Around the Town in 80 Bars
Finding the perfect bar is like buying a piece of art -- it has to speak to you. As you walk into the door, you should feel a sense of home, like you belong there.
From the hip martini bars and juke joints of downtown to the yuppie-fied watering holes of Cordova, Memphis has a bar for just about everyone. Whether you like karaoke bars, gay bars, bar & grills, Irish pubs, or dance clubs, we've got you covered.
But narrowing down the search can be tough, so we're making it easier with this handy guide to 80 of the city's hottest bars and nightclubs. To find which is right for you, start downtown and gradually work your way east, sampling cocktails along the way (escorted by your designated driver, of course).
Alfred's -- So the Delta blues isn't really your thing, but you're hanging out on Beale Street anyway. That's okay. Just head to Alfred's, where you can watch local rockers like Scott Sudbury and Kevin Paige. Late at night, the live music is switched to Top 40 dance hits, so you can shake your groove thing on into the night. 197 Beale, 525-3711.
B.B. King's Blues Club -- But if you are into the blues, there's no better place to hear them than B.B. King's. After all, the Blues Boy practically personifies the genre. Occasionally, he drops in for a surprise show, but when he's not around, locals like Ruby Wilson and Preston Shannon keep the sound alive. 143 Beale, 524-5464.
Beale Street Tap Room -- The Tap Room definitely has home-away-from-home potential. When you join their Tap Club, the bartender assigns you your very own mug to hang behind the bar. You receive discounted refills every time you use it. Recommended for heavy drinkers who'd rather not bar-hop. 168 Beale, 576-2220.
Blues City Café -- Beer tends to stimulate the appetite, and there's no better place to nosh on Beale than the Blues City Café. Just ask former president Bill Clinton, who took time out during a past trip to Memphis to sample their tasty grub, like award-winning barbecue ribs, Southern fried catfish, and homemade hot tamales. 138 Beale, 526-3637.
Club 152 -- Looking for a place to shake your money-maker? The multi-level Club 152 is the only dance club on Beale featuring live home-spun electronica. If that's not your thing, there's a DJ spinning Top 40 dance hits on one floor and live cover bands on another. Had a few too many for the stairs? Take the lush-friendly elevator. 152 Beale, 544-7011.
Coyote Ugly Saloon -- What exactly does coyote ugly mean, you ask? It's not a nice tale, so rent the movie for the sordid details. In the meantime, head on over to Beale's latest addition; the gals are anything but. In fact, they're really hot. And just like in the movie, they perform choreographed dances on the bar. Yee-haw! 326 Beale, 888-UGLY.
Hard Rock Café -- Want to experience rock history and catch a buzz at the same time? Here, you can see all sorts of music artifacts, like Elvis' black Stetson hat, a pair of glasses Buddy Holly wore in junior high, and Ike and Tina Turner's stage costumes from a 1968 show at Memphis' Club Paradise. Museum-worthy stuff, but you're not at the Smithsonian. Here you can down as many martinis as you want. 315 Beale, 529-0007.
King's Palace Café -- Not quite a smoky jazz bar, but it's the closest thing Beale Street has. At King's Palace, order a batch of spicy voodoo taters, a platter of thick fried-green tomatoes, and scotch on the rocks with a water chaser. Then load your cigarette into a long-stemmed retro holder, sit back, and chill to the sounds of jazz man Charlie Wood on the piano. 162 Beale, 521-1851.
New Daisy --With regular punk, indie, emo, and hardcore shows by local and national touring bands, the New Daisy gives under-age kids a chance to party on Beale with the grown-ups. But never fear: they still serve liquor here. You just may have to flash your ID. But that'll make you feel young again, right? So will partying with all those kids. 330 Beale, 525-8981.
Pat O'Brien's -- Though New Orleans is back in business after Katrina, it's still a good six hours away. But you can still get a taste of the Big Easy at Pat O's. The unfortunately-named-but-still-tasty Hurricane will whisk you back to better days. Or sip a mint julep on the spacious brick patio. 310 Beale, 529-0900.
Plush Club -- If you're a rapper looking to release your new album in a posh, blinged-out VIP setting, the Plush Club is it. Or if you're just looking to party down after the Grizzlies game, the Plush Club can help you there as well. With its huge lighted dance floor, multiple bars, and VIP area, it's just oozing with urban style. 380 Beale, 527-0025.
