Sunday update – a suggestion for nonsmoking bars

This morning I took a walk around Court Square, and I came up with an idea for bars that require their customers to go outside to smoke. Since I’m a nonsmoker this wouldn’t benefit me much, but I think my smoking friends would LOVE it, and it would be inexpensive to implement.

Smokers usually take 5 to 10 minutes outside, leaving their drink at the bar. Standard protocol to say “this seat is taken / this is not an abandoned drink” is to place a coaster or napkin on top of the drink. However, many people do not go out to bars and restaurants enough to understand this unwritten rule. Hence, the smoker comes back and is put in the uncomfortable position of having to ask for his seat back or grab his drink and find a new one.

So, why not print up some coasters that say

This seat is
I’ll be right back

I bet this would give the smokers a better chance of not losing their seats. This is especially true in the warm months when bringing a jacket to the bar to leave on the chair is not an option.

They really are tearing up the Walgreens facade!

I’d heard they’d got some money to redo the exterior. Can’t wait to see what they come up with. Main and Madison is prime Downtown real estate and it would be nice to have that corner looking snazzy!

Sunday brunch returns to the Brass Door today. Of course, they’ll also show the Italy-England Euro final at 2:00.

Not Downtown news, but for those of you who work in the area, Shelby County’s first Bojangles will open at 2019 Whitten Road. Excellent steak biscuits and sausage biscuits. Oh, man… making me long for the days of 15 or so years ago when I worked on Century Center Parkway.

The city is hiring part-time school crossing guards.

Congrats to Memphis 901 FC, who picked up 3 points in group standings last night with a road win over Birmingham.

Today is National Mojito Day.

Today is the start of Discovery Channel’s 2021 Shark Week.

Uh oh… the 7-day rolling average of reported COVID cases per day just crossed 100 for the first time since the stupid restrictions were lifted.

That is very concerning… also the TL;DR for James Aycock’s COVID Week-in-Review is “We’re in Trouble.”

Y’all GO GET VACCINATED!!!!! Do we really want to return to groups of two bar stools, six feet apart, and a requirement to order food with alcohol? Because that’s what’s coming if people don’t get vacc’d. Go to Walgreens! That’s where I went and it is ridiculously easy (and free, even if you don’t have insurance) to make an appointment on their website.

There’s a Caribbean Foam Rave at Carolina Watershed today.

I’ve finally got unstuck on my professional writing career. Last week I wrote 11 articles (not counting posts on this blog), including 3 yesterday. This morning I was writing in my personal journal, trying to figure out what days I’m going out this week, and realized I couldn’t, beyond “Go out as kicking ass at writing permits.” It’s a good feeling. Back tomorrow with more news.

Saturday update

The Ghost River taproom at 341-345 Beale is OPEN and you can catch Pam & Terry there this weekend. They play 4-7 today and 2-5 tomorrow, rain or shine.

Memphis 901 FC has an away match at Birmingham Legion FC tonight at 6:30. You can watch the game locally on CW30. Memphis recently added a veteran goalkeeper.

The Peabody is now offering a Love Me Tender accommodations package for couples who want a night of romance. It includes

  • $100 credit toward room service dinner
  • A floral arrangement
  • Champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries
  • A “Pleasure Pack” adult intimacy kit
  • Internet access
  • Valet parking

Rates start from $470 and you can book here.

The Downtown Neighborhood Association has announced its July meeting. It will happen Tuesday, July 27 at the historic Woodruff-Fontaine House at 680 Adams. This was part of Millionaire’s Row in 19th-century Memphis and period furnishings and decorations are still in the house to see. Come early during the 5-6 PM social hour and let the staff show you around.

The agenda, beginning at 6:00, will include

  • County Commissioner Mickell Lowery, a past DNA president
  • City Council member Michalyn Easter-Thomas
  • A representative from Appetizers, LLC discussing the new DNA smartphone app
  • Updates on Mud Island Amphitheater and River Park
  • Updates on Tom Lee Park
  • Updates on Downtown safety
  • News about “huge new developments” coming to Downtown

Members will receive complimentary wine and snacks. There will be a drawing to receive a $100 gift card from DNA member The Rendezvous. Use the DNA app on your phone to check in and avoid the line.

