BBQ and debauchery: What a great weekend!

The Moody Ques got together for a team “Meat” & Greet yesterday. It was a rainy day but we still had a good turnout, and there was plenty of delicious food.

Our pitmaster, Kris, gave a presentation. He talked about the cooking techniques our cook team used, as well as the sauce. He showed us how to pull apart pork and find “the money piece” that is the one you want to present to the judges.

Senior Deputy Director of Public Relations Perjorie T. Roll enjoyed a plate of pulled pork, beans, a jalapeno popper, avocado bacon slaw, pasta salad, potato salad, and a pepperoni roll.

We had yummy desserts too. This get-together was a preview of the goodies members can expect to find in the Moody Ques booth.

After dinner was gathered around and discussed team business: T-shirt design, liquor sponsorships, things like that. It was a very productive meeting and we’re all looking forward to this year.

View the complete photo gallery on the Moody Ques website.

It was a rainy day but a good one. I led off at the Farmers Market, and I have to say the staff and the volunteers there are so wonderful, always make me feel right at home. After that I walked over to Max’s Sports Bar for a few PBRs. Then I headed south to Loflin Yard, where I got to hang out at my friend Stacey’s bar. Then the Meat & Greet, conveniently right down the street from Loflin, then got a Lyft to Blind Bear for their ’90s party.

The party won’t stop today either, as debauchery is the name of the game on Beale Street. Today is Beale Street Wine Race, when employees of local bars and restaurants compete in four events:

  • An opening parade, where all the teams line up and march into Handy Park. Best entrance/float wins the prize.
  • Queen of the Vine, a beauty pageant. Girls from the participating bars and restaurants shake their stuff and answer questions asked by an emcee. Over the years it has been proved that keeping it classy is the way to win. Although, now and then there is a wardrobe malfunction. Weatherbug is calling for a temperature of 49 with a northwest wind at 1 PM, the usual starting time for QOTV where many of the competitors will have bikinis on. Yikes.
  • A grape stomp. Each contestant gets a tub of grapes, and whoever produces the most juice in the allotted time wins.
  • A four-person wine relay. The first person opens a bottle of wine, puts it on a tray, and runs to the other end. There a second person opens a second bottle of wine, adds it to the tray, and runs back. Same for the third and fourth person and the third and fourth bottle of wine. Both speed and how much wine was spilled are accounted for in the final scoring.

Despite the cold weather, this event is always a lot of fun to watch. Pro tip: On the race route, there is a bar called Wet Willie’s that serves a daiquiri called a Call-a-Cab. You should get one, with two caveats: Absolutely do not drive after drinking this drink, and drinking more than one can lead to all kinds of bad behavior and possibly a trip to 201.

Time to get this day started and get ready to cheer for Team Blind Bear! Back tomorrow with more news.

Saturday update

Yesterday I got my Blind Bear T-shirt for Wine Race this Sunday. They always theme their shirts on whatever the honored place is for Memphis in May. This year the theme is Memphis, so they went with a take on the Memphis city seal:

LOVE IT. If there were a “Best T-shirt” competition at Wine Race I bet this shirt would win.

Yesterday around 6 I was starting to get hungry, and my own blog helped me out. I remembered that I had posted that a new Mexican restaurant had opened up in the 409 South Main food hall, and I decided to walk down there and check it out. It’s called Venga and it’s in the upstairs part of the food hall, next to City Block Salumeria which operates the pop-up restaurant.

I looked at the specials:

Those molotes sounded interesting, so I got an order of them. I got a carne asada tostada too.

The molotes are available all weekend, I believe, and if you don’t have dinner plans yet for today, I would recommend getting down to Venga and trying these. The spiciness of the chorizo worked perfectly with the masa, and the cheese offset the spice just the perfect amount. It’s a treat to go to a Mexican restaurant and try a dish I hadn’t before.

As for the carne asada tostada, it was delicious too. It came loaded with beef and beans and toppings for a symphony of flavor.

There are some neat businesses in South Main Market, the place I often refer to on here as the 409 S. Main food hall. In addition to Mexican food at Venga and fresh butcher-cut meats at City Block Salumeria, there is Chinese-American restaurant Wok’n in Memphis and the Downtown location of coffee shop Java Cabana. Downstairs is Bar 409, the larger successor to previous bar The Civil Pour. There is plenty of space for two or three more restaurant concepts to open.

It wasn’t busy when I went in there during the dinner hour Friday, and it made me wonder if Memphians have yet to fully appreciate what an asset they have in a food hall. In other cities I’ve visited or lived, the food halls tend to be right in the heart of their downtown district, whereas South Main Market is tucked away slightly off the beaten path. Now that the movie theater is open, I suspect there will be more foot traffic between the core and South Main, and the food hall will be more easily discovered.

