Welcome sailors to The Cove

By Kara Chamberlain

Memphis plays host to a variety of bars, pubs, and restaurants. The most unique can certifiably be found in the Midtown area. Off the intersection of Sam Cooper and Hollywood, tucked back in a shadowy street lays a series of miscellaneous storefronts. Directly in the center of these various establishments is a scribbled sign that reads The Cove. Though recently established, The Cove produces a timeless atmosphere. Jim Marshall, the owner and founder of The Cove, designed his bar with a very particular style in mind. After Anderton’s, a former nautical themed restaurant, shut down, Jim purchased the bar decor through an auction and stored the pieces in a recently purchased building at 2559 Broad Ave. Stuffed into this condensed space were elaborate murals of sailors and ships, helms, masts, and a wooden bow that connected to the front of a bar. After seeing these pieces stored together, Jim decided to revive the nautical themed bar in that space. The pieces fell into place perfectly, and within a year The Cove was open for business.

[singlepic id=309 w= h= float=left]Jim desired to create a timeless space that exuded a bygone era.  His concept was to provide simple food and classic cocktails that have become scarce on modern menus. Ultimately, The Cove is an oyster bar. “It’s a fresh and rare thing to have an oyster bar in Memphis,” explains Mike Grabman, bartender at The Cove. Served on a large platter, guests can order oysters on a half shell or in two of their other styles, Oyster Rockefeller and Oyster Casino. “Our food is fabulous. It’s fresh with a nice presentation,” Mike continues, then goes on to brag about The Cove’s chef, John Jester, “John has been able to improve presentation and keep our recipes close to the original.” Oysters are not the only tasty items on the menu. Food items range from gourmet pizzas, to veggie platters, to paninis.

Though oysters attract many of the guests at The Cove, the drinks set this establishment from the rest. “We serve classic cocktails,” explains Evan Potts, fellow bartender, “Not anything you find in typical bars. There are no frozen drinks or overly sweet drinks. Everything is authentic and artisan. Timeless.” You will be treated to an expertly blended cocktail that has no need for embellishments or sweeteners. You have been warned, however, these drinks are not for the lighthearted. In keeping tuned to the classic theme, these drinks are potent as gentlemen in the late 1700’s preferred. “Our drinks have exact measurements that are to be strictly followed in order to keep them consistent,” states Mike, “Modern bars tend to throw in a little of this and a little of that in their drinks, but at The Cove we measure everything out so our customers always get what they want.” The cocktail list at The Cove varies from a Vampire, which contains an unconventional blend of tequila, tomato juice, and red chili, to The Cove’s signature drink the Sazerac that prides as one of the oldest known cocktails that pre-dates the Civil War.

The Cove invites an eclectic list of musical talents into their bar, “We will always have music that someone will like,” explains Evan. From Blues, to Jazz, to Progressive Rock, there is always something playing at The Cove. The Cove even provides more than music, but movies as well. The television constantly plays an endless line of eclectic films. “Jim’s a big fan of the film noirs and classic films,” Evan continues, “and Sunday Fun Day, which is a comedy night, we play only stand-up comedians on DVD through the night.” Other Cove events include Trivia night on Tuesdays starting at 9:00 pm. No matter the occasion, The Cove can oblige as a proper host, just call and make a reservation for your next event.

The Cove is something to be admired for every account, but the most admirable is the dedication and respect it receives from its staff. “I got a job here because I hung out here all the time,” explains Evan, “it feels like a neighborhood bar, where everyone knows everybody not like a corporate bar where you give out your drinks and leave. You can sit and chat with the customers. These are my friends and my neighbors. It’s just a really laid back place.” Mike agrees and continues, “It’s the atmosphere here. You never know who will walk in next from the hipsters to bikers to professionals and art students. It’s just a nice mix and everyone gets along.”

The Cove may only be three years old but with an eager staff and neighborhood regulars, you would believe that this establishment has been around as long as the drinks have. The Cove provides a fresh and new experience that seems to be a rare thing to find in Memphis. Mike is optimistic for the continuing success of The Cove and knows that a place is only as great as the people that run it, “all our employees have worked in the restaurant industry, and by working in this restaurant we were able to parle in experience in order to make this ship run smooth.”

The Cove is located at 2559 Broad Ave. You must be 21 years or older to enter. Please contact Adam Hawk at adam@hawkforge.com if you are interested in playing music for The Cove. Call (901) 730-0719 or visit their website at thecovememphis.com.

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