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The Best Bars in Memphis TN | 7 Must-Try Places For Drinks In Memphis

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I can’t say that I’ve been to another city where every bar I entered was simply stunning. Each had its own unique look and feel, but all were equally gorgeous. Perhaps I have good luck, but I have to say that Memphis cocktail bars have a vibe. Each one is unique and equally as enjoyable as the last. 

I was traveling with a group of fellow writers who, like myself, enjoy a great cocktail or two. After a long day of sightseeing and note-taking, we all agree that a stiff cocktail is an ideal nightcap. 

There is certainly no shortage of bars in Memphis. You likely can’t go wrong no matter where you go, but here are my faves from the home of blues, soul, and rock and roll.  

The Seven Best Bars in Memphis

Catherine and Mary’s

272 S. Main St. Ste. 105-a, Memphis, TN 38103, United States // +19012548600

Catherine and Mary’s restaurant not only serves delectable meals, but they also serve a mean cocktail. Chefs Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman own several award-winning restaurants but this is their first restaurant located in downtown Memphis. Born and bred Memphians, they clearly know what they are doing.

As a group, we decided to order our dinner family-style so we could sample as many dishes as possible. This is definitely the way to go and I highly recommend ordering this way as everything we ordered was fantastic. 

To accompany the appetizers, I chose the cocktail Tokyo Wasn’t Built in a Day. Not only is it fun to order, but it’s also light and refreshing.

Catherine and Mary's Coctail Tokyo wasn't built in a day

Served in a coupe glass, this rose-colored drink was a refreshing blend of Roku gin, Lillet rose, cherry blossom, lavender, lemon,and sparkling rosé. It was the ideal accompaniment to the meatballs and carpaccio starters that I devoured. 

Wanting to switch it up for the main course, I ordered the drink called Good Side of the City to go with my Radiatore pasta dish. Made with vodka, My Cup of Tea strawberry-green tea, Aperol, and honey, it was honestly a tad too sweet for my liking. 

My Cup of Tea is a local Memphis tea company and one of the main reasons that I ordered that cocktail. I always try to support local, small businesses when I travel and I appreciate that Catherine and Mary’s restaurant is promoting other local businesses as well. 

South of Beale

345 S. Main St., Memphis, TN 38103, United States // +19013702144

After touring Graceland for several hours, we were ready to refuel. And by refuel, I mean we were ravenous and very thirsty. We decided to pop into SOB, which stands for South of Beale but is also a very funny play on words.

I ordered the Carnitas Bowl and chose the cocktail A Space Age Drink to accompany my lunch. This was another beautiful rose-colored drink served with a slice of dehydrated orange as garnish.

Space age drink at South of Beale

It looked identical to my first cocktail at Catherine and Mary’s. It was even served in the same coupe glass.

The ingredients were similar, but not identical. I have been enjoying sparkling wine in my cocktails so I can see why these two drinks appealed to me.

A Space Age Drink is made with Malfy Arancia gin, orange liqueur, sparkling wine, lemon juice, and simple syrup. It was as refreshing as it sounds and I would definitely order this cocktail again.  

Crosstown Art Bar

1350 Concourse Ave.#280, Memphis, TN 38104, United States // +19015078010

When we arrived at Crosstown Art Bar, we were treated to a flight of cocktails. Our cocktail journey began with Spring in Bloom, a light and refreshing drink served in a traditional short cocktail glass. Consisting of honeysuckle vodka, lemon, red bud syrup, and Topo Chico, it went down easy.

Crosstown art bar coctail selection

I hadn’t heard of Topo Chico before but learned that it is sparkling mineral water from Monterrey, Mexico. 

Next up, we sampled the Let’s Take it Slow made with sloe gin, vanilla, lemon, strawberry, and a splash of cava. Cava is Spain’s version of Champagne.

Not only was it tasty, but it came in a glass that I was tempted to stash in my purse. Not to worry, I didn’t, but I’m now on the lookout to purchase a set for my own home bar. 

The finale to our flight was a strong and bourbon-forward cocktail called Monkey’s Uncle. A combination of Monkey Shoulder blended scotch whisky, banana syrup, black walnut bitters, and banana oil, it would make for an ideal nightcap.

While too strong for a lot of my travel companions, it was right up my alley. If you’re a fan of the classic Old Fashioned, give this one a go. It’s a nice twist to this classic cocktail. 

I have to applaud the bartenders at Crosstown Art Bar for their attention to detail. This was the first time I was served a drink with a shard of ice inside.

In place of ice cubes, they serve what I’ll refer to as icebergs. Each piece looks like a chunk of ice that fell off an iceberg and landed in your glass.

I have no idea how they make them, but they certainly made an impression and impressed this cocktail connoisseur.   