The food hall is a place where food entrepreneurs can begin living their dream without the full commitment of maintaining a stand-alone brick-and-mortar location. It has given existing restaurant operators a satellite space to operate, as it allowed Michael Patrick a place to feed his customers and pay his employees for a month when Rizzo’s had to go under construction. It’s a fantastic event space too.

Walking back from South Main Market, I discovered that another Mexican restaurant is getting close to opening too. Swanky’s now has its sign up on the Chisca location.

Kale, Yeah! is the theme at the Memphis Farmers Market this morning. In addition to the produce vendors, the Fuel, Grub, and Mama D’s Oasis food trucks will be on site, and don’t forget about that Maryland seafood vendor selling the yummy crab cake sandwiches. There will be a Farm Fun crafts area for the kids, and live music by Katrina Burgoyne, K. Johns, and Anna Benson. The Market runs every Saturday under the pavilion at Front and G.E. Patterson, 8 AM to 1 PM.

Did you know there’s a cafe in River Garden, the park at 51 N. Riverside next to the Tennessee Welcome Center? It’s open seven days a week from 9 AM to 5 PM.

You just can’t make this stuff up: A coyote got stuck in a wall in the Cook Convention Center this week. Workers freed the coyote and released it into the wild.

If you’re looking for an outdoor event Downtown tomorrow more tame and less debaucherous than Beale Street Wine Race, there will be sunset jazz in Court Square 6-8.

A drawing yesterday put the Grizzlies in 8th place yesterday in terms of their odds for the NBA draft lottery.

I have a BBQ team Meat & Greet on the south end of Downtown at 3, and I’m going to head to the south side early and make a day of it. The Farmers Market, Max’s Sports Bar, possibly Earnestine & Hazel’s, and Loflin Yard will be by pre-party plan. Back tomorrow with more news and possibly some pictures.

Friday update


Chris Wallace and J.B. Bickerstaff have been removed from power. In Wallace’s case, the Grizzlies reassigned him, and Bickerstaff was fired. I’m with The Daily Memphian’s Geoff Calkins on this one: I don’t disagree with the decision (especially in the case of Wallace), but the manner in which the two men were notified was very troubling to players and fans.

There will be a coin flip today to determine which teams are 7th, 8th, and 9th worst for NBA draft lottery purposes. New Orleans, Dallas, and Memphis are all tied with 33-49 records. I wonder how you do a coin flip when there are 3 possible outcomes?

Yesterday I had some tourists ask about Blues City Cafe, and whether there are any hidden gems on the menu besides the obvious ribs and steaks. “Yes,” I said, “the gumbo fries.” This is a heaping helping of steak fries topped with Blues City’s legendary gumbo. I hadn’t had them for a while and decided to stop by Blues City last night for dinner.

Because I need to eat more green vegetables, and because my troll likes foods the same color as her hair, I got a side of greens.

It’s easy for locals to overlook Beale Street when considering dining-out options, but there’s some good stuff on the street. My food was out super fast and the PBR was cold in a 16 ounce can.

Ballet Memphis presents Giselle at the Orpheum this weekend.

The last Drink-N-Draw game show ever happens at Ghost River tonight.

The Adler apartment building at 267 S. Main is being renamed The W.L. for COGIC bishop W.L. Porter.

Katrina Burgoyne, Matt Coppens, Robert Humphreys and Tim Lynch perform at Songwriter Night at South Main Sounds, 550 S. Main, tonight at 7 PM.

Jennifer Biggs of The Daily Memphian became a chicken and waffles fan when she went to review Sage, the new soul food/fusion restaurant in the former Oshi space on Main.

There will be a watercolor class with wine in Cordelia’s Market on Tuesday, May 14.

Bar 409, the successor to The Civil Pour in the 409 S. Main food hall, is the subject of Jennifer Biggs’ Bar Talk this week, as bartender Keagan demonstrates how to make the Ancho & Lefty.

Yesterday I was at the bar at the Blind Bear for a bit, where Feeny asked, “where’s your friend?” and I pulled my troll out of my pocket. Feeny made her a castle.

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

Wednesday update

I had a classic Downtown Memphis meal for dinner last night: A double-double with fries at Dyer’s on Beale Street.

There’s lots of debate about who in Memphis has the best burger. My vote is for Dyer’s. The flavor is just second to none. It’s a pretty basic burger with two meat patties, two slices of American, pickle, mustard, and mayo, but Dyer’s has been brilliant at the basics for over 100 years and that’s good enough for me.

Dyer’s needs to adjust its Facebook page, though. Its schedule lists it as being open 11 AM to 12 PM on Tuesdays. Um, that means it would be open a total of 1 hour. 12 PM is noon. As a result, they show “closed now” when they are actually open. For a business that relies heavily on tourists discovering them online, that’s not very good.

