Waxing poetic about Memphis comes as naturally to me as breathing, but anyone who loves the Bluff City knows words can only do so much when describing its gritty, chaotic magic.
Because it’s impossible to capture in a single post everything that makes my city better than yours, today we will focus on one thing and one thing only:
Our steel-skinned, glass-paned two-thirds replica of the Great Pyramid of Giza that is also a Bass Pro megastore.
It’s a blinding monument to the city’s Egyptian namesake that tells the world, “Yes, there was a Memphis in Egypt and, yes, we stole its name, hence this big-ass pyramid.” But while their pyramid is a tomb for a pharaoh or something, ours is the blessed sanctuary for a much grander and nobler pursuit — the largest outdoor recreation store on the planet.
First, some history: The Pyramid has been the most identifiable aspect of the city skyline since it opened in 1991 as a 20,000-seat arena and the home court of the Memphis Tigers. The Grizzlies’ move from Vancouver to Memphis in 2001 demanded a bigger, better arena, which led to the construction of the very nice and extremely-not-a-pyramid FedEx Forum.
The Pyramid’s heyday appeared to be over for good. Outside of a few concerts and events, it was basically closed for business and up to the city to figure out the best use for a big-ass abandoned pyramid.
That’s when Bass Pro entered the picture. And while I don’t know how the deal went down and would rather not waste time looking it up, I imagine it went something like this:
Bass Pro: Three words. BASS. PRO. MEGASTORE.
Memphis: Wow, I mean, that certainly would be something—
Bass Pro: Not done.
Memphis: Oh, sorry.
Bass Pro: We’re gonna have an ARCHERY RANGE, a LASER ARCADE, a family restaurant with an AQUARIUM and a fuckin’ BOWLING ALLEY ...
Memphis: This sounds pretty ambitious—
Bass Pro: ... a LUXURY HOTEL, an OBSERVATION DECK, ANOTHER restaurant with an aquarium except this one’s gonna have A STEAMPUNK MOTIF ...
Memphis: Look, Bass Pro, we love your energy, but—
Bass Pro: ... a PISTOL RANGE, a CYPRESS SWAMP, the TALLEST FREESTANDING ELEVATOR in America, and, last but not least, the largest and finest selection of waterfowl and hunting equipment ON PLANET EARTH.
That exchange probably didn’t happen, but DO YOU KNOW WHAT DID HAPPEN?
ALL OF THAT AFOREMENTIONED SHIT.
THE ARCHERY RANGE. THE ARCADE. UNCLE BUCK’S FISHBOWL AND GRILL (AND BOWLING ALLEY). THE AQUARIUMS. THE EXPENSIVE-ASS HOTEL. THE STEAMPUNK RESTAURANT. THE IN-HOUSE CYPRESS SWAMP.
AND FOLKS, I shit you not — you can indeed find the nation’s tallest freestanding elevator AT A DAGGUM BASS PRO IN MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE.
It’s an experience like no other in a city like no other, but don’t take my word for it. This kickass Bass Pro Pyramid party rock anthem sums it up perfectly.