Rum Boogie Café -- This place screams Delta Blues. The house band, James Govan and the Boogie Blues Band, plays nearly every night of the week. With award-winning gator gumbo, hickory-smoked barbecue ribs, and Southern-style plate lunches, the menu is about as down home as your great-grandma's shotgun house in Mississippi. And they even have a display of 200 guitars autographed by musicians like Elvis, Carl Perkins, even Alice Cooper. 182 Beale, 528-0150.
Silky O'Sullivan's -- Your friend politely asks if you'll cover her on a beer. And then another friend asks and another, and soon you're picking up the tab for the entire crew. Get the most bang for your hard-earned buck and get all your friends cheery with The Diver at Silky's. This one-gallon signature mixed drink is guaranteed to be enough to go around. 183 Beale Street, 522-9596.
Wet Willie's -- Probably the largest selection of frozen drinks in town. Try the Call-a-Cab, a daiquiri made with strawberry and cherry drink mixes and Everclear, for a guaranteed quick buzz. Just remember, they don't call it a Call-a-Cab for nothing. It contains about as much alcohol as a six-pack of beer. 209 Beale, 578-5650.
Automatic Slim's Tonga Club -- The FDA recommends you eat two to four servings of fruit a day. They don't say anything about whether or not the fruit's in your cocktail. At Automatic Slim's, the martinis are served with vodka-soaked fruit. The décor, designed by local artists, is so hip it hurts, and the menu of Cuban- and Jamaican-inspired cuisine will leave you craving more. 83 South Second, 525-7948.
Big Foot Lodge -- Think you've got what it takes to make it in the weird world of competitive eating? Test your nosh-against-the-clock skills with the four-pound Sasquatch. If you finish it all by yourself in one hour, the $20 burger is free of charge. If you don't want your stomach to explode, you can still fill up since everything here is super-sized, including the 34-ounce Big Foot Beer. 97 South Second, 578-9800.
BlueFin -- Forget the massage parlor. The calming cobalt blue interior at Blue Fin Edge Cuisine and Sushi Lounge will be sure to take all the day's stress away sans the touchy-feely masseuse. Sit back on one of their ultra-mod, ultra-comfy couches and sip on a cup of cold sake while a DJ spins soothing lounge music. 135 South Main, 528-1010.
Center for Southern Folklore -- For the best damn hot-water cornbread in town, go here. Chow down on that Southern classic, along with a side of turnip greens, candied yams, and an ice-cold brew. In September, check out the Memphis Music and Heritage Festival, a two-day outdoor celebration of blues, beer, and dancing chickens. 119 South Main, 525-3655.
Earnestine & Hazel's -- Perhaps the greatest old dive in the city. This dimly lit beer joint, now famous for their greasy Soulburgers, was once a brothel. The old rooms are still intact upstairs, and patrons are welcome to explore the place at their will. But beware; the place is rumored to be haunted by its former madams. The timorous can opt to drink downstairs at the bar, where the fabulous jukebox and makeshift dance floor are safely located. 84 G.E. Patterson, 523-9754.
High Point Pinch -- With The Pyramid now closed for public events, it would seem there isn't much to do in the Pinch district. But never fear: you can still get sloshed at the High Point Pinch. Who needs a concert or basketball game as an excuse to drink extra-spicy Bloody Marys and nosh on High Point's gooey, cheesy potato skins? 11 Jackson, 525-4444.
Hooters -- Finally, no more driving to Cordova or Mt. Moriah for a hot wing fix. Now you can get your kicks on Beale Street and then walk a few blocks to the land of plenty. This doesn't only benefit men. Now, girls can drop their beaus off while they shop across the street at Peabody Place. 250 Peabody Place (523-9464); 2832 New Brunswick (266-4404); 2653 Mt. Moriah (795-7123).
Isaac Hayes -- We can't claim to be the home of South Park's Chef anymore, but soul man Isaac Hayes is known for so much more. Like the theme from Shaft and the famous pulled-pork dinner at his Peabody Place nightclub. Try it with a Rhythm Section cocktail (rum, peach schnapps, and pineapple and cranberry juice). 150 Peabody Place, 529-9222.