Big game, big night for Memphis. Memphis 901 FC hosts Atlanta United 2 tonight at AutoZone Park at 7. This will be a nationally televised game on ESPNews and a chance for Memphis to show the world how much we have taken to our new pro soccer team.

Catherine and Mary’s, in addition to their dinner menu, offers something called Maw Maw’s Table. This is a place that encourages sharing food family style as you would at your grandmother’s. Entrees currently served at Maw Maw’s Table include Bistecca Florentina and Soft Shell Crab.

The Grizzlies’ chances to CONVEY THAT PICK are not looking good following last night’s loss to Detroit. It will take a Grizzlies win, a Dallas loss, and luck in a coin flip situation to finish ninth from the bottom. The Grizzlies could land as “high” as sixth from the bottom.

Almost Famous headlines the first Peabody rooftop party of the season tomorrow night. $15 cover (most weeks the cover will be $10). You can buy $150 VIP pass that gets you in the parties all season, and which comes with a lot of perks attached, including VIP Lounge, special food and drink offerings in the VIP Lounge, valet parking, a Peabody gift bag, and a 20% discount in Chez Philippe, Capriccio Grill, and Peabody Deli & Desserts throughout the 2019 Rooftop Party season.

As your #1 source of news and information about The Edge District, I wanted to link to this article about Blue Leaf Hemp, a new store in the Shab Chic Marketplace at 607 Monroe. Every item sold in the stores – from clothing to bath bombs to dog collars and much more – has something to do with hemp.

911 via text has launched in Memphis, the Memphis Flyer reports.

The Memphis Symphony Orchestra will perform two Music of Star Wars concerts on May the 4th (Be With You).

As part of Taste of Science Week, Ghost River will host Bluff City Comedy of Science Thursday, April 25 at 7 PM.

I found a good weekend trip guide to Memphis restaurants and bars that I thought I’d share with my readers.

YOGA! Downtown Yoga will offer a Druminyasa class, combining Vinyasa with drumming, 5:30 PM May 1st.

All fans at the Grizzlies game tonight at FedExForum will receive a Grizzlies poster courtesy of American Home Shield.

That’s the news for now! Back tomorrow.

Tuesday update

Some of the bars of the south end of Downtown are having a 4/20 pub crawl on Saturday, April 20. It’s free to participate. The Ghost River tap room, The Dirty Crow Inn, Loflin Yard, and Carolina Watershed are the venues.

Taste of Science Memphis and Belle Tavern will host Science is Sweet and Sour Thursday, April 23 from 7 to 9 PM. Hear from a nutrition expert from UTHSC about how our bodies respond to what we put into them.

Memphis in May has posted details about its Celebrate Memphis event happening Saturday, May 25 in Tom Lee Park.

The City of Memphis and Shelby County turn 200 this year, and in celebration of the bicentennial, Memphis in May International Festival has broken with its tradition of saluting the history and culture of a country and will instead celebrate the rich culture and colorful history of Memphis at a unique event on Saturday, May 25, appropriately titled “Celebrate Memphis.” Produced in conjunction with the City of Memphis, Shelby County, and Memphis Brand Initiative, Memphis in May invites all citizens of Memphis and the surrounding communities to join the FREE city-wide celebration in Tom Lee Park.

Some of you may have noticed that prices of the world’s greatest beer, Pabst Blue Ribbon, have ticked up slightly in recent weeks, especially on draft. I’m told that is because A.S. Barboro, which distributes PBR locally, was bought, bringing on the price increase.

Check out catering company The Kitchen Guru and keep them in mind next time you need to plan food for an event.

Actor, comedian, and writer Tom Segura will make a stop at the Orpheum Tuesday, September 10 on his Take It Down Tour.

Backline Memphis, a showcase of original Memphis music, happens tonight at Tin Roof at 8. It’s organized by Mark Parsell, the same person who organizes the songwriter nights at South Main Sounds and the music at the Memphis Farmers Market.

If you missed the debut episode of Championship Wrestling presented by Pro Shingle on CW30 last Saturday at noon, it’s on YouTube for your watching pleasure.

There’s a new pop-up restaurant called Venga in the 409 South Main food hall making tacos and tamales. It’s a City Block Salumeria project.

The I Love the ’90s pub crawl happens this Saturday. Participating bars include Tin Roof (registration 3 PM), Alfred’s, Blind Bear, Coyote Ugly, Silly Goose, and Wet Willie’s.

Cristina of the City Tasting Tours reports that Curry N Jerk next door to McEwen’s will reopen soon. She notes that they have space to accommodate large groups.

