April 11, 2024
An early 20th century juke joint in Belle Glade FL. Library of Congress5

An early 20th century juke joint in Belle Glade FL. Library of Congress5

A juke joint is a place for an informal gathering of people, usually in a small house. Juke joints were popular at the time because they served as social spaces where people could gather and socialize. They also provided venues for musicians to perform and play their music.

Blues music is a traditional American music genre that originated in the Deep South. The blues evolved from spirituals, work songs, and folk music. It is typically characterized by its soulful sound and lyrics that often tell stories of heartache and pain.

What Is a Juke Joint?

The origins of juke joints may be traced back to the community room that was occasionally built on plantations. These rooms were used for a variety of purposes, such as holding church services or dances, and they eventually became known as juke joints. Juke joints gained in popularity during the 1920s and 1930s, and they continued to thrive into the present day.

Juke joints are typically characterized by their unrefined atmosphere and the fact that they are off the beaten path. They often have live music and serve alcohol. A juke joint is typically a small hole-in-the-wall building that often has a porch.

Juke joint, also called a jook joint, it is an African-American term for a type of bar where live music is performed. It was originally used to describe a place where musicians would gather to play and practice, but the term is now applied more broadly to any establishment that hosts live music. The word juke can be traced back to the West African word jukari, which means “to dance.”

If you’ve never been to a juke joint, then I hope this guide will be able to help you have your first experience doing so, if only vicariously, through these unique sounds.

Note: Sadly, many of the Blues juke joints, the REAL juke joints, have closed down. I’ve done my best to verify whether or not a juke joint is closed or open. However, if you plan to visit any of the jukes listed on this page, please, do your research first! And if you do find an error, please let me know so I can update this post. -Dora

Clarksdale Juke Joint Festival, Clarksdale, Mississippi

(STATUS: Ongoing)

The Clarksdale Juke Joint Festival is a three-day music festival that celebrates the music of the Great Depression era. The festival takes place in Clarksdale, Mississippi and features different stages with performances throughout the day. There is also a variety of food and drink vendors available, as well as arts and crafts booths.

The event takes place in different venues around town with free music during the day and an entrance wristband required for night performances. Vendors open at 8am on Saturday morning, and the festival concludes on Sunday with a series of related events around town.

Tickets are $25 but pre-event tickets are discounted to $20. In order to attend any of the nighttime music venues, you must have a wristband. (Find 2022 festival information and details here.)

Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale, Mississippi

Watch on YouTube | Mike’s Road Trip

Bradfordville Blues Club

(STATUS: Open)

The Bradfordville Blues Club is a unique experience for music fans. It is a one room cinder block juke-joint that has hosted important Blues acts over the years. A hidden place in Tallahassee, the Club is open on Friday and Saturday nights for those who are looking for a good time. Ice-cold bottled beers and wine are for sale, and the music is hot! Follow the torches to find The Club under the stars. The intimate setting and passionate fans create an unforgettable experience for those who visit.

Upon entering Bradford Blues Club, you might feel as if you have stepped back in time to an era of speakeasies, juke joints and honky-tonks. It is one of the last remaining authentic juke joints from the Great Depression era. It has been in operation since 1933, and it is still going strong today. The club has a rich history, and it is well worth a visit if you are ever in the area.

The Bradfordville Blues Club is notable for being one of the last remaining venues from the “chitlin’ circuit,” an informal network of black-owned nightclubs that were popular during the Great Depression. The club has hosted performances by legends like B.B. King, Ray Charles, and Etta James, Pinetop Perkins, Honey Boy Edwards, Big-Eye Willy Smith, Bob Margolis, Charlie Musselwhite, Guitar Shorty, Little Milton and many more. There’s no doubt that the Bradford Blues Club is a must-visit for anyone who loves Blues music.

Bradfordville Blues Club is one of Tallahassee’s historic venues

Watch on YouTube | WTXL – Tallahassee, FL

Red’s Lounge, Clarksdale, Mississippi

(STATUS: Open)

Reds is an authentic juke joint in Clarksdale, Mississippi. It’s been around for decades and is one of the best-known clubs in Clarksdale. It is a small, funky and intimate venue that features live music most every night of the week. What ties everyone together at Reds Lounge is a love for real blues. It is one of the few places left in the area that showcases live music from some of the best musicians in the region. The cover charge is small and there is no food (but you can bring your own) as they only serve beer.