Jillian's -- Enjoy all the perks of being a kid (like glow bowling, arcade games, and watching sports on TV) and all the highlights of being grown-up (read: beer and liquor) at Jillian's. This Peabody Place sports/arcade bar also features Club Atlas with one of the hottest Thursday-night Ladies' Nights in town. 150 Peabody Place, 543-8800.
Kudzu's -- Once billed "the neighborhood bar looking for a neighborhood," the search is off for Kudzu's. Located in the artsy Edge District between downtown and Midtown, this bar caters to artists, musicians, and other residents living in the former warehouse-district-turned-arts-incubator. Country music star hopefuls should stop by Thursday nights for the open-mic session with Memphis' queen of twang, Nancy Apple. 603 Monroe, 525-4924.
LoLo's Table -- It's a work night, and you'd like to take your sweetie out for dinner, but your feet are killing you after wearing too-small pumps all day at the office. At Lolo's Table, it's fine dining in a casual setting, so leave the pumps at home. Located in the spot once occupied by Aristi's, Lolo's has an excellent happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. and decent prices on wine (sometimes you'll find half-off specials on bottles). 128 Monroe, 522-9449.
Majestic Grille -- After spending several years as the Gordon Biersch restaurant and brewery, the former Majestic movie theater at 145 South Main is back to its roots -- sort of. Now, instead of serving up Hollywood hits, the new restaurant of the same name serves up funky herbal-infused martinis, like Strawberry Basil and Lavender Cucumber. For dessert, try the Dark Chocolate martini. 145 S. Main, 522-8555.
Quetzal -- The designer cocktails at this San Francisco-based coffeehouse are almost too pretty to drink (but you'll be glad you did). Try the extra-spicy Ragin' Cajun Bloody Mary -- a thick, peppery dark-red concoction, served in a square glass and garnished with celery, Kalamata olives, and a slice of lemon. Or head south of the border with the deep purple Sangria Margarita served in a large fish-bowl glass with a chunky salt rim and garnished with soaked fruit. 668 Union, 521-8388.
Raiford's Hollywood Disco -- Raiford's is hands-down the most eclectic place to party in the city. We're not sure if it's the 40-ounce bottles of beer, the "stripper pole" on the mirrored dance floor, or owner Raiford's gold-toothed smile that keeps the people coming, but the place is packed with folks from all walks of life every Saturday night. 115 Vance, 528-9313.
Sleep Out Louie's -- If you work downtown, stop by Sleep Out Louie's for an after- work cocktail and oysters on the half shell. The bar's framed celebrity tie collection serves as a reminder that you may be having fun now, but you still have to work again in the morning. 88 Union, 527-5337.
Swig -- With 38 martinis on the menu, Swig may have the largest selection in town. With names like the Almond Joy (rum, amaretto, and white creme de cacao) or The Flirtini (the mix of champagne and vodka made popular on HBO's Sex and the City), it's impossible to swig just one. Try them all as you lean back on the comfy circular couch and take in the mixed crowd of urban professionals, artsy hipsters, and theatergoers. 100 Peabody Place, 522-8515.
Alex's Tavern -- In the movies, when a guy's down on his luck, he heads to his friendly, neighborhood bar and proceeds to down round after round while pouring his heart out to anyone who'll listen. In real life, that bar is Alex's Tavern. The folks at this Midtown institution have been refilling glasses and offering shoulders to cry on for 52 years. When you cheer up, try the legendary burgers. 1445 Jackson, 278-9086.
Backstreet -- They claim the largest dance floor in Memphis, and that may just be true. The Coliseum dance room has a massive wooden dance floor complete with cages where the brave (or the drunk) can practice their best Soul Train moves for all to see. They also boast the best drag shows in town. These aren't just men in dresses, folks. These are real live queens complete with pancake makeup, pads, and fabulous costumes. 2018 Court, 276-5522.
Bayou Bar & Grill -- Only the Bayou can get away with serving Alligator Chili and Crawfish Po'Boys in Memphis. After downing some Cajun grub and a few cocktails, you'll be so sure you're actually in the French Quarter, you may just flash the bartender. Try not to do this, unless you like being thrown out of bars. 2105 Overton Square Lane, 278-8626.
