Tue update: New Year’s Eve, Grizzlies, Tigers, good AutoZone Park commentary, DNA party, Blind Bear party, pianist performing tonight, Johnny Mathis

Sorry for no post yesterday… had car trouble, and it’s still being looked at, so I’m working from home until they call and say it’s ready.

If you’re looking for stuff to do on New Year’s Eve, Holly from the I Love Memphis Blog has a guide.

The Grizzlies host the L.A. Lakers tonight at the FedExForum at 7. Prior to the game, former Memphis Tiger and NBA star Penny Hardaway will sign autographs and take photos with fans. Penny’s appearance is compliments of NBA League Pass. Also tonight, the first 3000 fans get these Memphis Grizzlies headphones, so come early.

If you’re not going to the Grizzlies game, turn the TV to ESPN at 8 for #16 Florida Gators vs. #15 Memphis Tigers.

Frank Murtaugh had an excellent commentary on whether the city should buy AutoZone Park yesterday. In case you missed it, the St.Louis Cardinals want to buy the Memphis Redbirds, but it’s contingent on the city buying AutoZone Park. The mayor is for it but some of the city council members aren’t so sure. Here are a few of the points in Murtaugh’s commentary:

  • Memphis is Cardinal country. It has been for many years. The Cardinals know this and they want to be here. They want to improve the park and make the Cardinals’ relationship with Memphis an even better one.
  • If you think the Redbirds don’t generate enough revenue, imagine if they leave and a triple-A affiliate of San Diego or Minnesota moves into the park. Nobody here cares about those teams. Worse, what if we got downgraded to a double-A affiliate?
  • If the park did not get a new tenant, it would cost millions to demolish, and then we’d have a big gaping hole to fill at Third and Union, one of the prime corners in the city.
  • The park is a civic asset, and we need to see it that way. Downtown Memphis is better with the park and the Redbirds here. Downtown Memphis would be worse without the park and the Redbirds.

The Downtown Neighborhood Association has invited all Downtowners to its “Island Christmas Party” tonight. There will be music, prizes, a special drawing, and food from the party’s host, the Arcade Restaurant at Main and G.E. Patterson. Free food? Wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl will show up. This is an opportunity to meet the DNA board and find out what the organization is all about. Party starts at 6.

The Blind Bear has announced a 2nd Anniversary Party for next Monday, December 23. It will start at 8 PM with the Michael Brothers from 8 to 11, and DJ Eric Hurston from 11 to 2. There will be many $3 drink specials and prize giveaways, so come celebrate.

Pianist John Felix is playing in the lobby of One Commerce Square tonight. The public is invited to stop by on their way home from work.

Johnny Mathis plays the Orpheum Saturday, December 21. Here’s a link to a Flyer interview with the singer.

That’s all the news for now. Most likely I will be at the Blind Bear’s Tuesday poker night at 8.

The best ugly sweater party outfit ever

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You know, I’m coming to the conclusion that Valerie is the best person in the entire history of the human race. Yeah, I know, Martin Luther King, Ghandi, Mother Teresa, but none of those people looked good in a tube top.

As a bonus I became “mayor” of Purple Haze last night on Foursquare. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t accomplish great things at 4:30 AM. According to Kaylea from the Blind Bear Purple Haze is “my favorite place” so I guess it is appropriate that I am mayor.

All right, Sunday news, let’s make this quick. The Grizzlies play the Minnesota Timberwolves at home at 5. Best bet is to go to the House of Grace Christmas show at the Double J this afternoon (don’t forget a toy, new women’s clothing, or a cash donation) and let Mikey give you a ride to the game in the limo. The Tri-State Defender will have a parade down Beale at 2. The Majestic Grille will host Sunday Supper & a Movie featuring “Holiday Inn” tonight at 6:30. British Invasion cover band Jeffrey & the Pacemakers will play Huey’s at 8:30.