Old Dominick Distillery 

305 S. Front St., Memphis, TN 38103, United States // +19012601250

While not just a cocktail bar, it would be rude to tour a distillery and not stay for a cocktail, especially when in Tennessee, the birthplace of Tennessee Whiskey. As such, I felt the need to include Old Dominick Distillery in this list of must-try cocktail bars. 

Should you visit, I highly recommend touring the facility before sitting down to enjoy a drink in their spacious and welcoming bar.

Their tours are not only educational but also highly entertaining. After one of the most enjoyable distillery tours I have ever had the pleasure of doing, I stayed to enjoy an Old Fashioned.

Old Dominics Distilery coctails

Nothing fancy or different, just a classic Old Fashioned made with their bourbon. It was perfect. 

If you’re in need of a bite to eat, it’s worth noting that Gus Fried Chicken is conveniently located across the street. While you can’t take your cocktail over there, Old Dominick Distillery allows customers to bring Gus’ take-out to the bar to accompany their drink. And this is precisely what we did. No wonder it’s one of the best bars in Memphis.

Tiger and Peacock

21 Cooper St., Memphis, TN 38104, United States

Located inside the Peabody Memphis at the penthouse level is the Tiger and Peacock lounge and cocktail bar. Admittedly, it is one of the most interesting and eye-catching bars I have ever set foot in. Their interior decorators outdid themselves as there is a lot to see here. Here’s why it’s one of the best bars in Memphis.

As it was a beautiful day, we chose to sit outside on their spacious patio and enjoy our drinks with the endless views of the treetops.

It was the first time I noticed just how green Memphis truly is. Peering down onto the streets from the penthouse level offers a new perspective on the city of rock and roll.  

Before we had a chance to order, our server spoiled us by bringing out a tray of Lavender Margaritas for us to sample. Not on the menu yet, it’s the drink they submitted to a cocktail competition.

lavender margaritas at Tiger and Peacock

Its gorgeous lavender color comes from Butterfly Pea Flour, the same ingredient found in Empress Gin. If they win the competition and add this Lavender Margarita to the menu, I recommend trying it. It was a delight. 

The cocktail menu at Tiger and Peacock features different drinks based on the Zodiac signs. While a Libra, that cocktail didn’t appeal to me so I opted to sample the Taurus instead.

Their Sage Manhattan is more my style. Made with Basil Hayden bourbon, fresh sage, sweet vermouth, and Angostura bitters, it is garnished with a Luxardo cherry. It’s a stiff drink and one I thoroughly enjoyed. It was perfect for sipping while indulging in stimulating conversations with friends.

My favorite part? The bourbon-soaked Luxardo cherry. Don’t tell anyone, but I snuck my companions’ cherries when they weren’t looking.  


1835 Union Ave. Suite 103, Memphis, TN 38104, United States // +19013056911

Although you enter at street level, this dimly lit bar is reminiscent of the type of speakeasy you’d typically find in a hidden basement that requires a secret code for entry. Upon entering, I was immediately in love with the vibe here.

With little more than candlelight for lighting, you may need to use your mobile phone’s flashlight to read your menu. 

The decor is eclectic and doesn’t follow a theme or any rules, by design, of course. The dark teal walls are adorned with animal heads, antique photos, and mirrors. In keeping with their non-theme theme, they have a truly unique and diverse cocktail menu. 

As I was with a friend who lives in Memphis and regularly frequents Cameo, I chose to try her preferred cocktail, the Corn-Fed Festival Girls.

Corn fed festival girl coctail at Cameo

Honestly, I was intrigued by the name. Made with London dry gin, cantaloupe, honey, lemon, basil, and sparkling wine, it sounds strange but it was delightful. 


631 Madison Ave., Memphis, TN 38103, United States

It is said to save the best for last and, unintentionally, the final cocktail bar in Memphis that I visited was also where I enjoyed my favorite cocktail.

Nothing against the other six bars, it’s just that I love a good mezcal cocktail. And that is precisely what I got at Inkwell. The Agave Archive is a delectable mezcal-based drink with a golden orange hue. 

Agave Archive at the Inkwell

A fan of mezcal, it makes sense that this would be my drink of choice. Not to worry though, if smoky agave spirits aren’t your thing, they offer a wide variety of drinks for every palate. 

The inside of Inkwell is beautifully decorated, but should you wish to enjoy your drink in the sunshine or under the stars, their backyard patio is just the spot for you.

Casual with a friendly vibe, their patio makes you feel like you’re sharing a drink in your best friend’s backyard. And I’m pretty sure that’s their intent which is why it’s one of the best bars in Memphis.

Best Bars in Memphis: Conclusion

Should you ever find yourself in the birthplace of rock and roll and in need of a cocktail, check out one, or all, of these places. You really can’t go wrong with any of these must-try cocktail bars in Memphis. 

Want to eat while in Memphis? Check out our other delicious guide:

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