TN Nightlife, Bars and Entertainment
Tennessee. Tennessee is probably best known as the home of country music and Elvis, but its history goes way back before the King of Rock and Roll.
Also known as the Volunteer State, due to the prominent role played by volunteer soldiers during the 1812 War, Tennessee was the last border state to secede from the Union during the American Civil War. Tennessee fought hard and several battlefields are sited here – Shiloh one of the biggest – many of which are preserved for visitors. Some say you can still hear the ghostly cries of battle.
Earlier still, Tennessee was first settled by Paleo-Indians 11,000 years ago, developing a thriving civilisation and becoming home to tribal kings who settled around Pinson – leaving a trail of earthen mounds and earthworks which still exist today. By the time the Spanish arrived in the 16th Century, the lands were inhabited by Muscogee and Yuchi tribes, later pushed out by the migrating Cherokee after Tennessee became the 16th state of the Union in 1796. In time all the remaining Indian tribes were forced to move to the Indian Territory now known as Oklahoma.
One of the deep South states, Tennessee is bordered by eight others: Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and Missouri, and is trisected by the Tennessee River. The capital is Nashville, although in population terms the largest city is Memphis, both significantly bigger than the next major towns of Chattanooga, Knoxville and Clarksville.
The history of Tennessee, natural attractions such as the Great Smoky Mountains and Rock City, and the state’s incredible musical heritage draws thousands of tourists every year. And of course, where there’s music….there’s great nightlife! Liquor laws in this state are reasonable with on-premises able to sell from 8am to 3am Monday to Saturday and 10am to 3am Sunday. So, yes, Tennessee is one state where you can go clubbing til the early hours. But no smoking! October 2007 saw smoking prohibited in all enclosed public places within the state.
Nashville is the home of country music and is the US’s second largest music recording and production centre after New York, worth around $6.4bn a year. It’s not surprising, therefore, that music venues feature heavily in this town!
Lower Broadway is home to many honky tonk clubs and bars, the most famous of which is Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, but no time spent in Nashville should be without a visit to the Wildhorse Saloon on 2nd Ave Graham Central Station, On The Rocks on Demonbreun, or the 3rd & Lindsley Bar & Grill on 3rd Ave S.
Foodwise, the list could be never ending, but suggestions include Monell’s Dining & Catering, The Melting Pot, and South Street Original Crab Shack
Memphis is where you’ll find Graceland, the home and final resting place of Elvis Presley, which attracts over 600,000 visitors a year (beaten only in visitor terms by the White House). It’s also where you’ll find the Gibson Guitar Factory and Showcase and Beale Street, the most visited tourist attraction in the state, with street performers playing live music and a wealth of bars and clubs. Best of all, though, Beale Street is where a young B.B. King first played his guitar and he still plays now and again at the namesake club, which he partly owns.
Not surprisingly there’s a lot of memorabilia floating around and some of the best can be found at the Rum Boogie Café on Beale St. Apart from an amazing rum and beer selection, the Cajun and barbecue menu brings visitors back time and time again: ribs, fried catfish, gumbo and red beans and rice. Night-time is all about hot music with the house-favourite James Govan and the Boogie Blues Band
For late night venues – 2-3am is the norm – try The North End with 270 beers and wonderful hot fudge pie, Alex’s Tavern on Jackson Avenue, and Alfred’s Bar & Grill on Beale Street.
Good restaurants abound and if you’re looking for steak, Memphis has a superb range of steak houses. Not surprising when you consider that Tennessee has over 82,000 farms, almost 60% of which are into beef production. Flemings Prime Steakhouse, Steak and Ale, and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, all on Poplar Ave, and The Butchershop Steakhouse are all good betsThere’s more than steak of course and Memphis offers all you’d expect in international fare – Italian, Mexican, Chinese, and local American.
With a lot of historical and natural attractions around Chattanooga, this town is another top tourist destination and has a good choice of entertainment spots. Try The Big Chill for every type of martini you could imagine, or Rhythm & Brews for live music featuring old and new acts. Durty Nelly’s is a popular Irish pub or if you’re into pool then Chattanooga Billiard Club is the place to go.
Chattanooga is also notable for a number of events and festivals, including the annual week long Riverbend music festival in June, the Southern Brewer’s Festival, River Roast festival (celebrating beer and barbecue) and Okotberfest which plays tribute to many music styles.
Memphis Tennessee – written by Chuck Berry, sung by Elvis Presley
Long distance information give me Memphis, Tennessee
Help me find the party trying to get in touch with me
She could not leave her number but I know who placed the call
My uncle took the message and he wrote it on the wall
Help me information to get in touch with my Marie
She’s the only one who’d phone me here from Memphis, Tennessee
Her home is on the southside, high upon a ridge
Just a half a mile from the Mississippi bridge
Help me information more than that I cannot add
Only that I miss her and all the fun we had
But we were pulled apart because her mom did not agree
Tore apart our happy home in Memphis, Tennessee
The last time I saw Marie she was waving me goodbye
With hurry home drops on her cheek that trickled from her eye
Marie is only six years old, Information please
Try to put me through to her in Memphis, Tennessee
*At the time of writing Tennessee and three other states, had just suffered the deadliest tornado outbreak in 20 years, creating devastation and death. Our hearts go out to those affected and we apologise if any of the venues mentioned are now closed as a result.