Memphis is a late-night city. It wouldn't make sense, after all, for the birthplace of rock-n-roll to roll the streets up early. Beale Street, in particular, and certain bars in the surrounding downtown area keep serving way into the wee hours. In order to keep dancing in the home of the blues, night owls have to refuel on a good, greasy, down-home fourth, or sometimes fifth, meal. Below is a list of each of my picks for the best late-night grub in Downtown Memphis.
205 Beale Street
(901) 527-DYER (3937)
Famous since 1912 for their "ageless" grease, these juicy (and possibly life-shortening) burgers will give you the vitamin-G you need to recover.
Hours: Sun - Thurs 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 a.m. and Fri and Sat 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 a.m.
Blues City Cafe
138 Beale Street
Not only does Blues City host live music nightly in The Band Box, but their BBQ ribs have been known to steal the show. Many locals have dubbed these ribs the best in the city, and Blues City offers other tasty late-night snacks, such as sausage-and-cheese plates and tamales.
Hours: Sun - Thurs 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 a.m. and Fri and Sat 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 a.m.
Earnestine & Hazel's
531 South Main Street
This little juke joint that's full of character serves burgers that are full of flavor and soul. Besides a good time, the Soul Burger is the only thing Earnestine & Hazel's is cooking up, but at 3 a.m., you'll think it's the best burger you've ever had.
Hours: Daily 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 a.m.
The Green Beetle
327 South Main Street
This hole-in-the-wall boasts the title of oldest bar in Memphis, and lots of locals rave about the food. Though The Green Beetle offers a great lunch, it is primarily known as a late, late-night hangout. I chose it for second place for its wide variety on the late-night menu. The Beetle offers typical bar appetizers, sandwiches and wraps, entrees that include catfish, steak, and lasagna, and Southern sides.
Hours: Mon - Wed 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 a.m., Thurs - Sat 11:00 a.m. - 6:00 a.m., and Sun 2:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m.
154 Beale Street
The neon sign says it all. Love, peace, and chicken grease, indeed. Miss Polly's serves up comfort food of every kind, including chicken and waffles. The country-fried selections come with gravy so thick, it's not legal outside of the South. The menu will have you coming back for more at any time of the day. After a late night out -- if you can make it -- this is the place to do breakfast as well.
Hours: Mon - Thurs 8:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m., Fri 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 a.m., Sat 7:00 a.m. - 4:00 a.m., and Sun 7:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
119 Main Street
Tuesdays - Saturdays
4:00 p.m. - 2:00 a.m.
73 Monroe Avenue
85 South Second Street