City leaders, public question Beale Street cover charge

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A $10 cover charge on Beale Street went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Sunday.

Since that time, city leaders and the public have been sharing their reactions to the new fee that will be in effect at certain times.

The Beale Street Merchants Association and Downtown Memphis Commission instituted the fee to make Beale Street safer, especially in light of a recent cellphone video of a man passed out in his own blood.

The money is slated to go towards funding security and will only be in effect at times of overcrowding.

Paul Morris with the Downtown Memphis Commission said adding the cover charge is legal and has been part of a citywide discussion for about two years.

He said the groups have to run Beale Street like a business, and the city council doesn't necessarily need to be making the decisions about cover charges.

City council member Kemp Conrad seemed to agree that the Downtown Memphis Commission is the authority on Beale Street, though he said he looks forward to learning more about the decision.

Council member Harold Collins thinks differently.

"No, there is no question. The city of Memphis controls Beale Street," Collins said.

Collins said he anticipates the council will bring up the issue at Tuesday's meeting.

The Beale Street Merchants Association said it wanted to wait to release a formal statement until after it has had the chance to speak with council members.

It said this type of fee is not new to Memphis.

The Merchants Association said there is a similar cover charge for a public street during Memphis in May.


  • Hardbutfair

    Collins wants his normal under the table cut and will change his tone accordingly once he has his yes papers in his hand.

  • Bold Truth

    Dang! Just let them try it out for a few weeks and see how it works. That is the problem with this city. You can criticize until you have given it time to work. The counsel needs to step back and give the new plan a chance. There are plenty of other issues the counsel should pay attention to.

  • LaDerrius

    Great Idea. This will keep the low lifes off the street. I hate to go to Beale and have beggars block my path asking for money. If you cannot afford a ten dollar cover, you don’t need to go out drinking no way.

  • ron

    At first I was outraged that they could get away with something like this but as a 2nd thought on the subject I think its a good thing. It will keep out riff raft and trouble makers and others who do not belong there. This is a major tourist attraction for the city and should be treated as such. I think they should instigate the cover charge all the time from 4 pm until 3 am.

  • Crysta

    It’s a HORRIBLE idea. I mean seriously, they want to make money. I know I will not be paying $10 just to pay another $20 to get into a club on top of drinks. Seriously?! This city is number one in unemployment, let’s make it worse by causing Beale street to LOSE money. That’s a BRILLIANT idea. *Rolls eyes*

  • ron

    For the 10 dollar fee they should work out a system where by when you go into any club part or all of your cover for that club is free or you would get several drinks free with each paid stub, And the stub gets punched to indicate you got your money back when patronizing the clubs. This will get rid of those that just want to loiter and pan handle down there.

  • jdoggtn

    We are calling on everyone to BOYCOTT BEALE STREET until the fee is rescinded. Black-owned businesses on the street say they were deliberately kept in the dark about the fee being imposed, were not in favor of it, and learned about it through news and social media. Do not reward racism with your dollars. #BoycottBeale

  • jimmiec

    keep the riff raft off beale increase police presence its a public street therefore the police should be out in full force. increase the age limit to 25 and have see how that works. now you will pay 10 to park 10 to get on a public street 10 to get into a club and 20 to plus to eat this past saturday at 1am wet willies was almost empty it’s usually packed

    • AMNWIL

      Look, why would you do that, I’m under 25 and military. What more do you want, I just want to have a little fun on leave…

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