Drinks At Inkwell, New Black-Owned Cocktail Bar In The Edge District

New cocktail bar Inkwell opened on May 6, 2022 in the Edge District. You'll find this hip spot next to the historic Sam Phillips studio and across the street from Evelyn & Olive at 631 Madison. Order from curated lists of signature drinks, classic cocktails, mocktails, and a few wines, plus a small menu of food like flatbreads, grilled cheese, and a Cuban sandwich. 

hand holding cocktail at inkwell
Allie Mounce
three cocktails
Allie Mounce

There are two rooms inside with bar and table seating with lounge vibes and incredible floors. Trust me, these gorgeous colorful file floors are special, and they're original to the space. Inkwell feels like the perfect place for a date; it's nice enough that you want to wear lowkey cocktail attire but not so fancy as to be stuffy or overly expensive. I love bars that hit the spot like that. I can certainly see this becoming an Edge District "neighborhood" spot, but not in a sports bar kind of way. 

Inkwell is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 5 p.m. until 1 a.m. One of the best parts is the breezy patio courtyard out back. It's perfect for summer sipping and socializing. 

inkwell interior
Allie Mounce
drink at bar
Holly Whitfield

Founded by entrepreneur and designer Ben Colar, Inkwell’s mission is to serve excellent drinks in an inclusive atmosphere—truly inclusive not as a side note, but as a focus—for all Memphians. Ben, who also founded creative agency Baby Grand , eamed up with other Black business owners for Inkwell projects, including designer Carmeon Hamilton for the interiors and Feast & Graze for the charcuterie and cheese plates. 

inkwell flatbreads
Allie Mounce
Ben Colar at Inkwell on the patio
Holly Whitfield
Inkwell owner, Ben Colar.

I could not be happier to see these locally-owned indie bars opening up to fill out our incredible food & beverage scene.

Architecture work for this building is by CNCT Design, an Edge District-based architecture and design firm with multiple projects in the neighborhood. 

Check out the quick video from my first visit to Inkwell in downtown Memphis: 

Inkwell Cocktail Bar Drinks We Tried

The "Sir Isaac Washington" is named after the only Black character on TV’s The Love Boat, Isaac was the ship’s bartender) has rum, coconut rum, pineapple liqueur, and lime. It's the greenish one with the leaf garnish.

The Shelby County Yacht Club is a zesty gin-based refresher with bitters and a dried orange garnish. 

The Southern Air Temple is not for the cocktail novice, one of the most interesting on the menu: bunch of bitters, like so much bitters, plus mezcal, aperol, and lime. (It's the opaque burnt sienna-colored drink. I found this tart and delicous!

The Beauty of the Week is for Manhattan fans with rye, vermouth, cherry liqueur, and angostura. 

drinks on patio at dusk inkwell
Allie Mounce

Inkwell Food We Tried

We ordered the Sausage Flatbread, a hot and cheesy pizza with sausage and tomatoes that hits the spot after a few drinks. We also tried the  Veggie Flatbread which was the same satisfying story just with veggies. 

I'll be honest, I had order envy for the grilled cheese sandwich (which was cut into shareable pieces), the Cuban sandwiches, and the charcuterie boxes—next time!

inkwell patio at night
Holly Whitfield
Go There: 

631 Madison Ave.
Memphis, Tenn. 38103


Inkwell Hours: 

Wednesday through Sunday, 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.
No cash. Cards only.

Follow on Instagram @inkwellbar for special hours and updates.

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