A bartender at Earnestine & Hazel's walked us over to Raiford's because he said we had to experience it. We were charged $10 a piece at the door, but it was worth it. We walked into the strangest club we'd ever seen. The lighting is reddish and the place is filled with haze from the smoke machine. It is unbelievably loud, and all you can order at the bar are 40 oz. bottles of domestic beer. But everyone's having such a good time, and the atmosphere is so chaotic and awesome that the limited menu is just one of the quirks that make the place great. Raiford himself, an older black man in a three-piece suit and matching hat, plays DJ and will "represent" your city from the booth if you ask him nicely. You can also submit requests on paper. He played everything from Kid Rock to Naughty by Nature to the Jackson Five. There was a wedding party there, so drunk bridesmaids and groosmen dominated the scene. (This place is a must for watching people act stupid!) The wall is lined with sofas for comfortable -- though limited -- seating. However, there's not much reason to sit down at Raiford's because the dance floor is bumpin'. It is ridiculously crowded, but somehow this is part of the fun. The floor is made of lighted squares and surrounded on three sides by mirrors. There is also a stripper pole in one corner which is constantly occupied by men and women. This is a mixed crowd, and like everywhere else I visited in Memphis, everyone is there to have a good, drama-free time. An armed security guard ensures that no one gets out of hand, but based on my experience the place oozes good will. I didn't give it five stars because it was extremely crowded and loud -- but this is part of the fun. This is a must-see for your trip to Memphis. I've never experienced anything like it.
Pros: Ambience, music, atmosphere, people
Cons: Crowded, loud, limited drink selection, high cover charge