With the opening of the Speakeasy—the new upstairs lounge at the Preservation Pub—Pub entertainment coordinator Bernadette West hopes to change the way people see live music in downtown Knoxville.
"With the Speakeasy, we've tried to address the two major complaints we've had over the last 10 years," West says. "The first is that people didn't like all the smoke, so upstairs is non-smoking. And the second was that people wanted to know why we couldn't have earlier shows."
While the Pub's near-nightly array of rock, blues, and jazz shows will continue downstairs, beginning around 10 p.m., the Speakeasy will feature live music from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. most nights, usually more acoustic-oriented fare in contrast to the louder performances generally showcased on the first floor. The Speakeasy shows began in earnest in early March.
The Pub's daily happy hour pizza buffet has also moved to the Speakeasy, as the second floor kitchen is now operational.
"We've become a major stopover for bands that want to play coming through the Southeast," West says of the additional bookings. "We get dozens of requests every week from bands that would like to play here, from California to New York to Florida. It's snowballed. We could probably book every club in town with our requests."