Tucked away at the three way intersection of Walker Avenue and Southern, just a block and a half down the street from the University of Memphis, lies a brick building that has been a college drinking tradition for 25+ years.
RP Tracks, named for the owners Rick Johns and Peter Moon and for it's location about thirty feet away from the train tracks that parallel Southern, is an institution with a long tradition of cold drinks and tasty eats. The decor is "basic dive-bar" with concrete floors, wobbly tables, and walls adorned with pictures and framed reviews from the past. A surprisingly educated clientele of students, University professors, and local regulars hold down the bar stools and tables at all hours. It's the kind of place where loud drunken arguments are just as likely to break out about Kierkegaard and Nietzsche or Quantum Mechanics as they are about whatever local Sports Team sucks this year. Domestic beers are readily and cheaply available by bottle or draft (Yuengling, a particular favorite, runs just $6.75 a pitcher during happy hours) along with various imports or seasonal specialty brews. Admittedly, the imports and specialty beers are a bit pricey for a dive bar, often over $12 a pitcher, which can be a bit steep on the typical college student ramen noodle/Natty Light budget.
They also sport an impressive variety of mixed drinks and shooters, with such enticing names as the "Screaming Orgasm" or "Rooster Pooter" and it is very important to remember that when the train rolls by, loud enough to rattle the glassware, basic shots listed on the menu are $1 off regular price.
There is an outdoor patio for the smoking set, plenty of large screen televisions for the local sports games, and a couple of pool tables in the back along with the requisite Internet-connected juke box that everyone seems to have these days. RP Tracks has a $2.50 pint night on Thursdays and regular food specials each day and a wait staff that is fairly prompt and occasionally sassy.
For food it has a surprisingly tasty and robust menu for a dive bar. The RP Tracks burger is a regular winner and contender for the "Best Burger in Memphis" awards handed out every year by the local Memphis Flyer and deservedly so, being an excellent example of your good-old-fashioned American burger, thick and juicy on a big Kaiser bun. The menu features your usual selection of fried foods with a few surprising extras, like vegetarian chili, and "Vegan BBQ Tofu Nachos" which according to the local vegan/drinking crowd are amazingly well done. Just the kind of food that will keep the serious drinker afloat during a night of libation.
The place can get packed some nights and on the weekends, or whenever the Memphis Tigers or Memphis Grizzlies basketball teams are playing on the big screens, and at those times the joint gets loud and a bit rowdy and service times can get a little slow, but not unbearable. RP Tracks does also feature a new brunch menu on the weekends if day drinking is the thing to do, with good breakfast eats and the traditional Bloody Mary and Mimosa selections. Try the "Manmosa" if you can, it is a surprisingly tasty and cheap beverage.
All in all, a very enjoyable experience, where a couple of pitchers of cold beer and a hot burger and fries shouldn't set the budget back more than $20 or so, which is perfect for a long hard day of studying Equations or Keats or Underwater Basket Weaving or whatever you do in a good low-key atmosphere.
RP Tracks is a quality dive bar. Check them out.
3547 Walker Ave,