Welcome to the first installment of Paul’s PBR Review, a side series on this blog that will explore the best places in Memphis to get a cold Pabst Blue Ribbon (or “PBR” as many locals call it). Although PBR has picked up a reputation as being something of a “hipster beer” the past ten or so years, you don’t have to be a hipster to enjoy it. Many, myself included, feel that it is the most flavorful of the common domestic beers. As a bonus, it’s often one of the most inexpensive too.
SIDE NOTE: These PBR Review posts will be in addition to my regular Downtown news posts, not a replacement for them. I’ve already made a Friday news post today, so scroll down if you haven’t seen it yet.
I’m starting off this series with one of Downtown’s most beloved bars, the Silly Goose. I selected the Silly Goose for my first place to review, because it has PBR two different ways: You can buy it in a 16-ounce can, or a 16-ounce draft. PBR is one of only three beers on draft at the Goose, the other two being local Ghost River beers. They also have a selection of domestic, craft, and import beers in bottles. I don’t believe they have any non-alcoholic beers. They also have one of the largest selections of liquor in Downtown Memphis.
The Silly Goose was opened in 2009 by bar veteran Daniel Masters. Although at first the place was positioned as a locals’ hangout, it has evolved into a swanky lounge, proving that PBR is not too low-brow for the lounge scene. The Goose has comfy lounge furniture inside and out. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights DJ Cody provides the music, and the place gets packed.
SIDE NOTE: Daniel used to be the bartender at another of my favorite bars, Dan McGuinness Downtown, which unfortunately has closed. McGuinness didn’t serve PBR but I went there anyway because I like Daniel. Well, that and the Saucer girls went there after they got off work.
Although PBR has been around in one form or another since the Silly Goose opened (except for those three days when they ran out…grrrrr), the draft beer is a recent addition. It was brought on in spring 2013 because it was known that the Foursquare “mayor” at the time liked PBR draft. Prices are among the cheapest Downtown, $2 a pint at the time of this post. During happy hour the price drops to $1.50.
If you get the PBR in a can, you can ask for it to be made as a “PBRtini.” This cocktail consists of PBR, poured out of a can, into a glass. I will have more to say about PBRtinis at a later date. As you can see in the photo posted here, they even have ways to keep your beer chilled for you, which is important because a martini glass holds about 5 ounces, whereas the PBR cans sold at the Goose are 16 ounces in size.
SIDE NOTE: The Silly Goose has a make-your-own Bloody Mary bar on Sundays. That really doesn’t have anything to do with PBR but I thought I would mention it anyway.
There are various foods you can pair with your PBR at the Silly Goose. One of my favorite combinations is filet cooked “on the stone” and a PBR. They bring out a 700-degree stone to your table and you cook the meat on it yourself, seasoning it to your heart’s content. I have found that the PBR really brings out the flavor of the meat well. The PBR also pairs nicely with the many pizzas sold at the Silly Goose.
SIDE NOTE: A fun thing to do at the Goose is to watch the panhandlers act like fake parking attendants on the Tri-State lot across the street.
On Monday nights, the Silly Goose has poker night. There are overlays to the lounge tables that have drink holders for your PBR. Truly they keep their PBR drinkers in mind at all times. The first-prize at poker is $50, which would buy 25 draft PBRs. The second place prize is $25, which would buy 12 and a half PBRs, 13 if you contribute a dollar of your own to make your total $26.
There’s also a foosball table. However, I never play because it’s hard to play foosball well while holding a PBR.
I hope you have enjoyed this first installment of Paul’s PBR Review. I will try to do this on at least a weekly basis. If you have not been to the Silly Goose, I hope you will give it a try. If you do, I think you will agree with me that it is a great place to drink a PBR.