What makes a great bar? The ambiance? The clientele? The drink selection? It's a combination of all those things, but let's talk specifically about the latter -- and even more specifically, about what makes a great beer bar in Bluff City. The place has to offer a variety of local and regional craft brews, and, for more adventurous drinkers, a selection of harder-to-find beer brands and styles. Pint nights and beer specials never hurt, either.
Schweinehaus Overton Square
This authentic German restaurant and bar is a unique beer stop. Like the others on this list, Schweinehaus offers a nice selection of local and regional brews, but what sets it apart is its rotating lineup of German beers. Considering the fact that Germans invented hefeweizen, you’ve got to try one here. Drafts are available in three sizes: liter (33.8oz!), half liter (16.9oz), or for those who just want a taste, 8oz.
Boscos Restaurant & Brewing Co. Overton Square
Until 1992, it was illegal for restaurants to brew and sell their own beer in Tennessee. When that law changed, Boscos opened here in Memphis, becoming the state’s very first brewpub. Its house beers have since won a number of prestigious awards from the Great American Beer Festival, the Real Ale Festival, and the World Beer Cup. Brewed using a traditional German technique where heated stones are dropped into the beer during the brewing process, the (aptly named) Flaming Stone Beer is a popular local favorite. Another is the Midtown Brown, a sweet and malty -- though light and easy to drink -- nut brown ale. You can also fill up and take home a growler of any of its one-of-a-kind beers.
Local Gastropub Overton Square
As you can tell by now, this area of town has the beer bars on lock. In fact, these three Overton Square beer bars are all basically next door to each other on Madison, near Cooper. You could spend an entire day hopping from one to the next and never have the same beer twice. There’s a Downtown Local Gastropub on Main St, but it doesn’t offer the same variety of beers. Local on the Square has 24 on tap -- local, regional, and other great craft offerings, like New Belgium, Sierra Nevada, SweetWater, Founders, Stone, and Victory. Every night, it has a $3 “fire sale” on select bottles or drafts. Yes, please!