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Memphis students search for cheap fun

Many students around Memphis search for fun weekend spots to relax and forget about studying and the stresses of school.

Blake Ragsdale, a manager at The Bluff near the University of Memphis, said the bar can credit much of their business on weekend nights to college students. 

“Since Thursdays are college nights, I would say around 80 to 85 percent of our business that day is due to students,” Ragsdale said. 

Many students go out on weekends in their college years. Collectively, college students spend more than $1 billion annually on food and $5 billion annually on alcohol, according to a study by, an online hub for college students to access resources and rent or buy textbooks.

“Most of our clientele on weekend nights are college students or recent graduates,” said Allie Carneal, a server at The Bluff. “I love working on the weekends because college students are easy going and generally tip well.”

Many Memphis students have fun local places they regularly visit on the weekends to take a break from the studying. 

“I love going to Newby’s on Thursdays after work, but not all of my friends can enjoy it,” said a Jackson McNeil, senior at the U of M. “We go to places on the weekends everyone can enjoy like Loflin Yard or Railgarten.”

Many students enjoy places like Loflin Yard, Carolina Watershed and Railgarten because they have cheaper food and drinks and large patios and outdoor seating areas.

“We enjoy going to Railgarten in the summer and fall when the weather is nice, and everyone is allowed in,” said Adrian Jones, a sophomore at the U of M. 

Many bars have Wednesday and Thursday night drink specials that are taken advantage of by students. The Highland Strip bars like Newby’s and The Bluff have had Thursday specials like $2.50 drafts and $4 well liquor drinks.

 “The first thing we look for in places to go on the weekends is good prices on food and drinks,” nursing major Savannah Jordan said. “We all have bills to pay, so good prices are a top priority.”

Ashtyn Billops, senior, said most of her friends don’t like to go downtown to clubs and big bars every weekend to spend $10 on drinks. 

“The attractive thing about places with large patios like Railgarten is the atmosphere,” Billops said. “It’s relaxed and easy going. Our lives are hectic during the week, and it’s nice to go out and relax at the same time on the weekends.”

There are also spots in Memphis for those who don’t like to drink or go to bars on weekends, like Memphis Rox, a rock climbing facility in Memphis that offers discounted student memberships. 

I’ve been so many times since it opened with my friends I decided to get a membership,” said Talyn Laufenberg, a member at Memphis Rox and student at the U of M. “It’s very fun and challenging, but it’s also a workout, and the location is good because we can just go downtown for dinner afterwards.”

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