Girl Scout Cookie @ Bardog Tavern and Sunday news

I don’t order a lot of mixed drinks at bars, but last night a friend introduced me to a good one. The Girl Scout Cookie at Bardog tastes just like my favorite flavor of ice cream, chocolate mint. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, give one a try.

In other cocktail news, Max’s Sports Bar has introduced a new cocktail menu. (Click to view a larger image)

The Maximilian Affair? My, my, Max has come a long way since the days of school lunchroom pizza and cheesy potato bites. Although, I’m pretty sure both of those are still on the menu.

The Brass Door will have an Irish New Year countdown live from Dublin tonight from 5 to 7. $2 Black Velvets.

The Daily Beast had a really interesting 3-part series this past week about the methods the Soviet Union used to recruit spies, even unknowing/unwilling spies. True, the Soviet Union dissolved almost 30 years ago, but remember that before his rise to power, Russian president Vlad Putin was an agent for the KGB. The methods discussed in these articles are very relevant to Russia’s attempts to influence foreign governments today.

LMAO at who attempted to friend me on Swarm yesterday. You know how Facebook has a Close Friends filter? Maybe Swarm needs a Fake Friends filter.

New Year’s Eve tips for those going out:

  • It will be cold. I mean really cold. Like, negative single digits wind chill. Dress appropriately. And if you fail to dress appropriately don’t be that person who ruins everyone else’s night with your constant complaining about how cold it is.
  • Parking Downtown will probably run you 20 bucks. Maybe even 30. And you will be in a traffic jam getting in and out of whatever garage or lot you park in.
  • Don’t tell the doorman you know people (the owner of the bar, owners of nearby bars, well-known people in the service industry) and therefore expect to get in free. Shut up and pay the fucking cover charge. Your attempt to show everyone what a big shot you are is not impressing anybody.
  • Be understanding if the bartender takes 10 minutes to get to you. This is their busiest night of the year. Don’t be the person constantly shouting “Hey!” and snapping your fingers and whistling to get the bartender’s attention. They know you’re there. Wait your turn.
  • If you have a $38 tab, leaving $40 is not acceptable. If you can’t tip 20% don’t go out.
  • Every New Year’s Day the regulars sit at the bar and talk about that person who had a breakdown and started yelling and crying uncontrollably the night before. Don’t be that person.
  • Don’t take shortcuts to your car down alleys or streets that are not well lit. Criminals know it is Amateur Night as well as you and I do.
  • Calling an Uber? Expect to wait two hours to pay $80 for your three-mile ride. Still better than paying for a DUI though.
  • Did I mention it will be cold?

Happy New Year!


Suggestion for the new food hall, respect to Iowa State, and Saturday news

Iowa State… regardless of what happens in the game today, I have to say I have much respect for you. Never in my life have I seen a school’s fans travel so well to the Liberty Bowl. The only other year that even came close was 2012… and that was Iowa State as well. Happy to have all of you in town, and in hindsight I wish I’d taken the past couple of days off so I could have met more of you. I hope you get invited back to the Liberty Bowl soon.

The Bluff City Fire & Ice Chili Cook-off and Polar Bear Plunge, hosted by Special Olympics of Greater Memphis, has been announced for Saturday, February 3 at Mud Island River Park.

The chili cook-off, beginning at 10 AM and costing $75 to enter (entry forms due by January 19) has divisions for red chili, salsa, and people’s choice, with additional prizes awarded for showmanship. If you don’t cook chili, you can pay $5 to be a people’s choice judge, taste-testing all the different chilis from the teams.

At 2:30 PM, hundreds of people will take an icy plunge into the Wolf River. $50 per individual to take part and you must fill out the waiver and wear shoes. $50 in pledges raised gets you the official T-shirt. Wackiest costume will win the Golden Plunger. More info about this event here.

Anna Benson plays The Vault at 124 G.E. Patterson tonight at 8.