Today is National Pina Colada Day.

Don’t forget, you can get vaccinated for free today at Cordelia’s Market 3-6 PM. Those who get vaccinated get a free hot dog and soft drink. More about the vaccination pop-up from me on NewsBreak

The Memphis Flyer’s Crafts & Drafts Summer Market is 10-4 today at Crosstown Concourse.

Vintage plays Earnestine & Hazel’s tonight at 9.

Dirty Streets play a free show at Carolina Watershed tonight at 8.

Staying home this morning because I have News Break and Medium articles I want to get written. Tonight I plan to be out for That ’70s Party with DJ Superbrad at the Blind Bear. Back tomorrow with more news.

Friday update

A Memphis nonprofit got a nice write-up on a major magazine website this week. My Sistah’s House was mentioned in Vogue‘s article Across the South, a Trans Housing Movement Grows.

If you can raise $1000 for a campaign called Heights for Hunger by October, you could get a chance to rappel down the 25-story First Horizon Building with Action News 5’s Ron Childers.

Catherine & Mary’s is hiring a bartender.

It flew under most people’s radar, but a new health directive was issued yesterday further relaxing COVID restrictions. Drinking fountains are now open and plexiglass barriers can be removed.

Memphis Made Brewing Co. has two limited-release beers out this week. Berzerker is a Norwegian IPA, brewed with a load of Lotus and Trident hops and Norwegian yeast. It comes in at 6.6% ABV. Norwegian legend says that berzerkers fought in a trance-like state and drew their power from the bear. If John Nord visited Memphis, he would drink this beer.

Americans consider July 4 to be Independence Day, but the Brits consider it a day of colonial aggression. Colonial Aggression, a 4.7% Extra Special Bitter, has light malt on the front end, followed by a hint of biscuit and a light hoppy brightness. Read more about the new beers

Memphis made the national news (albeit the national news network with the worst reputation) for all the wrong reasons again. From FOX News: Tennessee driver charged with attempted murder tried to plow down Memphis police officer on sidewalk. This was the July 4 incident at Front and G.E. Patterson.

The SMA holds its July South Main Social Tuesday at the Central Station Hotel. Downtown Memphis Commission President Paul Young will speak, and there will be drinks and light fare. 6-7 PM. Free for SMA members, $20 for non-members.

A Taste of Uptown, an art and tasting experience, comes to Grind City Brewing Co. Tuesday, July 13 from 6 to 9 PM. Five-course dinner by Chef Jimmy Gentry, each course paired with Grind City beer. Art exhibition and private concert by McKenna Bray. Cost is $100.

From Vox: Why does everything feel more expensive post-pandemic?

A Soulful Summer Night with Bird Williams comes to the Halloran Centre tomorrow night. Tickets are $45-55 and include a complimentary buffet.

The Good Life DJs, DJ Brandon and DJ Rawhouse, spin dance tunes on the lawn of Slider Inn Downtown tonight from 6 to 10 PM.

Alex Walls performs a virtual Friday concert from Health Sciences Park today during the lunch hour. Catch the concert on Facebook Live.

A state of emergency has been declared in Tokyo over concern for rising COVID variant cases. As a result, spectators won’t be allowed at the Summer Olympics. What this means for you: Go get vaccinated if you haven’t already, to ensure the Shelby County Health Department doesn’t re-introduce stupid restrictions on our freedoms.

That’s it for this morning’s news. Back tomorrow.

Thursday update

Paul Thorn headlines tonight’s Get Loud! concert in Handy Park, with openers Amy LaVere and Will Sexton. The music starts at 6 PM and the event is family-friendly and free to attend.

Tonight is the finale of the Downtown Neighborhood Association’s Spring Movie Series. Come out to Greenbelt Park on Mud Island for a free showing of A League of Their Own. People will gather at 7:30 and the movie starts at 8:00. If you get hungry, there will be a food truck, or you can pre-game at the restaurants of Harbor Town.

