“They were SO nice”

I had to work yesterday, so I didn’t go to the Liberty Bowl. After I got off work, I went to the Blind Bear, where there were several local Georgia fans celebrating their school’s victory. My favorite pair of librarian glasses had all her Georgia gear on. “We were a patch of maroon sitting in a sea of purple,” indicating that their tickets had been in the TCU section. “They were SO nice. We were all getting along, high-fiving each other.”



Even the Frog Daddy stopped to pose for photos with a Georgia fan!

Due to work, I really didn’t get to interact with Georgia fans (non-locals) or TCU fans much this year. I miss that. I think starting next year, I’m going to take the day before the Liberty Bowl parade and the day of the Liberty Bowl parade off. Those are the days when out-of-towners are getting their bearings down here and I can help them a lot.

Two years ago, I went to Bardog as usual on a Saturday. The Liberty Bowl that year was the following Monday, Texas A&M vs. West Virginia. I expected to see some Aggie fans in the bar. Wrong! Within 20 minutes of opening, the bar was a sea of blue and gold. These were older West Virginia fans, age 50s mostly, who’d built up the financial resources to travel well, even far from home. When they found out I was a local, they asked if I would mind answering a few questions, and I said sure. “We want to know where YOU go. We’ve been told what the tourists do. But we want to live like a local while we are here.”

“Well, the two things you’ve been told about that tourists do, that are worth going to, are the National Civil Rights Museum and Gus’s,” I told them. “The locals don’t spend a lot of time on Beale Street but there is a place down there called Dyer’s that has great burgers. As for the Rendezvous, if you want to go there for the experience that’s fine, but you’ll get better BBQ at Central down on the south side. If you want somewhere to eat that’s a little more elegant, try the Majestic.”

I continued, “The locals tend to hang out at bars mostly on Main or within a block walk of Main. You found one of my favorites right here (Bardog). Down a couple of blocks south on Main you’ll see the Blind Bear. That’s another of my favorites. If you go today, the bartender B-RAD (still working Saturdays at the time) can give you a lot of good information on what to do. About a mile south on Main there’s a place called Earnestine & Hazel’s that you’ve got to check out. It used to be a brothel. Down G.E. Patterson from Earnestine’s is Max’s Sports Bar. It’s small but there are a lot of TVs and it’s a locals’ bar. People are really friendly there. I don’t know if you’re night owls, but at 10 PM the best nightclub in the world, Paula & Raiford’s Disco, opens over on Second. There is no place like this in the world.” I gave them the address to my blog, too.

The next day I once again led off at Bardog. About 5 minutes after I got there the sea of blue and gold returned. “PAUL!” they shouted. “We had an awesome day yesterday because of what you told us. We’re buying you shots!”

Anyway, I’m posting that conversation for the benefit of any TCU or Georgia fans who may have stumbled upon my blog. All of what I said still applies, except B-RAD works Sundays now. The Saturday day bartender (11-6) is my favorite pair of librarian glasses, pictured above, a Georgia fan. Go see her!

I will also note that Liberty Bowl coaches have been known to pop up at Max’s Sports Bar in the day or two following the bowl, so you might want to set up camp there.

For Liberty Bowl fans remaining in town tonight for New Year’s Eve, Bardog and Max’s are two places to consider if you want to avoid amateurs, overpriced drinks, and expensive cover charges. Don’t get me wrong, those places will be packed to the gills, but you will have the minimum amount of BS associated with Amateur Night at those places.

For those with kids, Trolley Stop Market at 704 Madison is hosting a New Year’s Eve party just for kids tonight. There will be pizza specials, kids crafts, kids movies, dancing, sweet treats, and a balloon drop at 8:30pm. They are asking people to make reservations. 901-526-1361 or trolleystopmarket.com.

Add Brass Door to the list of places open daytime on New Year’s Day. Day drinking with Dave and Seamus commences at 10 AM. For those from out of town, Brass Door is a fine little Irish bar across Madison from the First Tennessee Bank building.

Orange for the orange: The University of Tennessee marching band will perform at President Cheeto’s inauguration. I thought my respect level for UT had already hit the bottom of the barrel. I guess I’m drilling into the earth’s core underneath the barrel now (no doubt Rex Tillerson will be pleased to hear about the drilling). For those of you not on Twitter, the cheeto commented that he knew Vladimir Putin was a very smart man yesterday.

