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This Memphis thoroughfare is a draw for blues and barbecue.

We know the feeling: Your baby just left you, you lost all your money, and the rain won’t stop coming down. You’ve got the blues, my friend.
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But fear not, as there’s a surefire antidote to what ails you, and that’s listening to some blues. It may sound antithetical, but blues music provides joy and lifts the spirit, especially when it’s really cooking. And some of the tastiest blues in the world is produced nightly on Memphis’ Beale Street, which is peppered with hot clubs, cool shops and mouthwatering restaurants to get your mojo working again.

HEAR B.B. King, the biggest name in blues, lends his name to one of the most popular clubs on Beale Street. And though the legendary guitarist doesn’t typically play at B.B. King’s Restaurant & Blues Club, the resident B.B. King All-Stars capably set the musical tone for an evening of comfort food and tight jams in a warm atmosphere. The Blues City Café features nightly entertainment on its Band Box stage, where the heat from the live tunes mixes with the aroma of slow-cooked barbecue from the adjacent restaurant space to create a cloud of sensory bliss. Check out the Beale Street Merchants Association’s three-time Best House Band winner, James Govan and the Boogie Blues Band, at Rum Boogie Café, which also boasts an attached juke joint called Mr. Handy’s Blues Hall, where you can shake your moneymaker with impunity.

TASTE Classic movie posters and a vintage jukebox lend a 1950s diner feel to The Pig on Beale, which serves delicious pork dishes “with an attitude.” You may need to punch a few new holes in your belt after stopping in to Dyer’s Burgers, but the signature deep-fried burgers, chili-cheese fries and shakes at this 99-year-old Beale Street establishment are worth the extra inches. And you’ll be yelling “I Can’t Quit You Baby” after a plate of Cajun delights accompanied by bouncy jazz at King’s Palace Café, which has an outdoor patio perfect for cool Memphis nights.

SHOP Like the old blues standard goes, it “Ain’t Nobody’s Business” how much money you spend on Beale Street — and with so many tempting shops at every turn, it’s easy to rack up a big bill. Established in 1876, A. Schwab is a touristy but fun dry-goods emporium that offers loads of memorabilia and novelties. Strange Cargo delivers on its name, with scads of amusements and oddball items, like vintage postcards and cool belt buckles. And no trip to Beale Street is complete without a stop at Memphis Music. Packed with CDs, DVDs, T-shirts and more, this legendary outlet bills itself as “the largest blues specialty store in the world.”

STAY The Peabody — a five-minute walk from Beale Street on Union Avenue — is arguably the jewel of Memphis lodging. You’ll quack up over the daily march of their Peabody Ducks, a ceremony that dates back to 1940.


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Danielle Marino

A. B.B. King’s Restaurant& Blues Club
143 Beale St.
(901) 524-5464
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B. Blues City Café
138 Beale St.
(901) 526-3637
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C. Rum Boogie Café
182 Beale St.
(901) 528-0150
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D. Mr. Handy’s Blues Hall
174 Beale St.
(901) 528-0150
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E. The Pig on Beale
167 Beale St.
(901) 529-1544
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F. Dyer’s Burgers
205 Beale St.
(901) 527-3937
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G. King’s Palace Café
162 Beale St.
(901) 521-1851
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H. A. Schwab
163 Beale St.
(901) 523-9782

I. Strange Cargo
172 Beale St.
(901) 525-1516

J. Memphis Music
149 Beale St.
(901) 526-5047

K. The Peabody
149 Union Ave.
(901) 529-4000
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