Tue update: Goose Island beer/food pairing at Corner Bar, Dogfish Head lands at the Flying Saucer, Memphis Made Southern Julep, Green Beetle hiring cook, MATA selfie challenge, Amy LaVere

What an exciting win last night. The Grizzlies stole Game 2 on the road, tying the playoff series with the Oklahoma City Thunder at one game apiece. Now the Thunder have to come play two games in an arena where Memphis is on a 14-game winning streak.

Lots of beer events going on today as Memphis Beer Week continues. There is a Goose Island rare beer and food pairing tonight at the Peabody Corner Bar. The pairing features 312 Urban Pale Ale, 312 Urban Wheat Ale, Halia, Backyard Rye BCS, Bourbon County Stout, Brie, and Lolita. 6-8 PM. Tickets are $42. Call Lyndsey at 901-529-4183 to reserve your place.

Dogfish Head beer is back in Memphis. A number of beers will land on draft at the Flying Saucer today, including

60 Minute IPA
90 Minute IPA
120 Minute IPA
Midas Touch
61 Minute (I haven’t heard of this one but I assume it’s an IPA?)
Burton Baton
Indian Brown
Positive Contact
American Beauty

I’ve had Midas Touch and 120 Minute before, but not on draft. Really looking forward to giving those a try tonight.

If you would prefer to spend your money on local beer, Memphis Made dropped off their first 750 ml bottles of Southern Julep to the Flying Saucer. Tamp & Tap has it also. Southern Julep is a Belgian style brown ale is brewed with fresh mint and aged with American oak.

The Green Beetle is looking for a qualified line cook. Details here.

MATA is running a selfie challenge. Submit a photo of yourself on the trolley or a MATA bus and you could win a 31-day pass.

Local singer Amy LaVere is crowdsourcing funding for her upcoming tour of the UK. She is pre-selling orders of her next CD, and will provide extras and personal touches based on the amount donated. It’s a way for her fans to be part of the making of the music from now until the moment the CD is released. The Daily News has details.

Plans for tonight: I plan on trying some of those Dogfish Head beers! If cost is not a factor, I would have to say that Midas Touch is just about my favorite beer ever, and I can’t wait to give it a try on draft. Maybe I’ll have one of those Memphis Made Southern Juleps too.

Mon update: Memphis Beer Week, Greyhound station demolition, new Redbirds GM, That’s the Spirit! wine tasting, Grizzlies shuttles may be cut

Memphis Beer Week has begun. You can view the full schedule of events for the week here. Today there are events Downtown at Local, Automatic Slim’s, Bardog, Aldo’s Pizza Pies, South of Beale, and Green Beetle.

Work has begun demolishing the Greyhound bus station on Union across from AutoZone Park. YAAAAAYYYYYYY!!! Wish this had happened ten years ago.

Today the St. Louis Cardinals announced the appointment of Craig Unger as general manager of the Memphis Redbirds. Unger has worked in the Cards’ front office for five years. In that time he has been field producer for the 2009 All-Star Game in St. Louis, he has negotiated the return of the Cardinals to KMOX Radio, and he coordinated the 2011 World Series victory parade. Congratulations and welcome to Memphis, Mr. Unger! Former GM Ben Weiss will stay on in a senior advisor role.

Amidst all the Beer Week festivities, don’t overlook the fact that there’s a very good wine event happening Downtown this week. That’s the Spirit!, a wine tasting to benefit Hospitality HUB, is Thursday at the Robinson Gallery from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. Buy tickets here. Great way to support a cause that helps and empowers the homeless.

As part of a cost-cutting measure, MATA is considering dropping shuttles to Grizzlies games. Shuttles to U of M football games, the Southern Heritage Classic, and the Liberty Bowl are on the chopping block too.

Today is the last day to purchase a Beale Street Music Fest pass for $85. At midnight the price goes up to $115.

Time for beer. I’ll lead off at Bardog, where perhaps I will try some of the Beer Week beers. I may have to, if they took over the PBR tap.

Not much news to report today, so…

… Here’s a recipe for Cadbury Creme Egg one-pan brownies.

