The First Caption By Hyatt In The World Is In Downtown Memphis

Why the city’s newest Beale Street hotel is already a hub for Memphians working remotely.


Ed. Note: Check out the first of a new series from contributor Joe Sills featuring hidden gems and Memphis favorites. Joes's Gems, if you will. We'll kick off the series with some bragging rights: when Hyatt decided to create a new brand of hotel, the "Caption", they chose Memphis as the very first location. Nice! 

Talking Shop at the new Caption By Hyatt 

When Hyatt invited me to the July 2022 launch event for Caption by Hyatt, I expected a stodgy, formal affair befitting of a global hotel brand. Instead, I walked through the doors to find slam poetry, Memphis jookin’ and a crowd of locals enjoying the new space.

Suffice to say this hotel chain put me on my heels and left a smirk across my face. “This is the real Memphis,” I shouted at the company’s L.A.-based public relations rep. “Welcome to my city.” 

As a Memphis-based explorer and journalist, I’ve visited Hyatt properties on several continents and found them to be nice, but not necessarily "cool". In six years of global travel away from the Grind City, my rule of thumb has been to avoid massive hotel conglomerates as much as possible. In the wake of rising Airbnb costs and a resurgent hotel industry that heard travelers when they began clamoring for more style, my rule is changing.

hotel lobby with brown leather couches
Holly Whitfield
tall black building in front of shorter white brick facade
Holly Whitfield

July’s launch party served as another wakeup call that Memphis can do hotels right. I’ve been a fan of Hyatt’s adjacent Centric property ever since I walked into the rooftop bar at Beck & Call and saw a giant poster of Valerie June overlooking the Mississippi River. Now, Hyatt’s budget-minded neighboring spot is making me a fan, too. 

The First Caption Hotel In The World—Go Memphis!

The Beale Street location is actually the very first Caption in Hyatt’s portfolio. Other planned builds are set for Shanghai, Osaka, Saigon and Tokyo. Caption’s official press release will tell you that the hotel has 136 rooms designed with “lifestyles and values reflected in travel”. 

It will also tell you that the hotel is located “in the heart” of Beale Street; but that’s not technically true. Caption may be on the corner of Beale, but it’s much closer to Tom Lee Park or Gus’s Fried Chicken than B.B. King’s or The Rum Boogie. More hotels near Beale.

For my part, I did get a tour of the rooms in between complimentary glasses of champagne being handed out to party guests, of which there were at least a few hundred.

hotel lobby with brown leather couches and gray soft chairs
Holly Whitfield
yellow glass pinapple shaped glass with bottle of soda and airplane bottle of tequila
Holly Whitfield

The rooms are great. They’re colorful. They’re funky. They have detailed nods to local landmarks like the pyramid and the Peabody. The closet comparison I’ve seen is Stockholm’s ultra-chic NOFO Hotel. 

See more new hotels in Memphis.

Bring Your Laptop and Work at Talk Shop In Downtown Memphis

If you’re visiting Memphis from out of town and looking for a base near Beale, Caption by Hyatt should definitely be our your list. The hotel is, by definition, world class. The real gem of this property, though, is Talk Shop, the downstairs bar, beer garden, coffee shop and entertainment space that doubles as an informal lobby. 

In the weeks after Hyatt’s opening bash, I’ve visited Talk Shop several times to scope the scene on quiet weekdays when the stadium speakers blasting Young Dolph and the words of modern Memphis poets from that party are a distant memory. If you’re a Memphian looking for a place to work remotely, this is a spot for you. 

We’re talking great coffee and a creative food menu with plenty of sofas, tables and chairs to crash on. Each space has power outlets (look on the bottom of the seats for some) and a QR code that means no visit to the counter is necessary to place an order. 

hand holding food menu
Holly Whitfield

And while I found that system to have some kinks to work out, the staff are friendly and accommodating to people hanging out behind a laptop.

The food at Talk Shop is also top-notch. In recent years, the Memphis coffee shop game has stepped up its food offerings immensely. From the freshly baked breads at Hustle & Dough to hearty pizzas at Memphis Chess Club to the "Stay A While" motto of Comeback Coffee, coffee shop campers have never had better options downtown.

Try Netta's Fried Chicken Sandwich At Talk Shop

Add Talk Shop to the list of coffee shops to find great eats at. Tops among menu items? A hot chicken sandwich created by Memphian Chernetta “Netta” Wiggins. 

chicken sandwich with slaw and pickels
Holly Whitfield
chef in white apron standing in front of bar
Holly Whitfield

Gus’s may rule the communal roost when it comes to spicy chicken in Memphis, but Hyatt says the gameplan is to sell Netta’s chicken sandwich worldwide. I’m glad to have another hot chicken option in the city that’s deeply tied to Memphis. See the full menu.

This space is flexible, too. Unlike traditional coffee shops that usually close by mid-afternoon, Talk Shop simply transforms into a bar when the espresso machines turn off at 3:30. Paired with the possibilities of a breakout game of pool and a rooftop sunset next door, that makes for a blend of business and pleasure that is poised to be another Memphis-born hit around the globe.

Go There: 

Caption by Hyatt / Talk Shop
245 S Front St.
Memphis, Tennessee 38103

Caption by Hyatt hotel website
Talk Shop cafe website

About the Author

Hi, I’m Joe. I’m a Memphis-based journalist covering travel, adventure and exploration around the globe. I’ve lived in a haunted house in midtown, slung bootleg t-shirts in Soulsville and covered Memphis hoops from high school to the NBA. When I’m in town, you can find me searching for the stories that make the people of Memphis come to life.

Most Memorable Memphis Moment: 

Watching Zach Randolph hit a series-clinching three over Tim Duncan before a sold out FedExForum overflows onto Beale Street on a night when downtown is alive with the rhythms of Grizz Line and the buzz of Music Fest on the river. It was either that or rapping along with Project Pat, sitting court side with a retired Z-Bo and getting a fist bump from 8-Ball on the same night.

Build Your Prefect Memphis Meal:

Does it get any more Memphis than Central BBQ nachos on house chips? You gotta go for the brisket (trust) with jalapeños and a banana pudding to cap it all off for desert. In a dreamland, though. It’s like this—take the pepperoni pizza from Hustle & Dough. Overlay it with a heap of pulled pork from The BBQ Shop. Walk a few miles along the river at sunset before putting the final layer on this meal with an elusive slice of peaches and cream from Cheesecake Corner.

Comments Make Us Happy

Leave a Comment
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.