5 Memphis Bars For Beer Drinkers
Ed. Note: You asked for Blake to write about beer bars, so here you go! These are just a few of the many great beer bars in Memphis. Don’t forget to check out the blog’s Beer Lovers Guide.
I Love Memphis has highlighted plenty of beer bars over the years. We all know the Saucer has alllll the beers and that Young Avenue Deli has an amazing selection – and they are both awesome bars – but sometimes the day-to-day beer drinkers of Memphis may want to branch out when they go out after work to unwind.
Here are five great spots (in no particular order) to get a cold one and relax.
With a laid-back atmosphere, friendly staff, and mouth-watering food, it is easy to understand why the Dirty Crow is exactly what people look for in a chill beer bar.
Because everything sounded appetizing, we had a tough time making up our mind what to order. How do you choose between Poutine fries with smoked chicken and Soy Ginger wings??? We had great service at our table, plus they had a very nice beer selection for a neighborhood-sized bar; I had no problem finding different beers that I liked. Their sign inside says it all: they’re a 5-star dive bar from the the nostalgic posters plastered on the ceiling and tables, to their “Grizzly Wiggly” wall art. You should check out The Dirty Crow if you haven’t yet.
2. The Green Beetle (325 S. Main St.)
Make a pilgrimage to the Beetle, Memphis’s oldest bar on South Main downtown. In fact, it’s one of the 365 Things To Do In Memphis. They have a continuously changing beer selection and provide patrons with a beer flow chart to help beer drinkers find the right brew.
They first find your overall opinion of macro beers (Budweiser, Miller, Coors, etc…) and based on your opinions of those, take you through a range of options based on whether you like your beers dark, fruity, hoppy, etc… so that you can choose your best route to dive into the craft beer options or stick with something safer for the less adventurous beer drinkers who still want something new. I love that they provide this!
The bartenders are always nice and the food menu is solid and deserving of its own separate post. This is a bar where you can sit and not talk to anyone and be happy, or you can find friendly conversation across the bar.
3. The Blue Monkey (2012 Madison Ave or 513 S. Front St.)
Like slipping on a comfortable shoe, going to the Monkey is relaxing and predictable every time I step inside one of their two locations. I slide up to the bar, order a beer and know that I’m going to see Memphians having a cold beverage and a good time.
They’ve got a draft and bottle selection that has something for everyone, including local and craft beer options, but besides the beers on tap and the macro beer selection, they don’t do much to let you know what is available.
When I go to the midtown location, I just walk over to the beer fridge that is tucked behind the server’s station and look for myself, because it’s usually quicker that way than asking servers who aren’t big on beer knowledge. The downtown beer cooler is much more accessible.
The Monkey is 21+ and they do allow smoking inside, but they deliver the classic beer bar experience that a lot of us are looking for. They have live music often, pool tables to enjoy and the people watching is second to none.
4. Lucchesi’s Beer Garden (84 S. Reese St.)
Nestled quietly off Poplar Avenue at Reese (a bit west of Highland) the Beer Garden sits as one of Memphis’s great neighborhood bars. They have a large group of regulars who come from the area. With over 150 beers to choose from, they easily satisfy any beer drinker’s desire.
The bar staff typically consists of one bartender and one cook in the kitchen, which is important to know if you’re in a hurry and there’re five other food orders in front of yours. The bartenders are usually very attentive, but on busy nights you might have to wait a few minutes to get your next round.
A lot of people confuse Lucchesi’s Beer Garden with Raffe’s Deli, which used to both be owned by Raffe Sakan, before she sold the bar to her daughter Basma and son-in-law Tony (Lucchesi) and sold the deli and beer store to another party.
Tony comes from a long line of Lucchesi’s that reside in Memphis, but he won’t serve up Italian specialties like over at Lucchesi’s Ravioli & Pasta Company off Sanderlin (now owned by the Robilio family). Instead he creates the Syrian specialties of his in-laws like paninis, gyros, baba ghanouj, grape leaves, and their own sandwiches like the Memphuletta and the Tiger Bite.
I highly recommend the Big Bad Blake (just think lots of meats, cheese, olive tapenade, hot sweet mustard, done panini style). It’s been waiting for Holly to put on a list of 100 things to eat in Memphis for far too long.
5. Patrick’s (4972 Park Ave)
When I sat down at the bar at Patrick’s, three regulars immediately said hello to me. This is how I know that Patrick’s is a great beer bar. They only have six beers on tap (two are local) plus 18 different bottled beers to choose from.
They hit all the regular beer styles that drinkers want, but they’re not going to impress any beer aficionados out there, which is fine because sometimes you have to give your palate a break from all those Barrel-aged Chocolate Stouts and Double IPA’s. Sometimes a Killian’s Irish amber or a Coors Light are all you need to be happy.
They also have a good neighborhood group of regulars that are always talking Memphis sports. You can get normal bar food, but they also serve up meat and two plates (or multi-veggie plates if you don’t eat meat for some strange reason) that taste like they just came from your grandmother’s kitchen. Catfish, country fried steak, chicken & dumplings are just a few of those options available.
During Italian Fest, some of my teammates brought us back some Rueben sandwiches from Patrick’s which saved our souls. My next trip there I’m taking on “The Mempho” a mac-n-cheese slab grilled on jalapeno cornbread with pulled pork on it. These are the things that dreams are made of.
About The Author
Blake Marcum was born and raised in the 901 and now lives in Midtown, helping people vicariously live out their dreams on social media, if those dreams involve beer and barbecue. He’s a contributor to I Love Memphis, Memphis Travel, and MemphisCraftBeer.com. A Grand Champion of BBQ Fest (2013) and BBQ judge, he really knows BBQ. Pairing that with his love of craft beer, he’s a great representative of the fun side of the Bluff City. Blake loves the investment going into Memphis and believes the best is yet to come. Follow him on Twitter at @blakeandbrew.