Wed update 2: Sponsor looking to rent house for BBQ Fest, new sports bar opening on Madison, Orpheum app, and more

A group of approximately 4-5 people from my BBQ team’s main sponsor, WordPress, is looking to rent a house near Memphis in May BBQ Fest for the week of the festival. Approximate dates would be May 12-18. These are all very successful professionals who are looking for a place to have an annual meeting while sponsoring our team. They are not people who would throw a huge party and mess up the house. More than anything they are just looking for a comfortable place to work on their laptops. Something in or near the South Bluffs area would be ideal. They can pay well. If you have a house you’d be interested in renting that week shoot me an email at and I will pass the info on.

A new bar is coming to Madison Avenue, near the Brass Door. It will be a sports bar called The Mad Earl, with a game room downstairs and 8 TVs with all the sports packages upstairs. They’re going for a “younger, funkier” crowd than the crowd that hangs out at the Brass Door, with smoking allowed and prices law students can afford. The bar is being opened by the same investment group that opened Brass Door, and they’re targeting St. Pat’s as opening day. I learned about the bar in a Memphis Daily News article entitled Maximizing Madison. A group including the Brass Door/Mad Earl ownership has formed to try to restore Madison Avenue Downtown as a destination as it once was in its heyday.

The Orpheum now has a smartphone app available.

Back to BBQ Fest for a minute. I have decided to remain with my team, the Moody Ques, for 2013. I had talked to other teams – very, very good teams that I would love to join. However, after hearing what they had to say, I went to one of my team leaders and found out what was going on with my team. There were issues last year – food, the bar, the door policy, flying the host country’s flag upside down – and I am satisfied after talking with team leadership that these issues will be addressed. I know there are several team members who are undecided about whether they want to come back for 2013. I spent an hour talking with one of those members last night at the Saucer. If you’re one of the undecideds, talk to me and I’ll tell you why I ultimately decided to stay rather than leave.

That’ll wrap it up for now. Time for beer.

Wed update: Sports news, Van Vleet Flats wins award, Felicia on TV, beer news, and more

Lots of local sports news today. First of all, check out the Memphis Redbirds’ website. It got a makeover this week, and there’s something for every type of fan.

Good news for my Little Rock readers who are Memphis Grizzlies fans: The Grizzlies are expanding their broadcast reach into Little Rock. Seven of the remaining 31 games will be televised, and another 20 will be broadcast on the radio.

The U.S. Olympic Committee sent Mayor Wharton a letter asking if Memphis would have interest in hosting the 2024 Summer Games. 35 mayors around the country received this letter.

I mentioned yesterday that Tuesday night, I went to a friend’s housewarming party in Van Vleet Flats at Second and Gayoso. I was very impressed with what had been done with that space, and apparently I wasn’t the only one. The building has been selected to receive one of the inaugural Building Memphis Awards.

Chef Felicia of Felicia Suzanne’s will appear on WREG Live at 9 tomorrow. She’ll prepare some of the foods she plans to serve at Youth Villages’ Soup Sunday at the FedExForum this Sunday. Dishes will include Hoppin’ John Fritters and Flo’s Chow Chow.

If you’re looking for Abita Strawberry beer Downtown, City Market has it.

I saw a funny infographic on Facebook about people who come into a restaurant 5 minutes before the posted closing time and ask “You’re still open, right?” and expect to sit down and be served. As the person who posted the graphic to Facebook commented, never be “that guy.”

Time to post this and grab some lunch. I’ll probably start at the Silly Goose tonight due to the pre-Tiger crowd at the Saucer.

Tue update: Another craft brewery to open, South’s Tastiest Town voting party, KKK planning rally, Beetle burger wins praise, Jayna Morgan and the Sazerac Sunrise Band @ Blind Bear, and more

A fourth craft brewery is coming to Memphis. WISEACRE Brewing Company will open at 2783 Broad. It will be operated by two brothers, and will produce both year-round brews and seasonals. It will have a tap room where customers can sample the brewery’s offerings and purchase beer to go. Three new breweries in the city in less than a year! Exciting times for those who enjoy good craft beer.

There will be a voting party for Southern Living magazine’s South’s Tastiest Town poll today at the Majestic Grille from 4 to 7 PM. The CVB will be on hand with laptops so you can vote. There will be drink specials and complimentary “voting” snacks. Free food? Wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl will show up.

