The South Main Arts District is best known for its stunning galleries, eclectic boutiques and awe-inspiring museums. And you'll need snacks and sips to keep you going as you explore them all. From fine-dining experiences to world-famous diners—and an exceptionally diverse bar scene—the South Main Arts Distirct is sure to satisfy your appetite.
Breakfast and Coffee
Looking to kickstart your day with a hearty breakfast or local cup of joe? Here are some South Main morning favorites:
- Dr. Bean's specializes in unique small-batch, single-orgin coffee, using a variety of beans from around the world.
- The espresso-based beverages, along with delicious pastries, sandwiches and smoothies, are why Memphians love Bluff City Coffee.
- Hustle and Dough Bakery + Cafe, located in the lobby of Arrive Hotel, features Vice & Virtue's specialty-grade coffees with pastries, freshly baked bread and desserts. (Tip: Might we suggest the bourbon barrel-aged coffee and a slice of honey butter toast? Yum!)
- Stop by Memphis' oldest restaurant and regular hangout of Elvis, The Arcade Restuarant, for some sweet potato pancakes or a Southern-style breakfast. If you're in for lunch or dinner, The Arcade also offers fantastic burgers and sandwiches (and be sure to ask about their daily specials).
From world-famous barbecue to spicy fried chicken, Memphis has plenty of must-eats around town—and South Main has a nice concentration.
- You gotta try the deliciously spicy fried chicken at Gus's World Famous Chicken, which is consistently raked among the nation's best.
- One of the locals' favorite barbecue joints, Central BBQ offers a varied menu from pulled pork and ribs to barbecue nachos and some of the city's most popular chicken wings.
- Looking for some home cookin'? Promise and Fannie Lou's offer Southern favorites like fried chicken, fried catfish and mac & cheese.
High-End & SMART-CASUAL Dining
South Main is also home to some of the city's best fine-dining experiences, including three restaurants from local James Beard Award-nominated chefs Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman. They're mixed in with spot-on choices for casual business meals and client dinners or a nice spot for a date.
- Located inside Central Station Hotel, Bishop is the city's newest offering from Ticer and Hudman. At Bishop, guests can expect a locally-inspired take on French cuisine.
- Catherine & Mary's offers Italian cuisine inspired by the cooking of the chefs' grandmothers. The multi-course menu consists of shared plates and Italian favorites, combined with an expansive wine and craft cocktail list.
- South of Beale, or SOB, is an upscale gastropub featuring signature burgers and savory apps. With a seasonal menu, every trip to SOB is unique.
- The Lobbyist is among the newest hot spots in South Main and the city with a menu that focuses on local meats and a focus on seasonal produce.
Memphis is a pretty laidback city, so of course, we have some incredible casual dining options. Whether you're exploring South Main's renowned museums or shopping its popular boutiques, you'll find all kinds of casual bites that'll keep you moving thoughout the day.
- Good Fortune is a delight for fans of Asian cuisine with a Memphis twist. Everyone flocks to this spot for their wings, scratch made noodles, and dumplings.
- Visit Slider Inn's downtown location on South Main with a massive outdoor patio. Mix and match an array of sliders and mini-sandwiches, or opt for the "Mid-South's only authentic" lobster roll. No matter what you choose, Slider Inn's food will surely hit the spot. Their Jameson Slushie is the perfect beverage to beat the Memphis heat.
- Whether you're dining in, ordering takeout or having it brought to you, South Main Sushi is a good spot to hit. The full bar and "night on the town" atmosphere fits in perfectly with its location on South Main. We suggest ordering the sweet and spicy banzai wings and trying their saké—and make sure to ask about the roll of the day.
- Looking for a spot to enjoy a meal with a great outdoors vibe? Hit Loflin Yard or Carolina Watershed. Both have savory bbq to try.
- Looking for a sweet treat to cap off your meal? Word of mouth spread fast about this unexpected hot spot dessertery. The Cheesecake Corner offers a variety of unusual flavors, such as coconut pecan, peaches & cream, strawberry pound cake and many, many more. You can find their cheesecake inside Fannie Lou's.
- Good Fortune's traditional Taiyaki, a fish-shaped pastry, is a must-try with their seasonal flavors.
- Butteriffic Bakery & Cafe is the perfect stop for a quick sweet treat with cookies of all flavors. Butter cookies are their specialty and a local favorite.
From outdoor hangout spaces, a brewery and a distillery to dive bars and taverns, downtown's South Main Arts District offers a wide-ranging bar scene fit for any and every style.
- One of Memphis' most popular spots, Loflin Yard is an indoor/outdoor hangout space equipped with bars, fire pits, games and more.
- With trivia nights, live bands and their mouthwatering signature burgers, Memphis' oldest tavern, Green Beetle, is a local hit.
- Grab a brew from the tap room of one of Memphis' local craft breweries, Ghost River Brewing. This family-friendly hangout is stocked with 12 signature craft beers, food trucks and a Sunday brunch.
- Get your hands on some hot wing rolls at the Blue Monkey. This European-style tavern is always jumping with events like live music, trivia and karaoke.
- Fan of shuffleboard? Then do we have a place for you! Longshot, located in the basement of ARRIVE Memphis Hotel, is a bar and shuffleboard den in the heart of South Main. Dig in to some delicious house-made sausages paired with freshly baked bread from onsite cafe and bakery, Hustle & Dough.
- Looking to watch a sporting event with locals? Max's Sports Bar and Birdie's, a golf-themed bar, are your go-to spots in South Main
- Tour the distillery and taste the delicious concoctions crafted at Old Dominick Distillery. A family tradition dating back to the 1800s, Old Dominick consistently features events and tastings showcasing their carefully crafted spirits.
- Legends say it's haunted, but that doesn't keep many folks away from Earnestine & Hazel's, Memphis' most popular juke joint. Pop on some Memphis tunes on the storied jukebox, bite into your very own soul burger and make sure to wander around the former brothel upstairs, all at "the best dive bar in the country."
- WKND hangout suite is a one-of-a-kind bar and lounge that provides guests great food and drinks along with stellar music and live events—without the nightclub vibe.
- With picnic tables, waterfalls, an overlook and areas to accomodate live entertainment, there's no wonder that Carolina Watershed is a local favorite. Whether you're with family or friends, stop by this outdoor venue to enjoy a refreshing drink, delicious bites and some live music.