Reminder of stuff going on today:

Harbortown Crawfish Festival, 5 to 8 on Mud Island. Charvey McLemore plays at 5.

Redbirds game followed by fireworks, 6:05.

Grizzlies vs. Thunder on ESPN, 8:30. Tickets go on sale for Thursday and Saturday’s home games at 10 this morning.

Fun day coming up. I’m going to lead off at Bardog and have a few beers at Panda’s bar as usual, then this afternoon I’m going to a cookout on a friend’s Downtown rooftop. There will be steaks and there will be chicken and there will be mashed potatoes and there will be grilled corn, but there won’t be a muffin. Thank God there won’t be a muffin.

Happy Saturday, and in case I don’t post tomorrow, Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate it.

Fri update: Volunteer Odyssey, Farmers Market Easter egg hunt and bunny, Redbirds Easter brunch, Aldo’s beer dinner, Cafe Keough wine dinner, Halfway to Halloween at Kudzu’s

Congratulations to Volunteer Odyssey, which is receiving a $10,000 grant from Chicken of the Sea. The check will be presented mid-field at Saturday’s Redbirds game. Volunteer Odyssey is an organization that provides customized volunteer experiences so you can do the most with your time. There are special programs for job seekers, corporate teams, and you. Awesome organization. Congratulations!

The theme for the Memphis Farmers Market tomorrow is “Eggstastic,” with a 9 AM Easter egg hunt for kids. Over 500 eggs will be up for grabs. The Easter Bunny will be there as well. The market runs from 7 AM to 1 PM at Front and GE Patterson. There will be live music by Max Pickard 7-9, Toni Norton 9-11, and Heather and Sam 11-1.

A suburbanite friend of mine was asking on Facebook where there will be an Easter Bunny. So, there you go. She’ll probably take the kids to the mall instead though. I hope she keeps in mind that there are stores in the mall that sell tube tops.

If you plan on going to the 1:35 PM Redbirds game Sunday, you don’t have to miss Easter brunch. The Redbirds are offering a package for $50 that includes a club-level ticket and all-you-can-eat brunch. Buffet items will include eggs benedict, Rendezvous BBQ, fried chicken, bloody marys, mimosas, and more. Gates open at 12:30 and the opponent will be Oklahoma City.

I’ve learned of yet another beer dinner Downtown next week. This one will be Tuesday, April 22 at Aldo’s Pizza Pies, 7 PM, with Yazoo Brewery from Nashville. The menu:

Course 1: Goat cheese stuffed peppers with marinara and garlic herb toast points
Paired with Yazoo’s spring seasonal

Course 2: Spinach salad with feta, candied walnuts, strawberries, red onions, and citrus vinaigrette
Paired with Yazoo Hefeweizen

Course 3: The Drunken Pig Pie – Vodka sauce, pulled pork, pepperoni, capicola, and bacon
Paired with Yazoo 10-year IPA

Course 4: House-made New York cheesecake with strawberry coulis and chocolate straws
Paired with Yazoo Sue

The dinner is $35 and includes tax and tip. Call 901-5-777-PIE to reserve your place. As I said yesterday, these dinners will fill up, so do not delay to call.

On Tuesday, May 7, there will be a wine dinner featuring Belle Ambiance wines at Cafe Keough. Here are the courses:

Photo Apr 17, 9 59 51 PM

There will be a “Halfway to Halloween” party on Saturday, April 26 at Kudzu’s. Live music, costume contest, drink specials. Here’s the flyer:

Photo Apr 17, 10 06 38 PM

From Grantland: If there were true seeding in the NBA playoffs, as opposed to conference seeding, the Grizzlies’ first-round opponent would be Golden State rather than OKC.

Work let us go early after a company picnic, so it’s Saucer time for me. Happy Good Friday!

Thur update #2: Hard Rock Hotel, Memphis Made in bottles, traffic tomorrow, Wine Race blog, Arenas still getting paid, Charvey McLemore, underpasses to be lit, beer events next week at Bardog and Central BBQ

Breaking news: The City of Memphis is working to bring a Hard Rock Hotel to Beale Street adjacent to Hard Rock Cafe’s new 126 Beale location.