Tonight is the second installment of R&B Night at Paula & Raiford’s Disco. The vibe is said to be incredibly chill, a contrast to disco Fridays and Saturdays which always get crazy. They’ll have hookahs and the Robinson Smokehouse food truck will be parked outside.

The Memphis Chess Club has started offering 3 chicken sliders for $7. That is one of the best deals Downtown whether you play chess or not! You don’t have to be a member to eat at the cafe.

There’s a ranch dressing called Muffin’s Magic Ranch that has been widely talked about among Cordelia’s Market staff members. They now have it available for purchase in the cafe, so you can take it home and see what all the fuss is about.

From Action News 5: Concerns arise over parking in new Tom Lee Park design

Andy Lyle Hall plays a free show at Carolina Watershed tonight at 6.

That’s the news for today. Back tomorrow with more.

Wednesday update

I checked out the new Ghost River taproom on Beale yesterday, and it is as nice as I had heard! Plenty of seating inside and out. Unfortunately they were doing construction work on the patio so I couldn’t get the photos I wanted – not that it matters, since WordPress is still giving me HTTP errors when I try to upload.

I had my go-to beer the Grindhouse Cream Ale, then for my second one I decided to branch out and try something different. I looked at the taps (I believe I counted 12). There was one called “Tropfen Vom Himmel.”

“I know that ‘himmel’ is German for ‘heaven,'” I told the bartender. “What does the rest of the name mean?”

“Dropped from heaven,” he replied. “It’s a hefeweizen, a wheat beer with hints of lemon and banana.” I ordered one. It was possibly the lightest and smoothest hefe I have ever had! When I was working on my plates at the Flying Saucer, I drank plenty of Leinenkugel’s version of that style of beer, and let me tell you, I would easily take the Tropfen Vom Himmel over it.

As for the kitchen – Flying Sobies is in the house, and you might remember them from the Court Square food truck rodeos (can we please bring those back?) selling hens in Sobies’ sauces. At Ghost River, they are going in a different direction, focusing on burgers made with ground chicken. There are about 6 different chicken burgers, plus another two for vegans, and they have chili cheese fries too.

While we’re on the subject of news about chicken: The New Wing Order food truck announced its special flavor of the month for July: Street taco wings. They’re made with NwO’s hot Buffalo sauce, house-made taco seasoning, fine-diced red onion, cilantro, and lime wedges. Check their calendar to see when they’ll be in your neck of the woods. LeBonheur, they’re coming your way tomorrow for lunch.

In other food truck news, the popular 2 Buck Grilled Cheese Truck will be at Crosstown Brewing tonight.

My latest on News Break: Places to visit not far from Downtown using the Groove on Demand shuttle service. I had planned to write that one on here for a while, but News Break said they’d pay me, so fine, same content, different place.

Vanessa Winter, Mike Stovall, and Jordan Mobley play South Main Songwriter Night this Friday at 550 S. Main, 6-8 PM.

YOGA! Local 24 has a look at the free Yoga on the River class held every Tuesday evening.

Today is National Dive Bar Day. Here in Downtown Memphis that can mean only one thing: Earnestine & Hazel’s. They open today at 5. I still haven’t been since it reopened… maybe today should be the day. It’s also National Tell the Truth Day, a holiday one reader of this blog doesn’t celebrate. We need to create a Tell The Truth or Lie, Whichever Is Most Expedient at the Time Day for her.

A man from Hernando, MS in a Dodge Charger is charged with attempted murder due to his alleged reckless driving on July 4 in the area of Front and G.E. Patterson. He allegedly swerved onto a sidewalk, nearly hit a Memphis police officer, swerved into oncoming traffic, and hit a truck.

Chris Wallace, the architect of the Hasheem Thabeet draft pick, is leaving the Grizzlies after 14 seasons for the Houston Rockets. Notably, Houston has the number-two draft pick this year.