As for me, I’ll start the day at the Bear at noon, head over to the Saucer around 2 when Wingsauce will be bartending, back to the Bear for poker at 6:30, and if I get knocked out early I’ll check out the band at Huey’s. Sunday Fun Day y’all.

Sat update: Cafe Keough, Winfield’s, House of Grace Christmas show @ Double J, Beale Street news, Meet the Bartender, Hawaiian shirt party, Southern Creed reunion show

Last night was my apartment building’s Christmas party, and this year was a real treat – we had it in the soon-to-be-open Cafe Keough at 12 S. Main, in the Number 10 Main building just south of Madison. The space had been vacant for years, last occupied by the artist Dr. Bob who temporarily relocated here from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. It looked very different since the last time I had been in, elegantly decorated with candlelight and roses. There was a long bar, which is good because I prefer bar seating to table seating. Up front there was a stage where Amy LaVere performed.

I was one of the first guests there, and as a result I got to talk with Kevin, the owner of the cafe, before it got busy. He explained his philosophy about the place. “I don’t want to do haute cuisine,” he told me. “Everybody’s doing that. If you want a steak, there are plenty of good places nearby to get one. You can go to Felicia Suzanne’s, or McEwen’s, or Local for that. I want to do something different. I want you to come in here and feel like you’re in Paris, or Brussels, or Prague.” Having never traveled to Europe, I can’t tell if he got it right or not, but I liked the vibe of the place for sure. I commented to Kevin that it feels like the kind of cafe that belongs in a 100-year-old building.

Cafe Keough is a coffeehouse as opposed to a coffee shop. Starbucks is a coffee shop, whereas a coffeehouse serves beer, wine and liquor as well. They have their beer license and are currently waiting on their liquor license. Last night they were serving Memphis Made Fireside Ninja, which they will carry on tap. Kevin showed me the menu and I liked its simplicity, with salads, sandwiches, and tapas.

Given that it was a Christmas party, there was a food buffet for Number 10’s residents. About 8:00 the Nuh-Uh Girl came in. “RIP buffet,” I posted to Foursquare. Before long she’d come back with a plate of food.

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She told me that her sister the Nuh-Uh Sister will be in L.A. to tape an episode of Jeopardy! on January 15. The Nuh-Uh Sister was one of the strongest contributors on our old trivia team at the Flying Saucer, and I have no doubt she’ll do well and score her third game show win. When I find out when the show will air, I will be sure to post it.

Back to Cafe Keough for a moment. I was very interested to compare the place to Tamp & Tap, a place that also serves both coffee and beer. While I like Tamp & Tap very much, it feels like a coffee shop. It’s a place I might go for one beer while reading a book on my iPhone Kindle app, but it just doesn’t strike me as a place I’d stay for several hours, the way I do the Saucer and the Blind Bear. Cafe Keough, on the other hand, is a place where I would hang around and socialize. It has hit that delicate balance between coffee shop and bar, and actually I’d describe it as neither. It’s a place like no other, and when it opens, you have to come see it for yourself.

Having that place 10 feet from my apartment building’s front door is going to cause me to make a major change to my schedule once it opens. You know, back in 2003-05 I knew probably half the people in my 112-unit building. Now I know maybe 15% of my neighbors better than “Hi, how’s it going” on the elevator. Part of the reason I knew so many people was that there was a coffee shop, Empire Coffee, on the corner of Madison and Main in the spot that is now Winfield’s. I hope to spend significant time at Cafe Keough and get to know my neighbors better. I was pleased to meet a few of them last night at the party.

You know, since I mentioned Winfield’s, let me talk about it for a minute. It’s a clothing and shoe store at 2 S. Main, and my buddies Pete and Josh used to work there. One Sunday I was at the Blind Bear beating Pete in yet another game of pool, and he told me, “You know, Pauly, a lot of people walk by Winfield’s and don’t realize what they have there. But we get tourists from Europe and they walk by and see the stuff in the window and they know that’s the real deal.” Tourists from places like London and Paris spend quite a bit of money in Winfield’s, according to Pete. He mentioned singer Robert Plant among the famous people who have shopped at the store.

