The Metro Pulse Bar Crawl

Just how big and varied has Knoxville's bar scene become? We sent out a writer, a photographer, and an artist to walk the drinking gantlet of The Strip, downtown, and Old City drinking establishments.

A Wednesday in August. Hot.

4 p.m.

SUNSPOT

“Where Tie-Dyes and Neck Ties Meet”

OUR DRINK: One bottle of Blüfeld Riesling.

AMBIENCE: The couch is probably for making out late at night. But we don’t know that for a fact.

CLIENTELE: At only 4 p.m., the sheer number of servers just hanging out with nothing to do suggests they are waiting for a huge rush of people soon to come.

WHAT’S ON THE TV: A commercial for Salt. This sparks a discussion between Travis and Frank of whether Angelina Jolie was better in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow or A Mighty Heart.

DRINK SPECIALS: Half-priced bottles of wine on Wednesdays?!? God is thanked.

DISCUSSION: White wine makes sense on hot summer days, but is that really what you want? Two out of three MP pub crawlers say “yes.” But one out of three pouts. (It’s Carey.)

5:46 p.m.

HALF BARREL

The Archetypal “College Strip” Bar

OUR DRINKS: Three gin and tonics (one for each of us) for $9. The cheapness of them was inversely proportioned to their alcohol content.

AMBIENCE: None of us should really be here at 5:30 p.m. on a Wednesday.

CLIENTELE: 97 percent male.

WHAT’S ON TV: My Name Is Earl

DISCUSSION: Does it make sense to put more straws in your drink to allow you to drink it faster? Frank does not think so, but Carey proves it to be true as she waits for Frank and Travis to finish their drinks before heading to the next destination.

6:20 p.m.

FORT SANDERS YACHT CLUB

The “Barcade”

OUR DRINKS: Two imported beers and one Four Loko.

AMBIENCE: Bleep bleep bloop.

CLIENTELE: A dog and its owner, and that owner’s friend.

ON THE TV: Wife Swap

DISCUSSION: Frank can sure write a good political piece, but Super Nintendo proves too difficult for him. Travis becomes obsessed with some old arcade game and ignores everyone.

7:29 p.m.

THE HILL

The Frattiest Bar in Town?

OUR DRINKS: Two gin and tonics, one whiskey and Coke.

AMBIENCE: Similar to a Putt-Putt course. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing—I love mini-golf. Could there be such a thing as Putt-Putt air freshener…?

CLIENTELE: Summer-session frat boys who can play cornhole with each other un-ironically.

ON THE TV: ESPN

DISCUSSION: The second floor is not cordoned off, so molesting the DJ booth in the upstairs stage around 7:30 goes unnoticed. The patio? You don’t want to go out to the patio, Cornholio.

8:30 p.m.

ORANGE MARTINI

The Pickup Bar

OUR DRINKS: Two gin and tonics, one whiskey and Coke.

AMBIENCE: Hotel bar.

CLIENTELE: “Dude... pink Polo and pot-belly hitting on the older women behind us...”

DISCUSSION: After a half-hour of not being propositioned by out-of-town businessmen, we really don’t belong here. Let’s move on.

9:14 p.m.

SAPPHIRE

The Former Jewelry Store

OUR DRINKS: One martini and two cocktails in martini glasses disguised as martinis.

AMBIENCE: Do we embarrass the bartenders by not wearing Prada? They’re serving us, but personally I wouldn’t serve us. I mean, Travis’ shirt won’t even button all the way.

CLIENTELE: Better dressed than us.

WHAT’S ON THE TV: Food Network is on the flatscreens, but alternately it is really easy to get porn on the iPhone.

?:?? p.m.

PRESERVATION PUB

The Go-To Bar

OUR DRINK: Three beers (but one of us couldn’t drink his... Travis. Travis couldn’t drink his beer and gave it to someone else. Travis is faltering.)

AMBIENCE: Had to sit outside because of a cover charge inside. But they did let us in to buy cigarettes on the overpriced cigarette machines. One of us wishes he lived in a world with cigarette girls from the ’20s. Frank. Frank’s the one who wishes that.

CLIENTELE: Anyone you have ever seen in your life. Let’s get a drink, everyone in my life! RIGHT NOW!

11:25 p.m.

DOWNTOWN GRILL & BREWERY

The Ol’ Standby

OUR DRUNKS: Two beers and—where did Travis go?

DISCUSSION: Observing Just Busted with bar patrons. Frank invites one of them to accompany us. As of this writing, we do not know who this guy was, but he followed us to our next destination. Also, Travis has gone missing.

?:?? p.m.

BACK ROOM BBQ:

The Last Call

OUR DRINKS’S: ???

AMBIENCE: Everything seems pretty awesome right about now.

TACO BELL PROXIMITY: 2.1 miles away, according to Travis’s iPhone.

HELPFUL TAXI SERVICES:

• Zingo: 776-3465, zingoknoxville.com

• Green Car and Courier: 329-7616, knoxvillegreencar.com

• Crown and Goose Vintage London Taxi: 524-2525, thecrownandgoose.com

• City of Knoxville Taxi Directory: ci.knoxville.tn.us/newcomers/taxis

© 2010 MetroPulse. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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