Packard’s Games and Movies fuels friendly competition and hours of virtual entertainment with an eclectic abundance of gently used media. Gamers can fire up current consoles with a collection of used games, such as Halo 3 ($9.99) and Fable II ($7.99), which carry the ghosts of past triumphs to challenge their new owners. Those yearning for pixels of the past can dive into a rich selection of retro games ($2.99+) for vintage systems including Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Guide virtual superheroes as they jump across flames and elude persistent tax collectors with controllers for the Playstation 2 ($9.99+), Super Nintendo ($9.99+) or the Nintendo 64 ($12.99–$19.99). Stacks of previewed DVDs ($4.99) and Blu-rays ($8.99+) provide ample fodder for future movie nights. Each store has a slightly different selection, so call ahead for specific inquiries or simply browse through the cartridge- and disc-packed aisles in person.
Music Instruction Studio's university-educated teachers dispense harmonious how-tos during music lessons for students 6 years and older. Offering instruction in pop, jazz, and classical styles, the instructors equip vocalists with belting skills, teach pianists masterful ivory tickling, and inspiring guitarist. Music Instruction Studio stocks its interior with instruments as well as an entire library of sheet music that students can purchase at an additional cost; pupils may also rent out equipment for at-home practice. After stepping up their skills, students can draw on MIS's extensive music studio to showcase newfound abilities and hair-metal power slides during semiannual recitals at no additional charge.
The multiple YMCA locations in metropolitan Chattanooga serve more than 37,000 members a year and fulfill the mission of uniting guests regardless of gender, age, faith, background, abilities, or income. Founded in London in 1844, the YMCA spread to its Chattanooga home in 1871 and continues to operate with help from local community volunteers as stalwart as I Love Lucy syndicators. Each location caters to the needs of children, teens, seniors, and families with afterschool programs and fitness-based activities. Cardio machines pump hearts, racquetball courts host fun competitions, and pools allow goggles to fulfill their original purpose: snapping the face with their elastic band to make a diver jump off the blocks faster. A sauna and steam room heat clients up after they cool down in the pools, and parents can drop their young children off at the nursery before participating in group fitness classes.
Brackins Blues Club pairs deep-fried fare and more than 100 international beers with live music several nights a week on a small, window-backed stage. As guitar riffs fill their ears, diners can reach into a basket of 10 hot, mild, or teriyaki chicken wings, strumming along on wing bones, or jump into a fried-mushroom or loaded potato-bite appetizer. For entrees, a bed of french fries lays the starchy foundation for chicken tenders, shrimp, or North Atlantic cod fried in Brackins' own beer batter, and a half-pound cheesesteak sandwich tops a toasted hoagie roll with chopped steak and melted american cheese. Diners can reenact hamster ball demolition derbies on the bar's pool table, or move to the outdoor patio and bask in a cool, refreshing cascade of water balloons.
A tall pint of Guinness. A hearty plate of corned beef and cabbage. Few places?in Ireland or otherwise?can top the traditional Irish fare at Flaherty's Irish Pub and Grill. But with that said, this is a restaurant that doesn't shy away from creativity. Exhibit A: the award-winning corned beef bites, which roll together Swiss cheese, cream cheese, and sauerkraut in deep-fried bread crumbs. And if you're not a fan of salted meats and potatoes, Flaherty's still has you covered with club sandwiches, veggie wraps, and a no-fuss pub burger. Irish beers and whiskeys predictably dominate the drink list; most of them are even easy to pronounce, unlike foreign words such as "bangers and mash."
For more than 70 years, jewels used to fill the African mahogany cases lining Sapphire's walls. The dark wooden cabinets remain, although they now brim with more than 40 kinds of vodka, Tennessee and Kentucky whiskeys, and rums from Central and South America. Sapphire may no longer drape its customers in precious gemstones, but it does aim to preserve the sense of elegant refinement that characterized the historic building for decades.
This commitment is readily apparent in the menu of upscale southern cuisine, which includes Tennessee cheeses from Sweetwater Farms, bacon and ham from nearby Benton's, and seasonal produce from local farms. These ingredients appear throughout the selection of regionally inspired dishes. Some dishes, such as the Louisiana-crawfish-stuffed hushpuppies with cajun remoulade, assertively announce their southern roots, whereas others show a bit more restraint, such as beef-tenderloin medallions, which arrive with a simple southern succotash.
On Thursday through Saturday evenings, the elegant environment in the long, narrow room becomes livelier as the night progresses and DJs begin their sets. Upbeat rhythms echo off the high ceilings and the vintage mahogany woodwork while patrons enjoy one of the martinis that earned Sapphire a spot on Metro Pulse's Best of Knoxville 2012 list.