(Edited to add: Memphis 70, South Carolina 54 in NCAA men’s basketball. Well, at least there’s ONE team in this state capable of beating South Carolina. I guess this disqualifies the Tigers from becoming Life Champions of basketball though.)

Well, this is pretty cool: If you have an Amaazon Echo, it can now read cooking instructions to you through a partnership with the AllRecipes website.

From Gizmodo: Why trolls won in 2016. Facebook, Twitter, and other social media channels went down the crapper this year. Don’tcha just hate those crazy trolls?

I want to give a shout-out to my friends the Pirtles for another excellent meal. I had to make an impromptu trip to the car dealership to extend my drive-out tags for another month. On the way back to work, I stopped at the Jack Pirtle’s Chicken on Elvis Presley and got a livers and rice with gravy bowl. That was a Pirtle’s menu item I had never had before and it is excellent. If you don’t like livers they have a chicken and rice bowl as well. Many people don’t realize this, but Pirtle’s is locally, family-owned restaurant chain by people who are a vibrant part of the Memphis community.

I have plans for avoiding the amateurs tonight, but I am not going to list them here. I will say that I will be at Bardog at 11 as usual, then over to the Blind Bear as usual around 1. Not much has changed since 2014.


Friday update

I made an unexpected visit to Belle Tavern after work, after seeing that my friends in the South Main crew had parked themselves there after the Liberty Bowl parade. Got a tip for a drink to try that I wanted to pass on to my readers. One of my former students who is from Brazil was at the bar. She advised me to order a caipirinha, Brazil’s national drink, from Chris sometime. She personally taught him how to make it many years ago. I believe Chris is there Wednesday-Saturday and the hours are 4 to 1 those days.

She also advised ordering mixed drinks from Chris in general. “Every time he makes me something different, and it’s always good.”

I got a blast from the past last night, with my friends Stacey and Kelly in town. Way back in the day, they hung out with my friends Shane and Leigh and me at the King’s Palace tap room. Fun times.

Daisyland presents New Year’s Eve Blackout at the New Daisy 9 PM to 5 AM, with lights out at midnight. It will feature music by Lookas, along with Tree, Dude Called Rob, Nyce Lyfe and Scotty-B. Up on the second floor in the Future-Everything Room, there will be music by WEALTH, Strooly, and MarceauxMarceaux. Several DaisyLUX VIP packages are available.

FedExForum has announced that they will have secured parking available for New Year’s Eve at the Toyota Garage for $10 a space. The garage will open at 4 PM and will stay open until 2 AM.

Cerrito Bingo has announced a new location: Starting Sunday, January 8 at 5 PM, there will be bingo every Sunday at Loflin Yard. No RSVP is needed, it is free to play, and you will have the chance to win prizes. See cerritotrivia.com for more info.

Operation Restart is the final recipient of Beale Gives Back, donations from a pool of money generated by unredeemed Beale Bucks. The organization, which will receive $5000, is a collaboration between several agencies to help teens work during the summer, earn and manage money, and help fight blight in Memphis.

Lifehacker has good advice from bartenders on how to stock your home bar.

High Cotton is trying something different with their taproom, hosting a free metal show on Saturday, January 7. Epoch of Unlight, Whiskey for Destruction, and Hellthrasher will perform. It is an 18+ show. The hours are 8 to 11 PM. That’s relatively early by Memphis metal standards, but it will allow those who maintain a grandma-type bedtime schedule to catch the show without having to stay out until the crack of dawn.

That’s all for now. Back tomorrow with more news.

Thursday update

Have you ever made reservations at a small restaurant, then no-showed without bothering to call and cancel? Here’s an article on the ripple effect that has. It takes one minute to have the courtesy of looking up the phone number and calling in the cancellation. Even if you have to cancel at the last minute, it should still be done, because then the restaurant can accommodate walk-ins at the table(s) you had reserved.

Congratulations to my fellow Memphis blogger Holly Whitfield of I Love Memphis. She was recently named by Southern Living as a Southerner of the Year for 2016. The magazine selected 50 people who are doing good in the South.