All right, let’s get on to the news. The House of Grace charity Christmas show has been rescheduled for tomorrow, Sunday, December 15, starting at 2 PM. This is a fundraiser for a house that protects battered women and their children. Admission is free, but you are asked to bring an unwrapped toy, new women’s clothing, or a cash donation. Entertainment includes Lance Strode, “The Piano Man” Gunnar Sansom, Nancy Apple, RT Scott, Jack Rowell, Nick Garrison, Brady Riales, Chris Scott, Delta Joe Sanders, and special guest Keith Sykes. Silent auction 2-9 PM. The event is at the Double J Smokehouse and Saloon on G.E. Patterson Avenue.

John Elkington, who has managed Beale Street for 30 years, is parting ways with the street this month. The city will take over management. For the short term the city has asked the Downtown Memphis Commission to manage the street until a long-term manager can be hired. Excellent move on the part of the city. Managing an entertainment district isn’t easy though – I bet Paul Morris who runs DMC will be putting in a lot of extra hours the next few months.

A Downtown bartender, Austin Moore of Felicia Suzanne’s, was featured in this week’s “Meet the Bartender” column on GoMemphis.com.

After the Christmas party last night, I walked over to the Flying Saucer, where I noticed this flyer:

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My friend Bicycle Bobby who owns over 150 Hawaiian shirts will be very excited about this. Or maybe not, because I think he has to work that night. Good to see live music back at the Saucer for one night, and FreeWorld is a fine choice.

Southern Creed, a band that was popular in Memphis many years ago, has a reunion show tonight at the New Daisy at 7 PM.

That’ll wrap it up for now. I’ll hit Bardog about 11 as usual. Panda is off on Saturdays until after she has the baby, but nevertheless, Bardog is still a fine place to hang out. I’ll probably stop by Blind Bear after that then figure out the rest of the day.

Fri update: Bluefin toy deal, Tigers vs. UALR, The Nutcracker, Victorian holiday party, growler shop open, make a fireside poker, Cotton Museum family event, and more

From now until Christmas, if you bring in a new, packaged toy to Bluefin, they will give you a free appetizer or sushi roll. Maximum $10 value.

Lots going on today. The biggest event Downtown will be at the FedExForum, where the Tigers take on the UALR Trojans. Despite having grown up in Little Rock, I will be rooting for the Tigers tonight.

Ballet Memphis’ performance of The Nutcracker is tonight at 7:30, with additional shows through Sunday.

Tonight is also “Holiday Happenings” at the Woodruff-Fontaine House Museum. See this beautiful Victorian mansion trimmed with lights and attention to the tradition of a Victorian Yuletide. Reception and entertainment provided. Minimum suggested donation $20. Call 901-526-1469 to make reservations.

Beer news: The new growler shop opens at the Cash Saver on Madison today. Bring your own growler and get it filled up with beer, or purchase a growler for $5 if you don’t have one.

I also want to touch on a couple of events that will happen tomorrow before I have time to get out of bed and make a post. I was very excited when I read the Downtown Memphis Commission’s weekly email newsletter and saw “poker class.” I’m always up for learning more about poker! Then I re-read it, though, and realized it said “fireside poker class.” For $90 (members)/$100 (non-members), a blacksmith at the Metal Museum will teach you how to make a poker for your fireplace. Class time is 9 AM tomorrow morning.

Also tomorrow morning, the Cotton Museum on Union will host Gimme Some Holiday Fun: A Family Day. Cookbook author Laurie Triplette will be demo. There will be sing-alongs, crafts, treats, and an appearance by Santa. The event is free and open to the public. Free food? Wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl will show up.

When the Flying Saucer has a special glass for its Wednesday glass night, they send out an email the previous week to the bar’s UFO Club members. There’s a video previewing the glass, followed by a quiz you can take for $5 off your tab. Today there was a video for the Christmas glass, followed by a quiz with the following question:

Which barleywine is most representative of the English style?
A) Sierra Nevada Bigfoot
B) Avery Hog Heaven
C) Anchor Old Foghorn
D) Bud Ice

On this blog I try to provide helpful tips that will make your Downtown Memphis experience more fruitful. Today I have one such tip: The quiz answer is NOT D) Bud Ice.

