The first legendary notes that spawned the blues and rock-n-roll rang out from Beale Street. Haunting guitar licks still echo through the streets even on a quiet downtown night. It's official -- Memphis likes the nightlife; it likes to boogie. And you will too with some great live music every night of the week.
However, for a first-time visitor, Beale Street can be overabundant on neon and noise and seemingly lacking in good music. Below is a list of clubs on Beale Street that regularly have the best live music and descriptions of the music they offer.
Rum Boogie Cafe
182 Beale Street
Daily 11 am - 2 am
Recently named Blues Club of the Year by The Blues Foundation, you're sure to have a good time at Rum Boogie Cafe where the motto is "Eat. Drink. Boogie. Repeat." The house band is the consistently entertaining James Govan and the Boogie Blues Band, who has won the local award for Best House Band on Beale Street three times. Locals enjoy dancing like tourists to this boogie band that performs nightly.
B.B. King's Restaurant & Blues Club
143 Beale Street
(901) 524-KING (5464)
B.B. King's has one of the most diverse and sophisticated lineups of modern blues and R&B in Memphis. Their house band is the B.B. King All Star Band, and they regularly feature Blind Mississippi Morris, Preston Shannon, and others. The King of Blues, himself, even drops by occasionally, and there's a good show every night of the week. For more information, check their live music calendar.
The New Daisy Theater
330 Beale Street
The New Daisy is a concert venue more than a club, but it has regular shows that lean more toward alternative and heavy metal acts. They occasionally host big names, such as Ryan Adams or Liz Phair, but more often, they are a venue for Battles of the Bands and all-age shows (as minors are allowed on Beale between 6 am and 11 pm). So if hard rock and music of the weird is your thing, check out their events calendar.
183 Beale Street
This Irish pub offers a rowdy atmosphere with a piano bar that will keep you up late and performances by Barbara Blue with her unique rendition of the blues.
Blues City Cafe
138 Beale Street
Blues City Cafe features live music nightly from a variety of bands that are indicative of Memphis' iconic period in music history. There are regular appearances by Gary Hardy and the Memphis 2, Freeworld, and The Dempseys. Gary Hardy's band is a tribute to Johnny Cash, and while he's more of a novelty act, he's quite entertaining. Freeworld is a jazz-funk fusion jam band that often shares the stage with the legendary Herman Green. The Dempseys define high-impact rockabilly and played Elvis' backup band in the 2005 film, Walk the Line. Freeworld plays Blues City every Sunday night, and as these bands are made up of phenomenal local talent, they are must-sees when in Memphis. Check the Blues City Cafe's entertainment calendar for upcoming acts.
For more great music venues in Memphis, check out Memphis' Best Live Music Venues.