Alfred’s is a Beale St. club that hosts some of the best live bands around. Combine that with the terrace dining, southern food and plenty of cold drinks and you get spirited fun and spirited people. So here’s the formula: live music + terrace dining + southern food + cold drinks = a great time on Beale. You’ll hear more than the blues at Alfred’s too. I can still remember that afternoon our family dined under the terrace at Alfred’s. The impending Y2K was fast approaching, sparking conversation, laughter and a touch of uncertainty. A local rock band was covering Bon Jovi’s ‘Wanted: Dead or Alive.’ On yet another visit Kevin Paige and The Amazing Flea Circus performed an eclectic set of numbers, including a hit by Prince.
Since Beale St. is known for both blues and bbq, it was no surprise to find ribs on the menu our first visit several years ago. I call this my ‘rags to riches’ bbq story because Alfred’s went from low on my bbq totem pole to high on my list of Memphis bbq greats. I was the unlucky guy to end up with the worst ribs on the planet that first time. In fact, they were so bad I’d be willing to bet that if those ribs had been served to Alfred himself, he wouldn’t have eaten them either. I sent the ribs back for the following reasons: the ribs were about 50% fat, which was cold, the texture was rubbery and smokiness was non-existent. Imagine eating cold fat when you were expecting smoky, tender barbecued ribs. In Memphis, we take pride in our ‘que. The thought of some unsuspecting out-of-towners expecting world class Memphis bbq and getting cold fat, was a little unsettling. Then again, after a few beers and some spirited tunes the ribs might not have tasted so bad after all.
But, the fairytale didn’t end there for my experience at Alfred’s. In 2010 I spotted a banner on Alfred’s advertising that their bbq competition team had placed well in a bbq contest. Needless to say, I was surprised. But I figured they probably had a new pit-master. That was my cue to make a return visit after so many years. And how different they were! This time the ribs were sensationally slightly sweet and sticky, succulently tender, had a well-seasoned bark and were smolderingly smoky! Was the first visit a fluke, or was this the new Alfred’s? No matter. This time at Alfred’s I got top shelf ribs that would have tantalized any barbecue connoisseur’s palate-sober or not. Not only did Alfred’s redeem itself in my eyes, but it also moved way up my list of best ribs in town. Alfred’s is also still a favorite club on Beale for many locals, showcasing some of the most talented, lively and relevant artists in Memphis. It’s a jam-packed hotspot on Beale, where the music’s hot, the drinks are cold and the ribs are smokin’.
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Terrace at Alfred’s on Beale St. with additional seating underneath.