MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Tourists and locals who visit the blues bars, dance clubs and barbecue joints on Memphis' Beale Street on Saturday nights now have to bring along some extra cash, just for the privilege of being there.
In response to a spate of violence near the famous drag, officials have begun charging a $10 entrance fee to party on Beale Street after 10 p.m. on its busiest night of the week. After they pay, patrons' identifications are inspected and men with metal detecting wands check them for hidden weapons.
But in return, the Beale Street Bucks program gives visitors a $7 voucher to spend at Beale Street businesses.
Officials say the rare move of charging to enter Beale street will help reduce overcrowding and keep away troublemakers from the three-block entertainment district.