This is the last dull weekend before fall festival season kicks off. If you haven’t made plans for next weekend, Downtown is the place to be. One of the best music festivals of the year, the Memphis Music and Heritage Festival, takes place Saturday, August 31 and Sunday, September 1, 11 to 11 both days. Live music on multiple stages, dance demonstrations, cooking demonstrations, and a lot more. The festival is put on by the Center for Southern Folklore on the block of South Main between Gayoso and Peabody Place.
The Redbirds’ last home game was August 20, but they are still in the hunt for the playoffs. Playoff tickets for Game 3 of the Pacific Coast League championship, to be played September 6, and games 4-5 if needed, to be played September 7 and 8, go on sale at 10 this morning. The MBJ has more info here.
Want to learn how to make pesto? Learn from the best in this video. Chef Felicia Willett from Felicia Suzanne’s stopped by the WREG Live at 9 studio to do a little cooking yesterday.
High school students can apply for a cultural exchange program to visit Panama, the honored country for Memphis in May in 2014. The exchange is overseen by Memphis in May and students will get to spend 10-12 days there, enough time to (Edit: immerse. I really said emerge? No posting before at least 8 oz. of Mountain Dew has been consumed) themselves in Panamanian culture.
A Downtown bartender, Dale Naron from Bluefin, was featured in this week’s Meet the Bartender on GoMemphis.com.
There’s a Foo Fighters tribute concert at the Hard Rock Cafe tonight at 7. $10 in advance with limited seating. How sad is it that when I saw “A Tribute to Foo,” I thought of the computer programming variables foo, bar, baz and bat rather than the band? I spend too much time around computers. The show is put on by Memphis School of Rock. This is the first I’ve heard of the school and it sounds like an awesome program. If I had kids I’d encourage them to get into this.
I’m up reasonably early for a Saturday, so I guess I’ll start work on the next installment of “Paul’s PBR Review.” The next place I plan to cover has been open for less than two years, which is good because it means I don’t have to fire up the 2006-09 laptop to mine photos. When Panda’s bar at Bardog opens at 11 I will be there, with a stop at the Flying Saucer to follow.
Before I get started with today’s news, I’d like to hand out a special Douchebag of the Week Award. It goes to the guy who went to the bar and ordered his food to-go so he wouldn’t have to tip on it, and then when it arrived he opened the box and ate his food sitting at the bar. You know, I’ve seen “take-out orders must be eaten off-site” signs at Blues City Cafe (which was not the location where this happened), and have always wondered about them. I figured maybe the bums had been causing problems in there. But after the events of this week, that sign makes sense. People who are too cheap to tip should stay home.
On to the news. Kooky Canuck will have a Double Your Dollars gift card sale Wednesday, August 28. Buy a gift card and they will double its value (minimum $10 purchase).
Bluff City Coffee and Bluff City Bakery are interviewing for fun, fast-paced part-time and full-time positions. The coffee shop is at 505 S. Main.
Tamp & Tap is starting a trivia night on Wednesdays at 7 PM, hosted by Kevin Cerrito who does the Tuesday trivia at Ferraro’s and Thursday at Green Beetle. $50, $20 and $10 gift cards to the top three places, and a growler of High Cotton beer for best team name. All ages, free to play. This coming Wednesday it will be all ’90s TV trivia.
Twilight Sky Terrace atop the Madison Hotel will have a two-day Labor Day celebration, Sunday, September 1 after 1 PM and Monday, September 2 after 4 PM. $7 char-grilled watermelon old fashioneds, $5 summer beer, and $1 firecracker chicken wings.
The theme at Memphis Farmers Market tomorrow (7 AM-1 PM) is Coming Together. The market will remember two of its vendors, Lindsay Chandler of Green Acres and Mark Newman of Newman Farms. There will be a moment of silence at 10:15 for these men. The music lineup includes John Lockwood and John Chambliss, 8-9:30 AM, Aaron Shiers, 9:30-11 AM; and Amy Andrews, 11 AM-12:30 PM. Pet adoptions by Real Good Dog Rescue from 8 to 1.
