428 S. Gay St.
Sapphire is one of East Tennessee’s favorites; a classy space with great food and a nice patio for people watching. Located in a 100 year old jewelry store building, the jewelry cases are now filled with a good selection of wines and fine liquors.
Food is made from fresh local ingredients and remains true to the southern heritage while kicking things up a notch; the pulled pork is to die for.
Sapphire has won multiple awards in the short time it has been open—best martinis, Best of Knoxville, and East Tennessee’s Best among them. Sapphire offers daily specials and an even better happy hour, but for special occasions, spring for the $350 sapphire martini with a 2.5 carat stone included.
1820 Cumberland Avenue
Bar Knoxville was renowned as a rowdy, crowded bar with passable bar food and a huge dance floor where meeting those of the opposite sex was easy.
Sadly, Bar Knoxville is gone, but in its place is Rumorz; by all accounts, not much has changed except the name and management.
Rumorz is within walking distance of UT and the stadium, every night is Ladies Night, and pitchers of beer are just $5. Thursday and Saturday are 18 and up, and Friday night is 21 and over, open till 3 am each night.
200 East Jackson Ave.
Barley’s Taproom in Knoxville is a restored 19th century feed and hardware store. Located near UT in an area known as Old City, visitors can feel the history in this cozy space that is in fact 16,000 square feet. Opened in 1998, the taproom features a stage and restaurant in addition to a huge outdoor patio. The food is tasty and there are more craft brews on tap here than anywhere in town. Add to that live music, dart lanes, and a billiard room, and it is easy to see why this is a favorite hang out spot among locals and visitors alike.
Fun fact: This Barley’s location was named “Best Bar in America” by Playboy in 2001.
Half Barrel Saloon - Knoxville
1829 Cumberland Ave
Knoxville’s Half Barrel saloon is a favorite University of Tennessee area haunt with more than 30 different beers on tap, often with the latest micro-brews available.
This is a college town hangout and right in the school’s backyard, so awesome drink prices are the norm, and special UT drinks like Vol Bombs and Orange Crush shots are popular.
Open from 4 pm to 3 am daily for dinner and late-night eats and drinks, indiulge in bar food favorites such as wings and burgers.
The highlight of Half-Barrel is undoubtedly the wall of beer taps.
This is a bar for serious beer drinkers, and is often lively even on random days of the week when the nearby party halls are quiet as church mice. Drinks are cheap, beer is cold and plentiful, and Half Barrel is close enough to campus to get home without driving - everything a college town pub needs to be.
1915 Cumberland Avenue
The Tin Roof in Knoxville is located right on the strip, and like other Tin Roof locations in Nashville and Atlanta, boasts fresh salads, good Tex-Mex food and made from scratch guacamole and salsa.
Enjoy huge sandwiches of all types; burgers to quesadillas and monster sized deli combinations will hit the spot.
The Tin Roof regularly offers live music, most often with a decidedly country vibe, in a chill environment that often brings in the college and tailgate crowd and includes a great people-watching patio on the corner.
Tin Roof is open Monday through Saturday from 11 am to 3 am…they offer lunch, dinner, late night, and an awesome happy hour to boot.
400 Neyland Dr.
Calhoun’s is known throughout the state of Tennessee and abroad for their award winning BBQ and fabulous location on the Tennessee River, just off the UT campus. These accolades are just the tip of the iceberg for this establishment- Calhoun’s is home to Smoky Mountain Brewery, a local microbrewery that keeps Calhoun’s stocked with at least 10 different styles of brews at all times including seasonal brews. Enjoy events such as live bands and Vol Calls live radio show every Wednesday night with UT’s head football coach, Derek Dooley. On top of casual dining, they also cater events and provide curbside pickup for quick take out meals.
106 E Jackson Avenue
While it may not look dazzling from the outside, Pilot Light is often boasted as the best place in Knoxville for live music shows, offering a full calendar of live bands from all over the country. Locals love this place, even on nights when there is no music, for the dedicated staff and cheap and cold beer. Chances are a band will be playing, no matter which day of the week you visit, and it is more or less expected on weekends. This is the place to go if you are tired of the frat bars and want to meet local music lovers. Bands typically start about 9 pm or 10 pm, and Pilot Light is open late.
Frank H. McClung Museum
1327 Circle Park Drive
Knoxville’s Frank H McClung Museum is a trove of historical wonders located conveniently on the University of Tennessee’s campus. Unlike traditional museums, the Frank H McClung museum frequently changes its exhibits, offering a unique experience for every season. It’s best known for its decorative Ancient Egypt exhibit, which showcases mummies and artifacts from more than 3,000 years ago! The museum also houses exhibits from Ancient Japan and Native America.
Aside from the many different exhibits the museum showcases, it also offers educational programs to primary school children that cover archeology, geology, art, and historical battles. Groups are permitted in the museum, but be sure to make reservations first! Although there are no dining facilities in the museum, there are many in close proximity to the museum and the nearby Circle Park. The museum parking is free, but it is often crowded during a regular semester. The Frank H McClung museum is free to the public and open Monday through Saturday 9:00a.m. to 5:00p.m. and Sunday 1:00p.m. to 5:00p.m. At the University of Tennessee.
701 17th Street
Sawyers is a central fixture in the campus area, a popular fast food place with multiple locations and amazing chicken fingers only available here.
Be prepared to crave them when no longer in Knoxville. They also serve shrimp, salads and sandwiches, but it is the chicken fingers, regular and buffalo style, that are the UT fan favorites.
Sawyers is open daily from 10 am till 10 pm and has a kid’s menu for little ones, and a dining room. Grab takeout for a quick bite.
1807 Cumberland Ave
Conveniently located close to the UT campus, Copper Cellar on Cumberland Avenue was the original cozy basement spot that grew into a regional franchise.
An upscale decor featuring beveled glass, antique furnishings, and oak paneling help attract the business people of the area as well as the college crowd.
The location is within walking distance of Neyland Stadium, the UT campus, and several hotels like the Holiday Inn, Downtown Marriott and the Hilton.
The menu has many choices from filet mignon, fresh chipotle chicken, and even a smoked portabella salad, giving the restaurant a wide array of flavors to satisfy almost every set of taste buds.
Upstairs, every Thursday night is Ladies Night, with drink specials available and providing the girls and the guys with good reason to show up.
Ephesus Mediterranean Grill
1823 Cumberland Ave
Ephesus on the UT Cumberland Avenue strip and is the only restaurant in Knoxville that offers Turkish cuisine.
They have it all -- from kabobs and gyros to Greek salad and falafel, tabbouleh, and vegetarian-friendly meals, as well as Turkish tea and coffees for a quick energy boost.
Dine in, carryout and delivery are all available from Ephesus.
Ephesus is a favorite of the students on campus and offers them a 15 percent discount for dine in meals.
Events can be catered by Ephesus in the area as well.
Do not forget to pick up some homemade baklava for dessert.
Hanna’s on the Strip
1901 Cumberland Ave
Hanna’s is located just a few short blocks from Neyland Stadium.
It is a great place to catch the game with friends, stop in for a bite after work or school or meet the gang to party on weekends.
Daily food and drink specials change all the time, so chances are favorites will be on the cheap sometime during the week.
The famous bar at Hanna’s offers patrons hundreds of different beers, liquors and mixed drinks; something to please everyone.
Hanna’s food menu offers the typical bar fare like wings, chicken strips and poppers, but also has around 20 different sandwich options and several salads for those looking for a healthy meal.
Long Branch Saloon