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 cuisine that includes meats, cheeses, and seasonal produce from local vendors such as Sweetwater Valley Cheese, Painted Hills Beef, and John Mixon Farms. These ingredients appear throughout the selection of regionally inspired dishes, including boursin mac 'n' cheese, pimento pork bites, and almond-dusted chicken served with roasted brussels sprouts and sweet-potato gratin.
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 every year from 2011 through 2014.