Compared to Nashville, Tennessee's famous honky tonk, party city, Memphis doesn't have as much of a thriving nightlife scene, especially for the LGBTQ+ community. However, there are a few gay and lesbian bars in Memphis that you can hit up. For more information about Memphis' LGBTQ+ community, visit OUT Memphis, which provides support, health services, and gay-friendly events, such as the annual Outflix Film Festival.
The Pumping Station (formerly The Pipeline) is a gay bar located in midtown Memphis. Opened in 2001, it is known as the top gay bar in Memphis and can be easily spotted thanks to its rainbow flag flying proud outside the entrance. Among The Pumping Station's many events are pool tournaments, karaoke nights, dart competitions, beer bust nights, RuPaul’s Drag Race watching parties, and more.
Happy Hour runs daily from 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and the menu features finger food like pizza, mango habanero wings, BBQ pulled pork cheese fries, meatball sliders, and deep-fried hot dogs. Certain nights are themed, such as gourmet grilled cheese Tuesdays, steak dinner Wednesdays, and taco Fridays.
The bar often hosts LGBTQ+ events and organizations, including Mid-South Pride, Tennessee Equality Project (TEP), The Outflix Film Festival, MGLCC, Friends for Life, and the Wounded Warrior Project.
Note: Smoking is only allowed in the cheeky named Backdoor Lounge, and parking can be tricky. Do not park at Dunn's Automotive or in the Jack Pirtle’s Chicken lot, unless you want to get towed. The best place to park is at the Kroger grocery store, which is just steps from The Pumping Station.
Dru's Place is an LGBTQ dive bar whose motto is "where women and sports collide." It has big screen TVs showing the game, pool tables, darts, trivia, Texas Hold'em, and of course, cold beer, and live music.
This no-frills joint also hosts weekly karaoke and drag shows (for Queens, Kings & InBetweens) that rival RuPaul's. The lineup of singers, dancers, and performers is seriously impressive, some come for the shows and the delicious late-night pizza. In the past, they've also held pizza and pitcher deals, all-day happy hours, beer busts, thirsty Thursdays, and bottle cap bingo. There's no cover for the shows or game nights.
Keep in mind that Dru's only serves beer, a mix of which is draft, craft, and bottled brews. The silver lining: the bar allows you to BYOB, so if you don't want to drink beer, bring a little bit of cash (for the BYOB fee) and you can sip your own liquor or wine.