398 Sunflower Ave, Clarksdale, Mississippi, +1-662-627-3166

Website: Reds Lounge

Red Paden Birthday Bash at Red’s Lounge in Clarksdale

Watch on YouTube |

Teddy’s Juke Joint, Zachary, Louisiana

(STATUS: Open)

As soon as you walk through the door of Teddy’s Juke Joint, you feel like you’ve been transported to a different world. This little shotgun house has been transformed into an authentic Louisiana Juke Joint, complete with old photographs, bar signs, license plates, and relics from the past on the walls.

Teddy and his wife Nancy have been running this joint for over 40 years and it’s a favorite spot for locals and tourists alike. The music is one of the main attractions here – it’s a great place to listen to blues. The club books world famous Blues acts 2-4 nights per week and classic spins the rest of the time. One visit to Teddy’s will feel warmth and hospitality by the staff.

Teddy’s Juke Joint

Watch on YouTube | Country Roads

Gip’s Place – Bessemer, Alabama

(STATUS: Permanently Closed)

Gip’s Place is a night spot in Bessemer that brings people together to play music. It was started by Henry “Gip” Gipson in 1952 as a way for musicians to get together and play music. Today, it is still going strong and offers a place for people of all ages to come and listen to music. It is a place for people to come and remember the good times, as well as enjoy some great music. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, and the staff is friendly and welcoming.

Henry “Gip” Gipson passed away at the age of 99. He was a legend in the juke joint, having been there for decades. He was a kind and loving soul, compassionate but also stern when he needed to be.

The World According to Gip

Watch on YouTube | Regions Bank

Junior’s Place, Chulahoma, Mississippi

(STATUS: Permanently Closed)

Junior’s Place, a juke joint bought by Kimbrough around 1992 and operated after his death by his sons until it burned down on April 6, 2000. The Black Keys have covered Kimbrough in their 2002 debut album, with “Do the Rump”, and with “Everywhere I Go” on their second record, Thickfreakness. In 2005, they contributed a “My Mind is Ramblin'” cover to the Sunday Nights: The Songs of Junior Kimbrough tribute album.

The Blue Front Cafe

Watch on YouTube |

Wild Bill’s Memphis, Tennessee

(STATUS: Open)

Wild Bill’s Memphis is a museum and juke joint is in the historic Vollintine Evergreen district of Memphis, Tennessee. The venue has been open for over 25 years and has been a breeding ground for Blues artists. It is considered a bucket list destination for tourists who are looking for an authentic blues experience in a dive bar atmosphere. The Juke Joint All Stars Band is a Las Vegas style blues show that features some of the best authentic blues musicians in the Mid-South.

Wild Bills Memphis | Blues Museam, Bar, & Grill

Watch on YouTube | Wild Bill’s Juke Joint

Roque’s Blues Hall, Natchitoches, Louisiana

(STATUS: Permanently Closed)

Roque’s Blues Hall, Natchitoches, Louisiana Blues Hall has been a staple in the community for almost 60 years. It is known for its music and culture. However, the juke joint is now closed.

  • 235 Carver Avenue, Natchitoches, Louisiana +1 318-238-5565 235
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Bubba’s Juke Joint, Melrose, Louisiana

(STATUS: Permanently Closed)

Bubba’s was a popular juke joint in Louisiana that played an important role in the development of blues music. Bubba’s was located in Melrose, Louisiana. It was one of the few places that black and white people could gather to enjoy blues music.

Bubba was born in Louisiana on April 20, 1926. He grew up in a small town called Melrose, where he learned to love music at an early age. In the early 1940s, he opened his own juke joint called Bubba’s in Melrose, Louisiana. It featured music by Fats Domino, Little Richard and other famous artists.

bubbas juke joint 3410 louisiana state highway 484 natchez natchitoches parish 2
Bubbas Juke Joint

Besides music, Bubba’s served as a site for informal business dealings. For instance, workers would go to Bubba’s to collect their paychecks after hours. This was likely because the regular workplace was not always a safe or comfortable space for African Americans during the Jim Crow era.