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

Saturday recap/Sunday update: Post-construction Memphis Farmers Market is awesome

Yesterday I walked down to the Memphis Farmers Market. Good news… for the first time since 2016, you can enter from G.E. Patterson! No more walking around to Front Street and having to walk in traffic next to the fence.

As I walked in, Amy from Downtown Yoga was leading a class on the concrete in front of the Farmers Market. They used to do those classes on the grass, but the Malco Powerhouse construction took away their grassy area.

The Farmers Market is seriously one of the neatest things in Memphis. Kids’ activities, food trucks, live music, getting to mingle with your neighbors in the spring air… there’s nothing like it. Definitely worth a visit even if shopping for produce isn’t your thing.

It was busy yesterday morning! I wanted to visit one of the food trucks, but it looked like it would take me 15 minutes to get to the front of the line. That turned out to be a good thing. I found food elsewhere later in the day.

By the way, one of the food trucks that was there yesterday is hiring. El Mero Taco is hiring for front of house and back of house. Email to apply.

The three food trucks in the back were not the only places you could get something to eat right there, though. Down the side corridor was a vendor selling crab cake sandwiches.

The entrance to the new movie theater faces the entrance to the Market.

I don’t drive there, of course, but the parking situation at the Market is vastly improved from last year and in fact there’s more parking than there’s ever been. If traffic and parking dissuaded you from coming there last year, please come back!

Although construction on the Farmers Market side is complete, there’s still fencing along G.E. Patterson and Main for the Central Station project.

“Amtrack.” They misspelled the name of their main tenant. That sign has probably been up for months and nobody employed by the Central Station project has noticed it or bothered to fix it.

At 11 I walked over to my home away from home on the south side, Max’s Sports Bar, and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was not crazy in there. I planned to do Tour de South Main, staying at Max’s until noon when Earnestine & Hazel’s opened, then hitting E&H and after that making the around to Loflin Yard and Carolina Watershed, then back north to Pontotoc Lounge.

It was my first visit to Earnestine & Hazel’s under the new ownership, and I had heard various things about the famous dive bar. I wondered how different it would be. I got my answer… not different at all. They were making the Soul Burgers properly, the jukebox was playing, and the place still felt like the brothel where ladies of the night took their customers upstairs 35 years ago. The only difference was, they’ve added liquor and some local craft beer, but it adds to the place rather than detracting from it.

While at E&H I learned from social media that there was a private Rotary Club function going on at Loflin Yard, so I pulled that stop off my agenda. Part of the reason I wanted to go down there was for their crawfish boil. However, Max’s Sports Bar does crawfish on Saturdays too, so I went back over there and ordered a pound.

They get their crawfish from Crawfish Haven in Horn Lake. One pound is $12 and two pounds is $20, and as you can see, taters, corn, and sausage are part of the package.

A good day although I never made it to my stops in the far south end. After Max’s I stopped at Pontotoc Lounge for a couple of PBRs, then on to Blind Bear for their ’80s party. I hate it that I missed Kris’s birthday party at The Warehouse, but the rain had moved in and a walk back to South Main seemed too dicey for me to attempt.

The Grizzlies host the Dallas Mavericks at FedExForum at 5 PM. They have a special promotion today where if you buy one Terrace level ticket, you get an accompanying ticket for a kid 12 or under for free.

Volunteer Odyssey is having Volunteer Week starting tomorrow where you can donate your time to 7 deserving organizations in 7 days.

The AAF disaster continues with stories of unpaid bills. Players in Memphis were said to have come back to their hotel to find their belongings waiting in the lobby. They’d been kicked out of their rooms.

The Grizzlies’ recent success has caused them to improve to the ninth worst record in the NBA, putting them in position to CONVEY THAT PICK.

Death Cab for Cutie plays the Orpheum tonight at 8:00.

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

Saturday update

The Office Depot on Union in the Medical Center District is closing. A source on Twitter said that as of yesterday morning, the shelves were still well stocked and there are many good deals to be had.

Last night I met the guy who is opening the Swanky’s Taco Shop that is going in the Chisca in the former LYFE Kitchen location. He told me he is hiring servers, although the restaurant is still a few weeks from opening. I got his contact info and will pass it along if you’re interested in a job there. Email me at or hit me up on Facebook.

Tonight is the first fireworks night of the season at the Redbirds. Prior to the first pitch (6:35, gates open at 5:00) fans can enjoy $2 beers at the Left Field Bar. First 500 fans receive a schedule poster featuring Adolis Garcia. After the game ends, stay in your seat for a fireworks show.

Justin Timberlake posted his own local’s guide to Memphis, and he is a fan of Downtown. JT recommended The Arcade, Sun Studio, Gus’s, STAX Museum, Rendezvous, and Earnestine & Hazel’s.