I walked through the 409 S. Main food hall last weekend, hoping to have a drink at The Civil Pour, the bar in there run by Daniel Masters from the Silly Goose. It wasn’t open at the time I went in though. Neat space with about 7 food vendors and it looks like there are room for plenty more.

I especially like what Java Cabana did in the food hall, testing the Downtown waters with Java Cabana West in a small, affordable space, and I want to put a bug in the ear of restaurant owners across the city. I would love to see owners of successful ethnic restaurants experiment with a small second location in 409 S. Main. Indian, Ethiopian, Vietnamese, and Filipino are a few cuisines available in other parts of the city but not Downtown that I think would be very well-received here. Downtowners who agree with me, I encourage you to sound off on social media and let people know there’s a desire for those kinds of foods in this neighborhood.

The Little Rock food hall I visited in January had an Indian vendor:

Two entrees, basmati rice, and naan at a very reasonable price. Believe me, every time I visit Little Rock from now on I will go there. I would love to see something like this in Downtown Memphis.

The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Chill Advisory for Memphis Sunday night/Monday morning with the wind chill dropping to -4F.

I had a trip to Nashville planned for this weekend, but it fell through, so I’m headed out to D-RANKS with B-RAD at the Blind Bear. Go Tigers. This should be a great game.

Friday update

The Daily News has a fantastic interview with Memphis Tigers head coach Tubby Smith that is a must-read if you follow the team. He responds to common criticisms on talk radio and social media, and discusses how he instills the values players need to succeed on the court and off. For anyone who has listened to Gary Parrish’s recent discussions of the Memphis program under Tubby, you need to read this. I’m not saying you have to stop agreeing with Parrish (nor have I), but you need to be fair and hear both sides. It’s amazing how some people come to judgment having heard only one side of a story.

Got hungry all of the sudden while composing this post. Can’t decide what I want though, probably either breakfast food or hot dogs.

I’m not Downtown for lunch break, so this is not an option for me today, but if you are Downtown, you can now order online from Lisa’s Lunchbox. Just fill out the online order and it’ll be ready when you get there. Then you have the choice of grabbing a table or taking your food with you. They call it the “No Stress Lunch Break.” The East Memphis location has online ordering too.

Two Girls and a Whip at Front and Huling will have Boozy Suzy Brunch (GOSH I wonder who that is named after) tomorrow from 11 AM to 1 PM. There will be courses of savory and sweet cupcakes, each paired with a brunch drink. They will start off with that awesome chicken and waffles cupcake that was served at my building’s Christmas party:

Then the next three courses will be a cornbread cupcake with maple syrup and bacon, a Sausage Baller cupcake, and a Poinsettia cupcake. Space is limited so call 901-472-CAKE or email to save your spot. $25 per person.

Trolley Stop Market will be serving a Hoppin’ John family meal New Year’s Day 11 to 8. This dish is made of purple hull peas, greens, cabbage, pork, and organic rice with homemade cornbread, all from locally sourced products. Good news for vegetarians – there’s a meatless option for you too. $7.99 a plate, $5 for a kid’s plate.

FreeWorld plays The Dirty Crow Inn tonight 9-12.

The Gray Canary, the new Hudman-Ticer restaurant going into Old Dominick Distillery, has set up Facebook page. “Like” the restaurant on there to receive updates.

Liberty Bowl parade and pep rally on Beale Street today:

ESPN’s matchup predictor has Memphis as a 57.1% favorite to beat Iowa State in the Liberty Bowl tomorrow.

Don’t forget, New Year’s Eve falls on a Sunday so liquor stores will be closed. Get your booze today or tomorrow.

Thursday update

If you have plans on New Year’s Eve, you will definitely want to keep a watch on the weather. Forecasts are varying, with predicting a chance of flurries. WREG, however, calls for a 40% chance of a wintry mix. The high will be 33 and the low 13 according to WREG, so anything that falls will have a high likelihood to stick.

Wintry Mix on Amateur Night, when thousands come Downtown to party and many people drive home drunk? That is going to be a shitshow. Let’s hope the MemphisWeather. net forecast turns out to be the correct one.

