Best of Memphis 2016 - Nightlife 

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click to enlarge Levitt Shell - JUSTIN FOX BURKS
  • Justin Fox Burks
  • Levitt Shell

Best Place To See Live Music

1. Levitt Shell

2. Lafayette's Music Room

3. Minglewood Hall

The Levitt Shell recently celebrated its 80th birthday, and the Midtown venue is still rockin' with a summer and fall music series that features great regional and national talent. Perfect for music fans of all ages, the Levitt Shell is the best place to catch live music in Memphis.

Best Band

1. North Mississippi Allstars

2. Lucero

3. Dead Soldiers — tie — Star & Micey

The North Mississippi Allstars are once again the best band in Memphis. The Allstars have been busy with side projects like the Sons of Mudboy as well as Cody Dickinson releasing his debut solo album Leeway for the Freeway, but they've still found time to be the top music act in the city.

Best Singer

1. Alexis Grace

2. Yo Gotti

3. Amy LaVere

A DJ at Q107.5 by day and a pop star by night, this is the first time Alexis Grace has been named the best singer in Memphis. Grace wowed American Idol judges with her enchanting voice, and Memphians have been eager to see her perform ever since.

Best Comedian

Readers' Choice

1. Katrina Coleman

2. Joshua McLane

3. Richard Douglas Jones

Katrina Coleman is the mastermind behind the Memphis Comedy Festival and has helped shape the Memphis comedy scene into what it is today. She's also very funny. Check her out at the monthly You Look Like insult show at the P&H.

Best Comedy Venue

1. Chuckles Comedy House

2. P&H Café

3. Hi-Tone

The historical record is clear: Running a dedicated comedy venue in Memphis is hard. We're in the midst of a comedy boom not seen since the 1980s. Chuckles Comedy House in Cordova is riding the top of that wave. You know the old saying: Dying is easy; comedy is hard.

Best Karaoke

1. Windjammer Restaurant & Lounge

2. P&H Café

3. Blue Monkey

Sure, you got a good voice. You've polished your version of "Jolene" to a tearjerking sheen. You've killed with it at karaoke nights all over town. But you don't know how good you really are until you've stepped into the arena at the Windjammer.

Best College Hangout

1. RP Tracks

2. Newby's

3. Alex's Tavern

Can we just go ahead and grant landmark status to RP Tracks? This is the kind of bar and grill that defines a neighborhood. It's a great place to hang out, familiar and friendly, but unafraid to change with the times. Who would have predicted 20 years ago that Tracks would become legendary for its barbecue tofu? The University of Memphis is a better place because of RP Tracks.

Best Pick-up Joint

1. Peabody Rooftop

2. Paula & Raiford's Disco

3. Flying Saucer

The Peabody's been a good place to meet your beaux for more than a century. But in this century, the place where the Delta begins has taken the elevator from the lobby bar to the rooftop. The tunes and the scene are as hot as the summer nights.

Best Margarita

1. Molly's La Casita

2. Babalu Tacos & Tapas

3. Las Delicias

Molly's Margarita Monday is the calming oasis after your work-week kickoff trauma. It was probably the half-frozen, half-rocks version of the tequila cocktail that put Molly's over the top. We think we've just talked ourselves into wanting one.

Best Craft Cocktails

1. Alchemy

2. Hog & Hominy

3. The Beauty Shop

The name says it all: It's the careful mixture of ingredients that spark a dramatic change, a transformation into something beautiful. Alchemy is the favorite destination among Flyer readers who want something special in their libations.

Best Happy Hour

Readers' Choice


Bardog Tavern

Blue Monkey

Boscos Squared

Brookhaven Pub

Flying Saucer

The takeaway from this six-way, too-close-to-call race is that everybody loves happy hour. There are plenty of quality places to go for your after-work comedown, from downtown to East Memphis.