Blue Monkey -- Its downtown sister may have burned last year, but thank god we still have this one. The Blue Monkey offers the best, thick-and-spicy Bloody Marys (and they're half-price on Sundays). It's a great place for friends to gather on a Saturday night for killer salads, a game of pool, live local rock, and affordable drinks. 2012 Madison, 272-2583.
Boscos Squared -- The restaurant for beer lovers. Forget the watered-down domestics, and bask in the thick, creamy ales brewed fresh daily at Boscos. At 5:30 each afternoon, one lucky customer gets the honor of tapping a cask of the bar's homemade brew. Got the dank beer munchies? Dine on one of their yummy oven-fired pizzas, like the Germantown Purist (barbecue chicken with red onions). They even use beer in their crust! 2120 Madison, 432-2222.
The Buccaneer -- Ahoy, ye hipsters! Affectionately dubbed The Bucc, this tiny pirate-ship-themed dive is the place to be for the painfully hip. Somehow local garage and indie bands pack in every weekend (and some week nights) along with their entourage of fans. By the end of the night, people are squeezed in like tuna in a fishing net. But no one seems to mind. 1368 Monroe, 278-0909.
Full Moon Club -- Every night's a different story at the Full Moon Club. You may show up one night and find yourself surrounded by pale-faced goths. Or you may end up at a gathering of sensitive singer-songwriters on open-mic night. Or you might find a Southern rock cover band complete with mullets and beer guts. Who knows? It's a gamble. If it's all too much for you, you can always head downstairs and have a beer at the bar in Zinnie's East. 1718 Madison, 274-7101.
Hi-Tone Cafe -- When out-of-towners ask where to catch live shows, we send them to the Hi-Tone. That's because it's a hot stop for local and national indie, alt-country, garage, and punk bands. They even serve decent food, like deep-fried okra with ranch sauce. 1913 Poplar, 278-8663.
The Lamplighter Lounge -- If your grandma's house were a bar, it'd be something like the Lamplighter. Hand-woven placemats, antique ashtrays, and greasy homemade burgers give this beloved Midtown hole-in-the-wall all the comfort of granny's house. Sound like heaven? It gets better. Bartender Shirley doles out icy cold Pabst Blue Ribbon all night long while oldies from Frank Sinatra or The Platters play over and over on the jukebox. 1702 Madison, 726-1101.
Le Chardonnay -- Impress your date with your extensive wine knowledge. Or just impress her with the extensive wine collection at Le Chardonnay. This dimly lit, bistro-style restaurant offers a romantic escape from Midtown dives, and they serve delicious gourmet wood-fired pizzas and several tasty pasta dishes. 2105 Overton Square Lane, 725-1375.
Madison Flame -- Girls just want to have fun, and at the Flame, that means karaoke, pool, and ice-cold brew. This former-punk-club-turned-lesbian-bar holds one of the more diverse karaoke nights in Midtown with a mix of everything from tear-in-your-beer country to diva-friendly disco hits. They don't serve alcohol, but they do have a large beer selection, and with a two-drink minimum, you'll be guaranteed to leave with a little buzz. 1588 Madison, 278-9839.
The Metro -- This gay bar, managed by the same folks who run Backstreet, is home to the best beer bust in town. For $4, it's all-you-can-drink every Thursday night, plus a drag show by the same fabulous queens from Backstreet. Also, the large wooden patio is a great place to chill with the boys on a warm summer night. 1349 Autumn, 274-8010.
Molly's La Casita -- You haven't had a margarita until you've tried one at Molly's. They're icy, with just the right blend of sweetness and tang, as if the Lady of Guadalupe came down from Heaven to blend them herself. After a couple, you'll need to stay put for awhile, so check out the menu. The vegetable enchiladas are to die for. 2006 Madison, 726-1873.
Murphy's -- From the outside, this Midtown pub looks tiny. Come to think of it, it's pretty small on the inside as well, but somehow they manage to pack in hardcore, punk, and metal shows every weekend. The stage is just a step up from the floor, offering fans a chance to get close to the bands. A separate pool room and small patio offer escapes when the music is too loud to chat with friends. 1589 Madison, 726-4193.