Bruno Lauer was sworn in as an alderman of Walls, MS. You might remember him as manager Downtown Bruno (Memphis wrestling) or Harvey Wippleman (WWF). Action News 5 interviewed Lauer (they should’ve brought Dave Brown out of retirement to do the interview).

DJ Superbrad is hosting a ’70s party at Blind Bear 9-1 this Saturday.

That’s it for today. Got another News Break story and a Medium article in the works, so plenty for me to do in the pipeline. Right now, I gotta venture out on a photo-taking session before the rain moves in. Back tomorrow with more news.

Tuesday update

Still getting an HTTP error trying to upload those pics of the new Ghost River brewery on Beale. Anyway, I’ve been told they’re doing a soft opening every day this week 5-10 PM and then will have their full opening on Friday. I may go up there and check the place out tonight.

Due to a number of private events, Terrace at the River Inn will move its Champagne Thursdays to Wednesdays for the month of July. $6 champagne specials 5-9 PM.

The block of Union just east of Main looked like a war zone yesterday. A fire hydrant was pulled out of the ground, two planters were damaged, and a historical marker was damaged. At first, vandalism was suspected, but car parts among the debris were the tell-tale sign.  A witness said a Nissan 370Z flipped three times along the sidewalk on that block of Union in the early morning hours Monday.

Envision Fitness is moving to the corner of Main and Madison. In their new space, they will have several times the square footage they had in the Cadre Building.

Happy National Air Traffic Control Day to my friend Air Traffic Mike. It’s also National Fried Chicken Day and Take Your Webmaster to Lunch Day.

STIX Restaurant is having a party this week (July 7-10) to celebrate its first birthday. Specials include

  • Wednesday, July 7: All sake slushies $11
  • Wednesday-Friday: Enter to win a catered lunch for you and 9 coworkers on the STIX Facebook page
  • Freebies will be given out – for example, ginger dressing, STIX teas, and fortune cookies with coupons inside
  • $1 from every Downtown Roll sold to benefit Make-A-Wish Mid-South
  • Thursday-Saturday: Half-price sake slushies

That’s the news for this Tuesday that feels a lot like a Monday. Back tomorrow with more.

Monday update cancelled due to HTTP error

I had pics of the Ghost River taproom to share with you today, as well as a cooler you can win at Bardog. However, I’m getting an HTTP error when I try to upload them. Given that it is effective July 4 holiday for most everyone who works in offices, I don’t expect this to get resolved today.

Sorry, folks. We’ll try again tomorrow.


Saturday update

Fantastic news for Memphis: Plans for the Byhalia Connection Pipeline have been scrapped. The proposed pipeline was an example of environmental racism, its route to run through some of Memphis’ poorest and Blackest neighborhoods. It also endangered one of the purest water supplies in the country. They say pipeline plans were scuttled due to decreased oil demand following COVID-19. I suspect community protests had a lot more to do with the decision than the people in charge care to admit. Whatever the reason, I’m just happy the thing won’t be built!

The Peabody Hotel is hiring a local graphic designer. There are a lot of hospitality industry jobs available at the hotel, too, including an on-call duckmaster. Check out their Careers page.

Lifehacker has a list of summer cookout foods you shouldn’t feed your dog. At the top of the list: hot dogs, which are a choking hazard and have too much salt and fat.

The annual Africa in April festival, moved to August this year, will celebrate the Republic of Botswana. There will be a children’s and seniors diversity day August 6; a health & wellness day August 7; and an international music day August 8. Learn about Botswana

Brimstone Jones plays the Blind Bear tonight. Don’t forget to dress in your gangster or flapper attire and get your picture taken for the Bear’s updated photo wall 8-10 PM.

Memphis 901 FC has an away match at Atlanta United 2 tonight at 6:30. Watch locally on CW30.

The Redbirds host the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp at 6:35 PM with fireworks following the game. There is a specialty ticket that includes an all-you-can-eat buffet of burgers, hot dogs, chips, cookies, and up to 2 drinks (water or soft drinks).