Memphis lost a Downtowner yesterday, but for a good reason. Jerry Stackhouse, formerly an assistant coach for the Memphis Grizzlies, has been hired as Vanderbilt’s head coach. That’s going to be a tough gig, competing with other SEC coaches and Penny Hardaway for recruits in the region. I wish him luck, though; I would love to see him build Vandy’s program to the point where he thumps Kentucky and Tennessee on a regular basis.

Play wrestling trivia for House Money in the Bank at Cerrito Trivia at Memphis Made Brewing Co. happens on Thursday, May 9. Normally I wouldn’t post about that so far in advance, but the wrestling trivia nights are extremely popular and you need to make a reservation. Open spots will fill up quickly.

Rep. Steve Cohen proves once again he’s one of the good guys:

Edible Memphis posted a reminder that the Craft Food & Wine Festival is not far away, on Sunday, June 23 at The Columns in One Commerce Square. Tickets are $60-115 and get you a two hour tasting session at either 4:00 or 6:30. The festival has started to list the vendors and they are top-notch, including not only some of Memphis’ best food, but craft beer, cider, and wine. Money raised benefits the Church Health Center.

Hmmm… the Craft Food & Wine Festival is the same day as The Bar Olympics happening out at the Hi-Tone. That’ll put some people to a difficult choice as to what to do that afternoon, and no, I am not kidding. Someone was asking me what the entry fee for The Bar Olympics is… I looked at the signup form and it’s $150 to enter a team of 6 to 8. Sign up the max of 8, and you’re talking less than $20 a person for an afternoon of drinking and competition. Quite a reasonable entry fee compared to similar events, and the money goes to Alive! Rescue Memphis.

The Cousins Maine Lobster food truck will pay a visit to Cordelia’s Market this coming Wednesday, April 10, from 5 to 8.

Wine lovers might want to make plans to take off work early this coming Monday, April 8. The Majestic Grille is having a cellar sale, selling some of the wines they currently have in stock at great prices to make room for new ones. The sale begins at 4 PM and goes on until 10, but you know the best bottles will get picked over fast! Tell your boss you have a dentist appointment and leave work at 3:30.

Speaking of the Majestic, I was in there for lunch yesterday. Can’t go wrong with a classic, fish & chips.

This was a special yesterday, but they tend to have fish & chips, along with other fish and seafood specials, every Friday, even outside of the Lenten season. Pro tip: Put some malt vinegar not only on the fish, but the steak fries as well. If you’re addicted to the Majestic’s famous thin Parmesan fries, you can get those instead of the steak fries.

For my friends who like to smoke up, this article is for you: There sure is a lot of poop in weed

Farmers Market, Farmers Market, time to go to the Farmers Market! I’ll try to take a few pics. Back tomorrow with more news.

Friday update

Yesterday I was thinking about something, and I’m going to wonder out loud on here. The situation with the Downtown parking meters has changed since this time last year. You now have to pay them 8 AM to 10 PM, and the maximum you can pay at one time is 4 hours. How is that going to work during Music Fest? You can’t exactly leave Music Fest and walk a mile to your car to feed the meter. Is everyone who comes to Music Fest going to have to pay to park in a garage this year? Or will the cops be lenient with their meter enforcement that Saturday?

There is sad news about one of the food trucks that regularly participated in the Thursday Court Square food truck rodeos. Last Friday, the owner of the King of Kings BBQ trailer was driving home on I-40 near Watkins. He encountered potholes, causing the trailer to fishtail and eventually flip on its side. The trailer’s roof buckled and there is a hole in its side. Damage is estimated at about $100,000. If there’s any good news in all this, it’s that the owner was not injured, using his experience as a truck driver to prevent his pickup truck flipping along with the trailer.

Tomorrow is opening day at the Memphis Farmers Market, under the pavilion at Front and G.E. Patterson. The Market runs from 8 AM to 1 PM at that location Saturdays through the end of October. Check out the vendor list for the Market’s opening day so you can plan your shopping. Three food trucks, El Mero Taco, Fuel Cafe, and Grub, will be on site to feed you. Live music throughout the day by Jennifer Westwood and Dylan Dunbar, Laramie Renae and Dylan Wheeler, and Pierce Crask. The Cossitt Library will be there with its Reading Corral for kids, with story time, crafts, and more. Downtown Yoga will have a pay-what-you-can class at the Market from 9:45 to 10:45 (bring a mat and water). Student pharmacists will be on site to answer whatever questions you have about immunization. Bring your compostable items to the Market and The Compost Fairy will take them away and turn them into dirt.