Very excited about tonight. My apartment building is having a private holiday party for its residents, and they’re holding it in Cafe Keough, the soon-to-open coffeehouse at 12 S. Main. We’ll get a sneak preview. The cafe is getting beer and liquor licenses and will serve a lot more than coffee. Should be a fun evening. It’s nice to be an invited guest to Christmas parties.

Oh, and since the Nuh-Uh Girl lives in my building… Free food? Wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl will show up. That’s all for now. Looking forward to seeing my neighbors this evening.

Thur update: Cocktail Wars, French music concert, Blind Bear holiday party, holiday dog parade, vote on purchasing ballpark delayed

Several events are happening Downtown tonight. Dishcrawl’s Cocktail Wars is tonight at Alfred’s, where several mixologists compete to make the best drink in the city. Ticket information can be found here.

A concert of French music happens tonight at River Hall in Harbor Town. Marie-St├ęphane Bernard, soprano and Tony Silva, pianist, will perform. General admission tickets ($35) are available at the River Inn, 50 Harbor Town Square. Show time is 8 PM.

Also at 8 PM is the Blind Bear’s ugly sweater/funny hat/dirty Santa Christmas party. John Paul Keith will perform at 10. I don’t own an ugly sweater, and while I do own funny hats, they’re not Christmassy. So I guess I’ll go as Dirty Santa. Considering I spend an entire month a year writing about tube tops, I’m pretty sure I don’t need to do much more than put on a Santa hat to qualify as Dirty Santa.

A holiday dog parade will happen this Saturday. Registration is at 2 PM in Court Square, and dogs and their owners will march from there to AutoZone Park. More info here.

The city council vote on purchasing AutoZone Park has been delayed until January 7. Wasn’t the deadline December 31? I understand the need to have more time to study the proposal, but I hope the city council doesn’t wait so long to pull the trigger on this deal that the Cardinals back out.

That’s all for now. I’ll be at the Blind Bear party, with a couple of other stops before that.

Wed update: Winter Farmers Market, Union Mission steps up, holiday trivia, Spotify on iPad and Android tablets, SIN New Year’s Eve

There will be a Winter Farmers Market presented by Memphis Farmers Market this Saturday. It will be at the usual Farmers Market location, the Central Station pavilion at Front and G.E. Patterson, between 10 AM and 2 PM. Good chance to pick up not only food, but crafts from local vendors that would make great holiday gifts.

The Union Mission plans to heighten its outreach during the Christmas season. On Christmas Eve, the mission will hand out shoe boxes filled with basic toiletries, a winter cap, a pair of gloves, some underwear, and some socks – the kinds of things the homeless need but often don’t have during the cold winter months.

If you’re good at holiday trivia, you should stop by Tamp & Tap tonight. That’s the theme of the weekly trivia night this week at 7 PM, with questions about Christmas and other December holidays. They will have the Grizzlies game on TV, and someone will walk out with Tigers tickets.

iPad and Android tablet users can stream free music on Spotify beginning today. Spotify has also acquired exclusive rights to stream Led Zeppelin’s entire catalog.

If you work in the service industry, you will probably have your hands full on Amateur Night, AKA New Year’s Eve, and won’t be able to properly celebrate the coming of the new year. However, Kooky Canuck has you taken care of with a service industry New Year’s Eve party Sunday, December 29. With proof of employment in the service industry (pay stub, work ID, uniform, etc.) you will get $3 “you call it” from 10 PM until at least 1 AM. Ball drop and champagne toast at 1 AM.

Congratulations to former Memphian the Nuh-Uh Sister, who got the call yesterday that she has been accepted to be on the game show Jeopardy! The Nuh-Uh Sister has previously won prizes on Wheel of Fortune and The Price is Right. Her older sister the Nuh-Uh Girl told me the good news last night as she munched fries off other people’s plates at the Blind Bear.

