The Mississippi Blues Trail offers visitors a direct passport to the incredible roots, blues, and soul music of the American Deep South.
Musical legends have frequented the bars along the trail for decades, and visitors looking to connect to the artists shouldn’t miss the chance to stop by these iconic venues and catch a gig.
Here, we’ve picked five of our favourite music bars on the Mississippi Blues Trail.
Club Ebony, Indianola
Opened in 1948, Club Ebony is a historical landmark now owned by the legendary BB King.
The musician bought the venue a few years ago, and used to perform here when he was younger, alongside icons like Ray Charles, James Brown and Ike Turner.
There’s live music every week, and if you’re lucky, you might catch King firing up the stage.
Ground Zero Blues Club, Clarksdale
Co-owned by Mississippi-raised film star Morgan Freeman, this Clarksdale club, located next to the Delta Blues Museum, is a true ground zero stop for authentic blues.
Opened in 2001, the club might not be the ultimate joint for purists – who complain about its lack of history and shiny new stage – but it sure is a great live music venue, and iconic rock, blues and soul artists perform here regularly.
Red’s Lounge, Clarksdale
The small and crowded Red’s is an authentic juke joint with legions of loyal fans that flock here for the authentic music, cheap drinks, BBQ ribs and perfectly relaxed vibe.
The no-frills Delta bar hosts regular live music shows, including acts like Watermelon Slim, Robert “Wolfman” Belfour, Terry “Harmonica” Bean and Anthony “Big A” Sherrod.
For just $3 you can buy yourself a pint of beer, take a seat at the nearest table and prepare to embark on a blues journey of a lifetime.
Po’ Monkey’s Lounge, Merigold
Outside the small town of Merigold stands one of the last authentic remaining juke joints in the south. Po’ Monkey’s was founded in 1963 by Willie “Po’ Monkey” Seaberry, who farms by day and takes care of the bar in the evenings.
There’s a jukebox, a pool table and vintage beer posters crowding the walls. The bar doesn’t have a liquor license, and these days it’s primarily open on Thursdays.
Still, it’s worth paying a visit for the chance to step back in time.
Hal & Mal’s, Jackson
Established in 1985 by brothers Malcolm and Hal White, this Jackson bar is located on Commerce Street in the old train depot.
A strong supporter of the arts and an important contributor to Mississippi’s blues scene, the venue also serves up delectable staples of southern cuisine. It’s best to visit during summer, when the line-up features Mississippi’s hottest blues acts.
Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to… whose guides cover all the best hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs, sights, shops and spas
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