Neil's -- Neil's a big man, so it makes sense that he runs a big bar. The expansive space at the corner of Madison and McLean boasts several pool tables, a dining area, two bars, and a back room for rock shows and karaoke nights. The bar also claims "the biggest deck in town," a great place to sit back and watch the crazy characters roaming Midtown's streets. Just don't let the "Free Beer Tomorrow" sign on the patio fool you. 1835 Madison, 278-6345.
P&H Café -- This dive bar serves as a literal arts incubator. It's where filmmaker Craig Brewer got his start with The Poor & Hungry (written and shot inside the bar), and the place where tons of yet-unknown poets and writers go to find their inner muse (and a cold, cheap pitcher of beer). It's also where local actors go to recharge their batteries after a show. 1532 Madison, 726-0906.
Poplar Lounge -- Above the door, a sign reads, "Where the stars hang out." While we're not so sure about that, you'll be sure to spot plenty of good ol' boys and barflies. But never fear. This place also caters to hip Midtowners and Rhodes students looking to catch a knee-slapping honky-tonk show. 2586 Poplar, 324-1233.
Printer's Alley -- This all-night haunt serves liquor and beer 24/7, and it's the sort of unlikely place you end up after a night of hard partying. But beware -- the later it gets, the more bizarre. After all, we are talking about people who are still out drinking at 5 a.m. 322 S. Cleveland, 725-9809.
Senses --This award-winning dance club is the height of Memphis chic. The place is divided into rooms, each with its own bar, for varied ambiance. There's the high-energy dance floor featuring local and big-name DJs, the chilled-out Orange Room with space-age mod décor, the hip martini lounge, the outdoor beer garden, and the VIP room (with Xboxes and plasma screen TVs). 2866 Poplar, 454-4081.
Side Street Grill -- Hands down, the best martinis in town. For a quick buzz, make it a jumbo (an extra large glass with twice the liquor). The place is conveniently located next to Theatreworks, so it's a great place to tipple after the show. For something a little darker, pop in next door to the "Red Bar," where the lights are low but spirits run high. 35 S. Florence, 274-8955.
Wild Bill's -- The last of a dying breed, Wild Bill's keeps the juke-joint genre alive in Memphis. Old African-American guys mix and mingle with young, white hipsters as the house band blesses the crowd with pure, Delta soul-blues. Grab an old man's hand and head to the dance floor. You'll probably make his night and a new friend. 1580 Vollintine, 726-5473.
Yosemite Sam's -- Karaoke is the main attraction at this dimly lit Overton Square dive, and the regulars take it pretty seriously. But don't worry if you're no Taylor Hicks. The supportive crowd will always clap, even if you're god-awful. This may have something to do with their cheap pitchers. 2126 Madison, 726-6138.
Zinnie's Old Place -- At Old Zinnie's (dubbed OZ by the regulars), things are simple. No live bands. No fancy food. Just good beer and one of the best happy hours in Midtown. It serves as a virtual melting pot, as happy-hour regulars mix with Rhodes students on study break. 1688 Madison, 726-5004.
Beauty Shop -- You can't get your hair done at this beauty-salon-turned-restaurant, but you can get your drink on in one of their old hair-dryer chairs. Drinks and trendy cuisine are served by waitresses with kitschy beehive wigs (Priscilla Presley got her famous 'do here in the bar's beauty salon days). The long, communal-style tables are a great place to chat with strangers, or if you're just drinking, pull up a seat at the super-chic bar. 966 S. Cooper, 272-7111.
Blue Fish -- The über-hip seafood place was voted Best New Restaurant in our Restaurant Guide this year. But it should have been number one in wine selection. While the wine menu isn't the largest in town, it may be the healthiest. They carry organic Lolonis Ladybug, a line of wines featuring grapes grown using ladybugs to fight pests rather than harsh chemicals. Sit underneath the blue-lit faux palm tree and sip on a glass. 2149 Young, 725-0230.
Café Ole -- When it's time for a party, leave the fiesta planning behind. Instead, take your friends to Café Ole, where you can get tipsy on margaritas and then leave the mess behind for someone else to clean up. On Monday nights, catch live music on their famed alleyway patio. It's an excellent place to re-coup from the workday. 2127 Young, 274-1504.
