Blues City Cafe, in the heart of Memphis's nightlife scene, offers the right ingredients for a perfect evening – terrific food and great blues (played right next door at the Band Box). While some folks may dispute the place's claim to the title of "Best Meal on Beale," Blues City does in fact serve a wide range of tasty, down-home delicacies, like barbecued ribs, chicken, steaks and fried catfish. The cafe is at the corner of Beale and Second - and there's always someone at the door to lure you in. Once inside, you'll note it's a bit dingy (at least the floors) but don't let that put you off - the food is excellent. If the rustic interior looks familiar, that's because you saw it in the film adaptation of John Grisham's The Firm.
Recommended for Late Night because: You can order anything on the menu until 3 a.m. during the week, and 5 a.m. on the weekends.
Sally's expert tip: Our favorite late-night meal at Blues City is the meal combo; it features a half-rack of ribs, a catfish fillet, and a mountain of potatoes and other sides.
This funky little spot in Cooper Young opened in 2013 with little fanfare but loads of fans; chef Karen Carrier's latest nightspot / restaurant is fresh and hip and a great addition to the neighborhood nightlife scene. Decorated with treasures from around the world - and plenty of tag sale chic - DKDC offers small plates with an international flair. There are only a handful of items on the menu, with a few special offered most nights; these are all small plates, mind you, and the offerings completely change every five weeks or so. There's no one country or cuisine that's prominent - but the offerings seem to come in themes - like Creole, when as I write this there are crawfish empanadas, boudin balls and New Orleans-style shrimp on the short menu.
Recommended for Late Night because: The vibe is very chill late at night,so it is a great spot for solving the world's problems.
Sally's expert tip: Eat early (before 10) if you're not into live music or a DJ dance party.
It's a bit ironic that such a huge space is dedicated to small plates - but after a signature cocktail or two from the mixologists at the wrap-around bar in this Cooper-Young eatery, who pays attention to irony, anyway? Alchemy works so well in this huge space because it buzzes with a hip, every-everything kind of crowd, from BoHo Midtowners to groups of suburban moms to urban hipsters. Our favorite tiny plates - and they are small, so take our advice and over-order, especially if you plan to imbibe - are shrimp and grits, the duck spring rolls and the Spanish Manchego cheese with roasted red peppers. . Monday � Saturday 4 pm � 1 am, Sunday 4 pm � 11 pm. Phone 901- 726-4444. 940 South Cooper Street, Memphis (Cooper Young area of midtown). http://www.alchemymemphis.com
Recommended for Late Night because: When the hour gets late, Alchemy becomes a more intimate spot - and the perfect place to romance into the morning.
Sally's expert tip: Arrive before 7:00 if you want to be sure of a table; parking in Cooper-Young is limited but Alchemy offers a $7 valet option.
Muddy's is a Memphis institution - and that's saying something, given the fact it became one practically on the day it opened in 2008. The reason is the amazing, made-from-scratch, perfectly frosted, aptly named cupcakes it offers, including Prozac (chocolate), Plain Jane (vanilla with hued vanilla buttercream frosting), and Frankly, Scarlett (red velvet with cream cheese frosting). They come in mini and regular sizes, and every bite is delish. But Muddy's is about more than just the cupcake craze - the bakery case is full of pies, cakes, cookies, muffins and puddings; they also make a killer pimento cheese sandwich. And for holidays, they make some of the cutest cookies we've eaten. The bakery is owned by Kat Gordon, a baking genius who is usually seen in brightly-hued hair – like neon pink or bright blue. The bake shop is named after her grandmother, who was affectionately known as Muddy.
Recommended for Late Night because: Muddy's is a modified late-night joint - it closes at 11 on Friday and Saturday. But for East Memphis, that's considered late night.
Sally's expert tip: There's no tipping at Muddy's - but be sure to throw your change into the community jar, which supports a different local non-profit each month.
You've got to love a place that was open in the 1930's - and was rumored to be a speakeasy during Prohibition - that's found its way back to being a hip joint in 2012. The Green Beetle (it can't be called anything else, as outlined in the building contract, apparently) was originally opened in 1939, kinda putting paid to the speakeasy idea. But whether it was a secret place to drink or simply a good cafe then, today it is a small, cleaned-up, old-fashioned spot to listen to a local band while chowing down on some large - and we mean large - portions of home cooking. Lasagna that regularly weights in over two pounds per serving, creamy, skin-on mashed potatoes with a twist of horseradish, and perfectly cooked collard greens share are what many come for, staying for the local musicians who take to the 'stage' until midnight or later on weekend nights.