There are usually one or two dates where a Tigers and Grizzlies game are held on the same day at the FedExForum. Roser from the Chris Vernon Show pointed out that this season, there will be four: December 7 (which is also the St. Jude Marathon, the SEC Championship, and Stumblin’ Santa), December 28, March 1, and March 8. Follow Roser on Twitter at @Jon_Roser, where he is known for keepin’ it real.
RiverArtsFest is seeking volunteers for the October 25-27 South Main festival. Volunteers are needed for the following: Check-in for artist market, opening night party, logistics support/setup, artist market support, artist in motion, beer and wine sales, entertainment, and traffic control. If you want to do something else, contact the festival organizers and let them know what you have in mind.
A poll was conducted of America’s least respected brands and I’m sure many Memphians won’t be surprised to find Delta at the very bottom of the heap. Delta has cut back its service to the city this year and its high fares have forced Memphians to drive to Little Rock and Nashville to catch affordable fares.
Looking for a place to eat lunch Downtown? Give Kudzu’s a try. Their lunch business is suffering since the Wonder plant closed. Kudzu’s is on Monroe about a block east of Danny Thomas.
The Brass Door is hiring experienced bartenders and servers who have their ABC card and can work flexible schedules. Apply in person or email resume to email@example.com.
RIP to Mark Newman of Newman Farms, a familiar face at Memphis Farmers Market. He was a leader in the progressive pork movement and an integral part of snout-to-tail events such as Cochon 555.
If you missed it yesterday evening, there’s a new Paul’s PBR Review post up, reviewing Max’s Sports Bar. I probably won’t make it to poker at Max’s tonight, but will be out at the usual places in the core.
Welcome to the second installment of Paul’s PBR Review, where I examine the best places in Memphis to drink a PBR. For those of you who prefer RSS, I’ve set up a special Paul’s PBR Review feed here that you can subscribe to.
February 24, 2007 was a sad day for Downtowners. That day marked the closing of Sleep Out Louie’s, a bar where many of the Downtown locals hung out. Sleep Out’s served PBR, and on Sundays it was only $1. Management closed it to turn it into a steak house. That left Downtowners with not many options. One of the bartenders got hired at Holiday Inn, but who wants to hang out at a hotel bar? The Green Beetle was mainly late-night at the time, serving mainly the Raiford’s/Hollywood Disco crowd. The Blue Monkey was still being rebuilt from its 2005 fire. That left Flying Saucer as the de facto locals’ bar for most of 2007. And the Saucer didn’t serve PBR.
I saw a glimmer of hope when I attended the September 2007 South Main Trolley Tour. There were two guys named Brad and Max set up with a booth outside of what used to be a convenience store on G.E. Patterson. They told me they were opening a new sports bar called Calhoun’s, which they wanted to have open by the end of the year. They told me how they were going to have all the games on many TVs, so that there wouldn’t be a bad viewing angle in the place. I asked if they planned to carry PBR and they said yes.
SIDE NOTE: The place across the street, which is now Rizzo’s, was a BBQ joint when I first moved down here. I walked down and gave it a try one day and ordered something called a “rib sandwich.” It was four bones of pork ribs with sauce between two pieces of white bread. I have to admit I don’t really understand the concept of eating something with bones as a sandwich. It seems more like something you’d get at a gas station on Jackson Avenue than at a Downtown restaurant. I guess other Downtowners agreed with me, for the place went out of business before too long.
On December 31, 2007, Calhoun’s opened, and since all the other Downtown bars were closed until 5 on New Year’s Day, I made my way down there. As a sports bar, Calhoun’s pretty much had to be open for New Year’s sports games. Max was behind the bar and I learned he was an Arkansas fan, so I instantly liked the place. Another reason that I liked the place was the PBR that they sold for $1.50 a pint.
