Even though Christmas falls on a Friday this year, don't let that hinder your weekend drinking plans. Besides, you aren’t going to bump into all of your old high school and college friends if you stay on the couch! These Memphis bars open on Christmas Day have your back this holiday season.
Alex’s is going to be your best bet for full-on day drinking prior to Christmas dinner. Owner Rocky Kasaftes says, “We’ll open at 2pm, at the latest. Just call.”
Doors open at 9:30pm for the 10pm Jack Oblivian show. Between sets he’ll be posing as Santa in the vintage photo booth. (Not really.)
Downtown’s neighborhood bar, Bardog, is the perfect place to take the fun cousins. Doors open at 5pm.
All dressed up and nowhere to go? Prohibition-style cocktails begin pouring at 5pm.
Your family may let you down, but the Buc never will. The regulars will start gathering at 5pm.
You can get your Guinness and Irish whiskey at 5pm.
Christmas money already burning a hole in your pocket? Starting at 5pm, you can buy a round of shots for everyone at the bar. (Try the breakfast shot-- Jameson & butterscotch schnapps with a side of OJ and bacon.)
If the massive display of Christmas lights at the Deli can’t get you in the holiday spirit, then a few drinks inside definitely can. Bottoms up at 5pm.
1. Alex's Tavern1445 Jackson Ave, Memphis
2. Bar DKDC964 S Cooper, Memphis
3. Bardog Tavern73 Monroe Ave, Memphis
4. Blind Bear Speakeasy119 S Main St, Memphis
5. Buccaneer Lounge1368 Monroe Ave, Memphis
6. Celtic Crossing903 South Cooper St, Memphis
7. Lamplighter Lounge1702 Madison Ave, Memphis
8. Murphy's1589 Madison Ave, Memphis
9. P & H Cafe1532 Madison Ave, Memphis
10. The Pumping Station1382 Poplar Ave, Memphis
11. Young Avenue Deli2119 Young Ave, Memphis
12. Slider Inn2117 Peabody Ave, Memphis
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."