That’s it for now. I’ll lead off at the Silly Goose after work like I normally do on Wednesdays, then figure out the rest of the evening from there.

Tue update: iPhone flash for notifications, power bill scam, free wrapping paper, High Cotton to add tap room, Stumbling Santa pics, AutoZone Park

This weekend, I had several people ask about something my iPhone does, and I figured I’d post about it. I have my phone set up so that the flash on its camera goes off any time I get a new notification – text, Facebook, whatever, I get the camera flash as well as the sound. This is very convenient when I am in noisy venues and might not notice the notification otherwise. People asked how to turn it on and I had to admit, I couldn’t remember how I did it.

This morning I looked it up. The reason I couldn’t find it is that it’s not in the Notification settings, but rather the Accessibility settings. To get there, go to Settings > General > Accessibility and turn on “LED flash for alerts.”

The only negative to this setting is that it can cause people to think you are trying to surreptitiously take photos of them, when you are standing there holding your phone and the flash suddenly goes off. I’ve had to explain that a couple of times.

A scammer has been calling Memphis businesses, saying there is an overdue bill and power will be cut off in less than an hour unless the person called gives them a credit card number. This person has been calling from an 804 area code number out of Richmond, Virginia. MLGW has verified that they do not call customers and ask for credit card information.

Need some wrapping paper for the holiday season? If you’re one of the first 5000 fans at the Grizzlies game tomorrow night at the FedExForum, you will receive free Grizzlies wrapping paper, courtesy of Mercury Printing.

The FuzzyBrew blog reports that Downtown brewery High Cotton plans to add a tap room in early 2014. The brewery is at 598 Monroe.

Here’s a link to a Stumbling Santa pub crawl photo album from last Saturday. Photos were taken by photographer Frank Chin and are on the Memphis Flyer’s site.

The City Council delayed its vote on purchasing AutoZone Park last night and essentially presented a counteroffer.

That’s it for today. Getting a couple of inches of hair chopped off after work, then will be out at the usual bars after that.

Mon update: Liberty Bowl, AutoZone Park, TSO ticket exchange, Grizzlies article, Rudy Gay to Sacramento, bookkeeper job, ugly sweater news

The college football bowls have been announced. View the complete list here. Mississippi State will be the SEC’s representative in the Liberty Bowl, playing Conference USA champion Rice. Man, you know a conference has gone way downhill when Rice wins is. The Liberty Bowl is on December 31 at 3 PM.

This afternoon the city council votes on whether to purchase AutoZone Park. If the city declines the purchase, the Cardinals will back out on their plan to purchase the Redbirds. If that happens, the stadium could be foreclosed on, and the Redbirds could be sold to the highest bidder and moved out of town.

If you missed the Trans-Siberian Orchestra show Friday due to the weather, I hope you held on to your ticket. The orchestra is offering a ticket exchange program for those who couldn’t make it. Your ticket can be exchanged for the December 20 show in Little Rock, or for any show on their 2014 tour, which may include a stop in Memphis.

There’s a very interesting Sporting News article on Barry Hecker, the Grizzlies’ assistant coach who was fired after game 2 of the playoffs last season. Lots of tension among members of the coaching staff around that time.

In other NBA news, Rudy Gay has been traded to Sacramento. Gay has spent almost a year in Toronto after being traded there by the Grizzlies.

Spay Memphis is hiring a part-time bookkeeper.

Wear an ugly Christmas sweater Saturday, December 14 and get 10% off your purchase at three South Main businesses: South Main Book Juggler, Hoot & Louise, and the Crazy Beautiful pop-up shop. Details here.

Speaking of ugly sweaters, the Blind Bear is having a Dirty Santa/Ugly Sweater/Funny Hat Christmas party this Thursday. John Paul Keith will play at 10 PM, and there will be $3 moonshine and cinnamon whiskey shots and there will be spiked egg nog too.