As the year went on, Calhoun’s gained steam not only as a place to watch sports, but as a home for the locals, especially those who lived in the South Main area. The regulars began to bond and came up with their own hijinks. In the fall of 2008 they came up with an event called “Downtown Olympics” which took place at several bars including Calhoun’s. We watched the 2008 election results there. In November, in response to pickets and protests happening around town at the time, the regulars staged a “positive picket.” People marched outside of Max’s carrying signs that read “Too Many TVs!” “Michele Gets Our Refills Too Fast!” “Beer Prices Too Cheap!” Max must have taken note of that last sign, because he raised PBR prices to $2 a draft the following year and $2.50 the year after that.
Regarding the “Michele Gets Our Refills Too Fast” sign: That refers to Michele Fields, the main bartender. She is extremely efficient getting PBR poured and served, and she’s known for fitting 17 ounces of PBR into a 16 ounce glass. She has placed in the Memphis Flyer’s Best of Memphis poll for both Best Bartender and Best Server in previous years, and rightfully so. I remember one year when she was at the Best of Memphis party for the bartender award, and I was there for Best Blog. The party was at Minglewood Hall that year and there was a huge food buffet presented by the restaurant winners. We finished our food and Michele started bussing our plates off the table. “Michele, you don’t have to do that, you’re not at work,” I commented. Be forewarned about Michele, though: She will beat yo ass if you walk out on your tab or otherwise cause trouble at her bar. She has a baseball bat to take care of any problems that arise.
SIDE NOTE: I enjoyed the Best of Memphis party but it would have been better if they had served PBR.
In 2010, Calhoun’s started getting cease and desist letters from a seafood restaurant in middle and east Tennessee, also named Calhoun’s. The restaurant’s owners were afraid people might confuse a large seafood restaurant with a tiny sports bar, and asked that the South Main Calhoun’s change its name. After months of legal wrangling, the owners decided to make the most logical name change they could, renaming the place Max’s Sports Bar. I wonder if Calhoun’s the restaurant serves PBR. Probably not.
Max’s is another place where the PBR complements the food well. They have school lunchroom pizza, and you can add extra cheese and bacon for a small additional fee. The PBR brings out the full, rich flavor of the cheese. Sometimes I wonder if the PBR/pizza combination is served at the annual Oktoberfest in Munich, Bavaria. If not, it should be.
Another Max’s dish that pairs well with PBR is the honey habanero hot wings. In this case, the PBR does not so much add to the flavor as it does take the “edge” off the wings which are almost but not quite suicide hot.
Some patrons prefer to take a break from Max’s and walk nearby to eat. There are two very good BBQ restaurants nearby, Central BBQ and Double J. I won’t offer an opinion as to which is better, but I will note that Double J serves PBR.
SIDE NOTE: You know, I’ve seen the commercials for Burger King’s “Memphis BBQ” sandwich with pulled pork and onions, and I have to say, I don’t think that’s real Memphis BBQ. I mean, maybe it’s just me, but I’ve never seen any BBQ restaurants in Memphis put onions on their sandwich. Now, I could be wrong. After all, you know what they say, opinions are like assholes. Everybody has one. And while that may or may not be true, my opinion is that Burger King is not serving “real” Memphis BBQ. Take that for what you will.
Max’s is a very popular place during football season. For college games, they post schedules of which games will be on which TVs, so you know exactly where to sit. For NFL games, they have the Sunday package, so you never have to miss out on your favorite team’s game. It’s ideal for fantasy football players who need to be able to keep up with multiple games at once. The bar stools swivel so you don’t have to crane your neck. Just be careful not to spill your PBR.
Basketball season is another time when the bar at Max’s fills up. The place is known as “Grizzville” during Grizzlies games. Especially during Grizzlies away games, the bar is loud and rowdy, the way a sports bar should be when the home team is on TV. During home games, many fans with tickets pre-game and post-game at Max’s. After all, a $2.50 PBR at Max’s sure beats an $8.50 Bud Light at FedExForum.
