Bored with dull suburban life? Come play Downtown

Last night I walked out of the Flying Saucer about midnight. The temperature had dropped from 80 to 46 since I had gone out, and I had only a T-shirt on (at least I had the foresight to wear jeans instead of shorts). Even worse, as I got about a block toward home, at Second and Gayoso, the skies came open. I was caught in torrential rain. I scurried for the cover of Second Street Shopper’s awning. As I stood there, freezing and soaked, I thought to myself, “There are people who spent their Friday nights in cookie-cutter suburbs. I’ll take cold and soaking wet walking home Downtown over that lifestyle any day.” Let’s examine some reasons to come play Downtown.

I’ll start off with 100 of them. The Downtown Memphis Commission published a brochure called 100 Reasons to Celebrate Downtown Memphis. It’s a good starter guide to why the locals like it down here so much.

Another reason to like it down here is how I dealt with the rain. After a few minutes under Shopper’s awning, I darted to Havana Mix’s awning, and then to the next one… which put me at Kooky Canuck. The rain showed no signs of stopping (actually, it would be gone in a few minutes, but I had no way of knowing that). “Might as well go in and have a beer,” I thought. Of course, at Kooky that means a Super Cold 34 ounce beer. “Do you want to look at a menu?” the bartender asked, and I said sure. The Canadian-themed restaurant has added a lot of new items to the menu lately, and last night’s rain refuge was a good excuse to try one of them. This is what I got:

This is the skillet buffalo mac & cheese ($7.99), with chicken added for $3 more. It’s mac & cheese with Kooky’s buffalo wing sauce mixed in. Rather than elbow macaroni, they use shells, which I love, topped with crunchies. The taste was so different and good that I found myself picking around the chicken – it really wasn’t necessary to make this a delicious meal. While not to the point of buying Bianca’s cookbook and converting to a vegan lifestyle, these days I’m more open to the idea that dishes and meals do not have to have meat in them to make them complete.

Speaking of the Canuck, another reason to love living Downtown is what will happen there this Monday, October 8. Those wacky Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving a month early, and Kooky will have a traditional Thanksgiving menu all day. They will also have $3 34 ounce Labatt Blue draft.

Another reason to love Downtown: One of my friends moved into Barboro Flats, the new apartment building on Main in the space that used to be the big gaping hole, yesterday. In her welcome packet were two Bardog Tavern wooden nickels. Each wooden nickel entitles the bearer to a pint of the coldest PBR in town for only 5 cents. That’s a warm welcome indeed!

Bardog, by the way, in order to make their happy hour more female-friendly, is stepping it up with the specials. They’re doing $5 Stoli martinis, all delicious flavors, during happy hour 5-7 Monday-Friday. Bardog has already been voted the best happy hour in Memphis, so whether you’re a martini drinker or not, come see why.

Are you ready for some football? If you are, then there’s a new reason to love Downtown this week. Double J Smokehouse and Saloon has installed NFL Sunday Ticket. Why not get there early tomorrow and watch all the noon games on 36 feet of HDTV? While you’re there you can eat Miss Katee’s chicken and waffles, bacon and sausage, sausage gravy, and eggs however you like them. Come talk football with Jeff!

I was going to do a mini-rant here about a server in the Downtown core’s excessive use of profanity in front of customers, but to keep this post positive I’ll save it for later. Apologies in advance to my readers, though, because I will have to drop a lot of f-bombs in a future post to make a point. Hey, Downtown is great, but I never said it was perfect.

My plans for this morning and afternoon contain plenty of more reasons to love Downtown. At 11 it will be time for my team to lose again (this week to Auburn), so I’m going to head down to Max’s Sports Bar to watch the carnage. Good opportunity to catch up with Max, Renee, Ciara, Jose, Mikey, and whoever else shows up. I’ll have to pay for my own Fireball this week, but hey, you can’t win ’em all. Maybe after the game is over I’ll walk over to Central BBQ and have my first sandwich at the new Downtown location. As I go through my day I’ll pull up Foursquare now and then, and snicker when I see one of my suburban friends check in at Home Depot, Kroger, and Big Lots. Then I’ll walk home, passing places like Silly Goose, Majestic, Blind Bear, and Local on the way. So nice to know I can stop in those venues anytime I want.

48 degrees going to 60. Sounds like a perfect day for the PBR hoodie, shorts and sandals combination. Think I’ll put that on and start my trip south. If I get there before Max’s opens, I can always poke around Memphis Farmers Market for a few minutes. Another glorious Saturday in Downtown Memphis! It’s great to be alive!