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."
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.
After much experimentation, Fort Sanders Yacht Club stumbled upon the perfect formula for a good time: 17 arcade games to the power of 70 beers multiplied by free WiFi and a menu of bar eats. Behind the bar gather drafts, bottles, and cans, ranging from craft beers from Sierra Nevada and New Belgium to old favorites such as Yuengling and Pabst Blue Ribbon. While sipping on their beverages of choice, patrons can immerse themselves in old-school arcade games such as Space Invaders, Tetris, and Donkey Kong for 25 cents a pop, which is the minimum wage for a digital character. Late-night guests hungry after their electronic competitions can check the club's food menu for bar classics that include personal pizzas, egg rolls, and hot dogs.
You can squeeze a lot of jokes into a decade—and even more into two. The masterminds behind Side Splitters use more than 20 years of experience in the comedy industry to create rich experiences for audiences and comics alike. A jam-packed roster of performers with credits as impressive as Saturday Night Live, The Late Show with David Letterman, and Comedy Central file onto the Knoxville club's stage to explain in great detail exactly how the audience's refrigerator is running and what they might wish to do in order to catch it. Regular open-mic nights let budding and established stand-ups hone their skills and sets, and a menu filled with drinks, sandwiches, and snacks provides visitors on both sides of the mic with sustenance.
The Knoxville Opera sings most of its notes in a venue befitting the regality of its material: the Tennessee Theatre. The former movie-house and decades-old stage swathes performers in Spanish-Moorish design, a strikingly blue domed ceiling, burgundy velvet seats, and gold accents. But the opera singers don't keep their voices contained there. Education and outreach programs send them throughout the community, performing at schools, shaking the downtown streets during themed festivals, and aiding local construction companies by shattering old glass buildings.