The Bars of the UT Strip!
The Party Place At the University of Tennessee
UT students party it up on the Strip, a strip of bars on Cumberland Ave.
Rocky Top, to Tennessee fans, is a lot like Margaritaville.
It's whenever they want it to be when they are having a good time.
And at night – when the Volunteers aren't playing under the Neyland Stadium lights – is a six-block stretch of Cumberland Ave., known as The Strip.
The girls that go out on the Strip are as sweet as soda pop.
For it is here that UT students come to play and, because they are college students, to party. The Strip has a lineup of bars rivaling that of the Lady Vols and last call not until 3 a.m.
These cute coeds speak with that home-spun Tennessee accent.
It's partying, Tennessee style, on the UT Strip.
This place is a barrel of fun on the Strip.
There are some changing coming to the Strip. The city of Knoxville wants places to have patios – McDonald's has already complied – and UT is thinking of building classrooms at 17th street where a bookstore now stands (and has been for decades).
But for now, at the 50-yard line of the Strip is the Half Barrel. One look in this place and it's got you over a barrel. That's because it's a barrel of fun, a big bar full of plasmas showing all the other college games, lots of beer choices (40 on tap, including Longboard Lager from Hawaii for those who like to hang five while they are hangin' loose) plus a "beer of the day" for only $2.
But enough about the beer; it's the people that really make a place and here they are cool, casual and even willing to swap stories with fans of visiting teams (provided they are not from Florida or Alabama). It has a pub feel but there's no competition for elbow room for the place is pretty spacious. There's two rooms toward the back, one with a pool table and the other a small patio. The burgers are good, and so is this place. for a first stop last call or anything in between.
See what treatment you get at the Tin Roof if you wear a UT shirt!?
The Tin Roof gets going later at night.
If the Half Barrel is the place to get the party started (or continue it from what began at the game or the dorm room) then the Tin Roof is where many students go to finish it. It's a big bar with an ample-sized patio along the Strip, a long bar at the back, stage with a live band and and dance floor (there's a cover, as little as $5 on a game-day Saturday night). There's plenty of TVs, too.
At least they warn you at Bar Knoxville.
The most "clubby" place on the Strip is Bar Knoxville.
Cheesy dance bar? That would be Bar Knoxville. At first glance anyway. In reality, it like Penrod's from scenes of the old Ft. Lauderdale Spring Break days, minus the swimming pool. The floor is sticky – just like many of the pick-up lines no doubt uttered in the place – and is where one can act as if they are on spring break. The raised patio oversees the Strip and there's a line most weekend nights.
Yes, the are singing and drinking to Rocky Top.
One of the most fun places on the Strip is Macleod's, an Irish karaoke bar. Okay, put those two things together and how can it be anything but fun? Any visitor wanting to hear Rocky Top can be assured it will be heard here as if hearing it 200 times before and during the football is not enough. Those who are singing here are smiling, or are outside on one of the best mingling patios on the Strip.
Now this may not scream "college party place" but don't overlook pulling up a table at Chilli's. It has an incredible Happy Hour – how does $3 beers sound – and the food is surprisingly tasty for a multi-chain restaurant.
Old Town & Downtown
The Volunteer Navy docks by the stadium; Calhoun's is also on the river.
Like a football team that has a running game to compliment the passing attack, there is more to UT nightlife than the Strip. The Tennessee campus is bordered by the Tennessee River – Neyland Stadium is just one of tow college venues on the water, Washington being the other – and that scenic waterfront is well utilized.
By the way an East Tennessee native is writing this story, the view along the river is spectacular. Take a moment with beer or cocktail in hand to admire the fantastic view.
Aside from the Volunteer Navy, the place to party by the Tennessee is Calhoun's on the River. Known for its ribs at its other Knoxville locations, here the big attraction is the large deck. And the Happy Hour – $2 beers until 7 p.m. It's the ideal spot to start the weekend; the place's own beers and then a walk down to check out the Volunteer Navy. Before games Calhoun's is packed (mainly with alumni rather than students).
Downtown Knoxville is just over the shoulder and down Gay Street (named back in the day because it was the main pulse of Knoxville and people were happy when they were on this street) is a rebuilt area called Old City.
While there are a few restaurants and bars in the area, the main party place is Hannah's Cafe. The name is deceiving because this is a bar featuring a DJ playing plenty of fun party music and ample room to dance to it. There's a nice patio outside but the real action is in and around the bar. This is a nice, clean place with a kicked-back atmosphere and fun and friendly staff and crowd.
So, with the Strip and Calhoun's/Hannah's, what the best call on any given night? PubClub.com recommends the the latter on Friday night and the Strip on Saturday, especially after a UT game (football, basketball or even Lady Vols game).
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