CHOOSE901 HOSTS DOWNTOWN COCKTAIL CONTEST IN CELEBRATION OF WORLD BARTENDER DAY Spirited by Old Dominick Distillery

MEMPHIS, TN—In partnership with Old Dominick Distillery and the Downtown Memphis Commission, Choose901 is gearing up to give local bartenders a chance to showcase their skills during the Choose901 Downtown Cocktail Contest.

From February 24th, which is recognized as World Bartender Day, until the end of March —cocktail connoisseurs working in Harbortown, South Main, North Main, Crosstown, and the Edge District neighborhoods are invited to demonstrate their creativity using Old Dominick spirits.

Be it a refreshing take on an Old Fashioned, a mule, a martini, a French 75, or the like—participants are encouraged to submit one recipe that represents their craft by no later than February 4th. Each submission will be vetted by representatives from Choose901 and Old Dominick..

During the month-long celebration, Memphians are encouraged to hit up each spot to enjoy a sip, and vote for their favorite cocktails. Winners will be crowned in categories such as: Best Overall, Best Name, Best Use of Garnish, Best Presentation, Best Gin Drink, Best Whiskey Drink, and Best Vodka Drink.

The culmination will come together on Thursday, March 31st during a special industry night hosted at Old Dominick Distillery where the winners will be announced, and discounted cocktails will be served to participants and fellow restaurant industry representatives starting at 12PM.

The Grand Prize for Best Overall Cocktail includes an award for the host restaurant and a prize for the participating bartender. Other prizes to be announced.

Get those taste buds ready for Memphis’ Downtown Dining Week

Memphis’ Downtown Dining Week is back! It is the 13th year. And more than a year in a pandemic, it is not holding back. In some cases, repetition is just good and can taste good too.
“If I can get you here and eat, you’ll be a continuous customer,” said Lernard Chambers, Genre Memphis Co-Owner. It is time for Memphis’ Downtown Dining Week. After more than a year of a pandemic, Downtown Memphis Commission’s Penelope Huston, said it hasn’t missed a lick.

Beale Street Artcrawl Festival Returns Saturday

Vicky Love, self-proclaimed science geek and art collector, looked for an art crawl after moving back to Memphis from Nashville. Something not as big and glamorous as River Arts Fest, but a cozy, independent artist pop-up fair working symbiotically with local businesses. “I told myself, ‘They don’t have an art crawl in Memphis? I’m going to claim one,’” Love says.

A graduate of Tennessee State University in Nashville, Love holds a master’s degree in geospatial information systems, and she’s an artist and photographer. Her left and right brain work double duty. She is also the founder of Dear Music Nonprofit, supporting artists and creators with the creation and public performance of their work.

“Creating opportunities for others is my calling,” she says.

In 2018 and 2019, the Beale Street Artcrawl Festival was amazing, according to Love. Beale was packed. The crawl went online last year due to Covid. This year, the event is a hybrid, with an online presence and the live event on Saturday.

“It’s hard to step out and believe in yourself and your abilities,” says Love. “Artists believe in their work, but they still need to pay the bills. It was hard before the pandemic. It’s even harder now.”

Her pet project is getting the word out that Dear Music Nonprofit not only supports traditional artists but also encourages young artists like Thomias Calderon, who is on the autism spectrum.

“I want those young artists who test within the autism spectrum to continue to express themselves and discover more abilities.”

Beale Street Artcrawl Festival, Beale Street, Downtown Memphis, Saturday, Aug. 21, 1-7 p.m., free.

Hu. Hotel in Downtown Memphis set to reopen with two dining options

Hu. Hotel will reopen on Aug. 12. The Downtown Memphis boutique hotel has been closed since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the area in March 2020. While the hotel’s flagship restaurant Hu. Diner is not scheduled to reopen yet, the hotel will reopen with two dining options.

Lucy’s Cafe will be adjacent to the lobby and will offer specialty coffees and updated takes on a number of cocktail classics, as well as baked goods, small bites, and sweet and savory treats. According to a news release, Lucy’s offers “nostalgic food and drinks that are driven with Memphis soul, all while highlighting local ingredients made with Southern flavors and techniques.” It is being touted as “a cozy and cool place to meet, talk or work for a while, Lucy’s welcomes guests of the hotel, neighbors, locals and those just passing by to pop in and stay for a while.”

Hu. Hotel’s rooftop bar has received a makeover as well.

Orion acquiring Financial Federal Bank

Orion Federal Credit Union is acquiring Financial Federal Bank for an undisclosed amount, the Memphis-based credit union announced Wednesday, Aug. 11.

The two financial institutions have signed a “definitive agreement” for the all-cash transaction. Financial Federal has assets of $751 million.

The deal means Orion will have more than $1.6 billion in total assets and more than 200 employees.

Orion Federal Credit Union to acquire Financial Federal Bank in Memphis-based merger combo

The Memphis metro’s largest credit union has an agreement in place to acquire one of Memphis’ largest locally based banks.

Orion Federal Credit Union announced Wednesday, Aug. 11, a definitive agreement to acquire Financial Federal Bank in an all-cash transaction.

Both institution’s boards have approved the deal. Details of the transaction were not initially disclosed.