Envision Memphis on the top floor of the Cadre Building will hold a Nutrition 101 seminar tomorrow from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM. Learn about meal planning and nutritious balanced meals, staying hydrated, what to eat before and after workouts, the basics of healthy eating, and daily nutrition reminders. At the end there will be a Q&A. Cost is $20.

Memphis history fans will want to check out Refinement on the River at the Woodruff-Fontaine House tonight from 5 to 8. This bicentennial celebration will feature photos of the early days of Memphis, with looks at the architecture Downtown and along the river. The exhibit will cover the period through the 1950s, when Urban Renewal led to the demise of many of our city’s most beautiful landmarks.

United Way celebrates 95 years in Memphis with a party tonight at The Columns at One Commerce Square.

Play in the 2019 Grizzlies Prep Mini Golf Classic tomorrow and help support the development of young men here in Memphis. Winner gets $300, and funds raised will be used to send Grizzlies Prep students to visit college campuses. The location is 168 Jefferson, with family play noon to 2 and tournament time 4 to 8.

Amazingly, opening day at the Redbirds did not get rained out, and new manager Ben Johnson got his first victory.

Job alert: The Memphis Chamber is hiring an administrative assistant.

The Flyer has a piece on Sweet Magnolia, the new gelato place going in at the 409 South Main food hall.

Check out this Dallas Observer story in which Shannon Wynne, partner in the Flying Saucer chain, thinks brewery taprooms are responsible for putting financial strain on the Flying Saucer locations and other similar bars. In 49 of the 50 states, production breweries can sell beer to go. The one state in which they can’t is Texas, thanks to the lobbying of people like Wynne. Saucer corporate is really, really bad at embracing changes in the beer scene and in the neighborhoods in which their bars are located, and Wynne’s comments are proof of that. If the Saucer chain is losing business, management needs to look in the mirror instead of looking for others to blame.

The brewery taproom thing doesn’t matter that much to me, but I want to go on a rant here for a minute. In 2007 the Memphis Saucer was the Downtown locals’ bar. We all met up there after work, made lasting friendships, gathered a huge team for trivia on Tuesday nights. In the years after that, things started to change. The Saucer had new competition in the form of locals’ bars: Max’s Sports Bar, which opened in 2007; Bardog, which opened in 2008; Silly Goose, which opened in 2009; and Blind Bear, which opened in 2011. The Saucer could have retained us as regulars; we told them what we wanted. We told them:

  • We wanted more interesting Fire Sales, the daily discount beer which is sold for $3.50 ($2.50 back in those days). The Fire Sale rotation was a boring bunch of mostly brown ales, Shiner Bock being the one that comes to mind, along with a blueberry beer that tasted like feet and some other dull choices.
  • We wanted PBR. At least six other Saucers, including Little Rock and Nashville, carry the beer. We were even willing to pay a slight premium. Bars like the Goose and the Bear charge $3 for a 16 ounce can. We would have paid $3.50 for the privilege of drinking PBR at the Saucer.
  • We wanted Fireball. Granted, I sure don’t want it anymore, but several years ago it was the thing to drink in Memphis bars.
  • We wanted management to drop the attitude that employees are expendable and treat their staff, particularly the ones who had built relationships with their regular customers, better.

The GM at the time flat-out refused to carry PBR. He said he didn’t want “that kind of clientele” coming to his bar. That was insulting to a large group of his regulars who he knew very well were PBR drinkers.

The GM was eventually forced by corporate to carry Fireball, but he charged $7 a shot for it as a further insult to the regulars that had requested it. Fireball is typically sold for $4 per shot at locals’ bars Downtown, sometimes on special for $3 (or $2 at one bar when it’s snowing).

One of our favorite long-time Saucer girls was given an ultimatum to choose between the Saucer and her other job. She chose her other job, and when Daniel from the Silly Goose found out she was no longer at the Saucer, he immediately contacted her and offered her a job bartending. Six years later, she’s still there, and I’ll be sitting at her bar in a few hours. No plans to go to the Saucer today or at all this weekend, on the other hand.

Another of our favorite Saucer girls, who had built a loyal base of regulars who came up there to see her, got fired for the stupidest of reasons. She was driving home from Nashville on a Sunday afternoon. Her car broke down on the way, and she called the Saucer to tell them. Their response was “We don’t care what happened, if you’re not here at 5 for your shift, you’re fired.” The Blind Bear hired her and she’s still there. Two other Saucer girls left – one fired for a similar stupid reason and the other saw the writing on the wall and put in her notice –  and they became longtime Blind Bear employees. You know, Daniel and Jeannette really should write thank-you notes to Saucer corporate for providing their bars with such excellent staff and the regulars who followed them to their new workplaces.