Memphis Made Brewery’s beer will be available in bottles beginning this weekend. They have bottled Reverberation, their coffee stout which is a partnership with local coffee company Reverb, in 750 ml bottles. Those bottles will be sold at the Madison Growler and Bottle Shop, located in the Cash Saver at 1620 Madison, beginning Saturday. The brewery will release a second beer, Southern Julep, in bottles next week.

If you’re coming Downtown Friday night, be aware that there will be a 5K for autism being run which will block some streets at times. Second, Beale, and Riverside will be among the streets on which the runners will run. The permit lists 6 to 9 PM as the time range in which streets could be blocked.

Huey’s has posted a blog about 2014 Beale Street Wine Race and they have video of the grape stomp and wine relay.

Remember Gilbert Arenas, who played a few games for the Grizzlies in 2012 and hasn’t played in the NBA since? That didn’t stop him from being the 30th highest-paid athlete in sports in 2013. That is because the Orlando Magic amnestied him in 2011. His salary doesn’t count toward the Magic’s cap, but they still have to pay out his six-year, $111 million contract.

If you’re a fan of singer Charvey McLemore, he’ll be making a Downtown appearance this Saturday. He’ll be performing at Harbor Town Crawfish Festival from 5 to 8.

Developer Henry Turley is backing a proposal to light South Main underpasses.

To end this post, I have information about two beer events happening Downtown next week as part of Memphis Beer Week. Bardog will host a Sierra Nevada beer dinner next Wednesday, April 23, at 7 PM. Here are the pairings:

Course 1: Shrimp & Lobster Salad, Avocado, Citrus Vinaigrette
Paired with Kellerweis, Banana and Clove

Course 2: Marinated Chicken and Pineapple Kabobs, with Red Onion, Cherry Tomato, Torpedo Mole
Paired with Summerfest, Golden & Crisp

Course 3: Chef John’s Smoked Baby Back Ribs, infused with Sierra Nevada Porter, Sierra Slaw, Roasted Red Potatoes
Paired with Porter

Course 4: Chocolate Pudding infused with Sierra Nevada Stout, Captain Crunch Crumbles, Rumchata Whipped Cream
Paired with Stout

$35 includes tax and tip. Call 901-275-8752 to get your ticket to the dinner.

These dinners are usually held in the Underdog Room, so most likely Wednesday poker is not happening at Bardog next week.

Thursday night of next week, April 24, Central BBQ Downtown will host “Brews and ‘Que Bites” from 5 to 8 PM. There you will be able to relax and enjoy beers from local and regional breweries.

Featuring beers from
Ghost River
Memphis Made

Panko Crusted Boudin
Pulled Pork and Smoked Tomato Empanada
BBQ Shrimp
BBQ Eggplant Sliders

$25 for beers and apps. For tickets call 901-672-7760 or email jc@cbqmemphis.com. Of course, you must be 21 for both events. These events will sell out, so if you are interested in either I recommend you make reservations as soon as possible.

That’ll wrap it up for this very newsy Thursday. Back tomorrow with more.

Thur update: NBA playoffs, Peabody rooftop party, Brewfest, Africa in April, beer at Carnaval de Panama, BBQ blogger writing a book, Green Beetle gourmet dinner, Dogfish Head beers to return

The Grizzlies beat Dallas in overtime last night, earning the 7th seed in the West and a playoff series vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder. Here’s the schedule for the first four games.

Game 1 (road): 8:30 PM Saturday April 19, ESPN
Game 2 (road): 7:00 PM Monday April 21, TNT
Game 3 (home): 7:00 PM Thursday April 24, TNT
Game 3 (home): 8:30 PM Saturday April 26, ESPN

Having extended the winning streak at home to 14, the Grizzlies’ strategy is simple: Steal game 1 or 2 on the road, forcing the Thunder to win at least one at the FedExForum in order to advance.

