The Preservation Pub proves that if your neighborhood is downtown, you're at an advantage. But downtown, which offers more bars per city block than anywhere in East Tennessee, is also the toughest competition. The Market Square stalwart is an old-fashioned saloon with wooden booths lining the walls, a patio, and a stage with a dependably unpredictable lineup. (If it's 10 p.m. any night, and you can't find your Metro Pulse calendar and want to count on finding some interesting music for not much money, Pres Pub is one of your best bets.)
It's been there about six years now. (Actually, it's in the same historic space as the legendary '90s nightclub Mercury Theatre, which you can see, after a few PBRs, if you squint your eyes.) It's so good it survived the imprisonment, on marijuana-trafficking charges, of its original proprietors. Pres Pub features weekly celebrity-bartender fundraising nights, friendly, prompt table service, and (should we print this?) free pizza at happy hour.