As for the Fire Sales, they did improve, but it took years. I do have to admit that local management at the Downtown Saucer is much better than it’s been in the past, and their idea of being a burger bar is a cool one. However, management was so inattentive to their regulars for so long that it’s too late. Many of us have moved on. In my case, I’m comfortable going to the Goose for happy hour and Blind Bear in the evenings, and Bardog Saturdays for brunch and occasionally south to Max’s. It’s not that the Saucer as it stands in 2019 isn’t worthy of the occasional visit, but my dance card is full at this point.

Okay. Rant over, and that’s all the news I have tomorrow. I may take tomorrow off so I can get an early start at the Farmers Market. Back tomorrow or Sunday with more news.

Thursday update

This afternoon there will be a commemoration at the National Civil Rights Museum, outside the Lorraine Motel balcony where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed 51 years ago today. It will begin at 4 PM, with a speech by keynote speaker Dr. Omid Safi and reflections by Dr. King’s colleagues, Rev. James Lawson and Rev. Jesse Jackson. The program will pause for a moment of silence and changing of the balcony wreath at 6:01 PM, 51 years to the minute since the shot rang out. The museum’s Hooks Hyde Hall will be the rain location. This event is free to the public.

It’s opening day for the Memphis Redbirds. The Redbirds start their first homestand against Omaha with the first pitch at 7:05. The Pacific Coast League and Triple-A National Champion Redbirds will be welcomed prior to the game in a Players to the Line ceremony, and the PCL championship flag will be raised. First 2500 fans in the gate get a schedule magnet, presented by Southern College of Optometry. There will be select $2 domestic beers tonight, and $1 Polk’s Meats hot dogs.

TGI Friday’s in the hotel across Union from the ballpark has a deal for Redbirds fans:

Of course, looking out the window it appears that tonight’s season opener will get rained out. I remember how disappointed I was as an 8-year-old when I’d been looking forward to the Arkansas Travelers season opener for months and it got rained out. There are going to be a lot of sad kids in Memphis tonight, I am afraid.

The Great American River Run, the half marathon that is part of the Memphis in May schedule, will see the King/Queen of the Hill Challenge return for 2019. Mile 10 of the half marathon is a run across the A.W. Willis Avenue bridge connecting Downtown to Mud Island. Fastest to make it across the bridge will win $500.

The Commercial Appeal’s Jennifer Chandler writes that Malco at the Powerhouse takes dinner and a movie to a whole new level.

You can get boozy milkshakes at Malco Powerhouse, or down the street at the Arcade.

Pabst is expanding its line of beers once again with PBR Extra. It’s the great taste of PBR with a whopping 6.5% alcohol by volume.

I may have had that info wrong about the April SMA meeting I blogged about yesterday. I’m now seeing that the April meeting will be April 9 at Old Dominick Distillery, and will be a preview of a festival to happen at the distillery the last weekend of April.

Plans are in the works to spruce up Mud Island for Memphis’ 200th birthday. A 50-foot long “MEMPHIS” sign will be installed on the southern part of Mud Island. Walking paths, sunflowers, swings and lights will be added, and there will be a summer concert series. The Mud Island River Park will open to the public May 2.

The Downtown Memphis Commission is in the process of trying to figure out what to do with the W.C. Handy house on Beale Street. Tours were given previously but the tour operator was forced out in February.

For my readers who ride Bird and Lime scooters: I want to show you a photo and then challenge you to think about something.

This photo was taken at the 100 Peabody Place office building’s front door, looking westward to the Main Street Mall. Here’s my challenge to Bird and Lime scooter riders: Every time you park a scooter, look at where you’re parked and ask yourself, “Would a person in a wheelchair be able to get by?” A wheelchair-bound employee in that office building would either have to get by that scooter, or face going down steps. I know those scooters are convenient, but let’s not be in such a hurry to get where we’re going that we abandon consideration for all of our fellow humans.

Memphis Made Brewing Co. has announced its Hopped V celebration the day of Saturday, April 20.

The Blind Bear’s Totally ’80s party happens this Saturday night. Costume contest, photographer, drink specials, and ’80s music by DJ SuperBrad.

FedExForum has announced that Celine Dion’s Courage world tour will make a stop at the arena on Sunday, February 9, 2020. Tickets will go on sale to the public Friday, April 12 at 10 AM.

Loving Local, the annual fundraiser for Project Green Fork, has been set for Thursday, June 13 at Carolina Watershed. PGF works with local restaurants to reduce waste, conserve energy and water, and eliminate pollution. Come enjoy food and drink from PGF-certified restaurants and breweries, and live music by Marcella Simien.

Memphis 901 FC travels to North Carolina for a 6 PM Saturday game against North Carolina FC. The Bluff City Mafia will host a watch party at the Brass Door beginning at 5:30 that evening.

