When dating in Memphis, the question is how to choose the perfect date spot from the dozens of restaurants, bars and activity spots. Simplify the challenge: what kind of place, food, or activity will tell your date you’ve been paying attention? Our list of best Memphis dates breaks it down for you.
A Musical Date Night in Memphis
Does your date like a night of good music before, during, or after dinner–or all three? Memphis is the best place to find what you are looking for, whether your date likes live indie music, all the old blues classics, or concert-style performances.
Live Music Memphis Dating Sites
For a date that has a touch of the real Memphis nightlife experience, drop by Wild Bill’s for music and dancing. With deep red lighting and an open dance floor, it is the place for an old-time juke joint date. Playing live every Friday and Saturday are the Memphis Soul Survivors, a great local music experience.
For special-event live music, hunt down the Levitt Shell music calendar. Levitt Shell is known for putting on Elvis Presley’s first professional concert, and for its mission: that every concert at Levitt Shell should be free. Every year they hold at least 50 free concerts, completely sponsored by arts lovers. It is a perfect place to enjoy some live music with your date.
Blues Memphis Dating Sites
B.B. King’s Blues Club
It would be almost criminal to not have at least one date with live blues music. It is, after all, Memphis. The B.B. King Blues’ Club was founded by King of the Blues B.B. King, and it plays live blues music every single night. The adjoining Lucille’s Grill is the perfect place to set a dinner date, and guess what: their music is also live blues.
Mr. Handy’s Blues Hall
If B.B. King’s Blues Club is the best of modern society and the blues, Mr. Handy’s Blues Hall takes you back to the past. It is a blues juke joint, small and slightly cramped with small tables and wood floors. The blues are played every night, by various local artists, and the history of the blues and of Father of the Blues W.C. Handy are hung on the walls and told by the artists.
A Cultural Date Night in Memphis
Some date nights are just meant for something different. Memphis has more than enough restaurants to satisfy any other-continent craving you might have. Travel around the world on one date night by making a choice from this list of foreign cuisines.
Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen
For a date as close to Italy as you can get in Memphis, go to the Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen. This restaurant was started by two close friends from Italian families in Memphis. The menu is fascinating because it has fewer items than most people look for in an Italian place. This is because everything on the menu is traditionally Italian, and prepared only that way.
Recently opened in 2014, the Schweinehaus is a restaurant that serves an authentic Bavarian pork-and-beer experience. However, it has some Southern food mixed in, to cater to the local crowd. Long tables and benches make for an interesting communal experience, and the whole feel of the place makes for a unique experience.
Drop by Southeast Asia at the beautiful Bhan Thai, which serves Thai food (make sure you both have a taste for the spicy!). The restaurant is decorated with traditional symbols of Thai culture, from the paintings to the decor. Hunt for traditional Thai food favorites such as Thai fried rice, Tum Yum Goong, and Kee Mao (fried noodles).
A Fine Dining Date Night in Memphis
Need to impress your date but are not sure where to go? There is a wide selection of fine dining spots in Memphis. You can choose from more relaxed spots with fine dining menus, or go for restaurants with golden lights and classical decor–fine dining with all the works.
Right above the B.B. King’s Blues Club (talk about the perfect date site!) is Itta Bena, named for B.B. King’s birth town. The setting is fine dining but the atmosphere is relaxed, the perfect place for a semi-formal date. Choose from a wide range of Southern dishes, from Jambalaya Pasta to Chicken Marsala, and choose your drinks from the famed Itta Bena bar.
Restaurant Iris was one of only two Tennessee restaurants named in OpenTable’s list of 2013 Diners’ Choice Awards for the Top 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in the United States. Set in a beautiful, old-style mansion house, the golden lights, high ceiling, and wall decor are perfect for a fine dining date.
Erling Jensen first came to the United States as a chef for the Danish Embassy. Eventually he came to Memphis, Tennessee, and moved his whole family there as he worked as a chef with La Tourelle. Today, he has his own fine dining restaurant. The cuisine is a European blend, especially French in taste. The place feels homelike, but the meals are definitely fine dining.
An Outdoorsy Date Night in Memphis
Is your date the kind who prefers wind and nature to the most expensive fine dining restaurant? A city right against the Mississippi River has more than enough options for you. Go for a stroll, visit a riverside museum, or even take a jog or bike-ride on the banks.
Mud Island River Park
For an outdoorsy date steeped in history and interaction, go to the Mud Island River Park. The 2,000-foot scale replica of the Mississippi River is a perfect place to stroll–even in the water if you would like! Pedal boats in the 1-acre ‘Gulf of Mexico’ offer a perfect view of the Memphis skyline, so you can pay for an hour or so and just drift away.
The Memphis Zoo is a good place to schedule an outdoorsy date night in Memphis. The Zoo has an Animals At Night exhibit, where the hours they keep are at night so you and your date can enjoy these rare sights. These are usually small animals such as armadillos, bats, lemurs, and monkeys. Scheduling a tour of these animals is a good outdoorsy slow date.
