its Cooper Young neighborhood. Both are filled with bars, both offer nightlife districts, both offer live music, as well as patrons of every age, race, and orientation. The good news about this rivalry is that the bar-hopper wins every time, no matter where he or she chooses to hop.




With exposed brick walls, two levels of lounging and dinging, and a corner spot in Overton Square, Local on the Square should easily become as popular as its older sibling - downtown's Local Gastropub. Upstairs, the feel is more lounge than...  Read More



The brewery is what we'd call an early-night nightlife kind of place, as it's only open until 10:00 p.m. But this spot in the Broad Avenue Arts District is worthy of a stop, thanks to its two brewing brothers and their dedication to their craft....  Read More



This funky little spot in Cooper Young opened in 2013 with little fanfare but loads of fans; chef Karen Carrier's latest nightspot is fresh and hip and a great addition to the neighborhood nightlife scene. Decorated with treasures from around...  Read More



The next door and more casual neighbor of Chef Ryan Trimm's Sweetgrass is a bar/casual eatery that rocks during the NFL and NBA seasons - but we hesitate to call it a sports bar; let's just say this is a more upscale yet casual bar that just...  Read More

Young Avenue Deli
Photo courtesy of Courtesy Young Avenue Deli


Don't be thrown by the name; this cavernous space is indeed a deli (and a tasty one, at that) but it also doubles as a live music must-hit for Memphians. While the atmosphere of Young Avenue screams ROCK!, there's a surprisingly eclectic...  Read More



Babalus Tacos & Tapas is a Southern mini-chain, if you will; the original is in Jackson, MS, the Memphis location in Overton Square was restaurant dos, and Birmingham gets numero tres. The food is super-fresh, the ambiance rocking, and the...  Read More



The newest entry in the downtown hotel rooftop scene, Twilight is a super-chic space with commanding views of the Mississippi. Perched atop the boutique Madison Hotel, the refurbished rooftop space now includes comfy seating for lounging,...  Read More



The historic Peabody Hotel is widely regarded as the place to stay when you're visiting Memphis; the grand hotel is elegant and sophisticated, with a huge two-story lobby featuring marble columns and rich decor. Indeed, the hotel's lobby...  Read More



When they say food / spirits on the Mollie Fontaine Web site, spirits has a double meaning - as in, the kind your drink and the kind who haunt old, Victorian homes. Mollie Fontaine is housed in a gorgeous Victorian mansion, stuffed with a...  Read More



This gritty club, a former bordello and hotel, is the local go-to for late night drinks and an alcohol-absorbing Soul Burger, a tasty concoction of greasy burger with onions that helps one regain one's sobriety at the end of the evening....  Read More


Meet Sally Walker Davies

Sally Walker Davies is enchanted by Memphis' music, history, and characters. From the artsy South Main Historic District to the grittiness of her favorite live music clubs to the sophisticated...  More About Sally