It’s obvious Knoxville has plenty of street-level fun – and you know we love a bar in the sky – but did you know there are people living their best lives underground while you stroll above them on Gay Street? We know, we know – nothing cues red flag alerts like “come hang out with me in a basement.” But we’re here to share five legitimately cool basement bars to check out in downtown Knoxville. It’s highly unlikely you’ll get killed in them – and you may even have a lot of fun!😂
1.) Maple Hall Bowling
Maple Hall is definitely the trendiest bowling alley in Knoxville – but it may just be the trendiest basement as well. When you head inside, you’re greeted by someone at street level – presumably there to make you feel a little less uncomfortable about boldly heading into a basement. However, once inside, you’ll be greeted with gorgeous exposed brick walls, leather couches, a full bar, and some of the best fried pickles we’ve had to date. Oh, and definitely go bowling 😂
2.) Knox Box Karaoke
Once you’re done bowling, you’ll want to head to Knox Box Karaoke for the after-party. There’s no greeting area or entry way to this basement bar – once you open the door, you head down the stairs to a night of shout-singing your favorite tunes in the company of the friendliest strangers. (We actually have all the details on the magic that is Knox Box Karaoke right here.)
3.) La Cueva del Chango
La Cueva del Chango (which translates to “The Monkey Cave”) is the name of Soccer Taco’s downstairs bar in Market Square. With the same menu and offerings, it’s more a fun way to mix up your Soccer Taco experience than it is a bar to actively seek out. On the other hand, any bar named “The Monkey Cave” is worth checking out 😂
4.) The Vault
On the flip side of the basement bar vibe spectrum (didn’t know that was a thing, did ya?😉), there’s The Vault. As you walk into the entrance they share with Vida, you’ll encounter a chandelier hanging over stairs that lead you to a basement bar just dripping with class. You can sip your cocktail in an actual bank vault or cozy up in one of their many dark and elegant nooks. Either way, this is unlike any basement experience you’ve had before.
Last but not least, Mirage is a vibey hookah bar tucked beneath Skybox Sports Bar. If you’re not into hookah, fear not! They also have a full bar, Turkish coffee, and “actually really good” food. (This detailed food review comes from my husband😂) If you do enjoy smoking hookah, they have over thirty flavors to choose from. While you can totally just come and chill, events range from catching a football game on the television to catching a belly dancing show live!
Bar hopping is so last year. We can’t wait to hear all about your basement hopping experiences instead!😉
Want to go from the lowest depths of downtown Knoxville to the highest? Click Here to Discover Knoxville’s Rooftop Bars!
Figuring out how to get involved in the local going-ons in a community when you’re the new kid in town can be a fun (but sometimes daunting 😳) mission. Maybe you just moved here for a job and are looking for some like-minded individuals to hang out with outside of work. Or maybe you aren’t new to Knoxville at all but have been looking to grow your leadership skills and do some professional networking. Or maybe you’re just looking for a way to take on a more active role in your local neighborhood. If you’re reading this, you’re in the right place (obviously) – maybe you’re feelin’ good about the top places to eat, drink, and be merry. Maybe you’ve even gone to some events or signed up for a New2Knox Hop… but now, how do you take your Knox involvement even further?
Have I got an organization for you! 😉 Let me introduce you to (drum roll, please) Young Professionals of Knoxville!
WHAT IS YPK?
Young Professionals of Knoxville (or YPK as the cool kids call it) is a membership-driven, non-profit organization with a mission to inspire Knoxville’s young professionals to connect, develop and serve to build leaders and improve our community. This association really does take an active interest in the Knoxville community and goes above and beyond just networking.
As a member to the organization myself, I sat down at a recent YPK Happy Hour with Grace Bennett, current YPK president, to find out more about it and their upcoming events. (psssst, if you’re looking for Happy Hours across the board we got you.) Grace was a transplant who moved to our Scruffy City in 2019 for a job and didn’t know a single soul. She says the friends she has made through YPK, “have truly been genuine and it’s made Knoxville feel like home.”
EVENTS & PERKS:
In addition to making real connections like the ones Grace has made, being a member of Young Professionals of Knoxville gives you the chance to get to know Knox on a deeper level. There are exclusive events, meet & greets with civic leaders in our city, private tours of local businesses and more. “We pride ourselves on providing those behind-the-scenes and exclusives [to Knoxville],” says Grace.
Not only does YPK host several events throughout the year, they also have a variety of committees and affinity groups you can join and take an active role in to hone your leadership skills. If there is something you are passionate about but there isn’t a specific committee for it, YPK will dive in to help and encourage you to take on a leadership role in said area of your interest. Bennett, being a leader herself in the organization said,“The leadership opportunities that YPK provides helps you state on your resume the leadership skills you have that go beyond [your current job].”
