There's a lot of debate in Memphis, mostly on social media, about the history of The Green Beetle. The oldest tavern in Memphis? We think so. Was it a speakeasy during Prohibition? We're not sure; since it didn't open until '39, probably not, but it sounds cool. Did people really use a pass-through window between the bar and the store next door to subversively buy liquor? Possibly. Did my grandpa drink there? Probably, if he worked downtown
Expect to see a LOT of green when you're hanging out at the Green Beetle — Photo courtesy of The Green Beetle
Originally opened in 1939 by Frank Liberto (who conveniently owned the liquor store next door), the Beetle is back, being run by a great-granddaughter of Liberto. It's now a popular spot for a hearty and likely heavy meal, as well as live music on the weekends. The funky space the Beetle occupies is almost barn-like, with wooden rafters; it has re-opened and re-opened over the years by various operators, and per a bizarre clause in the building's contract, the building mus retain the name, even if it is sold.
So now the Beetle is back in business, back in the family, and back to serving up some huge portions of food. Giant, heaping plates of lasagne, mashed potatoes, huge hamburgers - all the comforts of home cooking - are served for lunch, dinner, and late night; weekend nights bring out local musicians who perform until closing.
With loads of character, the Beetle is a great addition to the South Main nightlife scene.