If you're looking to go out on a Saturday night in Memphis, these are the top four neighborhoods for food, drinks, and fun.
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Beale Street, known as the official "Home of the Blues" and winner of the "America's Most Iconic Street" title, is the obvious spot for Saturday night shenanigans in downtown Memphis. If you want to wander from bar to bar, hear live music, enjoy some adult beverages, and people watch, this is where to go. You can sing along at the piano bar at Silky O'Sullivan's, absorb some blues at Rum Boogie Cafe, or dance the night away in a club setting on Club 152's third floor bar -- and those are just three of dozens of options.
Keep in mind that Beale Street on Saturday nights is for those 21 and up only, and can get crowded after 11 p.m. in the summer months. Head over after dinner and spend a few hours on Beale sipping a cocktail or beer (you can carry your drinks on the street!) to make the most of your evening.
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Overton Square in midtown Memphis has reemerged in the last few years as the hottest spot for going out on a weekend night. There are a ton of dining options, from po-boys at The Second Line, to tacos at Babalu, to satisfying gastropub fare at Local on the Square. There’s plenty of entertainment, too. Lafayette’s Music Room boasts live music every night and a two-storey patio, Zebra Lounge is an piano bar with free tunes nightly, and Malco’s Studio on the Square theater offers a mix of blockbuster, Oscar-bait, and indie films.
Boscos Squared offers limited-edition craft beers and a crowd-pleasing menu, plus a great patio. Not to mention that there are four theaters in the vicinity for live dramatic and musical performances.
There are even Saturday night kid-friendly options in Overton Square. Belly Acres has burgers and shakes in a fun, farm-themed atmosphere, and Sweet Noshings will have the whole family acting like kids in a literal candy store (they also have gelato and coffee for the... grown-ups).
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Downtown Memphis proper has plenty of options for Saturday night fun. Start your evening with dinner at Catherine & Mary’s in the historic Chisca Hotel. Rumba Room on South Main offers free salsa lessons on Saturday nights only at 9:30 p.m.
If you need to let loose, Paula & Raiford’s Disco is a legendary Memphis institution, and Saturday night is the most exciting night to go. Think light-up dance floor, fog machines, old school and modern-day dance tunes, and a dance pole (use at your own risk). Just be sure to bring cash; Raiford's only accepts cash for its cover charges, beer, and cocktails.
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Cooper Young’s arts district offers a slightly more laid-back, but no less exciting Saturday night experience. Start with a few beers at Memphis Made Taproom, then make your way down to the intersection of Cooper and Young for dinner, drinks, and music. Go for a little class with dinner at upscale spots The Beauty Shop, Tsunami, or Sweet Grass. The latter specializes in lowcountry and Southern cuisine with a great cocktail list.
Young Avenue Deli is a reliable late-night spot with an exhaustive beer list, pool tables, and a kitchen that stays open past midnight. If you want to do as the locals do, know that some of Memphis’s best bands bring a crowd into Cooper Young’s coziest club - Bar DKDC - on Saturday nights, usually later in the evening and with a cover charge less than ten bucks.