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The Local: Meryl Keegan of Knoxville

By Beth Newberry

This occasional column highlights the tips of one local resident in an App city. We asked  Meryl Keegan, a native of Kingsport, Tenn., who has lived in Knoxville for six years, “What’s on your  list of not-to-miss-places to give a friendly fer’ner visiting your fair city?”  Of her list, she says, “I live and work downtown so that is where I primarily wander. Here are my top picks.”

What are your top choices of hot spots in Knoxville? Tell us in the comments section.

Raven Records & Rarities (5710 Kingston Pike, 865-558-0066) and Wild Honey Records (5204 Homberg Dr., 865-588-8823). For collectibles check the vinyl outpost of the locally beloved Raven, but for a wider selection, says Keegan, head to Wild Honey. Both are located in the city’s Bearden district.

Booklovers mix and mingle at Union Ave. Books. Photo by Alan Sims at http://www.stuckinsideofknoxville.

Union Ave. Books (517 Union Ave.; 865-951-2180): Keegan compares this independent bookstore to regionally well-known and beloved bookshop, Malaprop’s in Asheville, and says one of her favorite aspects on the bookstore is that they host “lots of readings and signings.” Owners Melinda Meador and Floss McNabb are committed to the idea of the bookstore as a community center, “Can an online purchase ever give you the rush of gratification that comes when you walk out of a bookstore, book in arm, smile on face, knowing that the book you carry just might change the way you look at the world,” they ask on their Web site.

Marble City Brewing Co. and The Quarry tasting room (708 East Depot Ave.): A newer addition to the craft beer scene, Keegan favors this brewery and their tap room for “a quiet beer and play a hand of cards.” Their beers, like Dad’s Dime Amber Ale and Nectar Rubus Raspberry Wheat Ale, are also sold at restaurants in the area.

The Public House offers beers and spirits for every taste.

Public House (212 W. Magnolia Ave., 865-247-4344): Keegan likes the no-television atmosphere of Public House, which lends itself to a cool environment and a greater focus on clever and interesting food and cocktails. Opened in late 2010, it played host to BaconFest in 2011, a mouthwatering weekend of social events, cooking demonstrations and county-fair styled cook-offs, but what stirs an urban App’s heart is this brief bacon manifesto: “[Bacon’s] always reigned supreme in the Appalachian Mountains. With rural frugality almost an obsession, mountaineers have historically eaten every part of the pig, from the ears to the lips to the feet. This way of eating and cooking has become a national obsession … [this is] an event to bring it back home.”

Also, some old-standbys that are favorites: Downtown Brewery (424 South Gay St.; 865-633-8111), Nama (multiple locations) is Keegan’s top pick for sushi, and Preservation Pub (28 Market Square; 865-524-2224) for music and beer, which recently expanded to an upstairs and a rooftop patio.

What are your top choices of hot spots in Knoxville? Tell us in the comments section.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. I always think of the waterfront when I think of Knoxville, especially the large stones with colorful quotes about the scruffy little city on the river. When my parents visited us there, that was one of the first places I wanted to take them.

    January 9, 2012
  2. Downtown
    For eating – Just Ripe, Tomato Head
    For entertainment – the Tennessee Theatre and the Bijou
    For drinks – the Peter Kern at the Oliver Hotel

    Old City
    For coffee – Old City Java
    New hip hotspot for drinks and music – The Jig and Reel

    North Knoxville places not to be missed –
    Central Avenue Corridor – Magpies Cakes, Glowing Body Yoga, Three Rivers Food Co-op
    Fountain City – Litton’s for burgers and red velvet cake

    January 10, 2012
  3. Erika B. #

    Oh Knoxville, how I miss you!

    Some great spots for all you hipsters looking for food & drinks downtown and in the Old City are Tomato Head (try the Kepner Melt, trust me, just try it), The French Market, Harry’s Delicatessen, and Old City Java (you’re gonna want to splurge and get a mocha milkshake).

    If you want to eat at a Knoxville hole-in-the-wall, head to Vestal (South Knoxville) to King Tut’s. It’s truly a dining experience like no other. All I can say is: Greek salad, costumes, and karaoke. And if you’re extra lucky, you’ll meet the Angel of Vestal himself.

    Also, I really think everyone visiting Knoxville should check out the East Tennessee History Center on Gay Street. Admission is usually free and they have a great permanent exhibit called “Voices of the Land” about the region, plus the gift shop has a great book selection.

    While you’re on Gay Street, check out Yeehaw Industries and Morelock Music if you’re into printmaking or guitars. And maybe do some people-watching on Market Square.

    And if you make it out West to Farragut, you gotta try Pizza Kitchen. Man, I could go on forever. Knoxville rules.

    March 15, 2012
    • Erika B. #

      OH MAN, I can’t believe I left out the absolute shining star of Knoxville! The Blue Plate Special at WDVX, free live Americana music Mon-Sat. at noon!

      March 15, 2012

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