Walking or driving down Gay Street, there is a bright neon sign visible from afar that signals the entrance to the Downtown Brewery. However, when you reach it, the name Woodruff's is prominently displayed on the building's face. I was puzzled over the two different names identifying the same location. Apparently, the city is requiring developers to maintain the exterior designs of downtown buildings. The Brewery is housed in a location once owned by Captain Fred P. Woodruff. Following his service in the Spanish-American War, he returned home to engage in Knoxville's retail clothing and shoe business.
Outside of the Brewery's entrance are a few tables offering open-air seating along the busy sidewalk. Upon entering the pub, you'll be surrounded by wood and copper. A massive wooden bar sits in the middle of the room with all four sides accessible to patrons. Tables have also been placed around the bar for small gatherings or to grab a quick bite. Balcony seating is available to view all of the action going on below. Up the back staircase, a game room with additional seating and a small bar draws a more socially conscious crowd intent on mingling.
The Brewery's service policy is "To know our guests, not only by their food and their drink, but more importantly by their name." The pub is known for its friendly staff, but the bartenders didn't go out of their way to find out my story. They probably sensed that I was an irregular (I'm assuming that is proper bar terminology for the opposite of a regular). As I watched people come and go from the bar, the staff did make it a point to greet every familiar face by name. For $30, you can also purchase a personal beer mug that is conveniently stored at the bar. Before the customer settles in his or her seat, these mugs are quickly retrieved and filled with the usual.
At the end of an entry like this, I would normally shower the establishment with praise, but the people of Knoxville beat me to it. For 2005, Metro Pulse readers voted the Downtown Grill & Brewery as the "Best Brewery/Pub" in the annual Best of Knoxville list. Visit the official Downtown Grill & Brewery site for additional information.
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January 30, 2011
Sevier County, Tennessee
December 20, 2010
August 10, 2005
From journal Don't Knock Knoxville - Tennessee's Third City