DJ Ben Murray will mix the music tonight at a 4th of July Party at Jerry Lee Lewis’ Honky Tonk and Cafe.

Something called Betor Fest – Benefit for a Betor Way happens this afternoon at 3 at Carolina Watershed. I can’t find any information on who this is a fundraiser for, but anyway, it’s $10 to get in, all ages, and these are the bands:

  • Tamar Love
  • Yubu Kazungu
  • Bailey Bigger Music
  • Louise Page
  • The Whiskey Wells
  • Music by KOTA
  • Danny Davenport
  • Roben X
  • The Fast Mothers

HeSaid SheSaid make their debut at the Ghost River taproom tonight at 7. This is the last weekend I don’t have to specify which taproom. Just to clear up any confusion, it’s the one at Main and Crump.

I’ll be at brunch at Bardog today, then come back out tonight to get my pic on the 2021 Blind Bear photo wall. Back tomorrow with more news.

Friday update

Rain forced the postponement of Thursday night’s Redbirds game against Jacksonville. It will be made up with a doubleheader tonight at AutoZone Park. The first game will begin at 4:30, the second game to immediately follow the first, and fireworks to immediately follow the second game.

There’s a speciality ticket for tonight that entitles the holder to an all-you-can-eat buffet of burgers, hot dogs, chips, cookies, and up to 2 drinks (water or soft drinks). The buffet will run from 5:30 to 8:00.

Pam of Pam & Terry provided an update of the duo’s first dates at Ghost River’s new Beale Street taproom. It looks like their first two shows are going to be

  • Saturday, July 10, 4-7 PM
  • Sunday, July 11, 2-5 PM

If these dates change, I will let you know.

Riverside Drive will be closed to traffic from 9 AM Saturday, July 3 through 9 AM Monday, July 5.

Downtown Asian restaurant STIX gives you a dollar off purchases if you’re a fan of theirs on Facebook or Instagram. If you order online, you can get 10% off with coupon code STIX901.

The first large conference in the freshly-renovated Renasant Convention Center will have a name familiar to Downtowners: AutoZone. Their national sales convention September 27-30 will draw 3000 store employees to the area.

WREG has information on why catalytic converter thefts are on the rise. It’s not due to resale value of the parts to be re-installed on other cars, but rather that they contain precious metals worth 11 times the price of gold. It takes just minutes for thieves to cut off a converter, and the repair bill can run you $500-$2000.

Trap Live featuring Lil Wyte and Lord T & Eloise happens tonight at Carolina Watershed. Showtime is 7 PM.

Vintage plays The Vault tonight at 8:00.

Forecast for most of the weekend: Decreasing humidity, nice breeze from the northeast, almost no chance of rain, highs in the mid 80s, lows in the mid 60s.

You know what? I will TAKE IT! My oldest memory of July 4 was when I was 3 years old. My mom was driving down University Avenue in Little Rock and we passed one of those signs at the mall that tells you the time and temperature. The temperature read 104. So that’s what I associate with the holiday. 80s, 60s, low humidity, and wind are all welcome!

Probably going to stay home and write today, so that I can get some achievements under my belt and feel good about a trip to Bardog for brunch tomorrow. Back tomorrow with more news.

Thursday update

Jerred Price, president of the Downtown Neighborhood Association, posted last night to Nextdoor that big changes are coming to the convention center district. The biggest change is that vehicular traffic will be reintroduced to that part of North Main Street, to allow better access to the convention center and nearby hotels. Other changes include

  • Bike lanes and better pedestrian access
  • New public art
  • A focus on making the area more walkable, to connect the convention center to nearby hotels and businesses

Sounds exciting! I assume the section of Main to which they are proposing the return of vehicular traffic is the area currently known as the Civic Center Plaza. That’s the 3 boring blocks between Adams and Exchange that are home to a bunch of government buildings. I would be all in favor of turning that into a walkable “district,” because what it is now serves as a disconnect between the Downtown core and The Pinch.