The KKK has filed permits for what they are calling one of their biggest rallies ever. Complete details of the rally have not been specified but it is said to begin at the Shelby County Courthouse at 140 Adams and will be Saturday, March 30. The point of the rally is to protest the renaming of Confederate, Jefferson Davis, and Forrest Parks. If ever there is a Saturday to leave Downtown and go hang out far, far away, this is it. Hmmm. Haven’t been to Wolfchase Mall in a while.

Seth from the Best Memphis Burger blog paid a second visit to the Green Beetle and was very pleased with his burger. Only a few Memphis burgers have earned 4.5 stars from Seth, and the Beetle’s burger has now joined that list.

Jayna Morgan and the Sazerac Sunrise Band play the Blind Bear this Saturday from 9 to 1. Their listing on Facebook says they’ll be bringing some “Storyville” to the Bear and concentrating on old timey traditional New Orleans jazz and Charlestonable music. “Charlestonable?” (awaiting comment from Air Traffic Mike)

I can’t believe I didn’t know who “DJ Woo Woo” was when I posted about his Club 152 appearance yesterday. If you don’t know, I won’t tell you, but the initial W is significant and I saw DJ Woo Woo perform one time many years ago when David the Worm was late for work.

Fun night last night. I attended a friend’s housewarming party at the Van Vleet Flats. It was my first time in the building. Very nice apartments. They did an excellent job with the conversion of that building. Before and after the housewarming, I was at Pint Nite at the Saucer. I got to catch up with my BBQ teammate G-Rock, although I couldn’t discuss team business much because a non-team-member was listening intently to every word. Beer recommendation: Southern Tier Phin & Matt’s. It’s a pale ale with a lot of flavor but it isn’t bitterly hoppy. It’s the first tap on the wall, on the left.

After the Saucer, I went to the Silly Goose and played poker. I didn’t make the final table, and it was my own fault. When you’re one of the big stacks, you need a very good hand to go up against a bigger stack that goes all-in. Oh well. At least I got to go home early. I took the Goose’s white pizza home, which was really good.

Possibly a second news post after work, check back.

10 at 10

It occurred to me this morning that this week marks the tenth anniversary of the day I moved into my apartment community at Number 10 Main. I had lived in another community Downtown for the previous year, but when I visited Number 10 I knew I wanted to move there. The building offered above-average sized apartments, with washer/dryer in each unit. There was a nice gym with cable TV in the basement, a rooftop deck with a hot tub and two grills, and a very nice lobby where we could hold parties (for several years Amy LaVere played our Christmas party). I was lucky enough to apply when a unit with 12-foot ceilings (only two floors have them) and a river view was available.

Over the years I have met many wonderful friends there. Some have moved on to buy houses or condos, to take exciting jobs in other cities, to get married and have kids. Some are still in the building. The neighbors are a big part of the reason Number 10 has always been a great place to live.

Probably the pivotal year for me in the building was 2005. I started hanging out on the rooftop a lot that spring and summer. We had some really cute female residents who would sunbathe up there, and we had a gourmet chef who would cook extra food on the grills and share. That summer I met many of my neighbors. As it got toward winter I convinced my neighbors that they should start coming with me to Sleep Out Louie’s, where I had been hanging out quite a bit when not on the roof. That was the beginning of my current group of friends. I remember in particular a poker game on the ninth floor where a lot of people met for the first time.

Another great time in the building was 2007-08. I got a job as a web developer in the Falls Building, hardly more than across the street. I could leave work at 5 and be home at 5:01. There was one period where I didn’t drive the car for 28 days in a row. Unfortunately the startup business I worked for was hit hard by the fall ’08 recession and had to lay all their programmers off. Still, I’m glad I had the experience of living, working, AND playing Downtown for that year.

Never in my life did I think I’d live anywhere for ten years, unless I decided to do the wife/2.2 kids/dog/yard/white picket fence thing. And yet, here I am and I’m happy to be here. Cheers to all the neighbors I’ve had in Number 10 over the years, and all the great people who work/have worked there.

Is there one thing I would change about the building if I could? Yes. I’d bring Jay Hollingsworth back, but that of course is physically not possible. Otherwise, it’s a perfectly fine place to live, and perhaps I’ll be here ten years more… or even longer.

(One note: Number 10 is 10 South Main, as opposed to 10 North Main which is the Porter Building condos on Court Square.)

