New Newby’s Opens Next Tuesday

Posted by Holly Whitfield | January 22nd 2016 2066 0
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Did you ever go to Newby’s? I did. In college mostly, and mostly for live music. It wasn’t my regular spot, but I know it was for many people. By all accounts the bar, restaurant, and venue is a Memphis institution. It is, after all, the self-described “college bar you never graduate from”.

More than a year after its closing, Newby’s in Memphis will reopen next Tuesday, January 26. I stopped by last week to take a peek and talk with co-owner Larry Thompson.

Newby's Dining Room

They essentially gutted the building, though some touches (like the sign) remain.

There’s a new roof, kitchen, and bathrooms. Let us all have a moment of silence for those hallway restrooms, amen. There will be the same open, bar-area with small stage, a dining room (above) and sort of lounge-y room with couches.

Newby's Floor Signing

During the renovation, this autograph from a one “Todd Adams, 1987” was uncovered. Larry insisted it remain. Anyone know this Mr. Adams?

Larry told me some more history. Dave “Newby” Harsh opened original Newby’s in 1975 in the space that was once The Bullshott. I looked up the Bullshott online and found mentions of a Bull Shot restaurant here and here. If you know anything about it, I’d love for you to let us know in the comments. 

Newby's Bar Area

After forty years of fun times, Newby’s closed on November 19, 2014. According to Larry, the building was 100 years old and after a few decades of not-exactly-easy partying, it needed a little love.

Newby's Stage

New Newby’s, same stage. Check out the stickers.

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This juke box is also a photo booth. Horray for 2016!

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The alley has been cleared.

Newby's Wall

Here’s a closer view of the alley, with all manner of Sharpie-d graffiti. Larry said it was the wall in the green room of the connected venue.

They’ll have two of these “Bottoms Up” beer dispensers behind the bar, and more than 12 different beers on tap. It works with a magnet that you can then take home with you after you finish your beer. A souvenir, if you will. Or perhaps a way to count how many you’ve had.

New Newby’s plans to have live music several days a week and games on the numerous TVs.

They’ll also have bar food: sandwiches, pizza, hot wings, and the chicken marinara sandwich that was apparently an old-time favorite. Newby’s will also serve Willy’s famous chili. I’m not sure of Willy or his chili’s significance, but you can be sure I’ll find out ASAP.

The back area (tiny bit of which is pictured below) is a big parking lot, which will be convenient.

Newby's Memphis

It seems possible that this reopening could be a catalyst for a spruce-up of the Highland/U of M area. Right now, there are still no plans for theater next door.

Here’s hoping that the developers keep in mind the character of the area as a not-so-polished, laid-back college neighborhood with great bar food (shoutout to RP Tracks) and fun live music.

Go there (after it opens on Jan. 26)

Newby’s
539 S. Highland Street
Memphis, Tenn. 38111

Facebook.com/NewbysMemphis


Author: Holly Whitfield

I write about what’s going on with Memphis music, food, arts, events, sports, people, and culture. Memphians love Elvis and barbeque with a passion that must be seen to be believed, but there is so much more to this place.

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  1. […] Larry told me some more history. Dave “Newby” Harsh opened original Newby’s in 1975 in the space that was once The Bullshott. I looked up the Bullshott online and found mentions of a Bull Shot restaurant here and here. …read more […]

  2. Davo says:

    “Too Tall Todd” Adams was a longtime bartender who bought Newbys from owner Dave…the theater was a comedy club called “Sir Laughs-A-Lot” in the 80’s…it was closed for years until Todd bought it as an Addition to Newbys…many National acts played there, my band in the early 2000’s (Rhinoplush) opened for Blue October, Sponge (90’s band) and the musically acclaimed King’s X… it’s great to see it reopening, it was known as “The King of the Highland Strip” for about 3 decades…thanks for sharing!

  3. j says:

    Todd Adams was the guy that used to own Newby’s. He also lost it (sniff sniff), that’s why its got a new owner and new look.

  4. Anita says:

    We all called ‘Newby’s’ The Bullshott for many years after it became Newbys. They weren’t too concerned about carding, and the legal drinking age back then was 18, so Thursday Ladies Night was a younger crowd. (Quarter drink a for ladies…Tequila Sunrise, Screwdrivets, and one or two other choices.)

    I also remember when there was a door to some other seedy place next door, maybe a ‘record shop’ that was more like an illegal drug store? That visit was thanks to a much-older, hippie sister of a friend, and it was quite surreal. I was scared to death. Seems like the Highland Strip bust was shortly after that visit and it cleaned up a little after that. Memories are a little fuzzy, though.

    Was Todd Adams the owner after Dave? Too Tall Todd? Seems like he was a U of M grad, SAE, maybe?

    Love live music!! Support live music in Memphis!!!

  5. Philip says:

    Could the name uncovered in the concrete be ‘ Too Tall Todd ‘ , the previous owner ?

  6. Alvin L. Abston II says:

    Cool article, I know Mr. Adams! I’m sure he appreciates that is still there. He’s the previous owner and its sad what happened, but when his son & daughter are old enough, maybe he could show them that. I’ll visit at some point and hope it goes well.

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