Grizzlies have a home game vs. Orlando tonight. I’ll probably watch it at the Flying Saucer while enjoying some Pint Nite beers. That’ll wrap it up for now. Go Grizz!

Stumbling Santa recap

Last year, it was 66 degrees outside for Bob & Roland’s Stumbling Santa Pub Crawl, and I wore a T-shirt and a pair of gym shorts under my thin, cheap Santa outfit. This year it was 40 degrees colder. I put on a thermal shirt, a T-shirt, a windbreaker shirt, and then my red Santa suit. I still wasn’t sure I would be warm enough, but I didn’t see how I could put any more clothes on.

Earlier in the day I had stopped by Walgreens. Stumbling Santa is a toy drive for Porter-Leath, and toys for preschoolers were requested in particular. I saw that they had a 3 for $16.99 sale, and knowing that turnout would be low this year due to the cold weather, I decided to bring three toys instead of one. I got two bag toss games, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles one for boys and some pink girly one for the girls. For my third toy I picked some pink toy toaster. There was a lot of pink in my bag, but what did I care, it’s not like I was going to be playing with the toys myself.

So about 6:55, I walked down the Main Street Mall with my four layers and my bag of toys, grumbling about how I was still cold with all these clothes on and reminding myself that I was doing it for the kids. As I passed by Local I ran into my friends Katie Mac and Valerie. This is the outfit Valerie had on:

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I suddenly realized I had no right to be complaining about the cold. Here I was in four layers of clothes while Valerie had on a TUBE TOP in 26 degrees. Talk about doing it for the kids. Valerie is an inspiration to us all. You know, in the past year and a half or so I have come to the conclusion that tube top superstardom can’t be taught. You’re either born with it or you’re not. Valerie was born with it.

By the way, honorable mention to the Nuh-Uh Girl and Ciara for Santa attire. And BOO to Air Traffic Mike for trying to talk the Nuh-Uh Girl into wearing green Grinch tights instead of a tube top dress.

Turnout was light due to the weather, as expected… and by “light” I’d estimate there were only 400-500 Santas, down from 700 last year. The Saucer got so packed that people had to stand outside. With my 4 layers on standing shoulder to shoulder, I felt sweat dripping down my back like I had not felt since August when the temperature was 98 with a heat index of 107. Still, though, it was good to see so many of my friends in one place. Other than BBQ Fest, there aren’t many events where everyone is together.

That reminds me… several people came up and said “I read your blog” and I was pleased to meet some of my readers, but I kind of expected that to happen. What I did not expect was so many people coming up and saying, “You’re on the Moody Ques, aren’t you? I really enjoyed your booth last May.” December is about as close to the nadir of BBQ season as it gets, and I did not expect the team to keep coming up in conversations. I think it got mentioned 5 times, but one was a team member so I’ll call it 4 times.

The lineup was Saucer, Coyote Ugly, Jerry Lee Lewis Cafe, Silky’s, and Purple Haze. About 8:30 we marched to Coyote Ugly. I thought, “Well, this is probably going to be my least favorite spot of the five.” I was absolutely, 100% WRONG. I loved Coyote Ugly! It was my first time in there in 7 years (it was a stop on last year’s crawl too, but due to crowds I didn’t go inside last year). The bartenders were dancing on the bar and had the entire crowd into it. They were friendly and fast (given the size of the crowd) getting beers too. A friend who got to the bar before I did asked if I wanted a beer, and I ordered a Bud. She handed it to me with a confused look on her face. A few minutes later I saw why she was confused. I saw the beer selection on the wall and saw that Coyote carried the Cadillac of beers, PBR! I finished my Bud and ordered a Cadillac. It was only $2 for a 12-ounce can. Not sure if that was a special for us or regular price, but I was most pleased. A friend ordered two beers and a mixed drink and her tab was about half what I would have thought it would be, given we were in a bar in an entertainment district. Coyote Ugly really impressed me. It’s not a place where I would be a daily regular, but if a group of friends wanted to go there I would have no objection.

