Midtown Destinations: Otherlands and Celtic Crossing

Posted on January 23, 2014


By Claire Richard


Being born and raised in Dallas, I have just finished my proverbial holiday voyage to the city that is becoming increasingly foreign to me. Over the holiday’s I had an overwhelming desire to read just one non-school related book with a nice cup of joe. In an attempt to quench this desire, I went on a mission to find a coffee shop in which I could relax. Driving around Dallas, I was met with continuous coffee, restaurants, and bars, all of which I enjoy, none being right for the date with my book. I gave up hopelessly and decided that Dallas was lacking what Memphis had in abundance, local personality.

Having affirmed my appreciation of local businesses, I decided to dedicate an article to just that. The Otherlands Coffee Bar can be described in no other way other than intimidating and stimulating. As a lover of the classic bun and pair of pearls I have an initial feeling of not fitting in, until realize that everyone fits in here. The laid back, even “hipster” vibe of the coffee bar creates a relaxing environment speckled with chess games, lunch dates sharing small plates, and of course the coffee goers, like myself, buried in their computer and books. The eclectic arrangement of chairs, tables and worn in couches matches the anything goes vibe. The three vibrantly colored rooms are speckled with local artwork and some interesting additions from customers choosing to reflect their own thought of the day.  Written around the mirror in the woman’s bathroom is a saying, “Be nice to everyone you meet, they may be on a difficult journey.” Thank you, my anonymous philosopher; sometimes we all need a little touch of humbleness in our life.

Another local place that I can be found relaxing with my favorite beer is Celtic Crossing Irish Pub and Restaurant. I have spent many weekday nights sitting with friends around Celtic’s tables on the patio, with a cold beer and some great live music. During the weekends this neighborhood bar is packed with people of all ages, celebrating all sorts of occasions. My personal dress code for this bar has ranged from my best “look at me” going out clothes to my finest athletic chic.

During the weekend I have often seen the same nice man literally dancing as if no one is watching because really, no one cares. At this bar everyone is family. If you happen to go, look out for him and say hi. He dances by the door. I once asked a hostess what she liked about Memphis and her answer was “Celtic”. She said she loved how she has come to know the locals from the police who come in after a hard day to just the regulars like myself.

But, what is a local bar without Sunday Brunch? Celtic Sunday brunch is Irish based and a nice original break from the standard breakfast. From nights to mornings though, the big screens at this bar are often busy broadcasting sports games to fully complete the place that people can come to relax, laugh, and make memories.

This coffee shop and bar are so different yet they are so similar. Both these places are designed for the community and breed further community. From a warm cup of coffee, to a relaxing drink, or always a familiar face, these places have become an extension of home to many Memphians. It is these places that contribute to the personality of Memphis and Midtown and keep it original.  Grind on Memphis.

Click here for upcoming Events and Music at Otherlands.

Check out Chris Johnson’s live music at Celtic Crossing every Thursday, and enjoy Pint Night on Monday nights from 5 until close. All drafts $3.

Claire Richard is a senior Business & Commerce and French double major at Rhodes College.

Posted in: Lifestyle