Tonight is the first in the series of the Peabody Hotel’s spring-summer Thursday night rooftop parties. Almost Famous will headline tonight’s party, with special guest Icona Pop. Admission is $15, with ladies and hotel guests free until 7 PM. Admission includes a buffet of fried chicken fingers, tater tots, and popcorn. If you’re in VIP you get a second buffet of grilled chicken tenders, jumbo shrimp, and antipasto. Doors open at 6 PM and the party runs until 11.

If you’re going to Memphis Brewfest on April 26 at AutoZone Park, and you haven’t bought a ticket yet, you might want to get that done soon. Tickets are currently $40 but go up to $43 at 11:59 PM tomorrow night.

The Africa in April festival returns to Robert Church Park this weekend. The park is on Beale, just east of Fourth. Live entertainment, vendors, and a diversity parade will be among the festival events. PRO TIP: Uncle Lou’s Fried Chicken usually has a food truck at this festival. It’s a rare opportunity for Downtowners to get some Sweet Spicy Love without driving to Whitehaven.

Update on the Carnaval de Panama party to be thrown at The Warehouse on Friday night, April 25: They will have beer. In the past, South Main Dirty Dozen party organizers were unable to provide beer for guests due to the venues in which the parties were thrown. I’m very happy with this development because I much prefer to drink beer rather than liquor. A minimum $10 donation gets you in the door, and goes to support two fine charities, Hospitality HUB and Urban Bike Ministry.

Memphis Que blogger, and my former Computer Literacy student from my University of Memphis days, Craig Meek is writing a book. He will explore the history of Memphis as told through BBQ. The book will be called Memphis Barbecue: A Succulent History of Smoke, Sauce and Soul¬†and will be out June 24. Interestingly enough, he didn’t even intend to write a book when he started the blog. The History Press found Craig’s blog, which is excellent by the way, and contacted him and asked him if he’d be interested in being an author.

The Green Beetle will host a gourmet dinner on Sunday, April 27 benefitting Wounded Warriors. Cocktail hour and silent auction at 6 PM, dinner at 7 PM. Here’s the menu, by guest chef Stephen Hassinger:

– Tomato watermelon salad with country ham
– Seafood stuffed flounder with asparagus and carrot ginger butter
– Tri tip steak with stuffed baked potato galette and homemade worcester sauce served mid rare
– Homemade bread pudding

Email HollyeT@dishcrawl.com to purchase tickets. Tickets are $40/person or $75/couple.

Dogfish Head beers will return to Memphis next week, which happens to be Memphis Beer Week. Here’s a look at the Dogfish Head selection that the Flying Saucer will offer Tuesday, April 22:


Downtown’s second annual bocce ball smackdown happens tonight at 5:30 at Main and Talbot.

Got enough news to merit a second post today. Check back around 5:30. After that I’ll hit the Silly Goose for a PBR or two. If the weather is nice I might walk down and check out some bocce after that.

Wed update: Downtown Alive!, Silly Goose electronic dance music night, Bootstrap City Lecture Series, Start Co. article, crawfish, officer struck by car, Neely’s, Grizzlies

If you’re Downtown at lunchtime, check out the Downtown Alive! events running through the end of this month. Most of them are in Court Square. Today there was a Grizzlies pep rally. Tomorrow Hope Clayburn will perform. There will also be a tour of the Shelby County Courthouse tomorrow. The complete event schedule is here.

The Silly Goose has been getting a lot of requests for a night dedicated to electronic dance music (house, techno, progressive, etc.) They are going to make that happen on Friday nights. DJ Cody will kick it off this week, then MLW will have it next week.

Holly has a post on the I Love Memphis Blog about the Bootstrap City Lecture Series happening three days next week at the High Point Ballroom at 330 N. Main. Talks will include changing development patterns as the economy changes, changing the culture of a city, and how we measure the city.

Speaking of changing a city’s culture, the latest High Ground News has an excellent article about our BBQ team sponsor Start Co., whose goal is to make Memphis a venture city. By the way, it was great seeing Richard from e-book publisher Screwpulp the other night. Screwpulp is one of Start Co.’s biggest success stories.

WREG has a video that will show you the proper way to eat crawfish. There are two crawfish festivals coming up Downtown, in Harbor Town this Saturday and the Rajun Cajun festival on Riverside a week from Sunday.

