by Karen Fisher
You can spot this downtown Royal Oak barbecue joint from blocks away just look up for a glimpse of the enormous colorful umbrellas on the rooftop patio (or sniff the afternoon air for the sweet smell of barbecued meat). Memphis Smoke offers more than juicy ribs and pulled pork po'boys it also plays a gracious host to many of the area's best blues acts. Local rock bands are becoming more popular here, as well. Take a seat with one of the giant wooden pigs at the bar, or bring a group of friends to join you at a table near the stage. The large, darkened dining area gives way to music and beer lovers as the night wears on, and appetizers are served until closing time.
Wood paneling lines the walls, and little white lights decorate the exposed ductwork overhead. In between sets (or on Mondays, the only night with no live music), patrons can watch sports or news on one of the six TVs scattered throughout the room, or on the six-foot projection TV behind the stage area. There are also a few video games downstairs.
Up on the roof, the large deck area is packed during the warm summer months. It's a popular place for people-watching (and date-snagging), with a great view of downtown Main Street.
The large beer selection includes several microbrews and a couple of local choices from Bell's and the Motor City Brewery. A generous collection of spirits and liqueurs are also served.