Recommended for Late Night because: It's impossible to resist the cheesy goodness of a wood-fired, late-night pizza at Bosco's.
Sally's expert tip: The musicians perform until closing time.
Known to many as the "only real saloon" in the Memphis's Germantown area, the Belmont Grill is a great gathering spot for comfort food among family and friends. This pub-style venue serves daily lunch specials from their award winning burgers and steaks to fried chicken and turkey pot roast. If you can handle it, try the Belmont Burger, which was named the city's "Best Burger" by Memphis Magazine. Just like its sister restaurant in East Memphis, the Germantown version of the Belmont is filled with character - and characters; on any given night, it seems the bartenders have antennae, as they're pouring favorites as regulars shuffle in.
Recommended for Late Night because: A late-night Belmont burger is the best way to guard against a pounding head in the morning.
Sally's expert tip: Late night in Germantown equals 11:00 p.m., and the city's finest are known to heavily patrol the streets around closing time. Designate a driver, for sure.
Don't be thrown by the name; this cavernous space is indeed a deli - and a tasty one, at that. Young Avenue has one of the broadest menus we've ever laid eyes on; there's everything from killer fish and chips to a cowboy pita to a pimento cheese sandwich, salads, and smaller plates for kids. Yes, kids are welcome – and we'd advise to bring them during daylight hours, as when the deli starts rocking, it's a grown-up scene. The beer list is expansive, with what just might be the longest beer menu in town, a mix of the most exotic beers on tap and in a bottle or can - and you can indeed order a Bud Light or something of that ilk, but why would you, when you can have a Ghost River Wee Heavy or a Rogue Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout?
Recommended for Late Night because: Young Avenue is the ultimate late-night spot; it's filled with music, a huge menu, and some of the best people-watching in town.
Sally's expert tip: Added bonus for late-nighters: the bands often rock on until the wee hours.
On any given night, you can walk into the Rum Boogie Cafe and hear great blues, rock or country bands. While the beer selection has its fair share of admirers, the bar's décor alone is enough to get most avid music fans in the door as the walls are adorned by guitars autographed by the likes of George Thorogood, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Joe Perry. This ain't the Hard Rock - the feel is local and authentic. If you get the munchies, you'll want to give their menu a shot – it includes everything from barbecued ribs to red beans and rice - and although not the best food ever, it certainly serves its purpose to soak up the alcohol.
Recommended for Late Night because: Rum Boogie's Beale Street location and really good food make it a perfect end-of the night stop.
Sally's expert tip: There's usually a cover for Rum Boogie, even into the wee hours of the morning.
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. Whenever there is a celeb in town - quite often, actually- E&H is always on the list, which makes for fun people watching. And people watching is fun regardless, with an always-evolving mix of young hispters, East Memphis socialites, and young med students. The two-story club offers a small dance floor / space for the bad, counter seating and a scattering of tables on the first floor, with the second floor rooms being a darker, funkier place to hang – but conversation can flow easier upstairs.
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 combination of retro and vintage-y chic decor - overstuffed loungers, funky little chairs, and super-cool lighting, from chandeliers to multi-hued, single Edison bulbs. Sometimes, a pro sits at the old piano in the first floor front parlor - sometimes a customer jumps on - not always a good thing - and sometimes there's a DJ mixing it up. There's a full bar, and very often anything wet and cold comes straight out of a cooler tucked behind the bar. Since the lounge is owned by Karen Carrier of The Beauty Shop fame, the small plates served up are always something scrumptious - Fontaine sliders with arugula and gruyere, crispy duck rice rolls, and avocado tempura are all part of the inventive fare, and there's always a creme brulee of the day to tempt the sweet tooth.
Recommended for Late Night because: Mollie's is open 'til the spirits go to sleep', and we love that.
Sally's expert tip: Parking's tricky on Adams - there are plenty of 'no parking from here to there' signs, so double check your space before you lock up.