First 10,000 people in the gate for the Grizzlies-Thunder game this evening at FedExForum get a Grizzlies rally flag presented by FOX Sports Southeast. Game time is 7 PM.

Running late for your Megabus departing Downtown’s North End Terminal for Dallas? No problem, just call in a false police report. Concerned he and his girlfriend would miss their bus, Kirk Stuart of Austin called the Memphis police and warned that his brother was going to do a “Muslim thing for Allah” on the bus. By the time MPD arrived, the bus had already departed, and the Arkansas State Police were notified. The bus was stopped and searched and no threat was found, and the FBI later developed Stuart as a suspect. He faces up to five years and a $250,000 fine. Oh, and because that bus crossed a state line, that makes it a federal offense.

For some reason I want to wad up a paper napkin and throw it at Mr. Stuart…

Got an addition to the list of places that will be open during the day on New Year’s Day. Last night I paid a quick visit to Max’s Sports Bar, and Bjarni told me they will open at 11 on New Year’s. There will be a full slate of NFL action as well as many college basketball and NBA games. No shortage of sports to watch at Max’s to kick off 2017!

The Belk Bowl is on ESPN at 4:30 today. The Hogs vs. The Hokies. Bret Bielema vs. Justin Fuente. I kind of hate to root against the man who restored Memphis football to prominence, but Arkansas is my team. It’s time to CALL THOSE HOGS!

2016 claims one more victim: The inventor of the red Solo cup has died.

That’s it for now. Undecided as of yet where to watch the Arkansas game.

Wednesday update #2

There are many people out there, myself included, who prefer to skip Amateur Night AKA New Year’s Eve and then want to get out early in the day on New Year’s Day. However, there’s a problem… many bars and restaurants aren’t open daytime on New Year’s! After a big party, they need time to clean up, and all their staff needs time to rest after being there into the wee hours of the morning. Holly to the rescue. She is compiling a list of places that will be open on New Year’s, and I was quite pleased to see one venue on this list.

BLIND BEAR!!! I did not think they would get open at the normal time (11) on New Year’s, because I know they are having a blowout New Year’s Eve bash the night before. However, despite New Year’s Day being January 1, this year it’s also Sunday Fun Day. Thanks to the Bear for giving the pros a place to hang out once the amateurs are done. Not sure if it will be B-RAD bartending or someone else, but I will try to find out.

More Grizzlies on national TV is always a good thing. Ron Tillery of the CA has reported that ESPN has added the Grizzlies-Thunder game to its schedule for January 11.

The Grizzlies are having a sale on cold weather gear with items 20-70% off. There’s also free shipping on orders over $50 if you use code CHILLY.

Former Tiger/Grizzly DJ Stephens tweeted a poll this morning:

And then a few minutes later he tweeted this:

NO KIDDING! Apologize? Stop making assumptions? Those kind of things could lead to, you know, healthy interactions and relationships. Who the hell wants those? Drama is just so much more fun!

The MBJ has an article on the gifts every player in the Liberty Bowl receives. First and foremost is a Bass Pro shopping trip, although they get other swag as well including binoculars and a watch.

Here’s a list of player gifts for every college football bowl game. Well, every game except one. The Cotton Bowl would not respond. WTF? Are they giving players guns and drugs? The Cotton Bowl is only a few hundred miles from the Mexican border, so it’s a possibility. Hurry up and build that wall, Trump!

Reminds me, as I was roaming the wilds of Arkansas a few days ago in my new Jetta, I saw a billboard for a jewelry store that offered a free gun with the purchase of a ring. You know, I try to defend my home state, but this? No, I just can’t. A gun? Really?

We have already had team members pay their 2017 dues after I posted a Moody Ques team update last night. Thanks guys!

This is the second update today, so if you haven’t been here this morning, scroll down and keep reading. A few more hours’ work for me then HH at the SG.

Wednesday update

We’ve got a couple of family-friendly events happening Downtown today if you’re looking for something to do with the kids. From 4:00 to 5:30 this afternoon, there will be a sing-along to music from the Disney movie Frozen at the Fourth Bluff Ice Rink. The Figure Skating Club of Memphis will have volunteers there dressed as characters from the movie.