Max’s has been host to celebrities. In the summer of 2011, Windell Middlebrooks, at the time starring in Miller High Life commercials, came through Max’s on a tour of Memphis. Windell was seen on TV taking High Life out of places he felt were too high-falutin’ to serve his product. Max’s, however, got Windell’s seal of approval.
SIDE NOTE: I guess the paragraph above should have been a “side note” since it didn’t have anything to do with PBR.
When the weather is temperate in the spring and fall months, the regulars like to set up cornhole boards outside on G.E. Patterson Avenue. Max’s regulars Bad Shane and Fireball Joe are considered two of the premier cornhole experts in Memphis, and have been tapped to host cornhole tournaments at regional festivals. Unfortunately, some of those festivals do not sell PBR.
Except during big games, two of the TVs at Max’s are dedicated to the Buzztime game system. With one TV tuned in to poker and another tuned in to trivia, Max’s patrons can compete against each other in a fun, relaxed atmosphere while drinking PBR. Play is done on blue boxes known to the locals as “crack boxes.” Trivia winners earn points which accumulate over time.
SIDE NOTE: Look for “PROFPR” in the list of all-time top ten trivia points winners. That’s me.
On Thursday nights at 7 PM, a Buzztime poker tournament is held. Now, the tournament is played on the video screens, and the $15 prize is smaller than some of the other poker night prizes around Downtown. However, the game is possibly the best Downtown for a few reasons. You can’t rebuy. You can’t get in late. Most importantly, the game is over in two hours so you can get back to drinking your PBR (not that you have to stop drinking it during the game).
If you walk out the back door, you’ll be on Max’s Big Deck, a large patio area which is almost as large as the sports bar itself. It’s a fine place to relax and catch up with friends while sipping a PBR. When the weather permits, there is a TV on the deck so you can drink a PBR while sitting outside and watching your favorite games.
I hope this post has been informative, and if you have not yet had the good fortune to visit Max’s Sports Bar, I hope you will board the Main Street Trolley and ride it to the south end of the line sometime soon and visit this South Main institution. If you do, I am sure you will agree with me that it is a fine place to drink a PBR.
The new parking meters being installed Downtown will have dynamic rates to respond to events going on in the area. So the new rate of $1.25 an hour may not apply at all times, and the rate could be considerably higher for events such as Grizzlies home games, Music Fest, and BBQ Fest. This puts Downtown at a disadvantage to most of the rest of the city, where people can park for free. Also, as many times as I’ve seen servers run outside mid-shift to feed the meter, it’s going to be an additional tax on those who work Downtown.
New schedules have been announced for the Downtown trolley lines. I’m glad they gave the Main Street line a 7 AM start time on weekdays. That will allow for it to at least be an option for Downtown professionals to commute to work, although I have heard from many people that it is too unreliable to use for commutes. The scaled-back end times on the weekends will make it a little harder for me to go down to Max’s Sports Bar to see my South Main friends, although I suppose I could have Michele call me a cab home if I miss the last trolley.
Elmwood Cemetery is bringing back its popular “What a Way to Go” tour for an encore. The tour looks at the graves of Memphians famous not only for what they did when they were alive, but how they died. Tour will be Friday, September 13 at 6 PM. Sign up here.
Singer Johnny Mathis will have a holiday show at The Orpheum on Saturday, December 21 at 8 PM. The singer will perform a mix of his hits and familiar holiday tunes. Tickets will go on sale at 10 AM on August 26 and will be $40-125.
Seth from Best Memphis Burger recently penned an article for The Guardian about Memphis’ most decadent foods. Downtown dishes mentioned include the Holy Smokes Burger at Kooky Canuck, the Double Double at Dyer’s, the Elvis at the Arcade, and BBQ nachos at Central BBQ.