Tonight is the last holiday movie Thursday at the Ghost River taproom, with a special boozy cupcake by Two Girls and a Whip.

On New Year’s Day, Ghost River will have the taproom open for New Year, New You. Not Today. Put your New Year’s fitness resolutions off by a day and come enjoy some craft beer. Flying Sobies Hen House food truck will have a “Hen House NYD SPECIAL” which includes a crispy fried Cornish game hen with a side of southern-style greens, lucky black eyed peas, and cornbread. The Rusty Pieces will perform 2-4. They’ll have brunch drinks, and college football will be on the TVs all day.

Who else Downtown has blackeyed peas on New Year’s? Email me at or hit me up on Facebook. For those who don’t understand, it’s a tradition in the South that you eat blackeyed peas on New Year’s for good luck throughout the year.


The Memphis Tigers men’s basketball team hosts LSU tonight at FedExForum. A win over a Power Five school would give the Tigers some needed momentum going into conference play.

The Flying Saucer is doing a roaring ’20s theme for its New Year’s Eve party. There will be music and cocktails from that era with a prize to the best-dressed partygoer. Champagne toast at midnight. $10 a person to reserve a table.

The Grizzlies have released photos of their MLK50 City Edition uniform. The design is a nod to the I AM A MAN signs carried by the sanitation workers in the 1968 strike that brought Dr. King to town. The uniforms will be worn by the team for the MLK Day game next month.

Loflin Yard’s New Year’s Eve party will include one s’mores package per guest and a champagne toast at midnight.

The Blind Bear’s New Year’s Eve party will feature live music by The Rusty Pieces from 8 PM to 11 PM and Blackwater Trio 11 PM-2 AM. $18 cover starting at 7 PM. Three course dinner menu available starting at 5 PM – $35 per person or $60 per couple.

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

Wednesday update

Thanks for those of you who helped me get through my first Christmas without my mother. I have many wonderful people in my Downtown family.

Rizzo’s is having a New Year’s Eve party from 8 PM to 12:01 AM on Sunday. $20 gets you in the door and includes food, live music by Bobbie Stacks, and a champagne toast at midnight. There will be a cash bar with drink specials. Sounds like a good way to avoid Amateur Night that will be going on in most of the rest of Downtown.

Havana Mix, which is apparently known as Robusto by Havana Mix, is having a New Year’s Eve party as well. Cigar specials, raffles and giveaways, as well as food, live music, and a champagne toast at midnight.

Welcome to Cyclones fans making their way into town for the Liberty Bowl! If you’re looking for something fun to do Friday night, it’s South Main Trolley Night. Many of the shops of South Main and surrounding streets, between MLK Ave. and a couple of blocks south of G.E. Patterson, stay open until 9 in the evening or later. There’s much good shopping and mingling. Insider tip: Check out the live music at 550 S. Main from 7 to 9 that night.

Start Co. is holding a minority business workshop at the main library on Poplar on January 16. Learn about Elevator Pitching, Customer Discovery, and Business Model Canvassing. After the workshop from 1-2, you will be able to sit with mentors to get advice on different aspects of your business. I have gotten to know the people at Start Co. well and they are a fantastic resource. If you own a minority business that you’re looking to grow, this would definitely be worth your time to attend.

Uh oh…’s extended outlook for January 3-9 reads “temperatures below average; precipitation above average.”

Eric Hughes Band plays The Dirty Crow Inn Saturday night from 9 to 12 on their covered, heated patio.

Volunteer opportunity Downtown:

Attending a wake after work, so I’ll be late getting out to the usual spots. Back tomorrow with more news.

Festivus update

The annual Mix-Odyssey party is just around the corner!

This is a fundraiser for Volunteer Odyssey, a fantastic organization that helps connect people with ways to volunteer here in Memphis. You’ll get to taste craft cocktails from some of the city’s top mixologists.