Then over at Clayborn Temple, there will be a free family movie night tonight, showing the movie Jungle Book. The doors will open at 6, with the movie starting at 6:30. Popcorn and hot chocolate will be for sale.

The AutoZone Liberty Bowl parade happens tomorrow, Thursday, December 29 on Beale Street at 3 PM. Following the parade there will be a pep rally for both teams at 4:30.

Friday, December 30 is the final South Main Trolley Night of 2016, with many shops and galleries in the area staying open until 9 or later. Many of the shops offer complimentary beverages or hors d’oeuvres on this night and some have discounts. This month, two of the new shops of South Main will hosting a New Year’s Party for SMA members and their friends and visiting sports fans (the Liberty Bowl is that day).

New store Southern Creed at 524 S. Main has Southern-inspired designs including everything from dog collars to bow ties to wallpaper. They will have Makeda’s Cookies outside, and the Amurica photo booth will be on hand.

Just up the street at 510 S. Main, Naturelle Skin Care & Inclined Christian Designs will be showing off their locally sourced soaps, scrubs, and beauty products. There will also be custom framing and photography. You can dance to the DJ outside before or after you check out their goods.

South Side Supper Club will perform at the Dirty Crow Inn New Year’s Eve from 11 PM to 1 AM on the outdoor deck. If you aren’t a late night person, don’t forget you can catch ’em at the Ghost River taproom the following day.

I don’t know if I have any vegetarians who read this blog, but just in case I do, I will mention that the new Spanish Wrap at Cafe Eclectic Harbortown might be right up your alley.

Rizzo’s has their New Year’s Eve menu on their website.

On The Southern Weekend website, Felicia of Felicia Suzanne’s has a video teaching you how to make bacon and hot sauce deviled eggs.

Moody Ques teammates: I posted an update to the team website last night. Also, if anyone wants to use their extra Christmas money to go ahead and get your 2017 dues out of the way, our PayPal widget is now ready to go. Also, if you prefer to pay cash rather than via PayPal, we can make arrangements to get you in touch with our treasurer Misty.

That’s it for now, off to work. That happy hour PBR at the Silly Goose is going to be even more anticipated than usual, given that a 3-hour GoToMeeting stands between the PBR and me.

Video killed the radio star and the Amazon Echo Dot killed The Clapper

Thanks to a new partnership, you can do good for others while getting rid of the Amazon boxes that piled up during the holiday season. All you have to do is load up the boxes with clothing, accessories, and household goods you want to donate to Goodwill, print a free shipping label at GiveBackBox.com, and take the box to UPS or the U.S. Postal Service and they will deliver the box to the nearest Goodwill location. Amazon will pay the cost of the shipping.

You can read the 2016 Memphis annual report, prepared by Mayor Strickland’s staff, here. It’s called Building a Foundation, and it lays out details of the foundation that is being put in place to address the most serious issues this city faces, such as poverty and crime.

The Green Beetle is having a Pokemon Party to ring in the New Year Saturday night. There will be three stops with lures. The $10 cover includes buffet style food, party favors, and a champagne toast at midnight. Normally I wouldn’t even bother to blog anything Pokemon, but New Year’s Eve is amateur night in general so this probably won’t suck any more than all the other parties Downtown.

Holly is giving away tickets to the New Year’s Eve party at the Cadre Building featuring Lord T and Eloise.

Cafe Pontotoc is closed until January with a plan to evolve for the better, but news of one change has made it to my ears already. They now have PBR on draft. Excellent, excellent decision.

A couple of Downtown places were mentioned in Choose901’s article on where to find clean eating options in Memphis. LYFE Kitchen, like Pontotoc, is closed for renovations for the time being. City Market is a sometimes overlooked gem for people who follow the clean-eating lifestyle, They sell juices, smoothies, and salads. I’ve seen people who do juice cleanses dart in there, an indication City Market is the real deal.

Albany police posed as panhandlers to catch distracted drivers. The signs they held up told exactly what they were doing, but the drivers didn’t pay attention.

There are ice skating lessons at the Fourth Bluff rink tonight at 5:30.

The Memphis Tigers host SMU at FedExForum tonight at 8.

