© craig thompson
Memphis is home. We’ve been dealt a good hand -- fortunate enough to see the world ourselves -- but we’re always ready to return to our beloved Overton Square. You’ll hear this mantra echoed around every corner and in the most unexpected places at The Memphian.
Rewind to 1969. Overton Square founders and developers, all in their early-to-mid twenties at the time, led efforts to pass a referendum allowing establishments to sell liquor by the drink. As history has it, the approved license was driven from Nashville directly to the front doors of T.G.I. Friday’s on the square. This first franchised location outside of New York City was a fast success, and it attracted other businesses to the Midtown neighborhood. At its heyday throughout the ‘70s, Overton Square employed 800 Memphis locals and was home to dozens of restaurants, bars, shops, live music venues, and other attractions. Pub crawls attracted over 40,000 people annually, while Christmas at Overton Square lured large crowds with its carolers, roasted chestnuts, and an opportunity to see snow in the Mid-South.
By the 1980s, Overton Square was merely a shadow of its former self, and what remained of its unconventional energy would wane for decades to come. Seeking to overcome challenges brought on by closed businesses and absentee owners, developers Robert and Louis Loeb of Loeb Properties, Inc. purchased the square in 2012. The new “Heart of the Arts” district was saved from imminent demolition through their renovation efforts, public art installation and infrastructural improvements, and new tenants began to move in.
Today, Overton Square is arguably living its best life as a landmark destination dedicated to arts and entertainment, anchored by five live performance theatres and a multi-screen movie house, and bathed in colorful murals. An energetic buzz, attractive to visitors and locals alike, has returned and the neighborhood continues to embody the quintessential spirit of the city’s past, present and future.
The Memphian is committed to building a better Memphis. Situated right on Cooper Street at the cultural center of Overton Square, we are dedicated to continued revitalization efforts and the preservation of Midtown’s character. Regardless of what brings you to town, we’re eager to offer you accommodations and sense of place that complement our heritage, culture, and own twist on southern hospitality. A stay at The Memphian makes you a Memphian for life.