New Newby’s Opens Next Tuesday
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.
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.
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.
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.
New Newby’s, same stage. Check out the stickers.
This juke box is also a photo booth. Horray for 2016!
The alley has been cleared.
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.
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)
539 S. Highland Street
Memphis, Tenn. 38111