If you’ve ventured to my about page you know that I live in Knoxville, Tennessee; affectionately known as Scruffy City. My fiancé and I just moved into an apartment downtown that we love because we are in the heart of the scruffiness! I like to think that Knoxville has the brain of an entrepreneur and the heart of an artist. There are always musicians playing, artists showing, comedians joking, and always new places opening!
In honor of my beautiful city, I have decided to start a #KnoxvilleLocal series, dedicated to all my favorite places and things to do. I’ll feature a new place/activity every week, giving you locations, websites, and reasons that I think its so awesome.
BUT! Since Valentine’s Day is coming up, I won’t leave you hanging! I’ll start with a succinct list of some great downtown date night ideas for dinner and drinks, along with all the info you need to make it happen!
Tomato Head Downtown is a great place for a casual date with great vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options. They have amazing sandwiches, salads, pizzas, and much more! Some of my favorites are the #13 pizza, the Southwest Salad, the Kepner Melt, and the keylime pie. They also have a great selection of craft beer and wine.
$$ – 12 Market Square
Nama Sushi Bar can be casual or classy, but their sushi is fantastic and the atmosphere is great for conversation and quality time.
$$ – 506 S Gay Street
Babalu Tacos & Tapas is a tacos and tapas bar that just opened on Gay Street. I have yet to visit, but I’ve heard it’s a lot of fun and their food is great! They use fresh and locally sourced ingredients for a flavorful and unique experience.
$$ – 412 S Gay Street
Stock & Barrel is the place for you if you’re looking for the best burgers, fries, and whiskey in town. They also source a lot of their ingredients locally and while whiskey is what they specialize in, they also have a decent selection of craft beer. Things I love here are the Black & Bleu burger, the Deadhead black bean burger, and their fried mushrooms!
$$ – 35 Market Square
Sweet P’s BBQ has amazing BBQ (as you would hope) and a really fun atmosphere! They serve up their soul food cafeteria style and leave you to your whims with their house made sauces right at your table. P.S. Don’t forget to get their mac’n’cheese, it’s heavenly!
$$ – 410 W. Jackson Avenue
Oodles Uncorked has fantastic food, but if you’re a wine enthusiast this is the place to be! They have a great atmosphere whether you’re going out with friends or getting a table for two. If the weather permits, they have a great patio, but either way be sure to try their house cabernet!
$$ – 18 Market Square
Knox Mason has an intimate atmosphere with ample southern charm and modern chic. They serve all the traditional southern comfort food we know and love, with the gourmet skill every foodie craves. They also work closely with local farms and businesses to source their ingredients locally and fresh! It’s terrible but… all I can think about as I’m writing this is their homemade ice cream haha!
$$$ – 131 S Gay Street
Crafty Bastard is a new local brewery in Knoxville that has their own line of fantastically crafted beers in addition to some of Knoxville’s favorites!
Public House specializes in craft cocktails but also has a great selection of craft beers and a fantastic wine list.
Hops & Hollers has one of the largest varieties of beer in downtown, with 32 craft beers on tap and over a 100 in bottles and cans! Their atmosphere is super chill and is a beer lover’s paradise.
Peter Kern Library (known to the locals as the library) has many interesting stories floating around, but following the red light down the alley way to the door is enough to make it feel like a speakeasy. If the atmosphere isn’t enough, the uniquely crafted cocktails are sure to make you fall in love. To read more about the library, check out this article on Average Enthusiast.
Happy Valentine’s Day y’all!