SO WHERE DO I SIGN? 😏
Now, I could go on about my own personal experience and involvement so far in YPK but the best way to find out more would be clearing your calendar for one of their YPK 101 events. Not only do they host them at some of the cutest event spaces in Knoxville, these fun little gatherings have drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and time for networking. They’re specifically designed to educate potential and existing YPK members on how to get the most out of their membership. During these events, YPK members will explain their three pillars: Connect, Develop and Serve by sharing what each committee does and how participation from members makes each committee more valuable and talking about upcoming events and affinity groups.
THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT YPK:
🌟 You don’t actually have to be that young. I know, I know… it’s in the name of the organization, Young Professionals of Knoxville – but there is no age restriction to how old you can be. Aren’t we all young at heart anyway? 😉 But seriously, the only stipulations are that you are a young professional, over 21, and that you live, work, or play in Knoxville.
⭐️ Yes, there are membership dues ($200 for new members, and $100 for renewing members) BUT if you come to any of their free YPK 101 events, you can get 25% off your new member dues which is $50 buckaroos (and like, several coffees and bagels from K Brew)!
🌟 Just like most things in life, you will get out of it what you put into it. There are no mandatory meetings or required attendance to events but showing up and getting involved will make all the difference!
If none of this is up your alley but you’re still looking to find community locally, hop on over to this article to find a ton of different ideas on where to go and what to do to meet people and connect. Hope to see you on Tuesday and if you have questions, please reach out to me on the ole Instagram @knoxknena!
More than plant based. Locally inspired
You may have noticed the new kid on the block in Knoxville’s Old City – or you may be like us and have been (im)patiently waiting on the day she opened for what seems like forever. But good food cannot be rushed, and once you take your first bite of that oh so delicious Vidl taste, you’ll know it was well worth the wait. Here’s a little inside scoop on Knoxville’s newest plant-based restaurant: Vid’l.
First things first…
What the heck is ‘Vidl?!’ Short answer: the newest restaurant in Old City.
Long answer: the brainchild of chef, Jenna Baker. After years of teaching people the value of well-being, nurturing the body with good food, and how to make that good food, Jenna opened Vidl. You may already recognize her from Be Well Boxes by Cook To Be Well. Or maybe you know her from taking one of her classes on preparing whole foods. But noooow, you can cozy on up at the wooded bar (or sit in the back and eye those lush and vibrant micro greens sitting in the grow room, just waiting to top your market bowl) and enjoy those whole foods in the comfort of Vid’l.
So what’s the big deal?
Do we need to mention the grow room again? It’s literally a room in the middle of the restaurant actively growing fresh micro-greens! (If you were in Knoxville during the days of Bluhen, you’ll remember that same room growing loads and loads of hemp. We love that Jenna was able to repurpose and make use of it for Vid’l!)
Besides this awe-inspiring grow room, just take one bite of the chickpea salad and you’ll be a believer. Chef Baker sources fresh seasonal produce straight from the East Tennessee region and creates masterpieces with them.
The focus of the restaurant is fresh food, and she wants to show you the true value of fruits and vegetables. Baker believes the best way to make good food is to start from the source with quality produce. Instead of covering up a bad vegetable by frying it, she finds the best vegetables and simply enhances them.
If you look around Knoxville, you won’t spot many places like Vidl – full of fresh produce, a rotating menu, and fresh takes on classic dishes.
But Vid’l has high hopes of opening the door to cooking and eating for wellness in the city. And maybe, just maybe, this one little shop will inspire you to try something new and maybe even try a Be Well Box so you can bring the fresh, plant based cooking home to your own kitchen. O_r even open a kitchen of your own! 👀
Okay, for real, stop in now:
“It’s all just about featuring the vegetable,” says Baker, and if that doesn’t make you want to finally listen to your mom and eat your greens, I don’t know what will!
She doesn’t just make these vegetables delicious – she makes them approachable. You’ll notice from the start the restaurant feels like home and the dishes remind you of childhood. (They just may have a little bit more emphasis on the clean and healthy eating part.) If nothing else, they’ll make you wish you never turned your nose up all of those times you were told to eat your greens!
You’re through the background; now start here…
You get the idea: healthy but delicious food.
If this is something completely new and foreign to you, don’t worry. We may have tried A LOT of the menu, so we can help you out 😉 (For real, the chickpea salad is one of the best side salads your taste buds will ever touch.)
But if you’re feeling lost, the folks who make up the Vidl crew are really the ones to ask. They want to bring this food to you and they’re super excited to do so. As we said, it’s been a long time coming between all of Baker’s previous positions leading her to this spot, getting the space restaurant ready, finding the right suppliers, and all the madness that comes with opening a restaurant. We’re stoked they’re finally here and ready for you to come and experience the world of locally inspired.
Have we convinced you yet?! No?
Okay then, try the cookies then come back and tell us the answer to that question 😂 See you soon!