Best Dance Club

BOM 1. Paula & Raiford's Disco

2. Club 152 Beale

3. Rum Boogie — tie — Rumba Room

Best After-Hours Club

1. Paula & Raiford's Disco

2. Earnestine & Hazel's

3. Alex's Tavern

Get up to your get down at the Bluff City's premiere dance emporium. It's the center of downtown nightlife, and now that downtown is booming, the center is fun. Lighted dance floor? Check. Smoke machine? You got it. Discrimination? NO! Disco forever!

Best Jukebox

1. Earnestine & Hazel's

2. Alex's Tavern

3. Young Avenue Deli

Best Hole-in-the-Wall

1. Earnestine & Hazel's

2. Alex's Tavern

3. The Cove — tie — P&H Café

Of course, Earnestine & Hazel's is the best hole in the wall. It's the Platonic ideal of the Memphis bar, favored hangout of Howlin' Wolf and Rufus Thomas. Of course, the jukebox at the best hole-in-the-wall is going to be an encyclopedia of R&B history. That's just the way these things work.

Best Sports Bar

1. Fox & Hound

2. Rec Room

3. Alex's Tavern

When you go to the sports bar, you want to know that your game is definitely going to be on. In addition to an extensive beer list and finger-licking pub grub, the Fox & Hound has, as one online reviewer put it, "a kazillion TVs." If there's a game, it's going to be on.

Best Strip Club

1. Gold Club

2. Pony

3. Purple Diamond

Why has it taken this long for the Flyer to have a Best Strip Club category? In this city? It defies logic. But we've rectified that oversight just in time for Gold Club to prove it is the gold standard of Memphis shake joints.

Best Gay Bar

1. Dru's Place

2. The Pumping Station

3. Club Spectrum

This little neighborhood gay bar is a home away from home for so many in Memphis' LGBTQ community. It's no wonder since Dru's Place has it all — karaoke, drag shows, live music, beer busts, pool, darts, and a spacious patio for warm summer nights. And any time a member of the community is in need, owner Tami Montgomery is quick to throw together a fund-raiser to help out.

Best Bartender

Readers' Choice

Allan Creasy, Celtic Crossing

David Parks, The Cove

Justin "Frenchie" Workman, Mollie Fontaine Lounge

Vincent Hale, Bari Ristorante

A good bartender isn't just the person who pours your beer. No, the bartender is also your friend, therapist, relationship counselor, and, occasionally, drinking buddy (because who doesn't buy their bartender shots from time to time?). He or she knows exactly what you want (dirty martini with vodka, three olives — extra dirty) and gets the drink going the minute you walk in the door. These four Memphis bartenders exemplify everything that makes an excellent bartender.

click to enlarge Loflin Yard - JUSTIN FOX BURKS
  • Justin Fox Burks
  • Loflin Yard

Best New Bar

BOM 1. Loflin Yard

2. Canvas

3. Dirty Crow Inn — tie — The Lookout at the Pyramid

This new downtown nightspot has a waterfall on the patio, for god's sake. Of course, it won best new bar! Oh, and that patio? It's more of a yard (hence the name), complete with seating under a grove of trees and a grassy green space for lounging with a bottle of wine from Loflin Yard's grab-and-go case. There's a giant barn in the back for special events. Meats are smoked on-site and featured on charcuterie plates and po'boys. Barrel-aged cocktails, such as the Tennessee Whiskey Old Fashioned, are the highlight of the drink menu.

Best Bar

Readers' Choice

Bardog Tavern

Loflin Yard

P&H Café

What do Bardog Tavern, Loflin Yard, and the P&H Café have in common? Each of these casual watering holes has a loyal base of devoted regulars who come back again and again. In central downtown, Bardog is the place to go for after-work beers and meatball dinners. In downtown's South End, crowds gather at Loflin Yard for handcrafted cocktails and cool breezes from the patio. And in Midtown, P&H regulars gather for cheap pitchers, live music, and karaoke.

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