The MBJ reports that the Memphis Tigers basketball team ranked 11th in average attendance for home games among NCAA Division I schools. Now we just need to get our poll ranking in line with our attendance ranking. Wins against Louisville and Oklahoma State would make that happen.
And now, after the pizza post and the Bardog Alley party recap, it’s time for the Monday news. Informing you people is making me awfully late getting to the Flying Saucer to drink beer. Geez, it’s going to be after 2 before I get there.
Max’s Sports Bar is looking for a server to work Saturday and Sunday nights during the busy football season. Hours would be start time between 6 and 8 PM and quitting time between 11 PM and 3 AM. I was forwarded this from a bartender who works there, who says that the pay is approximately $9-12 an hour plus tips, and that you can make $200+ a weekend and the job is fairly easy. If interested, go in and ask for Max. Max’s doesn’t open until 4:30 weekdays so the traditional 2-4 PM time frame for servers to apply for jobs wouldn’t apply here. Probably any weeknight would be good to go in and apply. To learn more about Max’s, check back later in the week for the second installment of “Paul’s PBR Review.”
The same bartender also said that the Green Beetle is looking to hire a server. As with the Max’s job, this would be temporary during football season, but with the potential to develop into something permanent. This would be a Friday-Saturday job with start time between 4 and 6 PM and a quitting time between 11 PM and 3 AM. If interested go by the Beetle and ask for Josh.
Here’s a link to an Informed Sources broadcast about Beale Street Landing that is well worth watching if you’re a taxpayer in the city of Memphis. The question discussed is “Why is the landing having such a hard time attracting a restaurant to open in it?” The project is way over budget and one of the commentators described it as a “boondoggle” that’s right up there with any of the past boondoggles the city has been involved in. I would agree. The commentators pointed out that this time we don’t have Sidney Shlenker to blame, and that the city could not have done worse with this project had it managed it itself rather than letting the RDC develop it. It’s time to take a hard look at whether the RDC is worth funding in the future. $43 million and counting… what if we had instead taken that money and given our police officers a raise?
This 5-day weekend is almost over, and it has been incredibly relaxing, exactly what a vacation should be. Tomorrow I will go back to worth with my batteries fully charged, something that sure wasn’t the case after my BBQ Fest vacation. Right now, with all my blog posts done for the day, it’s time to go enjoy a beer.
Yesterday was Bardog Tavern’s 5th anniversary. To celebrate, Aldo threw a huge alley party, which was preceded by the Breakaway-Bardog 5K race. Both were to raise money for St. Jude. There were reported to be at least 1025 people who ran, which means that probably just the race alone broke last year’s total raised of $30,000. I got to the party at noon and found it to be expanded this year, with Monroe Avenue blocked between Front and Main to expand the party into the street.
I didn’t take as many pictures as usual, because I wanted to concentrate on having a good time with friends. Here are some of the best of the pictures I got.
Okay, that concludes “the best” of the photos, i.e. “photos with tube tops or tube top dresses in them.” Now, here are some of “the rest” of the photos:
Terrell working the Italian ice cart
Nice to see one of MPD’s finest win one of the Fat Tire bikes that was raffled.
The Nuh-Uh Girl taking the Fat Tire bike for a ride. She seems to be looking for a pawn shop.
Soon-to-be-open restaurant Dejavu around the corner brought some jambalaya for party-goers to try. It was delicious. Can’t wait to have some more in the new restaurant.
The alley, where there were beer stands, VIP tables, a dunk tank, and a meatball eating contest.
Uncle Ray enjoying a cigar
Not exactly sure what is going on here.
Special thanks to Jimmy AKA “Scratchy” for the use of his alley for the day.
Suzy with strategically placed stickers. These were a good idea because I saw Suzy earlier in the day, and she appeared a bit, shall we say, chilly.
Full album (44 photos) here. What a great party, and boy did the weather cooperate. Low 80s in August is a treat for sure. Thanks to Aldo and all the people involved with Aldo’s restaurants for being such a wonderful part of our Memphis community.