This is for everyone who enjoys the sweeter things in life. (Yeah, we’re lookin’ at you, our buttercream frosting and chocolate-covered anything girlies 😉) There’s no hiding that the Scruffy City has stolen our hearts – but the literal ✨sweetest✨ things about Knoxville are her local bakeries (and there are plentyyyyy). From classic vanilla cupcakes to half-pound cookies, butter and sugar never tasted better, y’all!🙌 The holiday season is right around the corner, so whether you’re in charge of picking up festive desserts for Friendsgiving or you’re looking for the tastiest hostess gift, here are six of our favorite Knoxville bakeries for some inspiration (and sweet sweet happiness)!
6 Must-Try Bakeries in Knoxville:
1.) Magpies Bakery
North Knoxville: 846 N Central St, Knoxville, TN 37917
When I stepped into Magpies for the first time, I knew I was leaving with more than a single cupcake (for inquiring minds, I went with SIX cupcakes, a cosmic brownie, and banana pudding). The desserts are especially delicious (made with love but also LOTS of butter) and they have so many tempting treats to choose from… in fact, I’m in need of a s’mores pumpkin cupcake right about now. Magpies will take custom cake orders for special events you may have coming up or they sell whole cakes in their bakery, ready to make someone reeeeally happy (even if it’s for yourself). With the holidays approaching way too quickly, they are taking preorders for Thanksgiving and if you want to *wow* your friends and family, the pumpkin cranberry bars look DIVINE, just sayin’ 😉
2.) Wild Love Bakehouse
North Knoxville: 1625 N Central St, Knoxville, TN 37917
Not your average coffee shop, Wild Love Bakehouse is pure magic. They have a full coffee bar (oat milk cappuccino please ☕) and a baked goods case where they make everything in-house. The almond frangipane croissant deserves a standing ovation and I casually want their flaky hand pies every single morning for breakfast. It’s the best place to hang out for a while with schoolwork or a thrilling book while snacking on a cranberry oat scone and your favorite coffee drink. Sips and snacks aside, we just love the plants and overall chill aesthetic too. Wild Love is taking Thanksgiving preorders now so hurry before they sell out (I have googly eyes for the pumpkin pie👀) but a box of croissants surely wouldn’t disappoint.
3.) Marble City Sweets
West Knoxville: 9307 Kingston Pike Suite B, Knoxville, TN 37922
They may be known for their incredible custom cakes but Marble City Sweets has a few other things up their sleeves as well! From gender-reveal cake pops to festive cookie Advent calendars, there is something sugar-coated for everyone. I recently stopped by and the dessert case housed pumpkin pie-decorated sugar cookies that would make anyone smile like a little kid 😊 They will gladly work with you to create a perfectly decorated and customized cookie set (or cupcakes, cake, etc.). Be sure to include Marble City Sweets in your holiday plans this year – the turkey place card cookies aloooone will steal the show 😍
4.) Benefit Your Life Gluten Free Bakery & Cafe
West Knoxville: 10420 Kingston Pike Suite G, Knoxville, TN 37922
Benefit Your Life is truly a special bakery in Knoxville – especially if you have food allergies or preferences. Everything they make is gluten-free and they even offer egg-free, dairy-free, vegan options, etc. Whether you go for breakfast or lunch, you must get a cinnamon roll (or two or three)! They are so soft, perfectly spiced, and just absolutely delicious. Something this good almost seems too good to be true but trust me, these are legendary. I also tried the Texas sheet cake which makes the sweetest midnight snack. This bakery does preorders for the holidays and they also take special orders for cakes and cupcakes – and yes, it’s still ALL gluten-free. If you’re lookin’ for more gluten-free goodness and health conscious businesses, we gotchu right here!
5.) Status Dough
Yeah, opening gifts may be exciting but have you tried opening a box of freshly made doughnuts from Status Dough?? (What can I say, doughnuts are a girl’s best friend!) With seasonal flavors like pumpkin spice and apple cider, these doughnuts will definitely get you in the holiday spirit. Bring a dozen down to the office or home to the roomies, and spread the joooy. I highly recommend their old-fashioned doughnuts because they have a crispy, crackly exterior but a suuuuuuper soft inside that just melts in your mouth. Surely, you can’t go wrong with a classic Boston cream either (*drool*) Just definitely doughnut miss out on this delish local bakery 😉
6.) Myrtle’s Bakehouse
Downtown: 333 W Depot Ave, Knoxville, TN 37917
Allow me to introduce you to Myrtle’s Bakehouse, home of the half-pound cookie. These cookies are changing the game and are (as their motto goes): “big enough to share, but you don’t have to.” Maybe you’ve been gift shopping for the fam or cramming for finals. Either way, you deserve to stop at Myrtle’s and treat yourself to some of the freshest cookies in the Marble City (no, literally. They’re located inside Marble City Market 🤣). You should definitely splurge for the Scruffy City cookie (espresso chips, toffee, and pecans) because it’s sweet, salty, and caffeinated to keep you up and running this holiday season.
These are just a few of our favorite bakeries in Knoxville so be sure to let us know your other sugary obsessions!