Who doesn't love BBQ? Central even has the vegetarians covered. The Downtown location, which is by far the funkiest, has a private party room (the Memphis Room) that seats up to 120 and is perfect for buffet-style dinners. There’s also the Shack, which is painted like a cabin, and seats 30. If that’s not enough, there’s the Kiss My Grits Diner, which seats up to 60 and has a backyard feel.
How to reserve: Call 901.672.7760 or fill out an online form.
Loflin Yard has multiple indoor and outdoor seating areas, great food, cocktails, pitchers of beer, and wine by the bottle. You can have a spur-of-the-moment party with your 20 best friends and have no trouble finding a cozy spot in the yard, or you can plan something much more serious for up to 2,000.
How to reserve: Call the event coordinator, Gina Prater, at 901.310.5529, or fill out an online form.
The Majestic was once a movie theater, so it’s huge. It’s in the heart of Downtown. The menu features crowdpleasers such as sandwiches, salads, and flatbreads. The Innovator's Room seats up to 40, while the Mezzanine -- which overlooks the restaurant -- accommodates 60 seated and up to 80 for cocktails. You can even buy out the whole restaurant if you want to do something in the 200-500 people range.
How to reserve: Fill out an online form.
In addition to a full bar, sushi, Hunan, authentic Szechuan, and Mandarin dishes, Mulan features a private room with a karaoke machine and a dance floor. The dining room seats up to 35 hungry wannabe singers.
How to reserve: Online or by phone 901.347.3965.
This upscale Southern creole restaurant can seat up to 120 people for dinner and is comprised of two contemporary-meets-Southern-charm-style dining rooms. The Grand Lobby is also available for private events. However, the one-of-a-kind patio with lush greenery, soft strings of white lights, and a soothing fountain is definitely THE spot to book.
How to reserve: Email Felicia at email@example.com or fill out an online form.
ACRE is located in a renovated home nestled on a lush, tree-lined acre of land in East Memphis. In addition to the main dining room that features roomy booths, there are several options for larger groups. The comfortable bar area is centered on a stone bar that sits just beyond the main entrance; a south-side sunroom offers an airy space with a vaulted ceiling; and an outdoor seating area provides views of the terrace and lush garden. To really impress your group, sign up for a whole hog dinner.
How to reserve: Call 901.818.ACRE.
Broad Avenue Arts District
The Rec Room has six “living rooms” for rent that seat eight to 12 people, so if you wanna play video games, watch something on the big screen, or just have a place to park your butt between rounds of Ms. Pac-Man, the Rec Room has you covered. The food options are limited to pizza and popcorn, but there’s plenty of beer and cocktails. Living rooms are $10/hr Monday-Thursday and $25/hr on weekends.
How to reserve: Fill out an online form or text 901.209.1137. For custom events of 30 or more, fill out this form.
Broad Avenue Arts District
Bounty is the only fine-dining option on Broad Avenue, and its private dining room can seat up to 25. All dishes are served family-style and feed three to four people. It’s also the perfect place for groups who have gluten-free members.
How to reserve: Call 901.410.8131 or email info@bountyonbroad.
Thanks to long, built-in benches in each dining room, tables can easily be moved together to accommodate large groups. The menu also features daily small plates in addition to an izakaya menu, so there are plenty of Pacific Rim delicacies to nibble and share.
How to reserve: Call 901.274.2556.
Evergreen Historic District
Ecco’s beautiful deck is screened-in and heated, so it’s great for basically all four seasons. With cocktail specials and a European-inspired menu with broad-based appeal, it’s a prime place to gather with a group of your friends.
How to reserve: Online or call 901.410.8200.
Lafayette’s has a large dining room, an upper deck, and an upper and lower outdoor dining area. If you want your event to include music, then say no more. Lafayette’s has the perfect intimate setting to catch great music and feast on Southern-style dishes.
How to reserve: Online
Local was basically designed for large groups. The downstairs area features a number of long “community” tables that can seat up to 10. Upstairs, there are several casual seating areas with comfy chairs and couches as well as a cozy outdoor patio. You can even reserve a whole floor if you like. The menu is basic pub grub and there are often food specials.
How to reserve: Fill out an online form.
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1. Central BBQ147 E Butler Ave, Memphis
2. Loflin Yard7 W Carolina Ave, Memphis
3. The Majestic Grille145 S Main St, Memphis
4. Mulan Bistro2149 Young, Memphis
5. Felicia Suzanne's Restaurant80 Monroe Ave, Memphis
6. ACRE Restaurant690 S Perkins Rd, Memphis
7. Rec Room3000 Broad Ave, Memphis
8. Bounty on Broad2519 Broad Ave, Memphis
9. Ecco on Overton Park1585 Overton Park Ave, Memphis
10. Lafayette's Music Room2119 Madison Ave, Memphis
11. Local Gastropub2126 Madison Ave, Memphis
For good barbecue it's best to avoid the tourist-centered places Downtown. But if you go a little south of Beale St to the South Main district, to the Downtown location of Central BBQ, you'll be rewarded with a menu that frequently tops local polls for best barbecue. And since the sauces are self-serve, it's a great place to sample a variety to see what you prefer among the four options: mild, hot, vinegar, and mustard.