Pontotoc Lounge posted its New Year’s Eve menu (click for larger size):

Smoked trout deviled eggs? Yum.

A tweet yesterday confirmed that Max’s Sports Bar will be among the places opening in the evening on Christmas Day.

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial in Concert comes to the Orpheum February 10. Film on the big screen with music by the Memphis Symphony Orchestra.

The XFL may be coming back. WWE owner Vince McMahon recently sold $100 million of stock and formed a company named Alpha Entertainment LLC. Alpha recently applied for five XFL-related patents. Could be big if Vinnie Mac allows college freshmen and sophomores to be drafted. Also could bring names like Manziel, Tebow, and Kaepernick to the league. Maybe could bring Rod “He Hate Me” Smart back too.

It’s a Festivus for the rest of us! I’m going to lead off the day at Max’s Sports Bar to watch the Tigers, and there might be a Festivus airing of grievances if the right people show up. After that I’m going to check out new bar The Civil Pour at the 409 S. Main food hall, then over to Blind Bear for D-RANKS with B-RAD. Back tomorrow with more news.


Friday update

Quick post before 8 AM. I’m going to work from home today to avoid having to drive in heavy rain. My adorable but useless assistant will be helping me.

Everyone’s got their mind on the holidays this weekend, but here’s something to keep in mind: The International Blues Challenge is less than a month away, January 16-20. Solo artists, duos, and bands representing the very best in blues flock to Memphis and play in the clubs on Beale and the surrounding area, hoping to win their category and attract interest from record producers. However, if you check out the schedule, you will see there’s a lot more than just music performances: book signings, keynote panels, documentaries, awards presentations. There will be a book signing by John Oates on Wednesday, January 17. Come out and meet him and maybe he’ll play a few songs. Well, come meet him unless you’re one of those people who’s all like, “John Oates? I can’t go for that. No can do.”

In all seriousness, though, other cities would kill to have this vast array of talent performing in their clubs… but other cities are not the Home of the Blues. If you have never been to this festival, you owe it to yourself to check it out. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights, there are wristbands that get you into all the participating clubs for one low price. You can pick and choose the blues you want. It’s a musical buffet!

The removal of Confederate statues in Memphis has been getting a lot of national press. The Atlantic has a good look at Memphis’ inventive new approach to removing these statues.

Drew & Ellie Holcomb play the Orpheum tonight along with their band The Neighbors. They’ll perform Christmas standards and some Holcomb originals.

Lifehacker has a good point: always carry $20 in small bills. That allows you to tip people who would not typically get tipped on credit or debit cards: valets, housekeepers, bands, open bar bartenders, etc.

Tubby will go head-to-head with his son as the Memphis Tigers host Loyola at FedExForum. Tomorrow will be a doubleheader at the arena with the Grizzlies playing at 7.

That’ll do it for now. Time to fire up email and my other apps and be productive. The office closes at 3 so I will be at Silly Goose shortly after that. If more news comes in I will do a post before going out.

City removes symbols of hate, heals racial wounds + Thursday news

The Confederate statues in Memphis Park and Health Sciences Park were taken down last night.

This letter from Mayor Strickland explains it all, but here’s the short version:

Mayor Strickland was determined that the statues should come down legally. Unfortunately the Tennessee Historical Commission ruled that the city could not legally remove the statues from city-owned parks.

However, the city does have the right to sell parks it owns at below-market value. Owners of private parks can legally remove items on the land they own, including statues. Yesterday the City Council voted unanimously to authorize Mayor Strickland to sell those two parks to a newly formed nonprofit, Memphis Greenspace, for $1000 each. The sale was completed yesterday afternoon and the statues were taken down last night. It was done with a swiftness that kept those who would oppose the removal of the statues (possibly with violence) from having time to mobilize.

Well done City Council, Mr. Mayor, the organizers of the new nonprofit, and everyone involved. Those statues were monuments to racism, discrimination, and hate. If they are to be viewed, they should be viewed within context that those statues were put up in the days of Jim Crow and in the days of the backlash by whites to the Civil Rights Act, and that those are not the values we as a society hold anymore.

