Rum Boogie Cafe may stand out as the most authentic blues bar on Beale Street. Felicia Kirkland, one of the bar’s managers, would attest to that. She tells us they don’t play anything but the blues and that’s exactly what we were listening to while enjoying a tasty southern meal for lunch there on a Tuesday afternoon.
Upon entering the bar and restaurant, there hangs a mighty collection of guitars from the ceiling, each of different age and marked with its own signature. The story behind the guitars is that each is signed by a famous musician who has walked in their doors and/or performed there. Some of the guitars are just signed while others were once in possession of the signee. Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top signed the first guitar of their collection.
One of the greatest attributes to the restaurant you may discover amongst your visitation is a fine collection of memorabilia within. The story goes, when the business first opened in ’85, the owner, Preston Lamm, placed out an ad which said if you bring in any piece of memorabilia we will give you a pint of beer for it.
We won’t tell you everything they possess obviously, but one of our favorites was a collection of old Stax checks.
Thanks to Felicia Kirkland for taking the time to kindly share with us some of her Memphis history knowledge, including the story behind the large Stax sign which stands proudly lit at the front interior of the building.