Modeled after Bacchanal Wine in New Orleans, Loflin is essentially a park with a lovely bar and restaurant on its grounds. The indoor/outdoor venue is split into a few areas: the Coach House, a building that was originally home to Downtown Memphis' carriage fleet and is now used as Loflin's event space; the Safe House, which features the main dining room and an outdoor deck overlooking the yard's waterfalls; the Front Yard, an outdoor community space with plenty of picnic tables and Adirondack chairs; and the Back Yard, a private green space that's available to book alongside the Coach House. The Loflin's food menu sticks to a family-style Southern format featuring dishes like beef brisket and trout with sides (collard greens, house-made slaw, sweet potato salad), and specialities like house-made sausages and po' boys.
Centrally located Downtown, the Majestic Grille embodies all the glamour of its silver screen heyday. The cavernous restaurant used to be a movie theater, and the space maintains its original Art Deco feel with staggeringly high ceilings, gold embellishments, and an actual movie screen onto which Hollywood classics are projected. The menu consists of market-driven sandwiches, salads, and flatbread pizzas, but be sure to try standouts like the roasted mahi mahi with grilled artichoke butter and the addicting Parmesan fries.
From the menu of authentic Szechuan and Mandarin plates to the warm, laid-back ambience and Chinese-inspired décor, Mulan is a Midtown mainstay. Don’t let the vastness of the food offerings fool you -- the kitchen excels at pretty much everything, be it sushi, wok entrées, noodles, rice, salads, fusion fare -- you get the idea. A killer combination deal makes it a popular lunch destination, but don’t dismiss dinner: that karaoke machine is a magnet for locals and visitors alike, making it a great spot for people watching.
Chef Felicia Suzanne has trained with some of the best to create a unique cooking style that reimagines Southern Creole cuisine with fresh ingredients sourced from local farms. Expect original takes on sweet and savory dishes like sweet potato pie, peach upside down cake, and butternut squash bisque -- and be sure to take one of her cooking classes because she's one hell of a teacher.
Chef Wally Joe's East Memphis gem may very well be the most beautiful restaurant in Memphis. In addition to the spacious dining room, there's a lovely bar with artisan, Prohibition-era style cocktails, an unmatched patio, and private dining. It's great for a casual bite or a special occasion, but for the full experience, you need to hit the annual Chinese New Year dinner with a group of friends to help you devour a suckling pig.
Rec Room is Broad Avenue’s resident barcade. It’s a gamer’s mecca, featuring boundless vintage arcade games like pinball and Skee ball, table games in the vein of shuffleboard, air hockey, foosball, and more -- not to mention the infinite collection of classic console games. It’s a sprawling industrial dive, furnished with plush sofas in red leather and overhead chandeliers for a touch of class, and the sheer size of the place makes it a great option for large groups and private events. Don’t stress if all that competition makes you work up an appetite -- in addition to the full bar, there’s a limited yet killer menu of pizza pies for your perusal.
Bounty's consistent quality and delicious flavors are bringing people from all over the city to Broad Ave. Quietly gluten-free, the menu is packed full of local meats and vegetables made for sharing. Try the chicken under a brick (half a chicken cooked under a brick from the original structure of the building, with smoked creamed corn and sautéed swiss chard).
This modern European restaurant tucked in the Evergreen ‘hood is the perfect spot for ladies who lunch (the tables are set with massive wine glasses) and the ultimate spot for an evening cocktail, thanks to the covered back patio and outdoor bar. Lunch favorites include the salmon salad and chorizo burger. The dinner menu wows with specials like grouper sous vide with lemon and thyme, roasted okra, heirloom carrots, lentils, peas, purple onions, and browned butter.
While the original Lafayette’s -- a quaint music venue that helped launch talents like Barry Manilow, KISS, and Billy Joel into fame -- shut down less than a decade after its original conception in the early 1970s, the musical spirit lives on in its present day reincarnation. Live acts light up the stage 7 nights a week, and the rustic, wood-paneled space captures the feel of an intimate, vintage boîte despite its large size. Southern tastes reign supreme on the menu, from piquant sweet corn and jalapeño hush puppies with Sriracha mayo and heavy-hitting entrées such as Cajun crawfish wood-fired pizza. Nightly bands may draw the masses, but the weekend brunch is just as solid, what with the fried chicken and waffles being some of the best in Memphis.
This tavern commands a solid local beer selection, as well as a large area downstairs where communal tables bring large groups to socialize and partake on nightly specials on select bottles and drafts. Upstairs, comfortable couches, TVs streaming athletic events, and above-average bar appetizers like beer cheese fondue and goat cheese & crab enchiladas help retain the bar's local following.