An MPD officer was struck by a car this morning in a garage at Fourth and Washington. The driver of the car had a medical condition and lost control. Best wishes for a speedy recovery for both.

Neely’s BBQ may be moving back into their original location at 670 Jefferson. The owners have applied for a $67,500 loan for renovation.

The big event Downtown tonight, of course, is Grizzlies vs. Dallas at the FedExForum at 7. This is effectively a playoff game, because the winner will secure the 7th seed in the West and win the prize of not having to play San Antonio in the opening playoff round. I’m not making any predictions but it must surely be tough for Dallas to come in and play a team that has won 13 in a row at home.

I’ll lead off at the Silly Goose after work and watch at least the first two quarters of the game there. It’s hard to beat $1.50 happy hour PBR.

Tax Day update: Free stuff, NBA playoff tickets, beer garden with benefits, win a hockey stick

Many people don’t look forward to April 15, Tax Day, but there is one good thing about today: Many businesses help ease the pain of writing Uncle Sam a check by offering free stuff. Action News 5 has a list. There’s everything from curly fries to cookies to sandwiches to bloomin’ onions and more for free today. Since many of the restaurants on the list are chains and operate in the Bay Area, I can say this: Free food? Wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl will show up.

Tickets for games 3 and 4 of the NBA first-round playoffs go on sale at FedExForum Saturday at 10 AM. Dates and times of the games, and the Grizzlies’ opponent, have yet to be determined. There is no way the team will have home court advantage, so we know we’re getting games 3 and 4 rather than 1 and 2. The Grizzlies clinched a playoff berth last night with a win over Phoenix. Although currently in 8th place, Memphis could move up to 7th with a win over Dallas tomorrow night. A 7 seed would be a big improvement because it would mean the team we would face in the first round would not be the San Antonio Spurs.

On Sundays, the Tennessee Brewery Untapped project will have a beer garden with benefits. Locally-brewed beer will be available for purchase, and beer drinkers will be refunded a $1 token, which they can donate to any of several participating nonprofits. The Untapped project will match donations. The beer garden will run from April 27 to June 1 on Sundays. Haven’t heard about the Untapped project? Check out this Daily News article.

Win a hockey stick: From tomorrow through Sunday, Kooky Canuck will celebrate the NHL playoffs with $5 High Voltage Canadian bottles. Enter to win a hockey stick by Fischer Hockey.

Vol basketball fans: Cuonzo is gone. He’s the new head coach at Cal.

I’ll be at Blind Bear for their Tuesday poker game tonight (free to play, 8 PM). Prior to that I’ll pre-game with a few beers at the Flying Saucer. Back at work today and ready for my next 3-day weekend, which I’m taking the weekend of wing fest and Rajun Cajun crawfish fest.

Beale Street Wine Race 2014




The Great Beale Street Wine Race happened yesterday afternoon. It was a beautiful day, the rain held off, and many people gathered to watch the four Wine Race events. I haven’t been happy with my photo albums for recent years’ wine races, because I tended to drink multiple Call-a-Cabs from Wet Willie’s and have had to go home to take a nap before the last event, the wine relay, was under way. So I decided to take a different approach to Wine Race this year – I didn’t drink. As a result, I got a much more complete photo album in years past.

The race kicked off with a parade. (Note: The photos on the blog are going to be somewhat Blind Bear-centric, but I tried to get good photos of every team and especially the Downtown ones. At the end of this post I’ll provide a link to the entire photo album.)


The Blind Bear float pre-race


One of the most original outfits in the parade. I believe this was Fleming’s steakhouse.


Double J


Parade winners Club 152



The second event was the Queen of the Vine. Ladies from each participating restaurant dance on stage and try to impress the judges. Each contestant is asked a question to give her the chance to show that she possesses brains and talent as well as beauty.


The judges. That’s musician Muck Sticky on the end in pajama pants.


Hanin answering her interview question


Ruffin leading the cheers for Hanin


For the first time ever, the judges’ vote ended in a mathematical tie. The audience was asked to break the tie between these two. They were each given one final chance to show what they could do.



