Memphis Dive Bars

Memphis dive bars are by far the best way to become intimately acquainted with the city. Sure, they may not have cocktails with cute names or doors on the bathrooms, but these dives have character. Older regulars mix with students trying to get a cheap beer and everyone seems to get along. Alex’s Tavern is one of Memphis’ best-known dives. It looks like it could be a condemned building from the exterior, but inside is what really counts. An incredible jukebox, delicious burgers and cheep beer keep patrons coming back for more. Other notable Memphis dives include (but are definitely not limited to) Earnestine and Hazel’s, R.P. Tracks, Murphy’s and Yosemite Sam’s. All of these Memphis dives keep the drinks cheep and the music going all night long. When in the River City, make sure to rub elbows with wise old regulars in these dive bars that keep the spirits high and ever-flowing.
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Alex's Tavern

1445 Jackson Ave., Memphis, Tennessee; Tel. 901.278.9086
Don’t judge Alex’s Tavern by the seedy exterior—it’s what’s inside that makes this Memphis dive bar worth a visit. Alex’s Tavern is a beloved family-owned pub that’s been a mainstay of Memphis nightlife since the 1950s. The jukebox itself attests to the bar’s long history and plays tunes all night. Cheep beer and perfectly grilled burgers keep celebrities like Don Henley and Dennis Quaid coming back every chance they get. The walls are lined with photographs of other celebs and framed articles about this favorite Memphis bar to locals and visitors in the know. Students and businesspeople alike will love the authentic Memphis atmosphere found at Alex’s Tavern.

Bobcat Bar & Grill

4730 Poplar Ave., Memphis, Tennessee; Tel. 901.685.2933
Pizza, beer and sports. Memphis dive bar Bobcat Bar & Grill has it all for college students or anyone in need of greasy food and cold beer. Several TVs play all the local games while patrons enjoy shuffleboard, darts, pool and video games in true sports bar fashion. This dive has a better beer selection than most, with cute bartenders to boot. Everyone’s a regular at Bobcat Bar & Grill, where cold beer is as plentiful as the friendly patrons.

Earnestine and Hazel’s

531 S. Main St., Memphis, Tennessee; Tel. 901.523.9754
Since its early days as a brothel Earnestine and Hazel’s has come a long way from the gentleman’s club of yore. In fact, today the bar is a Memphis live blues hotspot that boasts an extensive full bar and juicy Soul Burgers. Stay late, dance, and soak up some Memphis history while listening to the best jukebox in town after the live musicians have gone from playing on the stage to drinking at the bar. On weekend nights the piano bar, R&B, jazz and local jam sessions can be heard inside the club making Earnestine and Hazel’s an excellent Memphis bar.


1702 Madison Ave., Memphis, Tennessee; Tel. 901.726.9916
Lamplighter serves cold Pabst Blue Ribbon in frozen mugs…and not a whole lot else. Patrons don’t come for the variety of cheap drink—they come for the Memphis neighborhood bar atmosphere, famous Shirley Burgers and grilled cheese sandwiches. Since not many tourists make it to Lamplighter, even the most hardened of regulars are eager to converse with visitors. A pool table and jukebox keep things exciting and a “no cursing” policy keeps things polite. This neighborhood Memphis bar is a great stop for adventurous visitors and anyone in need of cold drinks at wallet-saving prices.


1589 Madison, Memphis, Tennessee; Tel. 901.726.4193
Tasty pub grub and a great selection of beer have kept Murphy’s open for nearly three decades among the seemingly never-ending list of Memphis bars and clubs. This Midtown Memphis dive also hosts live local bands on the indoor stage. For those who want more than beer, Murphy’s has a wide selection of cocktails, wine, wells and premium spirits from the large bar. When the weather is nice, the outdoor patio offers students, businesspeople and regulars a great place to relax and enjoy all that Memphis has to offer.

R.P. Tracks

3547 Walker Ave., Memphis, Tennessee; Tel. 901.327.1471
Trains practically roll through R.P. Tracks, which might sound annoying, but every time a train thunders past, shots are $1 off which will make trains a welcome treat soon enough. The crowd is varied at this Memphis dive with everyone from students to tourists and regulars who can choose from drinks on the three-page cocktail menu. Several microbrews and wines are also served along with a variety of tasty pub food—excellent burgers accompany vegetarian choices on the menu. R.P. Tracks is a great Memphis dive bar to get a taste of real Tennessee nightlife, drink specials when trains roll through and tasty grub from the grill.


115 Vance Ave., Memphis, Tennessee; Tel. 901.9313
Raiford’s may only serve beer—and only 40s—but it boasts some of the best dancing that Memphis’ nightlife has to offer. There is literally nothing like Raiford’s lighted dance floor, plastic chandeliers and a smoke machine that obscures everything—so hold on tight to your 40-ounce beers. This rockin’ Memphis dance club only accepts cash, but that might help solve mornings of wondering, “Where’d my credit card go?” The party really gets started by 2am and since the bar is a hike from Beale Street, it might be the perfect after-party location for an epic night out in Memphis. Any bar that specializes in serving 40-ounces of golden goodness should be on your list of things to do.

The World Famous Poplar Lounge

2586 Poplar Ave., Memphis, Tennessee; Tel. 901.324.1233
“World Famous” is a relative term when it comes to The World Famous Poplar Lounge. Nonetheless, the joint is a popular dive bar located between Midtown and East Memphis that provides locals and visitors a great place to hear some bluegrass while sipping a beer or munching on a burger. Visitors to Memphis can enjoy rubbing elbows with locals while experiencing a real neighborhood bar complete with a grill and plenty of cocktails and beer. A trip to Memphis wouldn’t be complete without a visit to a dive, and The World Famous Poplar Lounge is a great place to see this side of Memphis nightlife.

Yosemite Sam's

2126 Madison Ave., Memphis, Tennessee; Tel. 901.726.6138
Yosemite Sam’s boasts some of the best karaoke that the Memphis nightlife has to offer, plus darts and air hockey keep the more timid bar-goers busy. Cocktails from the full bar or cold draft beers will help loosen the mood for crowds and prompt singing and dancing all night. The laid-back atmosphere at Yosemite Sam’s makes it perfect for first-time karaoke singers and microphone-jockeys.


1688 Madison Ave., Memphis, Tennessee; Tel. 901.726.5004
Rhodes students may dominate Zinnie’s, but this Memphis bar is a great place for anyone to visit for food, drinks and fun. Pool tables and dartboards provide activities for patrons to entertain themselves while downing pitchers of cold beer. Regulars flock to Zinnie’s when all-you-can-eat crab legs are on the menu, but be sure to call ahead because this deal isn’t offered all the time. The large patio is perfect for outdoor dining or cooling off with a cocktail from the bar during hot summer nights. Zinnie’s is a Memphis dive bar brings energy and excitement to nightlife in the River City.
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