Overton Square Makes a Comeback

The year was 1969, and the voters in Memphis had just approved liquor by the drink. (Yes, you are reading that correctly – 1969). Local lore has it that the approved license was driven from the state capitol in Nashville straight to the T.G.I. Friday's restaurant in the Midtown neighborhood of Overton Square, marking the square as the city's new nightlife hotspot.

During the 1970s, a dozen restaurants, a few dozen shops and a whole lot of fun defined Overton Square. There was a skating rink in the winter, live music, a disco, pub crawls and even faux snow during the annual Christmas celebration.

By the late 1980s, however, the square was losing steam, and only a few restaurants remained. There was talk of razing the whole area; while the nearby Playhouse on the Square was attracting theatregoers, this part of Midtown was a ghost town on most evenings.

Today, the square is back, and how.

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