And the winner was…


She represented Mesquite Chop House Southaven, if I remember correctly.

I have to say I was impressed with the Queen of the Vine contestants this year. None of them were trashy, none of them were ghetto, none of them were pregnant (as far as I could tell). Big improvement over previous years.

The next event was the grape stomp. I didn’t get to take pictures of this one because I was catching up with an old friend who just moved back to Memphis. Each contestant gets a tub filled with grapes and is given a certain amount of time to stomp them. At the end, the juice is poured out, strained, and measured. The contestant who produced the most juice won. This one went to Huey’s.

The final event is the wine relay, where four runners from each team run wine bottles and glasses up and down Beale. It’s important to get a good spot to watch all the action. Some of my friends were upstairs on the balconies at Jerry Lee’s, but after going up there for a minute I decided it was a bad idea. I could get better photos from street level, especially the expressions on the runners’ faces. Also, if I stayed at Jerry Lee’s I’d be obligated to buy a drink, and as I said I was trying to avoid drinking until Wine Race was over. So a few friends and I went back to street level and staked out an excellent spot.


Jermaine getting a few dance moves in prior to the start of the race


Uncle Ray


Backey from the Silly Goose making his run


… and running back because he forgot the team corkscrew. At Wine Race, teams are scored not only by their finishing time. They are also scored on the volume of wine they bring back, and whether all the bottles, glasses, corks, and corkscrew are on the tray.


This guy had things well under control, until he decided to skip to the finish line. That turned out to be not such a good idea.


Spectators were asked to stay out of the relay lanes, a request ignored by the Jack Binion’s Steakhouse team.


Hoop making the run for Silky’s


Suzy’s leg of the race for Double J didn’t go very well. I think Suzy should have run the race in a tube top.


Note that the wine bottles are on their side. The wine relay was pretty much a disaster for Double J.




After dropping three of his bottles, this guy decided to pour the fourth bottle over his head.







… and you saw what happened to the Blind Bear in the fourth leg of the race. Whitney was doing very well until she lost control of her tray about 20 feet from the finish line. Congratulations to Huey’s, who won the race. They must spend considerable time practicing. I don’t know if I could run that fast without carrying a tray and bottles.

After the last heat wrapped up, it was time for post-Wine Race festivities, or “the shitshow” as many Downtowners call it. However, I had to figure out which shitshow to take part in. Some of my friends from the Squeal Street BBQ team were going to the Beale Street Tap Room to watch the end of the Masters, but I couldn’t care less about golf so I looked for another option. Flying Saucer? Nope, I decided that would be too tame since they didn’t have a team in Wine Race. Since I had a Blind Bear shirt on, I figured I might as well go to the Bear and see what would develop.


Remember how I said I didn’t drink any Call-a-Cabs at Wine Race? Well, some other people didn’t have that plan. Here’s Daniel (on the left) having just woken up from a long nap on the Blind Bear’s couch in the back.


Why am I posting a photo of a glass? Well, here’s the deal. My friend Mike and I were hanging out at the Blind Bear’s bar with three folks who were off-duty after day shift at the Saucer. A round of car bombs came out. Four of the five of us finished their car bombs. Who didn’t? You might be inclined to guess me, if you know that I hate car bombs. But no, it was Mike who didn’t get the job done. Be sure to ask Mike about that the next time you see him.


After much heckling from the rest of the group, Mike finally finished off his car bomb, after it had gotten all curdled. Yuck!


Here I am with my BBQ teammate Gary and Naomi and Cassie from the Saucer. I seem to remember several shots of Fireball around this time.


I didn’t play the Bear’s Sunday poker game. I always skip poker when I have the day off the next day. It was much more well attended than I would have thought, to the point that they had three tables running and the blinds reached the rarely-seen 40,000/80,000 level.

An excellent Sunday with friends. Spring festival season for 2014 is now in full swing. Next weekend will be relatively slow due to Easter, but the weekend after that we’ll have the opening of Tennessee Brewery Untapped and South Main Dirty Dozen’s Carnaval de Panama on Friday, Memphis Brewfest and Hot Wing Fest on Saturday, and Rajun Cajun Crawfish Fest on Sunday. We’ll probably have Grizzlies playoff games to watch too. It’s that time of year when things are getting exciting!