Celtic Crossing -- A true Irish pub! With Guinness on tap, Irish proverbs decorating the walls, and owner Jo Delahunty's authentic Irish lilt, Celtic Crossing is as close to the Emerald Isle as Memphis can get. Stop in on a weekend night for a rousing game of bar trivia or dine on the spacious patio for Sunday brunch. 903 S. Cooper, 274-5151.
Dish -- Finally a place where you can lie in bed while sipping cocktails. Anybody can get the royal treatment at this Mediterranean tapas lounge where cushy beds take the place of regular tables. Just don't spill. That might not be too pleasant for the next guy. For those who'd rather sit at a table, they have those too, and a patio just made for people watching. 948 S. Cooper, 276-0002.
Do -- This trendy sushi bar actually shares a kitchen with the Beauty Shop. Inside, seating is scarce, but the décor is reminiscent of a Middle Eastern hooka bar with cushioned seating near the window, a communal table in the center, and sectioned-off areas for couples. All the pretentiousness of a sushi bar is out the window at Do, where Pabst Blue Ribbon is served alongside fine sake. 964 S. Cooper, 272-0830.
Young Avenue Deli -- You're in the mood for some live music, but you're starving. You don't have time for fast food before the show. At the Deli, the fries are award-winning. They have plenty of hearty, delicious sandwiches. And there's a large selection of imported and domestic beers to wash it all down just in time for a set by some hip local garage band. 2119 Young, 278-0034.
University of Memphis
Gill's Bar & Grill -- A place to watch the game, maybe shoot some darts, and down a few drinks. This university-area bar is clean-cut and laidback, the sort of place the smart kids on campus hang out, not the rowdy beer-funneling frat boys. 551 S. Highland, 458-2787.
Liquid Lounge -- While preppy college kids haunt this small Highland Strip dance club by week, it caters to a darker crowd on Saturday nights. They come in droves, dressed head-to-toe in black, pale-faced and sporting thick, black eyeliner. It's home to the Memphis Industrial Goth Project's weekly goth, EBM, and industrial night. Check it out if you dare. 557 S. Highland, 452-6553.
Newby's -- They call themselves "the college bar you never graduate from," and boy is that the truth. While the bar and grill is a hot spot for the barely legal, you'll find just as many thirty- and forty-somethings lingering around the bar. With plenty of pool tables and a drink called the Rock Star (Red Bull and five kinds of liquor), it's the sort of place you never outgrow. Check out Widespread Panic-style jam bands playing in their large music hall next door. 539 S. Highland, 452-8408.
R.P. Tracks -- Located just feet away from busy train tracks, R.P. Tracks designed a gimmick to match their location -- discounts on shooters every time a train rolls by. It works to draw a crowd, and so do the barbecue tofu nachos, piled high with black beans, lettuce, tomato, and guacamole. Trust us. It's all worth the noise pollution. 3547 Walker, 327-1471.
R.P. Billiards/The Vault -- The same folks that offer those yummy nachos have now taken over the Highland Cue. It's still a pool hall, but with a fresh new look complete with better lighting, remodeled bathrooms, and a new bar. On the weekend, check out live rock shows in The Vault, the adjoining music room. 525 S. Highland, 452-6203.
Belmont Grill -- The Belmont lucked out with good party karma. Back in the 1940s, the Poplar location was the East Memphis hot spot where the folks at the Bianchi Brothers grocery store held weekly neighborhood fish fries. These days, it's still a hot spot for East Memphians to guzzle beer and chow down on pub grub until the wee hours of the morning. 4970 Poplar, 767-0305; 9102 Poplar Pike, 624-6001.
Brookhaven Pub & Grill -- Don't stay at home to watch the game. Head to the Brookhaven Pub where you can catch it on one of their big-screen plasma TVs. With eight beers on tap, a Mongo burger on the menu, and plenty of live music, it beats sitting alone on your ratty old sofa. 695 West Brookhaven Circle, 680-8118.
Cockeyed Camel -- This East Memphis institution has been around since 1976, and probably offers one of the more diverse menus around. Where else can you order a down-home meat-and-three and wash it down with a frozen tropical pina colada? Also a great place to catch cover bands or the game on their big-screen TVs. 6080 Primacy Parkway, 683-4056.