Tom Lee Park
Tom Lee Park was named for a man who used his motorboat to save 32 people from the M.E. Norman. Tom Lee Park is a 30-acre park along the Mississippi River, famous for hosting the Memphis in May Beale Street Music Festival, and the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. It is perfect for a night walk, jog, or biking date down the banks of the Mississippi.
A Midtown Date Night in Memphis
Midtown Memphis is the arts, education, and cultural side of Memphis. It has a sprinkling of both residences and commercial centers, so go Midtown for a relaxing but still urban-style date. Midtown is the perfect place to find somewhere for coffee and a stroll.
It does look like a garage sale of sorts, everything in charmingly haphazard piles, but this place is the best to find random antiques in. If the sort of date you want fits in naturally with history-loving and a sense of adventure, it is not at all weird to end up browsing in this antique store before dinner or coffee.
The Pancake Shop
Some days, you just feel like breakfast for dinner. The Pancake Shop, a 24-hour breakfast place, was made just for you and your date. Order pancakes or steak, quesadillas or fried chicken, and enjoy the novel upside-down feeling of breakfast at night. It is the perfect conversation-opener, and really good, local food.
Sweet Noshings is an Overton Square destination, designed for those with sweet teeth but perfect even for a coffee date. It’s candy heaven, with 30-pound jars of candy and chocolate that you can scoop into bags and pay for by the pound. There are also multiple flavors of popcorn and ice cream. As a date night-ender or a simple coffee date it’s simply perfect.
A Downtown Date Night in Memphis
Downtown Memphis is the commercial center of the city, but history shines through every crack. When Downtown, the best places to go for a date are those which provide the full experience of history and modernity that Memphis has to give.
The Majestic Grille
The Majestic Grille is more than a hundred years old. It started out as a film theater, but was turned into a restaurant famous for its perfectly restored decor and delicious fine dining cuisine. Films play throughout dinner, a showcase of old classics, which lends a unique, back-to-the-past feel to the already unique restaurant.
If you want a look and feel, taste and touch of Memphis-throughout-the-years, make A. Schwab’s part of your date night. There are old-fashioned Mason shakers, antique books and almanacs, ukeleles, and more. Have sodas at the old-fashioned soda fountains hand-crafted by soda jerkers, or order some coffee and hot dogs for an out-of-the-ordinary date.
For a downtown date steeped in art, take a walk down South Main. South Main is the street of artists. You can browse through old records at WEVL FM 89.9, watch the creation of wooden furnishings at Robert Johnson Furniture, and browse through art at the Art Village Gallery. Places like the Rumba Room offer places to eat and dance.
A Local Food Date Night in Memphis
If your date is a foodie, take a food trip for your date. Memphis is renowned for its food, especially its ribs and chicken. Choose the kind of local food you want to sink your teeth into, then pick your restaurant from our lists of the best places for ribs, burgers, and chicken.
Best Memphis Ribs
Any local food date night in Memphis must be about ribs at least once, and if it is about ribs, Central BBQ is the restaurant you cannot pass up. The slow-smoked, 24 hour-marinated, spice-rubbed ribs luxuriously barbecued are the food experience of a lifetime. With a selection of salads and desserts, Central BBQ is perfect for a dinner-date.
Jim Neely’s Interstate B-B-Q
It seems odd that one of the best rib barbecue places could be called an “accident.” However, that is exactly what Jim Neely calls the Interstate B-B-Q. He simply wanted a place for good Memphis barbecue. Now his 5-hour slow-roast ribs in closed pits are famous for their moist tenderness while being perfectly cooked. It makes for one unforgettable date night.
Best Memphis Burgers
For the best burgers in Memphis since 1984, and an unusual date setting, set that date at Huey’s Blues, Brews, & Burgers. The red-and-white checked tablecloths gives the place a homey Southern feel, while the frames on walls tells Huey’s story throughout the years. Sink your teeth into the Smokey Melt Burger and have toothpick-shooting competitions.
As the name suggests, you can expect fusion food here: specifically, fusion burgers and fries. As the setting for a casual date–with a whole lot of conversation-starters–you can’t get much better than this. Try and test the Oshi Burger, the Conscientious Objector (vegetarian!), or the Siam I Am for the burgers. Buy fries and top them with anything you like, even kimchi!
Best Memphis Chicken
The Beauty Shop
The Beauty Shop has made it to quite a few articles on best Memphis chicken. It puts a new spin on wings: marinated in sweet chile lime juice and white Szechwan pepper, it is then lightly sugared before being deep-fried to perfection. The twist does not stop there: the wings are topped with watermelon and cashews. The old salon style adds its own twist to any date.
Miss Polly’s Soul City Cafe
“Love, Peace, and Chicken Grease” is Miss Polly’s subtitle, and they deliver what they promise. For this date, go deeply Memphis with the traditional soul food of fried chicken and waffles. The chicken is crisp (and of course greasy), while the pancakes are light and syrupy. The balance of taste makes for an enjoyable casual date night.
Dating in Memphis
Dating in Memphis is one of the most fun things to do because you can’t really run out of things to do. Choose from this wide selection of activities to do and places to eat, and enjoy your date.