Memphis: Big Hats, Bar-B-Que and Beautiful Album Covers
For an insiders’ view of the world’s most beautiful and exciting travel destinations, F&W asked some of our favorite photographers to show us their cities.
After a decade of traveling, photographer Andres Gonzalez turned his passage through countries as varied as Norway and Tajikistan into a photo book called some (w) here—published with help from more than $20,000 in Kickstarter funds. Gonzalez’s career started in Namibia at an “Outward Bound-style school,” where he taught after leaving behind plans to become a fiction writer. “My father gave me a Minolta X-700 and a handful of black-and-white film before I left the States. Over those two years I realized that photography drove me toward a more honest and poetic way of telling stories.” Gonzalez is currently stationed down South, with a new gig as an adjunct professor of photography at the University of Mississippi. He traveled to Memphis to give F&W a tour of the soulful food-and-Elvis-loving city. Browse the photo set and check out his top picks for barbecue and record shopping, below.
Best Memphis restaurant. Tops Bar-B-Q. I love their BBQ sandwich. It’s basic and sloppy, but so good I want to lick my plate clean afterward.
Favorite Memphis coffee shop. Otherlands Coffee Bar. It’s a bit trendy, but there are so many little nooks, and lots of plants and desks and great ambient light. If I lived in Memphis full time, it would be my day office. I usually order a medium Red Eye.
Go-to Memphis bar. A friend turned me onto the Lamplighter Lounge. It has a great jukebox, and walking in feels like Christmas, with sparkly lights everywhere, and purples and pinks and warm tones all mixed together. Each table has a funky ashtray, there are cheap ornaments hanging from the walls, and life-size cutouts of Marilyn Monroe and James Dean. It’s a wonderful balance of Southern kitsch and dive.
Classic Memphis shop. Shangri-La Records. I don’t collect records, but I enjoy going in just to browse through all the gorgeous album covers.
Best place to stay in Memphis. Man, I’d say Airbnb. I haven’t hit up a hotel in so long, and there are so many great Airbnbs in Memphis.
Ultimate Memphis souvenir. Go to Sun Records and first do the tour. It’s unforgettable. Then on the way out get yourself a milk shake and buy a double CD mix of all the Sun Records artists. It’s incredible how many talented musicians came out of there.