Mon update: Tigers rise in polls, maybe Hooters isn’t so bad, learn how to say no, and more

More good news for the Memphis Tigers. They have improved a spot to #21 in the AP poll, and six spots to #19 in the coaches’ poll. Sad thing is, though, if the Tigers run the table on their remaining games, win the conference tournament, and enter the NCAA tournament with a record of 31-3, they’ll still be lucky to get much better than a #7 seed.

Yesterday one of my South Main friends traveled to the core for a beer at the Silly Goose. After he finished that beer, he met up with a few other friends who like to go “value-drinking” at the Downtown Hooters. I was rather surprised at what he tweeted:

“Ya know…I am having a good time at Hooters Downtown! A good gathering of downtowners and a really nice staff! Opinions can change.”

So maybe that Hooters location isn’t as bad as I made it out to be in Sunday’s post. Granted, it has been a few years since I went in there. Maybe the place really has improved. I should go in there one day and give it a try, although I can’t see myself becoming a regular there.

I found a good Lifehacker article that is worth sharing: Nine practices to help you say no without feeling like a jerk. If you have trouble saying no when people come to you with requests, this is worth a read.

Slow news day. The only other thing I can find is that somebody called “DJ Woo Woo” will perform at Club 152 at midnight. If you’re out late, keep Woo Woo in mind as an entertainment option.

Plans for tonight: Stop by and see a friend’s new apartment, Pint Nite at the Saucer (most drafts $3), poker at the Silly Goose (free to play, $50 and $25 prizes, starts 8:30, can show up late for the first hour).

Sun update: Flying Fish specials, Hooters rebranding, new beers at Saucer and Aldo’s, Tony Allen documentary replay, and more

The Flying Fish is running a couple of Lent specials through Easter Sunday. For $20 you can get a bucket of Abita beers and one pound of crawfish. For $15 you can get an Abita family bucket. I don’t normally observe Lent, but when it means drinking beer rather than giving it up, I can make an exception.

By the way, the Fish received a compliment from some of my bar friends yesterday. My friend Steve O said he loves the Fish because they food they serve “tastes like you’re on the beach. Panama City, Biloxi.” I ate lunch there yesterday and would have to agree.

Ah. Panama City. Memories of tube top hotness flashing people in the back of a Jeep on Front Beach Road. A friend of mine has to travel there for work next month, to hand out free drinks to co-eds. Meanwhile I just spent 12 days cooped up in a stuffy media room for computer training. Clearly I got off on the wrong career path somehow.

Hooters is rebranding. Corporate management feels the chain is losing its competitive edge, so they’re shaking things up a bit. More wing sauces, more padding in the booths, more of a kid-friendly feel. Yeah whatever. I can’t argue that the Downtown location could use some rebranding, though. Actually, what it really needs is not rebranding, but to close so that a restaurant that doesn’t suck can open in that space.

The Flying Saucer is tapping three new beers from Southern Tier Brewery today. The new selections will include Phin & Matt’s, Porter, and 422.

Meanwhile, around the corner, Aldo’s Pizza Pies is now carrying Brooklyn Brewery Local #2 bombers. This beer is made with wildflower honey. Aldo’s has also announced that there will be a 4-beer tasting with New Belgium and a globe glass giveaway for St. Pat’s, 2-5 PM Sunday, March 17.

Not sure how I feel about St. Pat’s being on a Sunday. That’s the second biggest amateur drinking day of the year, after New Year’s Eve.

If you missed Driven: A Day in the Life of Tony Allen, it will replay on SportSouth 8:30 and 10:30 PM Wednesday and 11 PM on Saturday. Thanks to the @MemphisOnTV Twitter account for the information.

A couple of my Bardog friends wanted their pic in the blog, so here ya go:

2013-02-16 12.58.18

In Bardog news, Panda won’t be there for her usual Saturday morning shift next weekend. She’ll be on a New Orleans trip. It’s unclear who will cover her shift as of yet. Panda said she needs to buy “stars” to wear while she’s down there. I hope lots of pictures get taken.

Plans for today: It’s 11:26 as I type this, so I guess I’ve missed the usual 11 AM brunch meeting with friends at the Majestic. I want to try some of those new beers at the Saucer, but I won’t be there until after 6 tonight. In the meantime I’ll defend my Silly Goose and Blind Bear mayorships. If I get real bored maybe I’ll go to Bardog at 8 to see who shows up for karaoke in the Underdog Room. Don’t get me wrong, I think karaoke is to bar entertainment what Snooki is to the human race, but it’s less than a block from home and has “so bad it’s good” potential. I may hit Huey’s as my last stop for Jeffrey and the Pacemakers at 8:30.

