Pop-up shops have become all the rage in Memphis - an economic development opportunity fueled by the city mayor's so-called "Innovation Delivery Team."
From indie craft markets to temporary art galleries, each pop-up was designed to fill a decaying neighborhood with life - and showcase the potential of a formerly busy business district to potential investors and business people, as well as residents.
In its latest bid to show how something old can be new and cool again, a six-week experiment is taking place at the historic Tennessee Brewery building in downtown Memphis, just off the bluff of the Mighty Mississippi.
The courtyard beer garden at Untapped — Photo courtesy of Tennessee Brewery Untapped
The brewery opened in 1877 as the home of Memphis Brewing Company, and by the turn of the 20th century, it was the largest brewery in the South. Its signature beer was called Goldcrest - a pilsner. The brewery closed briefly during Prohibition, coming back to life in the early 1930s, but it eventually shut down thanks to the increased dominance of America's big brewers.
Two rooms and an open courtyard of the building have been transformed, thanks to the help of a variety of volunteers who cleaned the site, a contractor which built the bar, another donating and building furniture and donation of live greenery from the Memphis Botanic Garden. The result is a vibrant and rustically upscale beer garden, with the only downside being its temporary nature.
Every Thursday to Sunday until June 1, the gorgeous sold brick building at 495 Tennessee Street opens for lunch and stays open through the evening, with food trucks; live music; and local, craft-brewed beers.
The live music will be all acoustic - not because of limited electricity, but because residents in the surrounding neighborhoods asked that sound levels be kept low. A rotating variety of food trucks will roll in, and a temporary retail shop will feature Untapped merchandise, including t-shirts from local designer Sache.
The historic Tennessee Brewery, in its heyday — Photo courtesy of Public domain
On Sundays from noon to 6:00 p.m., Memphis nonprofits will be the focus of the beer garden, dubbed for that time as "Beer Garden with Benefits." One dollar from each beer sold will be given back to customers in the form of a token, which can be placed into one of the buckets representing a different nonprofit.
All the organizations get to keep the money raised, with the nonprofit receiving the most tokens scoring a matching donation from Untapped sponsors.
Untapped will brew up the good (albeit temporary) times downtown through June 1, rain or shine.
495 Tennessee Street in downtown Memphis
Hours: Thursdays and Sundays: 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.