Food & Drink

12 Memphis Bars That Are Open on Christmas Day

Published On 12/21/2015 Published On 12/21/2015
Flickr/Sean Davis
Flickr/Memphis CVB
Stacey Greenberg/Thrillist
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1. Alex's Tavern 1445 Jackson Ave, Memphis, TN 38107 (Vollintine Evergreen)

Alex's Tavern is an unassuming, local watering hole in the Crosstown neighborhood that makes up for its humble-but-charming atmosphere with one of the best burgers (and ribs and wings) in town. Perhaps the burger reigns supreme because of the inclusion of a secret mix of Greek seasonings in the patty, or perhaps because the cast-iron skillet said patty is cooked in has seen the sear of thousands of the patty's kin. Regardless, you'd be remiss to stop in for a beer and leave without the burger.

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2. Bar DKDC 964 S Cooper, Memphis, TN 38104 (Cooper Young)

Head to the cozy (read: small) Cooper Young bar for any of the simple cocktails served in Mason jars. Check out the Satsuma Mama with Mississippi Cathead vodka, tangerine juice, and a satsuma peel, or the Blackberry Julep with whiskey, muddled blackberries and mint sugar. Memphis' best local musicians frequently fill half the bar on Thursday and weekend evenings, attracting a standing-room-only crowd that spills out onto the patio or into the tiny old-fashioned photo booth.

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3. Bardog Tavern 73 Monroe Ave, Memphis, TN 38103 (Downtown)

Bardog Tavern offers a brunch to end all brunches, one that’s hearty, simple, and heavy on the meat and carbs. Get a New York Strip and eggs, pancakes, French toast, or an avocado- and spicy mayo-laden lobster sandwich. The gastropub is ornamented with industrial elements, like exposed brick, red leather banquette booths, and bicycles hanging from the ceiling (hinting that a meal this indulgent might necessitate a bit of exercise). Plus there are inexpensive Bloody Marys, mimosas, and "cheap screws," should you need some hair of the bardog.

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4. Blind Bear Speakeasy 119 S Main St, Memphis, TN 38103 (Memphis)

The '20s are alive and well at the Blind Bear Speakeasy. You won’t need a password to order from the “Giggle Water” drink menu, but you may feel a little like a Roaring '20s gangster as you put back a Bootlegger’s Mule (American Born moonshine, simple syrup, lime, and ginger beer). It's a good thing there's "Hung Over Like a Bear" brunch every weekend.

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5. Buccaneer Lounge 1368 Monroe Ave, Memphis, TN 38104 (Midtown)

Sure, things can go a little awry at the Buc, but the place is quality if you're looking for an unpretentious, well-worn (and well-loved) watering hole. The words "artisan," "craft beer," or "small plates" have never been uttered by a bartender at the Buc, which suits the place just fine. It's a classic dive with a seriously good lineup of local and touring music acts.

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6. Celtic Crossing 903 South Cooper St, Memphis, TN 38104 (Cooper Young)

Bangers and rashers meet French toast and cheesy eggs and at this neighborhood Irish pub during weekend brunch. Stopping by weekdays after work? Opt for lunch and dinner options like stuffed sweet peppers with corned beef and Swiss cheese, homemade potato and leek soup, and beer-battered chicken & chips. Sit inside with fellow sports lovers and gather around the projector for daily sportscasts, or enjoy mellow live music and a mimosa carafe on the spacious, heated patio.

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7. Lamplighter Lounge 1702 Madison Ave, Memphis, TN 38104 (Midtown)

Former owner and barkeep Miss Shirley ran a tight ship at this definitive Midtown dive until her passing in 2010. There was no cussin' or fussin' and nothin' but beer to drink in her day, and her dedicated regulars have honored her legacy by keeping the place pretty much the same for years. It feels like an uncle's basement, with kitschy celebrity portraits, a classic jukebox, and a pool table.

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8. Murphy's 1589 Madison Ave, Memphis, TN 38104 (Midtown)

Murphy's is the perfectly seedy, divey alternative to shiny establishments down the street in Overton Square. This Irish pub-inspired spot is dark, cheap, and often crowded with punk bands and their fans, especially during punk/indie/garage rock blowout Gonerfest. Grab a cold brew and enjoy the descent into debauchery in the light of the flickering neon beer signs.

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9. P & H Cafe 1532 Madison Ave, Memphis, TN 38104 (Midtown)

The P&H Cafe is a rite of passage for Memphis artists, filmmakers, musicians, comedians and an assortment of Midtown Bohemians. The Poor and Hungry serves a handful of beers in pitchers only (just go for the PBR like everyone else) and boasts a stage for open-mic comedy and karaoke nights, pool tables, and a cigarette machine. The BYO liquor policy and a tendency for things to get going after midnight make it essential in terms of drinking with Memphians who are making much of the music, art, and movies in the city.

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10. The Pumping Station 1382 Poplar Ave, Memphis, TN 38104 (Midtown)

This bar's wink-wink, nudge-nudge name is fair: The Pumping Station is gay-friendly and open 'til 3am, with bathrooms labelled "masters" and "slaves." But don't worry if you forgot to wear your leather -- something else you'll see there from time to time -- because all are welcome in this relaxed dive bar offering cheap drink specials, happy hours, free pool nights, and beer busts.

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11. Young Avenue Deli 2119 Young Ave, Memphis, TN 38104 (Midtown)

Young Avenue Deli is one of the most popular live music venues in Memphis, not only for its expansive stage and large seating area, but also for its equally extensive food and drink selection. The menu of greasy goodness is divided into “Munchies,” “Specialties,” “’Dillas+Pizza,” and “Dessert,” and its highlights include award-winning French fries, beer battered artichoke hearts, and the Super Veggie sandwich, which comes bursting with roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, romaine lettuce, sprouts, feta cheese, and black olives. And with over 100 beer options (30 of which are on tap), you won’t tire of Young Avenue anytime soon.

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12. Slider Inn 2117 Peabody Ave, Memphis, TN 38104 (Midtown)

Memphians love patios almost as much as the beer they drink on them, and lucky for the Slider Inn in Midtown, it has both amenities in abundance. In addition to its daily specials, this neighborhood bar specializing in tiny burgers has a three-buck pint night on Tuesdays. With a kitchen open until 2am and a bar until 3am, it's the perfect end to a perfect evening. Bonus: it is apparently home to the "only Lobster Roll in the midsouth."