Now is the Time. Memphis is the Place.

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone and Experience These Lesser Known Memphis Music Venues

Photo: Memphis Music Mansion

Photo: Memphis Music Mansion

Swap up your Saturday night routine by checking out these music venues in Memphis you may not know about.

Memphis is a city known for its influential music history, and, as a result, Memphians feel a responsibility to support our local musicians. However, it is easy to get in a routine of only regularly visiting 1-2 local venues. We’ve compiled a list of venues you might have heard of, but haven’t ventured to yet.


Photo: Jordan Johnston


Bar DKDC’s menu boasts global street food, and their venue features nightly performances. The brainchild of local chef Karen Carrier, DKDC offers Memphians a unique social club environment as well as a rotating menu. On top of all of their exciting foods and performances, the bar also offers a vintage photo booth for added fun. Visit their website to learn more about their upcoming performances, and be sure to check out both their drink and dinner menu.


Growlers, located in Midtown Memphis, is an American restaurant that regularly features local musicians. The venue hosts shows throughout the week, and offers affordable tickets as well as affordable, delicious food by Alex Grisanti’s 9 Dough 1. Next time you’re in the mood for some wings and music, head over to Growlers. Be sure to check out their calendar to see when your favorite local bands are playing.

Dirty Crow Inn

The Dirty Crow Inn a self-proclaimed “five-star dive bar” complete with a large menu and regular live shows. Along with live performances, the Dirty Crow also hosts karaoke nights for added fun. Explore this Downtown location while enjoying dinner, drinks and a show.

Mollie Fontaine Lounge

This eclectic venue located in Downtown Memphis offers drinks, dinner, live performances and outdoor seating. You’ll love this venues decor and atmosphere that you’ll just have to come back for more. Follow them on Facebook to keep up with their upcoming performances.

Lafayette’s Music Room

Lafayette’s in Overton Square is a great venue to listen to live music – seven nights a week. Whether it is a crowded Saturday night or an ordinary Tuesday, you can count on Lafayette’s to fulfill your need for live music. Along with their exciting weekly line-up, the restaurant offers plenty of delicious meals and drinks. Next time you’re in the mood for live music, skip the traditional venue, and head over to Lafayette’s instead.

the bluff on highland

Photo: Steven Ward

The Bluff

The Bluff is located in the newly reimagined Highland Strip. At this venue, you can enjoy a plethora of food while listening to live music. This venue hosts bands from the region on a weekly basis. Additionally, you can catch your favorite sports games on their 15-foot projector screen. Visit their calendar and menu before you buy your tickets to a show!

Center for Southern Folklore

Located on South Main, the Center for Southern Folklore serves to celebrate Memphis’ musicians, artists and traditions. During the day, you can enjoy art and coffee, and at night, visitors can drink a beer while listening to live music. Namely, the venue exists to exhibit talented  blues, jazz, soul, gospel, rockabilly, country, folk and bluegrass musicians. Additionally, you can also catch poetry readings and dance performances at this all-embracing venue.

Lamplighter Lounge

The Lamplighter coins themselves as an “old fashioned watering hole.” This cash-only facility offers beer and food, along with an extensive juke box selection. When this bar isn’t playing classics from their juke box, you can enjoy performances from the occasional band. The Lamplighter’s atmosphere is one you won’t forget.

Photo credit: Bailey Clark

Melvin’s Backyard

The Memphis Slim Collaboratory (collab + laboratory), located across the street from Stax Museum of American Soul Music, serves to highlight the talent of the Soulsville musicians of the Memphis area. In order to highlight the talent of these musicians, The Memphis Slim Collaboratory hosts performances at their own venue, Melvin’s Backyard. If you’re interested in seeing Memphis-style music, check their calendar to see their upcoming performances.

Java Cabana in Cooper Young

A Memphis establishment since 1922, Java Cabana Coffeehouse serves a variety of coffees and provides regular performances and poetry readings in the Cooper-Young area. Next time you are walking down Young Avenue, stop by Java to check out a live performance. Or, follow their Facebook page for a full list of upcoming shows.