After the Bardog alley party ended yesterday, I needed to get something to eat, having only had a small plate of jambalaya at the party. Bardog itself was super packed, and had a limited menu yesterday, so I didn’t bother trying to eat there. As I walked down Main Street deciding what I wanted, I noticed there were bar seats open at Aldo’s Pizza Pies, something that rarely happens because the bar almost always stays packed. I thought to myself, what better way to thank Aldo for all he does for St. Jude and the community than eating at another of his restaurants? So I went in.
The Slice of the Day was The Memphis, a BBQ pizza. Now, normally I am not a huge fan of BBQ pizzas, because I find most of them to be subpar. However, Aldo’s take on BBQ pizza comes topped with pulled pork from Central BBQ, along with mozzarella and onions on a base of BBQ sauce. With pork from Central, I knew the pizza was bound to be good. I was hungry enough to order two slices.
The pizza was as good as I expected it to be. I like it that they put the slaw on the side, because not everyone wants slaw on their pizza (or their BBQ sandwich for that matter). I myself have no problem with slaw and spread it atop my slices. The pizza was absolutely delicious and all the ingredients worked together perfectly. This is a pizza I would most certainly consider ordering as a whole in the 12″ or 18″ sizes that Aldo offers.
Thumbs up to Aldo and his staff for an excellent party followed by some excellent pizza. I’ll try to get the Bardog alley party photos up later today.
Yesterday I posted that the Bardog alley party is open to the public at 11:30. It’s actually noon. Up until then it’s a private party for the runners who generously raised money for the Bardog 5K. Several opening times have been mentioned but I heard noon straight from Aldo himself, so that’s the correct time. Apologies for any confusion caused by the incorrect time in yesterday’s post.
Note from Paul: Last night I was in the Silly Goose about 6:30. This guy came in asking how to get to Graceland, saying how excited he was to be in the home of the King, Elvis Presley, and the birthplace of rock and roll. He had on a pink bedazzled Elvis hat, an “Elvis 35th” T-shirt (even though this is the 36th), and was accessorized with Elvis arm band and coin purse. He had his camera around his neck, so I told him there was an Elvis Pub crawl happening next door and asked if he’d like to cover it for my blog. He was very excited and said yes immediately. I got a photo of him (above, with Katie Mac) before he took off.
Last night was so exciting! There were Elvises, Elvises everywhere congregating at the Flying Saucer. Here are a few photos I took:
After the Flying Saucer, the Elvises stumbled to the Blind Bear. Did you know what Elvis likes Mason jars full of PBR?
Then we made our way to the Peabody to walk through the lobby. On the way, this happened.
It seemed like the Elvises got stopped every 10 feet by tourists wanting a photo. That’s part of the fun of the pub crawl though.
In the past the Peabody wasn’t very happy to have us there. This year things were different. They let us take all the photos that we wanted with tourists and even the staff. One of the security guys in a dark suit came over and told us we were welcome to be there and they were happy to have us. I really appreciated that.
Beale Street. More tourists, more photos. My friends who were in costume told me it took them 45 minutes to walk from Third to Second, which is about par for the course for the pub crawl.
Meanwhile, back at the Saucer, we dressed Alissa up in Blue Hawaii scarves and leis.
Even the door guy got in on the fun.
Full album (25 photos) here. We even got media coverage, with a local TV station sending a reporter to interview the organizers and the Elvises. If I can find a link to the story I will post it. (Edit: Found it. View it here.)
The highlight of the evening for me was discussing Stumblin’ Elvis with Nate, a new manager at the Saucer who got handed the project at the very last minute. Nate sees a lot of potential in the event for future years and hopes to grow it. He told me, “You have to start planning for Stumblin’ Elvis 2014 the day after the 2013 one is over.” YES! I’m glad to see people are thinking that way. This event could get huge if planned far enough in advance.
Fun times. The Annoying Elvis Tourist will be back for 2014.