Dan McGuiness -- The beloved downtown pub recently expanded to include a branch in East Memphis. Like its older counterpart, the new Irish bar has all the traditional fixins' like bangers & mash, shepherd's pie, and of course, pints of Guinness. Check out Wine Down Wednesdays for half-priced bottles. 4698 Spottswood, 761-3711; 150 Peabody Place, Suite 115, 527-8500.
The Grove Grill -- The happenin' place for the after-work set. This semi-upscale restaurant in the Laurelwood Shopping Center offers a large bar with plenty of elbow room. Suits can opt to simply sip cocktails or even order an entire meal and eat it at the bar without feeling cramped. It's a great place for networking! 4550 Poplar, 818-9951.
Raleigh / Bartlett
South Beach -- Memphis may be a far cry from the beach, but at least you can pretend at South Beach. The pastel walls are reminiscent of an episode of Miami Vice, and the fruity beverages lack only the paper umbrella. For a true taste of the tropics, head to the bar for one of their weekly summer bikini contests. You can leave the sunscreen at home. 6102 Macon, 380-0024.
Stage Stop -- At the Stage Stop, '80s hair bands never lost their cool. They still play there every weekend, so throw on your best Poison tee-shirt and stonewashed denim and head to the top of the hill in rockin' Raleigh. As a bonus, they have probably the longest happy hour in town -- $1 off mixed drinks all day until 10 p.m. 2951 Cela, 382-1576.
Willie Moffatt's -- There's nothing fancy about Willie Moffatt's. It's just a chilled-out place to spend a night. With dart boards, pool tables, and live music for recreation, and a full menu of drinks and eats (like burgers and steaks) for nourishment, what more can you ask for? 1616 Sycamore View, 386-2710.
Germantown / Cordova
Bahama Breeze -- Located on busy Germantown Parkway, this tropical-themed restaurant is a magical oasis where the drinks are fruity and icy and the Caribbean food is spicy and delicious. Order their signature Bahamarita with a side of coconut shrimp and lean back in your chair on the breezy patio as a Caribbean-style singer serenades you with Jimmy Buffett covers. 2830 N. Germantown Pkwy., 385-8744.
Flying Saucer -- The Flying Saucer has finally landed in Cordova. Now folks on the eastern half of the city no longer have to make a late-night journey home. As with the downtown location, the Cordova venue boasts more than 200 beers on tap, a UFO club for heavy drinkers, and waitresses in too-short skirts. 1400 N. Germantown Pkwy., 755-5530; 130 Peabody Place, 523-8536.
Fox & Hound English Tavern -- Though the name implies a hangout for jolly old English chaps, you won't find any riding crops here. Just plain old Cordovans in jeans and khakis shooting billiards at one of the best places to play pool east of the I-240 loop. 847 Exocet, 624-9060; 5101 Sanderlin, 763-2013.
Huey's -- Probably the only place in Cordova where you can get away with writing on the walls. Besides legal graffiti, all Huey's locations offer the best damn burgers in town according to our annual readers poll. With live music on the weekends, toothpicks in the ceiling, and those kitschy red-and-white checked tablecloths, Huey's has become a Memphis institution. 1771 N. Germantown Pkwy., 754-3885; 1927 Madison, 726-4372 (the original); 77 S. Second, 527-2700; 2130 West Poplar, 854-4455; 4872 Poplar, 682-7729; 7825 Winchester, 624-8911; 7090 Malco Blvd., 662-349-7097.
T.J. Mulligan's -- If cover bands and beer-battered treats are your thing, then get your butt to T.J. Mulligan's. The Cordova location is just one of four, so no matter where you are in the city, you've got no excuse. 8071 Trinity, 756-4480; 362 N. Main, 523-1453; 6635 Quince, 753-8056; 2821 N. Houston-Levee Rd., 377-9997.
Swanky's Taco Shoppe -- This place may be a design-your-own-taco eatery by day, but at night, it morphs into a happenin' tequila bar. At 10 p.m., DJs take over the joint and the tables are moved to make way for a dance floor. And this ain't just any old tequila they're serving. Owner Thomas Pak considers himself a connoisseur of the smooth Mexican liquor, so the shop serves only the finest brands around. 6641 Poplar Pike, 737-2088.