February 8, 2023
Food and music go hand-in-hand in Knoxville, lauded as an artsy kind of town. Grab a bite and stay awhile to hear the regional and local talent jamming in the city. Make a stop at these restaurants the next time you're in Knoxville.
One of the oldest bars in Knoxville, The Corner Lounge opened just after Prohibition and has been a bar for majority of its history. On any given night, you can find live music, karaoke, or a soccer game on to enjoy with a bucket of mimosas or a dang-fine Bloody Mary. Lunch is served on weekdays beginning at noon and 2 p.m. on weekends. Or check out the dinner menu, featuring punny handhelds like “Drivin’ Me Caprese” or “The Artful Gobbler.”
With 96 beers on tap and even more in the bottle, sample and find your new favorite local beer. Barley’s Taproom is located in the historic Old City and features daily drink specials and an incredible selection of customizable and unique pizza combinations. Stop by on the weekends or various weekday evenings for live music featuring a selection of bands and artists from various genres.
Come to Wild Boar Tavern for the food, stay for the live entertainment. Featuring musical acts Wednesdays through Saturdays, it’s always a good time at Wild Boar. Plus, with gourmet sandwiches, burgers, specialty pizzas and a cheesecake of the day, this tavern is a must-stop when you’re in Knoxville.
Did you know Appalachian music has Scottish and Irish roots? So, it makes sense that Boyd’s Jig & Reel features Scottish, Irish and Appalachian musical events. The pub has quickly become a place for musicians and whiskey lovers alike to come together and celebrate the heritage of the Scottish and Irish immigrants who settled in Appalachia.
Another option to celebrate the history of Irish settlers in the Appalachian region is Clancy’s Tavern & Whiskey House. Knoxville’s premier Irish Pub, Clancy’s is located next door to the historic Tennessee Theatre and serves up traditional Irish fare and just about every type of whiskey you can think of, from Irish to bourbon, Scotch to rye – even Japanese. With your drink in hand, settle in for an evening of live music.
Known as Knoxville’s Cathedral of Entertainment and Libations, Scruffy City Hall, is adjacent to (and owned by the same family) Preservation Pub. It’s similar in style, but with a gothic twist – gothic as in architecture, not the fashion genre. Consisting of three levels, the Main Hall is a great spot to see an intimate show, the Loggia Balcony Bar has a view of historic Market Square and you’ll find the “Scruffy Cinepub Under the Stars” on the “Scroof.” Scruffy City Hall is truly a versatile venue for those looking for a great time.
Boasting live music 365 nights a year, Preservation Pub gets its name from the mission of its owners, Bernadette and Scott West, in revitalizing the historical buildings and Market Square in downtown Knoxville. Its slogan, “Welcome…You’re in Good Company,” promises an open, friendly time to all who stop by looking for a wide selection of beer and liquor with eclectic vibes.
The Bistro by the Bijou was one of the early adopters of the “farm-to-table” movement with owner Martha Boggs growing many of the vegetables used in the restaurant’s dishes on her small farm. She creates two seasonal menus a year with a focus on regionally sourced cuisine prepared in simple, traditional ways. The bistro is located in one of the oldest buildings in Knoxville next door to The Bijou Theatre. Stop by the speakeasy, boasting an ever-changing selection of regional craft beers on tap and a seasonal cocktail menu. You can also catch a live jazz show inside the speakeasy on Monday, Friday and Saturday evenings.
A favorite watering hole in Knoxville among locals, Back Door Tavern is the oldest bar on Thunder Road. Cozy up for a show in the backyard venue whether it’s with a cold beer on a warm summer evening or sitting by the fire pit on those chillier nights.
Paul’s Oasis is a terrific place to hang out with friends. Grab a drink and play billiards, pool, darts or pinball. Come by on Thursdays for a good ol’ fashioned jam session or Saturdays for a show. If you’re more in the performing mood, Paul’s Oasis also has Friday night karaoke. Come hungry, because their extensive menu includes: burgers, homemade pizza, sandwiches, wraps and salads.
At Ale' Rae's you can find open jam sessions, karaoke, live bands and even comedic stand-up during the week. The gastropub menu includes shareables like the delicious spicy fried cauliflower and filling entrees from bacon bourbon meatloaf to pulled pork, shrimp tacos and shrimp & grits. Brunch is served each Sunday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Try one of their cocktails, local beers and frozen drinks like the salted caramel espresso freeze.