That’s it for now. I have a BBQ meeting after work, so perhaps I will have some news to report tomorrow from that. Only four and a half months away!

Christmas Day update

I have more details on New Year’s Day at the Ghost River taproom. They will be open noon to 9, and as I mentioned previously, South Side Supper Club will play live music from 2 to 4. On the event listing they point out that the band features a clarinet, accordion, bass, and banjo… however, I have heard that this will be a performance with the full five-piece, including a fiddle. These guys have the ability to adapt almost any song to their style and it will be something different and fun to do on New Year’s.

If you get hungry, Yippie Trippie & The Porkstars will have their food truck parked outside and there will be plenty of good Southern food to eat. The New Year’s Day menu will include pecan smoked honey ham, Tennessee blackeyed peas, sweet southern corn pudding, southwestern collard greens, shrimp and smoked gouda grits, million dollar grilled cheese, and Ghost River venison chili.

They’ll have football on the TVs, there are board games you can play with your family, and dogs are welcome outside on the patio. If you’re not into craft beer, you can bring your own wine or champagne to the Ghost River taproom for a small corkage fee.

The Brass Door is throwing a New Year’s Eve party with live music by The Candy Company. There will be two bars, and your $10 cover includes champagne and passed hors d’oeuvres.

Hey, look, Memphis made the international news! This past week a man was caught urinating inches away from a sleeping woman at the Memphis International Airport. It was reported several days ago in the local media and now the incident has made it all the way to the UK’s Daily Mail.

OK, that’s it, short post, it’s Christmas and not a whole lot is going on. Back tomorrow with more news.


Christmas Eve update

A new restaurant serving Southern fare called Cafe 7/24 has opened in the former Rehab Disco space at 94 S. Front. The restaurant serves southern classics like ribs, catfish, and fried chicken, as well as sides like fries, baked beans, okra, and mac & cheese. I don’t know if I have any vegetarians who read this blog, but on the off-chance that I do, I will mention that the people who run Cafe 7/24 have said they plan to expand the menu to have more vegetarian offerings. The restaurant has three levels and two bars, which is pretty ambitious considering it is on Front Street, off the beaten path to most who don’t work at AutoZone. They are currently serving lunch and will expand hours to 11 to 8 starting January 2.

Celebrate the New Year… as it arrives in London, at the Ghost River taproom. Make London Calling the first stop of your New Year’s Eve. The taproom will be open noon to 8 that day, and at 6 PM, when 2017 comes to London, everyone in attendance will get a 4 oz. pour of Ghost River London Pale Ale. The Memphis Mojo Cafe food truck will be on site with sliders, burgers, and fries.

‘Tis the season to send Memphis Grizzlies holiday e-cards to your friends. They are free to send and you get your choice of Mike Conley, Marc Gasol, Tony Allen, Zach Randolph, Vince Carter, Chandler Parsons, or Grizz. You can share them to social media too.

LYFE Kitchen, the healthy dining restaurant in the Chisca at Main and MLK, has closed for a “transformation” and will re-open in the new year. Really, I think one small but significant change would make a world of difference at that place. Just offer a “wrap any menu item in bacon for $3 more” option.

Congratulations to Memphis Made Brewing Co., which has been named a Bicycle Friendly Business by the League of American Bicyclists. The brewery has installed a bike rack outside, and has arranged to have a mobile bicycle repair station located nearby. The brewery has worked with Revolutions, Bike Walk Memphis, the Memphis High Tailers Club on fundraising events. Going forward, Memphis Made will have a variety of tools and technical assistance from the league to become even more bike-friendly.

One of the best BBQ teams at BBQ Fest, Victory Lane BBQ, is having a sale on its famous rub through Christmas. Use code JOLLYRUB at checkout.

Weird weather day. I can normally see South Main out my living room window. Not today!


That’s all for now. Possibly back tomorrow with more news, if not then, Monday.

Santa Bozo Day update

Growing up in Little Rock, there was a show we referred to as “the noon show” although its official name was Little Rock Today. It was on from noon to 12:30 and there was news, weather, and Dialing for Dollars. Every December 23 they would do a special 90 minute version of Little Rock Today, in which all of the KARK employees would bring their kids in to tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas, on camera. After they got their turn with Santa, there was hot chocolate and presents. I always referred to it as “Santa Bozo Day” because the person playing Santa was the same person who played Bozo the Clown on KARK’s daily kids’ TV show.

