A Visit to Sports Pub 

Thunderstorms, Fireball, and Batman at Memphis Sports Pub.

Shelby Harris has worked at Memphis Sports Pub for nine years.

Justin Fox Burks

Shelby Harris has worked at Memphis Sports Pub for nine years.

I moved into the Parkways around 2008 and have not looked back. I can go months without ever seeing Highland. I look at a trip to the Target by the 240 Loop much like I imagine pioneers looked at the Oregon Trail.

With all that being covered on the front end, I was excited to check out Memphis Sports Pub in the Eastgate Shopping Center. I like sports, I like bars, and lately I've been pretty bored with the usual Midtown haunts I frequent. So when it started pouring rain about an hour before I left for Memphis Sports Pub, I figured it was par for the course. After all, I was traveling into foreign territory; we might as well make this adventure a little more dangerous.

From the outside, Memphis Sports Pub doesn't necessarily look strictly like a place for someone who can remember all the stats from the 1996 game in which the Tigers defeated Peyton Manning's Tennessee Volunteers, 21-17. The outer décor of the Sports Pub features a nice patio, complete with umbrellas, and perhaps serves as the non-sports-fan zone during warmer months.

Once inside, the first thing I noticed — other than the Grizzlies and Tigers décor — was the cigarette smoke in the air. My friends and I passed half a dozen or so flat screens on our way to a table near the back of the cozy bar, where we were greeted by a friendly waitress who immediately pointed out that shots of Fireball were $2.

After weighing the pros and cons of Fireball, we quickly ordered a round for the table. More drinks followed, and since not everyone I invited was a beer drinker, we got to see a lot of the drink menu offered at Sports Pub — including craft beers, cocktails, and, um, more Fireball.

Shortly after we had finished the first round, the Memphis Tigers were set to play the Cincinnati Bearcats. The Bearcats haven't had a good football season, and it showed. At some point — probably halftime — Batman was brought out to bring some life back into the Bearcats crowd. Maybe it was the Fireball, but watching Batman attempt —and make — a 35-yard field goal was easily the highlight of my Friday night. Even the Tiger faithful in the bar enjoyed seeing the Dark Knight drill a field goal, and jokes like "he's the kicker Gotham deserves" were audible throughout the bar.

At some point food was ordered — loaded tater tots, a sausage-and-cheese plate, and pizza. All were reasonably priced and served as the perfect Fireball sponge, as I awoke on Saturday morning feeling fine.

While the crowd was sparse for much of the night (apparently a main bartender was having a birthday gathering elsewhere), I got the feeling the Sports Pub is about as "neighborhood" as a bar can get in a shopping center. The atmosphere was great, the booze was cheap, and there were plenty of TVs without the Buffalo Wild Wings vibe. While I might not be east of Highland very often, you can bet I'll be stopping in for a cold one at the Memphis Sports Pub again.

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