Time for a PBR. Got a half hour til the Goose opens so I’ll guess I’ll pop a can from the fridge.

Sat update: Life beyond Third Street, Amy LaVere/Blind Bear, raw sewage news, beer and chocolate pairing (suburbia), Chinese New Year, gospel/symphony

This morning I rode the elevator down with my neighbor Peter. He told me that he has really enjoyed eating at two of the new restaurants in the Edge neighborhood on Madison, Jamacian restaurant Evelyn & Olive, and Venezuelan restaurant Arepa y Salsa. He asked if I’d been to either, and I admitted that I hadn’t, although I want to try both. After we parted ways, I thought about why I’d been to neither. “They seem so far away,” was the reason. That’s one thing about living Downtown. Any destination east of Third Street seems like an incredibly long journey. I rarely go to Mollie Fontaine’s for the same reason, despite the fact that it’s a beautiful restaurant with great food, drinks, and bartenders. Is it too late in the year to make a New Year’s resolution? I need to make one to get east of Third Street more.

Major live music news for Downtown: Amy LaVere will play the Blind Bear Thursday nights in March.

Good news for art gallery owner Ephraim Urevbu. He had been unable to use his art studio on South Main for six months because sewage was seeping through the walls. Yesterday morning the city sent out a crew to investigate¬†and cleared a stoppage in a line. It’s unclear that they’ve totally solved the sewage problem, but at least they are doing something following months of frustration by Mr. Urevbu.

I don’t normally blog about events in suburbia, but for beer and chocolate pairings I will make an exception. The Boiling Point, near I-55 and Church Road in Southaven, will host a four-course beer and chocolate pairing dinner on Wednesday, February 26 at 7 PM. The Flyer’s Hungry Memphis blog has more details. Food served will include a chocolate vinaigrette salad dressing and chocolate chili. Yum! The Boiling Point is owned by good folks who used to work Downtown, so when you’re out in the ‘burbs this is a good place to go.

Speaking of suburbia, I have a suburbanite messaging me on Foursquare as I type this. She’s saying she could walk to Walgreens from her suburban home in Olive Branch in about 30 minutes. My walk to Walgreens ranges from 15 seconds to 1 minute, depending on the light at Madison and Main.

There’s a Chinese New Year celebration today at the Belz Museum of Asian and Judaic Art from noon to 4. It’s free to attend. The museum is inside Pembroke Square near Main and Gayoso.

The Memphis Symphony will perform a gospel celebration tonight at the Cannon Center in celebration of Black History Month. If you plan to attend, they advise allowing extra time for parking because of multiple events that will be happening in the area at the time. Tickets start at $15 and can be purchased here.

Kickin’ it off at Panda’s bar at Bardog at 11. My tentative plan is to hit Double J Loft Bar at 5:30 for the Tony Allen documentary, then maybe the Brass Door at 8 to hear the Swamp Katz. As always though, plans subject to change.

Fri update 2: Bardog karaoke, Tony Allen watch party, self-guided Downtown walking tour, stinky plumbing problem closes gallery, cool SAT/ACT web prep software

Bardog Tavern tweeted today that they will start doing karaoke in the Underdog Room on Sundays at 8 PM. Ugh. You know how I feel about karaoke but I guess it’s good to appeal to people of different interests. Maybe I’ll actually go to this Sunday night and cover it for the blog. I sure as hell won’t sing though. A couple of the worst karaoke performers have moved from South Main to the core recently, so I guess they’ll be delighted to have it close to home.

Double J will have a watch party for Driven: Tony Allen: A Day in the Life tomorrow, Saturday, February 16, at 5:30 PM in the Loft Bar.

The Downtown Memphis Commission has put together a self-guided walking tour of Downtown using a Google map. There are 67 stops in total, all fairly close together. Plenty of historical facts to learn about our neighborhood.

Artist Ephraim Urevbu has been unable to use his South Main gallery for six months now due to raw sewage seeping from the walls. A plumber has given his pipes the all-clear; therefore, it must be the city’s pipes, but the city has been giving him the run-around. Action News 5 has the details.

