Party Prohibition-Style at the New Blind Bear Speakeasy
To get into downtown's new speakeasy, you don't have to know any passwords or secret knocks – you just have to walk in the front door.
Mind you, when I tried to go to the Blind Bear for the first time, I pulled on the big front door, and though the bar was open, the door wouldn't. So I wandered around the building for a few minutes, trying to find a stealth entrance, impressed that the bar was trying to stick so closely to its prohibition-era theme. As it turns out, the there are no secrets to getting into the bar – you just have to pull on the right door. Lesson learned.
The Blind Bear's owners have transformed the old Circa / Bar None space into a dark and cozy bar that sticks just closely enough to its concept. Inside, there are nooks with couches and plush chairs, a pool table, dining tables with black jack and poker mats, and the servers are dressed appropriately. In cool nod to the days of moonshiners, draught beer is served in mason jars.
But unlike the speakeasies of yore, the Blind Bear has plenty of modern touches. There are three unobtrusive TVs (one by the pool table and two over the bar) that were tuned to Tiger basketball when I visited. They also host weekly poker nights (Tuesdays) and trivia contests (Wednesdays). On Sundays, they have a Hung Over Like a Bear brunch from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m., which is a little later than most Memphis brunch options.
While the bar is more lounge than restaurant, they do have a fairly extensive food menu. There are a lot of snack-type foods (a sausage and cheese plate, fried mozzarella "bear balls"), but there are some bar food-type dishes with sides (burgers, fish, grilled cheese) if you need to make a meal. I tried the sausage and cheese plate, which came with sliced sausage, mustard and cubed pepperjack and cheddar cheese .
The Blind Bear is open nightly from 6 p.m. until 3 a.m., and for Sunday brunch from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. The bar does allow smoking (though it wasn't very smoky when I was there), so it's 21 and up.
119 South Main
Memphis, TN 38103