Onix Restaurant 

Onix encourages its patrons to “Wine, Dine, Mingle, and Mix,” all while enjoying sophisticated, live entertainment. This restaurant offers American, seafood, and pasta dishes daily for lunch and dinner, and you can find live performances Thursday-Saturday. Specifically, Onix loves to host Jazz and R&B artists. Check out their event page to see when your favorite musician will be playing!

Otherlands Coffee Bar and Exotic Gifts

By day, Otherlands caters to Memphis’ coffee needs, but by night, the coffeehouse transforms into a music venue. Every weekend, Otherlands hosts talented musicians from both the area and artists just passing through. Next time you’re craving coffee and a show, head over to Midtown Memphis to see the performances at this eclectic location.

The P&H Cafe

The P & H Cafe is a relaxed bar venue in Midtown Memphis. The venue offers a variety of performances each week as well as an open mic night and karaoke. If you’re looking for something other than a formal show, the P & H is the perfect venue to visit. Enjoy a night of karaoke with your friends, or unwind by drinking a beer from their diverse menu and listen to some quality music.

RockHouse Live

RockHouse Live offers nightly performances and a full-service restaurant, along with two Memphis locations. RHL hosts local, regional and national musicians, so you’ll always have the opportunity to check out various different artists. In addition to regular performances, RHL also provides a menu with a variety of homemade recipes.

Slice of Soul Pizza Lounge

Photo: Jonathan Hill

Slice of Soul Pizza Lounge

Slice of Soul is a newly opened pizza lounge located in the Madison Heights District. This venue offers live bands, karaoke nights, The Word spoken word nights, and an in-house DJ. Whatever night you decide to visit will provide you with a truly unique experience. On top of their various weekly performances, the lounge also offers a variety of Memphis-named pizzas. Fulfill your pizza and performance cravings by visiting this happening, new location!

Crosstown Arts (430 N Cleveland)

Looking to see young, emerging talent? Crosstown Arts is available to performers and artists for a small, nightly booking fee. This means that you can see their talent unfold on the stage, whether you’re in the mood for an art show or a live concert.

Sounds Good Memphis

Reopened in 2015, this staple Memphis venue offers a unique listening experience just moments away from the Cooper-Young area. Sounds Good supports Memphis musicians and features their work solely on their 24/7 live internet radio station. In addition to their online broadcast, Sounds Good offers studio recording and regular performances by local, Memphis musicians.

South Main Sounds

South Main Sounds is a venue located in the vibrant South Main district. The venue started in January 2015 and works to showcase local, and traveling, songwriters. South Main sounds is a great place to check out new, experimenting musicians in an intimate venue. Keep up with their upcoming shows here.

Memphis Music Mansion

Photo: Memphis Music Mansion

If concert venues aren’t your thing, check out these locations for great house shows:

Folk All Y’all

This moving venue strives to show off the city’s singer-songwriters. Not to mention, all the money raised during shows goes back directly to the artist. Get on their mailing list to stay up-to-date on upcoming shows and musicians.

Sofar Sounds

Sofar Sounds transforms ordinary spaces in to extraordinary places to listen to music. This is music-listening experience is unparalleled and unconventional, but exciting nonetheless. Apply for tickets online, wait for acceptance to the event and enjoy about three unique acts – with no headliner.

Memphis Music Mansion

This private venue, found on E Parkway S, is used to promote Memphis and local musicians. The Music Mansion serves as a creative community for local musicians. As a result, they host performances about once a month. Additionally, they use Airbnb to rent out rooms – whether you’re a musician or you’re just interesting in staying in a fun location.

You probably already know about these spots, but don’t forget to give these venues some love once you’re done checking about the ones above:

Want to read more about Memphis music? Check out our music section!

Looking for more places to see unique performances? Check out these venues for spoken word.

Have a favorite venue that we should know about? Let us know.

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