For those of you who have kids in high school, I heard about a neat program this morning. It’s called Professor Word. The way it works is, you install it and then let your kids surf websites as they normally do. Professor Word will recognize the SAT and ACT vocabulary words on web pages and highlight them. Your kids can then click the word and learn the definition. Certainly a lot more fun and relaxing than traditional book study.

The work week is over. Time for a beer. Since the pre-monster truck crowd will probably hit the Saucer hard, I’ll start at the Goose and then migrate over at some later point.

Fri update: Project Homeless Connect a success, monster trucks and Clifford the Big Red Dog, free vet services for animals in 38105, Iron Sheik on the Olympics, live music recommendations

The Commercial Appeal has an article about services the homeless received at Project Homeless Connect yesterday at the Cook Convention Center. Among the highlights: 46 offered housing, 42 had fines and court costs waived, more than 100 received glasses, 162 had medical screenings, 50 got prescriptions, 140 received city IDs, 152 received haircuts. Truly a fantastic program that helps those who need it most.

YEEEEHAAAAWWWW! The Advance Auto Parts Monster Truck Jam is tonight and tomorrow night at 7:30 at the FedExForum. Itellyouwhatman, it sure is fun to see em big ol trucks crush them cars, man, and if you sit in the front rows you might be lucky enough to git sum mud splashed on you. Yeah I won’t be going.

Clifford the Big Red Dog will be live at the Orpheum tomorrow for 11 AM and 6 PM shows. Yeah I won’t be going to that either.

If you live in the 38105 zip code and are a pet owner, it’s your lucky day. PetSmart Charities has awarded Mid-South Spay & Neuter Services a $71,000 grant to perform spay and neuter surgeries and administer rabies vaccinations to pets residing within that zip. You must provide proof of residence. Parts of Uptown, Victorian Village, and The Edge neighborhoods are in that zip code.

The International Olympic Committee has voted to remove wrestling as a sport in the 2020 Olympics. A lot of people are protesting the decision, including retired wrestler The Iron Sheik. In an article he wrote for The Bleacher Report, he called the IOC “a dumb jabroni” and said that “Every hundred year, mother make baby like the Iron Sheik, the Michael Jordan, or the Jesus.” Well okay then. I didn’t know Iranians believed in Jesus.

A few live music recommendations for this weekend:

  • Funk de Ville plays Club 152 tonight at 7 PM. I caught them a couple of times when the Saucer was still booking bands. They are excellent.
  • The Swamp Katz (classic rock) play the Brass Door tomorrow night at 8. $5 cover. I really enjoyed them at the Memphis Music & Heritage Festival last fall.
  • Jeffrey and the Pacemakers (’60s British Invasion rock) play Huey’s Sunday at 8:30. Great show and great stories if you’re into that kind of music.

More news than I have time to post this lunchtime… a second post should be up around 6 tonight.

Thur update: Rio Loco closed?, Gary Parrish Show/Blind Bear/trivia, Blues Hall of Fame, art opening @ Brass Door, Tony on TV

This morning, I was pulling out of my parking garage, and the sweet attendant at the booth was singing and dancing to gospel music. As I rolled down the car window to scan my monthly pass, she said “Happy Valentine’s Day” and handed me a sucker. That kind of nice little touch is one more reason why I enjoy living Downtown.

Tuesday night I got a text: “Is Rio Loco closed?” I hadn’t heard anything, and the text was from a suburbanite who rarely comes Downtown, so I didn’t think much of it. However, last night I walked past the Mexican restaurant. The “Closed” sign was up (at 6 PM on a Wednesday) and the windows were papered up to about eye level. I have yet to confirm the closing, though.

If you want to win some Blind Bear bucks, tune into the Gary Parrish Show on 92.9 FM Wednesdays between 4 and 6. They’ll have a trivia question for which you can text in your answer. They’ll pick one of the people who answered correctly to receive a $25 gift card from the Bear.

The Blues Foundation has announced its 2013 Hall of Fame inductees.

There will be an art opening for Jennifer Church tonight at the Brass Door.

DVR alert: Driven: Tony Allen: A Day in the Life premieres on SportSouth this Saturday at 5:30 PM. (Thanks to @ChrisVernonShow for tweeting the info)

Back at my desk after 12 days in a small media room doing computer training. Finally over! I’ll be out at the usual places tonight.