I want to share some information a chef friend of mine shared to Facebook yesterday. In this post-pandemic world, a lot of people are looking at restaurant menus and their response is, “You’re pricey.” Here’s the reality of the situation:

  • Beef prices are up 47%
  • Chicken prices are up 40% for breasts and over 100% for wings
  • Shrimp prices are up 25% and are suspected to have just started to rise
  • Pork is up 51%
  • Cod is up 30% with limited availability

Point being… cut your local restaurants some slack. They’re emerging from a pandemic like everyone else and doing what they must to survive.

Cut them some slack on FOOD prices, anyway. Now, if they charge more than $3.50 for a PBR? You have my permission to hate on them all you want.

The Wooten Brothers with opening act Dottie are the featured performers at the Get Loud! concert series in Handy Park, B.B. King Blvd. at Beale, tonight. The show starts at 6 PM and it is free and all-ages.

(fast forward to 1:25 to get past the introduction and to hear the Wooten Brothers)

Tonight’s showing of The Wizard of Oz as part of the Downtown Neighborhood Association’s Movie Night on Mud Island shows up as canceled due to rain. Let’s check the forecast… showers and thunderstorms becoming likely today (60% chance) and likely tonight (80% chance). Yep canceling sounds like a good move… I imagine there are some pretty serious electronics involved in setting up a movie screen in a park.

It’s time to renew a tradition not seen on this blog since February 2020. It’s the first of the month, and that means it’s time to ask, What’s happening at FedExForum this month? Just one event:

  • The Professional Bull Riders bring their Pendleton Whiskey Velocity Tour to FedExForum on July 31. Bull riders from around the world will come to compete for thousands of dollars and points in the Professional Bull Riders season.

After I posted that photo of the frozen Bushwacker that I had at Green Beetle Tuesday afternoon, several of my Facebook friends advised me to add a shot of Skrewball peanut butter whiskey next time. Sounds good.

The Terrace at River Inn over on Mud Island will be closed on 3 Thursdays this month for private events: July 8, 15, and 29.

From Slate: Bring back menus and get rid of QR codes. Hmmm. I have mixed feelings about this. Having guests scan a QR code to see a menu means that restaurants can change their menu as often as they feel like it, without incurring printing time and costs. Also, since the QR code generally links to the restaurant’s website, the practice ensures that menus on restaurant websites stay up to date. Also, there are still a large number of unvaccinated people out there, including kids, so handling menus could endanger them. There are plenty of arguments for keeping the QR codes, at least for a while longer if not forever.

On the other hand, requiring a QR code scan puts people who don’t carry smartphones at a disadvantage – they’re made to feel like second-class citizens at restaurants, requiring assistance to see a menu. Also, for those with limited data plans, the restaurant menus (and especially the images that come as part of the menus) eat into the monthly cap. And there are plenty of people (especially older people) who consider it impolite to have a phone out at the dinner table.

Today is Canada Day and Kooky Canuck is celebrating! Specials:

  • Canadian Burger, a side of poutine, and a mini maple bread pudding $19.99
  • 34 oz. Molson $4.99
  • Canadian bottled beer $3.00
  • Crown Royal shots $5.00

It’s International Chicken Wing Day. Of course, my top recommendation would be Gus’s, but I also have to note that the jumbo wings have been flying out of the kitchen at Blind Bear lately. People love ’em!

The National Civil Rights Museum has found a new president after a 5-month search: Dr. Russell Wigginton. Dr. Wigginton is a published author, has 29 years of related experience, and has a doctorate in African-American Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He recently served as vice-president for student life at his undergrad alma mater (and mine), Rhodes College.

The Redbirds wear their throwback uniforms as they take the field tonight at 7:10 at AutoZone Park. $2 beers, $1 hot dogs. Jacksonville is the opponent.

Don’t forget that there’s a drag show hosted by Holly Walnutz tonight at the Blind Bear at 8, and drag bingo hosted by Pattie O’Furniture at 9:30. $10 cover.

Gonna grab some takeout lunch from Stix and then I gotta lotta writing to do. Back tomorrow with more news.