On to the news..

The Orpheum will host LeMoyne-Owen College’s A Soulful Holiday Evening tonight at 7. Chanté Moore and renowned group CAMEO will perform. Proceeds will benefit The United Negro College Fund.

The inaugural Sip & Shop kicks off today from 4 to 9 PM. The way it works is, you start at LYFE Kitchen and pick up a passport. Then you go visit participating South Main shops and restaurants, getting your passport stamped at each place you visit. Participating locations include

  • Rizzo’s
  • South Main Book Juggler
  • Red Velvet Clothing
  • 409 S. Main food hall
  • Inspired Christian Design
  • Peddler Bike Shop

Collect at least 3 stamps and return to LYFE Kitchen before 9 PM to receive a free appetizer.

MATA has announced that the rubber-wheeled trolley buses will not run December 25 and January 1.

The DMC has named its Top 10 “Game Changer” properties for redevelopment.

Max’s Sports Bar at 115 G.E. Patterson will have Miller Lite specials and swag tomorrow night:

Last night at the Blind Bear was holiday movie trivia night, and Charles asked a question about Miracle on 34th Street. “Is New York City the only city that has a 34th Street?” Charles commented after giving the answer. Um, Charles, most major cities have 34th Streets. Memphis is the rare exception (I think Seventh is as high as it goes here). My hometown of Little Rock has a 34th Street, although it’s not the kind of street anyone would ever make a movie about.

Memphis Made has announced that they will open their taproom early, at 10 AM, on Saturday, December 30, the day of the Liberty Bowl. They will have the game on their huge projector in the event room.

Sam’s Hamburgers is moving across Madison to 7 N. Main.

NBC News has a look at how Russian trolls hijacked conversations on Twitter during key moments in the 2016 presidential election campaign to strike fear and the need for autocracy in the hearts of Americans. Don’tcha hate those crazy trolls?

That’ll do it for now. One more day until the holiday weekend.

Wednesday update

Holly has a list of hours places are open Christmas Day and Christmas Eve on the I Love Memphis Blog. Of particular interest to Downtowners: Flying Saucer and Bardog open at 5 on Christmas, Blind Bear at 6. I will add that I’ve confirmed that the Silly Goose opens at 7 that night.

The Flyer reports that The 5 Spot, the restaurant behind Earnestine & Hazel’s on G.E. Patterson, is coming back in early 2018. Cliff’s notes version of the Flyer article: Lots of shrimp dishes including a shrimp pasta dish in memory of Russell George; menu by John Wills; Delta-style tamales; French-press coffee and beignets; bar menu after-hours; delivery.

Evelyn and Olive has an immediate opening for a dishwasher/prep position. Apply in person at 630 Madison.

It’s Yule Fuel glass night at the Flying Saucer tonight at 7.

Classic Christmas movie Miracle on 34th Street will be on the big screen at the Orpheum tonight.

The voice of Daphne from the Scooby-Doo cartoon series has passed away.

High Ground News has an article on the new food hall at 409 South Main.

GiveCamp Memphis is coming in February. Marketers, designers, and developers will have the chance to donate their skills to benefit some great local charities.

The Tigers host Siena tonight at 7 at FedExForum. A victory over the 271st-ranked team in the KenPom standings would look mighty impressive to the NCAA tournament selection committee. I saw a live stream link for tonight’s game but have not tested this myself yet.

I’m happy to report that after being dropped in enchilada sauce on Sunday, my troll has been cleaned off and has survived unscathed. She will be out with me this weekend. You know, trolls are often cast as nasty creatures, but this one has been a better friend and better listener than several humans who come to mind.

Holidays at the office are great because people bring food. Yesterday there were Christmas cookies. Today there were sausage biscuits. Yum! My co-worker who made those should enter them in that breakfast festival they have on a parking lot in the Medical District, if it returns in 2018.

That’ll do it for now! Back tomorrow with more news.