Unfortunately, Bubba’s Juke Joint was recently destroyed without notice after being forced to sell at a Sheriff’s auction. The legacy of Bubba’s is unfortunately lost, as the new owner has no connection to the Metoyer family who ran the juke joint.

The Blue Front Cafe

(Open – Check Blues shows schedule)

The Blue Front Café is a historic old juke joint made of cinder block in Bentonia, Mississippi. It was built in the 1930s and became a popular spot for music lovers. The café is also mentioned on the Mississippi Blues Trail as an important place for blues music.

The Holmes family opened the Blue Front during the Jim Crow period. They sold house-stilled corn liquor (to blacks and whites) during Prohibition and welcomed all the Delta blues artists of the day: Sonny Boy, Percy Smith and Jack Owens among them. Blue Front is an iconic venue on the Mississippi Blues Trail. Stop by the cinder-block juke joint to look around, sign the guest book and see what’s doing.

The Blue Front Cafe was a popular spot for live music in the early days of Arkansas. The cafe was often called a “juke joint” because of the spontaneous and unannounced nature of the music performances. It was not unusual for local musicians to stop by and play, and some of the most famous names in blues and jazz have performed at the Blue Front. Musicians like Bud Spires, Son Johnson, Bobby Batton, Alonzo (Lonzy) Wilkerson, and Cleo Pullman all played at the Blue Front Cafe.

The Blues are played here only once in a while now, but you can check their Facebook page for updates on upcoming shows.

  • 107 E Railroad Ave, Bentonia, MS 39040 (662) 528-1900
  • Website:: Blue Front Cafe

The Blue Front Cafe

Watch on YouTube | WJTV 12 News

ZZ’s, Ferriday, Louisiana

(STATUS: Permanently Closed)

The Meeting Place, Greenville, Mississippi

(STATUS: Permanently Closed)

The Disco 86 (Annie Mae’s Cafe), Waterproof, Louisiana

(STATUS: Permanently Closed)

Do Drop Inn in Shelby, Mississippi

(STATUS: ????)

Po’ Monkey’s, Merigold, Mississippi

(STATUS; Permanently Closed)

Po’ Monkey’s was a rural juke joint that offered an escape from everyday troubles. While many of these blues jukes once dotted the Delta countryside, only few have survived into the 21st century. Po’ Monkey’s was opened in 1963 by Willie Seaberry. Willie Seaberry died in 2016.

Cleveland, MS – Poor Monkey Lounge

Watch on YouTube | VisitTheDelta

The Flowing Fountain, Greenville, Mississippi

(STATUS: Permanently Closed)

G.G. Lounge, Winterville, Mississippi

(STATUS: Permanently Closed)

Studio 51, Durant, Mississippi

(STATUS: Permanently Closed)

W.D.’s Lounge, St. Joseph, Louisiana

(STATUS: Permanently Closed)

Gully’s Alley Inn, Moorhead, Mississippi

(STATUS: Permanently Closed)

B & B Quick Mart, Greenville, Mississippi

(STATUS: Permanently Closed)

Boss Hall’s, Leland, Mississippi (STATUS: Permanently Closed)

The Walnut Street Bait Shop, Greenville, Mississippi

(STATUS: Permanently Closed)

Robert “Bilbo” Walker’s Wonderlight City

(STATUS: Permanently Closed)

  • MORE INFO: Robert “Bilbo” Walker Jr. (February 19, 1937—November 29, 2017)

Entering Robert “Bilbo” Walker’s Juke Joint, Wonderlight City

Watch on YouTube | dan kugler

Little Blue’s Caffa, Greenville, Mississippi

(STATUS: Permanently Closed)

Happy Trails,

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Juke joint
Juke joint (also jukejoint, jook house, jook, or juke) is the vernacular term for an informal establishment featuring music, dancing, gambling, and drinking

dated to after the ending of slavery and, later, the development of juke joints. It is associated with the newly acquired freedom of the former slaves

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