Jerry Lee Lewis Cafe was next. Both downstairs and upstairs were open, and it was nice to be able to step out on the balcony and get away from the heat of the crowd and my layers of clothing. Although the crowd was large, I had no trouble getting a PBR draft at the downstairs bar. “16 or 32?” the bartender asked, meaning ounces. Well, 32 of course! I had groups of friends both downstairs and up, but after a while, rather than sitting in a cramped space and sweating to death, I chose to lean against an ATM in the entrance walkway. It was the perfect people-watching spot and the air coming through the door cooled me off. Plus, I was steps away from the bar when I needed another PBR. There was a really good singer in what was formerly the piano room, doing rockabilly covers. You know, every time I’m in Jerry Lee’s I think to myself, I need to come here more. Every time I walk out the front door to go to a bar, it’s always Bardog, Blind Bear, Saucer, Goose, or Max’s and I ignore a lot of other good places. I need to branch out more.

Due to a schedule mix-up we spent two hours and Jerry Lee’s and skipped Silky’s. That was fine with me. I like Silky’s but standing in the courtyard in 20-degree temperatures and freezing rain was not an appealing thought. Silky’s goats may like it but I’ll pass.

Last stop was Purple Haze, but I only spent a brief amount of time there. Afterward I hit Flying Saucer and Blind Bear then called it a night.

I have to say what an incredible job Bob and Roland and all the Santa organizers did this year. It’s not easy to herd hundreds of Santas. Hundreds of toys were collected for Porter-Leath and I tip my hat to the organizers. Great job! You most definitely over-delivered on a great time.

Bob & Roland’s Ninth Annual Stumbling Santa Pub Crawl is tonight

Memphis’ biggest pub crawl of the year is tonight, and you’re invited. If you want to have a good time drinking and stumbling around Downtown Memphis with about 700 Santas tonight while helping the children of Memphis, here’s what you need to do:

– Dress up as Santa. If you don’t have a Santa suit, you can dress as Mrs. Santa, a reindeer, a Christmas tree, a candy cane, or something in the theme of the season.

– Bring a toy. This is not only a pub crawl but a toy drive. The toys go to Porter-Leath, which has about 500 pre-schoolers in its program. Therefore, toys for ages 5 and under are your best bet.

– Show up at the first stop, the Flying Saucer, at 7 PM.

– Bring cash to pay your tabs. If every Santa tries to tab out with a credit card at the same time, it will take forever.

– Bring ID.

– Wear warm clothing underneath your Santa suit. It should be in the mid-20s for the pub crawl tonight, so it will be more like “Shivering Santa” this year. With so many Santas, there are going to be long lines to get into the bars so you will be spending a fair amount of time outside.

– Stay on the route. Only the first stop (Flying Saucer) has been announced. When we leave, go where Bob and Roland tell you to go. Don’t go off and do your own thing. This was a major problem with the Elvis pub crawl back in August. It’s a problem for the pub crawl organizers when they promise a certain amount of people will come to each bar, and only half that number show up because the other half went off on their own.

– One exception to the above (I’m only speaking for myself here, not Bob & Roland): If BB’s is on the route, skip it. It positively sucks as a pub crawl venue. Not enough space and drink prices way too high.

– We’ll be at the Saucer until at least 8 probably, but if you come late the bar may be full and you’ll have to stand outside. Let me repeat, the temperature should be in the mid-20s.

– If you want a Fireball shot, ask how much it is first before you order it. Some bars Downtown charge as much as $7 for Fireball.

– If you plan on hitting the booze hard, designate a driver or bring money for a cab.

– If you plan on eating at any of the pub crawl stops, keep in mind that the Nuh-Uh Girl is doing the crawl, so you may get some “help” finishing your food.

– COLD WEATHER TIP: Tube tops make excellent hand warmers.

Hope to see you there tonight. Let’s be merry and give some kids a wonderful Christmas.