Note that while December 23 is Santa Bozo Day, it should not be confused with President Bozo Day which is coming up on January 20.

Marcella Simien, of Marcella & Her Lovers, will perform at the Fourth Bluff Ice Rink this evening at 5:00. Rink fee is $10 for time on ice and skate rental.

The Grizzlies host the Houston Rockets tonight at 7. First 5000 fans through the gate get a Grind City basketball.

I see there’s a Tony Allen pepper grinder promotion on April 9… if what I hear is true and TA is on the trade block, I wonder what they’ll do with all those pepper grinders if he gets traded?

Mannheim Steamroller brings their famous Christmas show to the Orpheum tonight at 8.

Semi-Average Joe performs live tonight at the Dirty Crow Inn from 9 to midnight.

Loflin Yard’s Holidance Party is tonight from 10 to 1 with DJ JD.

All right, time to hit Publish and go visit The Peanut Shop on Main Street to get some Christmas candy for my mother. They are always so nice there. After that, it will be time for lunch. Yesterday I was thinking, maybe I’ll get in the car for lunch today and drive out to one of the pho places in Midtown, or Blue Nile for Ethiopian food, or India Palace for their lunch buffet. This morning I am still considering those, but an additional option has come on to my radar: Bardog. True, I won’t be driving my new car if I go that route, but I will be riding the PBR train instead, which sounds like a plan.

Downtown news kinda dries up around Christmas but if there is any, I will be back tomorrow. Posting times will be somewhat irregular until Tuesday.

Thursday update

I hate posting bad news about Downtown. I love my neighborhood, I believe it is the safest place to live in the city, and I wouldn’t live anywhere else. However, I also feel the need to use the voice I have on here to protect my neighbors. A woman was sexually assaulted and robbed Saturday night about 6 in the 100 block of Gayoso, which stretches from Front to Second. Details are vague, which I assume is to protect the victim. I just want to remind everyone to be vigilant, always be aware of your surroundings, and always have in mind what you would do if trouble approaches. In addition, let’s look out for each other. If you see one of your Downtown neighbors in distress, do what you can to help. Again, I hate going negative in this blog, but I have many friends who live and park on that block and I want them to stay safe.

If you haven’t checked out Clayborn Temple since it re-opened for events, tonight would be a good night. They’re having Memphis Christmas JamborEve, a free Christmas party starting at 6 that is open to all. There will be food, music by Bluff City Soul Collective, and drinks. This event is kid-friendly.

The Madison Hotel is doing Rock the Lobby all day today, with a guitar and piano you can play. Record yourself and hashtag it #rockthelobby for a chance to win a free stay at the hotel including food and drinks.

Members of Snowglobe will play “in the round” at Memphis Made Brewing Co. this evening.

There will be a closing party tonight 6-9 at The 101, 101 S. Main, for the last day of the Slay Belles Holiday Pop-Up Shop, featuring Paper & Clay, Don’t Blink, M Russell Art and Question the Answer. Artistik Approach will perform.

The Silly Goose Christmas Soiree is tonight starting at 9. Live music, punch, Santa. First 30 there after 9 will be part of a raffle for gifts and gift cards. There was a photo of a Keurig and a Quadripod fire pit in a post they made to the event today. I am assuming those are raffle prizes.

Have you ever wondered what kind of preparation goes into the holiday displays on the sides of the First Tennessee Building? This CA article has the answer.

There are a couple of good Downtown-related articles in this week’s High Ground News. The first is about families who choose Downtown as a place to raise children.

In another High Ground piece, the Exchange Building has become a home for founders of startup businesses who need an affordable place to live while they get their new ventures up and running.

Don’t forget that it’s free grilled cheese for kids night at Miss Cordelia’s.

That’s the news for now. Work is letting us go at 3, so I will be out for the entirety of happy hour this evening. I will lead off at the Blind Bear around 3:45 for the first half of happy hour, then over to Silly Goose where I will probably stick around for their Christmas party.