Kranch is a thing now. It’s half ketchup, half ranch. I’m guessing that as soon as he becomes aware of this product, Donald Trump will request some kranch for dipping his well-done steak.

That’s all for now. Stay dry, everyone. Back tomorrow with more news.


Wednesday update

The AAF, the league in which the Memphis Express plays, suspended operations yesterday. There will be no AAF championship game. There will be no more Johnny Manziel games in Memphis. Turn out the lights, the party’s over.

Happy Wednesday, YOGA! This post is going to be a yoga lover’s dream as I have three upcoming events to tell you about. There will be plenty of non-yoga news too.

Yoga is coming to the Memphis Farmers Market the first Saturday of every month, including this Saturday, April 6. The all-levels class by Downtown Yoga will start at 9:45 and participants need to bring a mat and some water. This will be a pay-what-you-can class, with money raised donated to a different charity every month.

Goat yoga, the practice of doing yoga with goats around, has become a thing lately. It comes to Health Sciences Park in the Medical District Saturday, April 27. This is a free class but donations to Memphis Animal Services will be accepted. There are two sessions. You must sign a waiver to participate.

Downtown Yoga will host The 5 Animals Qigong Series, a series of four classes beginning April 27. This 2000 year old practice is a fun way to energize the body, imitating the movements of five animals: the Tiger, Deer, Bear, Ape, and Bird. There is said to be a correspondence between the animal movements and five internal organs. The series will progress as follows:

  • April 27 – first and second movement for each animal
  • May 25 – third and fourth movement for each animal
  • June 22 – fifth movement for each animal, correspondence with internal organs, five phases and healing sounds
  • July 27 – putting theory and practice together with the complete 25 movement set

Memphis BBQ chain Tops BBQ has been sold, but the new owners plan on keeping the Tops experience the same. Notable for Downtowners: The new president of the 15-location restaurant chain will be Terry Trim, longtime director of operations at Kooky Canuck.

The Green Beetle will host a neighborhood crawfish boil the afternoon of Sunday, April 14. Beale Street Wine Race is that day and you can go get crawfish after the races end.

Wine Race, by the way, is on a different day than usual this year due to Easter. Usually it’s the last Sunday of April. That most likely means, for the first time in years, it won’t fall on the same day as the “take your dog to the Redbirds” promotion so folks won’t have to choose between the two events.

The Memphis Flyer has an article about the new tables at Southland, the name now changed to Southland Casino Racing.

Get your 2019 Redbirds schedule poster this weekend:

The Jam for Justice will happen Saturday, April 20 in the B-Side bar in Minglewood Hall. John Paul Keith, Grace Askew, and Cameron Bethany from Unapologetic will perform. This event benefits the Community Legal Center, an agency providing legal services to those who would otherwise be unable to afford them.

Do you live, work, or play in The Edge or would you like to? Take this survey and tell urban planners what you would like to see in the neighborhood.

Peppa Pig returns to Memphis:

As if the 16-person party bikes were not bad enough, now there are mobile hot tubs rolling around Nashville. I guess they’ll be showing up here in Memphis soon. The party bikes are Amateur Hour On Demand and I suspect the mobile hot tubs will be much the same.

Teens can now apply for Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris’ youth jobs program.

Jerry Patton, Dylan Dunbar, Jennifer Westwood, and Pierce Crask perform at South Main Sounds, 550 S. Main, this Friday at 7 PM.

The April South Main Association meeting will be something different: It’s going to be on Friday night, April 26, on Trolley Night. It will be held at Old Dominick Distillery.

The Tambourine Bash benefiting Memphis Music Export, an organization which raises awareness of Memphis music in other cities in the region, will happen at Century House, 151 Vance, from 7 to 10 PM Thursday, April 18. Live music on two stages will feature Nick Black, Marcella Simien, Talibah Safiya, Coldway, Daz Rinko, Cameron Bethany, the Unapologetic Crew, and more acts to be announced. There will be food by the Majestic Grille, cocktails by Old Dominick, and a photo booth.

I can’t resist embedding one more tweet from author Reva Steenbergen who wrote The Gaslighting Effect. This is a short one but it really hit home for me:

The tweet seemed like a shorter version of something an extremely insightful friend once said:

She watched you from afar for years, gathering information about you, learning your likes and dislikes, who your friends were, where were the places you loved to go… and when she had all the information she needed, she stepped into your life and tried to push you out of it, tried to take away your friends and your favorite places and leave you with nothing.

That is the essence of The Gaslighting Effect, a book that describes narcissistic abuse, in one sentence. Read it in paperback format or on Kindle.

Finally, we’re back to shorts weather. Should be a lovely day. Back tomorrow with more news.