Now is the Time. Memphis is the Place.

Boogie Night at Paula & Raiford’s

After the wild week of snow days that I still can’t believe happened, this past weekend I went out to the legendary Paula & Raiford’s Disco.

Sketch by Elan Harris courtesy of Teach for America

It’s been on my radar before I even chose Memphis as my region for Teach For America. I first heard about it through this article posted on TFA’s website, Sunset to Sunrise: A Guide to 8 Unforgettable Regional Hot Spots. The list was a rundown of TFA corps members from regions across the nation’s favorite spots to kick back after a week of teaching. Memphis made it on the list with this quirky disco place downtown. I promise I wasn’t deciding my region placement based on nightlife!

I went out with other corps members that night and we all knew it was going to be nothing like any other club we’d been to before; we had heard about the “throwback” music they played but I definitely wasn’t prepared for all the other elements of the place. The fog machines, the mirrors every which way you turn, the drum kit that anyone is free to play that’s on the light up dance floor…it was just a club packed with plain old fun. Before that night, I never realized how awesome dancing to Motown classics and hits from the 60’s through the 80’s in a club could be. Add in that quirky light up dance floor, and I’m Tony Manero from Saturday Night Fever getting down on the dancefloor to some Bee Gees. It truly was everything I had been missing in my club experience.

At some point in the night, I really felt like I was going to turn around and bump into teenage versions of my parents, the atmosphere of the place immersed me that much. The next day I texted my dad and told him all about it, “I need to go there next time I’m in Memphis” he replied. I would totally bring my parents to let them relive some cherished memories of their youth back in a time with such funky music.

Paula & Raiford’s Disco really does bring you back to past decades full of great music. I’m not saying I don’t get down to today’s pop hits but there was just something really refreshing about getting my boogie on to Earth, Wind & Fire. If you’ve been avoiding this gem because you think the music isn’t for you, I promise you that that bassline in Billie Jean will tell your body otherwise.

Thanks Paula & Raiford’s, I’ll be back soon, maybe next time even with my parents!

What else am I up to? Keep up with my Year One adventures here.

What is Year One? Go here to read more.