Preservation Pub regulars have lately noticed something particularly odd in the familiar nightclub’s foyer: a stairway up. Market Square’s popular saloon is soon to double in size, with the opening of its second floor, with its own bar.
“Everything people are complaining about, I’m putting up there,” says the always-surprising proprietor Bernadette Trent West. People complain about the haze at Pres Pub, one of downtown’s last smoking-allowed bars; the second floor will be no smoking. People complain the bands are too loud; the second floor will have no live music. People complain about long lines at the bathroom; the second floor will have more bathrooms than the first. People complain about being hungry; the second floor will eventually have a small kitchen offering “pizza and pub grub,” including french fries with specialty dipping sauces. “I’m trying to solve all problems at once,” West explains.
She’s doing so with some unusual principles, perhaps reflecting the establishment’s name. In the demolition and the necessary hole-cuttings between the floors, she’s salvaging almost everything. Old radiators have already been fashioned into fencing for the front, and the rare hardwood of the 19th-century building is being made into a 9-foot-long conference table, to be available for meetings.
She hoped to have it all done by Halloween, but admits it may be mid-November. By April, she’ll have another surprise: a roof deck. With a vegetable garden. To help supply the pizzas. That is, as far as we know, a Knoxville bar-history first.