While Beale Street boast the bars and music venues in which the city’s extraordinary fabric was quilted, the south end of downtown also reveals a nostalgic visual of Memphis’s past. Located between Beale and GE Patterson Ave on Main St, this historic sector provides a glimpse at life in the Bluff City from the early to mid-twentieth century. In recent decades, the district has been featured as a partial backdrop in several films. Two of it’s most prized businesses come in the form of a down-home diner, and a jazz club/pool hall, whom’s one-time presence existed as a house of ill repute.
The Arcade Restaurant, opening in 1919, is said to be the oldest diner in Memphis. It was renovated thirty years later, furnishing the 1950’s ambience which is still mimicked today. The Arcade has been showcased in more than a handful of movies, including “The Firm,” and “The Client.”
Sitting diagonally across from The Arcade, at S. Main and GE Patterson, is Earnestine & Hazel’s. This juke box infused pool hall also features live jazz and locally renowned soul burgers from the grill. The former 1930’s pharmacy, whose second floor served as a bordello, is the perfect escape on a hot summer day while in search of a cold refreshing malt beverage. While there, feel free to elope to the upstairs where you can still explore through the eerily dinginess and cracklin’ wooden flooring, the rooms once occupied by “johns” and their “service” providers.
Earnestine & Hazels