Get ready for Wine Race 2014!

If you’ve read my blog for years, you can just skip this post. You already know. This post is for the newcomers.

Once a year, Memphis restaurant bartenders and servers come together for a celebration before they embark on the busy season that begins with Memphis in May. The event happens on Beale Street, kicking things off with a parade running from Fourth to Handy Park. Many restaurants build elaborate floats for the parade; some dispense with the float altogether and just walk.

The parade ends at Handy Park, at Third and Beale, where there is an amphitheater. There the “Queen of the Vine” beauty contest begins. One by one the girls representing area restaurants are introduced. They have a few minutes to shake their stuff, then there is a question for each girl to answer. Then the girls shake their stuff again and then a winner is chosen.

Now, the thing is, usually about half the Queen of the Vine participants are lovely young women; for example, my friend Amanda “Panda” who was the 2011 winner, and my friend Trish who was the 2012 winner. How to describe the other half of the girls? A friend of mine found the perfect word in a conversation at the Silly Goose last week – ratchet.

After Queen of the Vine, there is a grape stomp in Handy Park near the bar area. This isn’t as much fun to watch as Queen of the Vine, and a lot of people use it as a break to go get a drink. Where to do that? Well, IF YOU’RE NOT DRIVING I recommend walking across the street to Wet Willie’s and getting a Call-a-Cab. This fruit punch-flavored daiquiri, in the large serving, contains about as much alcohol as four and a half beers. One of those will do you right. I don’t recommend drinking more than one unless you’re a pro.

After the grape stomp, the action moves back to Beale for the final event, the wine relay. Teams of four from each restaurant compete. The first runner has to open a bottle of wine, pour a glass, place bottle and glass on a tray, and run to the other end of the track. There, the second team member opens a second bottle of wine, pours a second glass, and runs back with both bottles and glasses. The third team member runs with three bottles and glasses, the fourth with four. If a team drops their tray, they are disqualified. For those not disqualified, fastest time wins. Huey’s is known for winning this thing most years. Recently I found out their secret: Team members are not allowed to drink until Wine Race is over. What fun is that? The whole point of Wine Race is for servers to have a day to blow off steam.

Once the wine relay ends, it’s time to party at the bars Downtown. Want me to recommend some places? Okay, I will.

If you want to remain on Beale Street, Jerry Lee Lewis’s place (formerly Pat O’s), Silky O’ Sullivan’s, and the Beale Street Tap Room are all good.

The Silly Goose. This is a lounge about a block northwest of Beale, on Peabody Place. This place will be a complete shitshow starting about 5 PM. If you like PBR, the Goose’s is among the cheapest Downtown.

The Blind Bear. This is a speakeasy on Main Street a block and a half north of Beale, right before Gayoso. The Bear will most likely win at least one of the four Wine Race events and it should be a big party in there. I will be wearing one of the Bear’s Wine Race T-shirts today. They will have their usual poker game at 6:30, although I don’t intend to play, as I never do when I have the next day off. (Disclosure: I’m a bit biased toward the Bear because they are my BBQ team’s sponsor.)

Many Downtowners take the Monday after Wine Race out, so they can stay out late and party with their favorite bartenders and servers. If you didn’t take the day off, you could always call in sick. Trust me, if you drink multiple Call-a-Cabs you won’t be lying about being sick.

I’ll have the camera with me – not my iPhone cam (well, I’ll have that too) but my real camera with 14x zoom. Come find me and say hello – I’ll have my red Blind Bear T-shirt on and khaki shorts probably.

My friend Air Traffic Mike won’t be here today but he has a post on Wine Race in his blog that is worth a read. Unfortunately the “stalky” blogger he refers to will almost certainly be there.

There is no greater day of debauchery in Downtown Memphis, with the possible exception of BBQ Fest. Parade starts at 1 PM. Come join the fun and be a part of it, if you dare!