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Cooper-Young: The Hippest Part of Memphis

The historic Cooper-Young district in Memphis has always had a foot in the hipster doorway. It’s where Johnny Cash recorded his first album, and where musician Robert Gordon and poet/writer Corey Mesler found their muses.

You may think that a small, tight-knit community of artists would be tough for a traveler to explore, but you couldn’t be more wrong. Cooper-Young, with its authentically hip restaurants, galleries, theaters, and local festivals, is just begging for you to visit and see why it’s fast becoming the place to be in Memphis. Below is our list of the top things to do in Cooper-Young.


Explore this charming Memphis town through its eclectic food scene

Via Java Cabana Facebook Page

2170 Young Avenue

Memphis, TN 38104

(901) 272-7210

This cozy café is a great place to start your day with a morning jolt. Where other coffee shops lean into a manicured look, Java Cabana embraces the fun of random for random’s sake with mismatched chairs, seemingly out-of-place tables, and funky wall art. Grab a scone and some caffeine and get ready to cruise Cooper-Young.

The Beauty Shop

966 Cooper Street

Memphis, TN 38104

(901) 272-7111

This ’60s-era beauty parlor shows plenty of love for its past, with tables sporting vintage hairdryers and sinks. But don’t worry—the focus is on the food here. In the a.m. you can dive into their take on the Cubano sandwich or go with Anson Mills Grind grits, a Southern breakfast staple.

Sweet Grass

937 S. Cooper Street

Memphis, TN 38104

(901) 278-0278

This farm-to-table bistro is all about sharing the local goodness with small plates like Claybrook Farms Beef Carpaccio, or something more substantial like the Shrimp & Grits. Pair your dish with a glass of wine or a cocktail and enjoy this local suppertime hangout. Want something even more laid-back? Walk across the way to their casual sister restaurant, aptly named Next Door.

Central BBQ

147 E. Butler Avenue

Memphis, TN 38103

Rack ’em up at this bare-bones barbeque joint. From full or half slabs of pork ribs to pulled pork sandwiches and dry-rubbed briskets, this Cooper-Young mainstay is the perfect place to get your Memphis-style barbeque fix. Pull up a chair on the patio and get to work. Don’t worry about getting messy; that’s just the way it is with good BBQ.


Grab a stool at the bar and loosen up with some local libations

Hammer & Ale


921 S. Cooper Street

Memphis, TN 38104

(901) 305-6930

Craft beer is here to stay, so don’t fight it. Instead, embrace this spot’s ever-rotating selection of local taps. The large open windows are perfect for people-watching, and if you need something to nosh on in between sips, their menu is filled with tasty pub grub. Try the pimiento grilled cheese!


940 S. Cooper Street

Memphis, TN 38104

(901) 726-4444

If you want something a bit fancier than beer and BBQ, Alchemy has you covered. This dimly lit, intimate setting is the ideal way to start or end your evening. Feeling a bit peckish? Then order up a few small plates to pair with your wine, hand-crafted cocktail, and conversation.


22 S Cooper Street

Memphis TN 38104

(901) 722-2244

No, you have not traveled back in time to a ’20s-era speakeasy, but we forgive you for thinking so. From the presentation to their vintage containers, each drink will transport your thoughts and taste buds to a time long gone. If you need a reminder of where you are, just peek out the window to see the bustling streets below.


When you don’t want to come home empty-handed

Burke’s Books


936 S. Cooper Street

Memphis TN 38104

(901) 278-7484

A beacon for bibliophiles, this new and used bookstore is a Memphis favorite. It’s just about everything you want in a bookstore—knowledgeable staff, wall-to-wall books, and cozy corners where you can flip through your favorites.

Goner Records

2152 Young Avenue

Memphis, TN 38104

(901) 722-0095

Stacks of vinyls that include punk, metal, soul and of course blues —a Memphis must-have. So take some time and flip through to find the record that spins you round. Chances are you won’t leave this store without a few recordings in your hand.

Fox + Cat Vintage

2153 Central Avenue

Memphis, TN 38104

(901) 409-6117

What’s old is new and in style again. This boutique’s carefully curated clothing and accessories will have you looking your best vintage self. Not sure of the time period, history, or what goes with what? No worries; the owner, Katie Gore, researches the majority of her pieces to help both you and your outfit tell a stylish tale.


When you want to hear live music, Memphis-style

Via Bar DKDC Facebook Page

964 S. Cooper Street

Memphis, TN 38104

(901) 272-0830

Wouldn’t it be great if you could get some good food and great drinks in an eclectic, lounge-y atmosphere, while also listening to live music? You can! This is the most consistent spot in Cooper-Young to hear late-night live music. Seating near the stage is up close and personal—just the way it should be.

Young Avenue Deli

2119 Young Avenue

Memphis, TN 38104

(901) 278-0034

Don’t let the name fool you, as this place is just more than cold cuts and dill pickles. For 20 years and counting, Young Avenue Deli has been slinging cold suds, dishing out deli delights , and hosting local live music. Stop by if you are in the mood for a super-casual crowd that’s all about having a good time.


2166 Central Avenue

Memphis TN 38104

Just a step outside of Cooper-Young, Railgarten has just about anything you’d want in a night out. This former dance studio has been transformed into a huge indoor and outdoor space boasting game rooms, a playground for the kiddos, restaurant/bar, and of course an outdoor stage where you can listen to local music under an open Memphis sky.

Cooper-Young Festival

Held on Saturday in mid-September, this outdoor festival has been going strong for over thirty-plus years.  Join thousands of people as they flock to enjoy live music, local crafts, vendors, and just about everything else that makes Cooper-Young cool as a cucumber.Cooper-Young has a history of living the good life. It’s a tiny town in the middle of a big city that contains idyllic craftsman homes and quaint stores right alongside an exciting nightlife and live music scene. So you’re tired of the Beale Street crowds, you’ve swooned over Graceland, and you’re wondering what to do in Memphis, head towards Cooper-Young. There isn’t any place like it in Memphis, and that’s a good thing.

Are you looking to visit Memphis? Check out our listings or call 1-844-BOOK-OYO to find available rooms today.

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