Fun bands playing live in the street, and occasional acrobats performing tricks. A lot of good restaurants and bars. You can bring open drinks outside, so long as they're in a plastic cup. Perfectly safe; no traffic and plenty of police.
Dress Code: Wear absolutely whatever you want. But do wear something.
The place to be in Memphis is Beale Street. During the day there are restaurants to eat at and shops to buy things at. In the evenings it turns into a mini-Bourbon street but with out that stinky smell. Well at least it didn't smell when we were there! Most of the restaurants turn into clubs with live bands playing everything from soul, R&B, rock, hip-hop, and blues. If you buy a wrist band ($12 during our visit in 2006) then you can get into any and every club without paying a separate cover. This makes it convenient to try out different places until you find one you might want to hang out at. The streets are also blocked off to traffic making it easier for pedestrians to get (or stumble) around. Our favorite was Mr. Handy's Blues Hall. If you like blues, you defintely want to check out this intimate club. And if Delta Highway is playing, definitely drop in for set. You won't be disappointed.
Dress Code: Casual
This was basically the reason we came. Three blocks of nothing but entertainment! By day there are lots of interesting shops and vendors, and by night, the place is rockin'. Live music in every restaurant and bar. They block the street off late in the afternoon, and there is No open container law - you can get your drink in a plastic cup and walk down the MIDDLE of the road! We happened to be there on the day of the St Patrick's day parade. People were a little crazy, but it was great to be there when it was busy. We met people from all over the United States (and a few Canadians) and since everything is so close together, we got to go everywhere we wanted to see. Friday night they sold wristbands for $10, so we didn't have to pay any cover. They said that cover can get pretty steep if you go more than 2 or 3 places (I'd say we went to 8 or 10 the first night.) We are 21 and 22 years old, so we were definitely YOUNG as far as the night crowd was concerned, but there is something for everyone on Beale Street.
This is the historic street in downtown Memphis, memorialized in song and countless stories and movies. The most famous club is of course B.B. King's. For a flat fee, you can get a pass granting access to all the other clubs. The music is mainly blues and rock. Beale Street is reasonably safe.
Dress Code: Depends on where you go. Generally casual.
Just walking around Beale street is a nice experience. There were several bands playing live music on the steets/sidestreets to which people were dancing. There is something for everyone. The are several restaurants and clubs in the area. Also the souvenior shops and live music helped keep older folk happy. There are police cars at night which prohibits traffic from entering this area and keeps people from being too unruly. This area was my favorite part of the trip.
Dress Code: whatever
If you go out at night in Memphis Beale Street is the place to go. The short stretch of road is blocked off to traffic and home to at least half a dozen night clubs and several restaurants and bars. Live music is everywhere on this street, even in the public park, and you can get a wristband for around $10 that will allow you to get in to all of the street's venues. Among the businesses on this street is a a version of New Orlean's famous Pat O'brien's restaurant and bar, as well as BB King's Blues Club and the Blues City Cafe. Any night of the week there is something fun to do here. Our only complaint was that many of the businesses seem to try too hard to emulate the atmosphere on New Orlean's Bourbon Street, offering hurricanes, jambalyah, oysters, and other Big Easy fare. We felt it would be far better if these places concentrated on the unique food and culture that Memphis has to offer, after all if people want New Orleans they should go there instead.
This is the most important street in Memphis. It could be compared, although in a lower scale, to Bourbon St in New Orleans. There are lots of places that close very late at night and you can walk around with a beer in your hand while listening to live blues or some Elvis imitator.
Historic Beale Street provides something for everyone. A few notable places are B. B. Kings club, Elvis Presley's Memphis and Silky O' Sullivans. For a more dance oriented experience try Have a Nice Day Cafe or Alfreds. Beer enthusiests will enjoy The Flying Saucer, located off of Beale. For those late night cravings, try the Blues City Cafe. All of these Memphis spots will provide.
Dress Code: Come in whatever makes you comfortable. You will find people dressed in every manner of dress, from shorts to business dress.