Monday, March 19, 2012

Suttree's High Gravity Tavern coming to 409 Gay Street!

Matt and Anne outside the future site of Suttree's High Gravity Tavern
Husband and wife team Matt Pacetti and Anne Ford are ready to announce something that has been in the works for quite some time: They will manage and co-own (with several other investors) Suttree's High Gravity Tavern at 409 S. Gay Street, which is next door to Downtown Wine. That makes it a short move for Matt who has been a well-informed and welcoming face at Downtown Wine since its inception. Anne, who was featured on this blog recently, will move from her long-term post at Bliss Home.

Plans are still taking shape, but some things are well in focus and preparations are being made for a spot unlike any other downtown. Matt says the name of the tavern will likely be the only tip of the hat to Cormac McCarthy, with the inside being "rustic," Matt said, "but with lean modern lines." The bar is being lovingly built by John Phillips, who works at Morelock Music, from boards which had to be removed from the floor to build out the restroom. It promises to be beautiful.

409 Gay Street: Interior space under construction 
As for the beer plans, Matt said, the tavern will serve, "craft beers with a focus on high gravity beers." Readers of this blog know I'm no expert on hops, so I asked what that meant. It means the beer has a higher alcohol content than other beers and most places in Knoxville are not allowed to serve it as it requires a different license. The emphasis will be on enjoying a quiet brew with friends who appreciate specialty beers. A great block that also includes Yee Haw Wine and Morelock Music has just gotten better.

The bar, in addition to a great variety of specialty beers, will  be fully stocked and also will offer wines, which one might suspect will also  be excellent given Matt's knowledge and association with Downtown Wine. Helping out with plans for the beer and perhaps serving some of it up will be one of the most knowledgeable people in Knoxville as far as specialty beers go: Ratchet. He has a post up on his blog Ratchet Brews about the plans.

Matt and Anne
Also offered will be light foods and, while the menu is far from set, hummus, cheese plates, meat plates and soups are all possibilities. Smoking will not be allowed inside, but outside may have a spot for those who need to step out for a minute. Up to ninety patrons will be able to enjoy the inside seating and Matt noted that the tavern will include, "as much outdoor seating as possible."

Plans call for an opening the last weekend of April or soon thereafter, assuming all goes well. Sounds like a great bet for a stop on First Friday in May. And like I said in the previous post about Anne - It's the people who make a place and these are two of the warmest human beings in the city. Stop by and see for yourself.

The quote in yesterday's tease blog was, of course, from Suttee by Cormac McCarthy. If you haven't read it, stop by Union Avenue Books and buy a copy. It's possibly the best book ever written with Knoxville as a setting. Reading it will give you a spring in your step every time you enter Suttree's High Gravity Tavern, just to know you won't have to drink quite like old Sut:

     "Where's the whiskey?
     Here ye go. Get ye a drink, Bud.
     What is it?
     Early Times. Best little old drink in the world. Get ye a drink, Sut.
     Suttree held it to the light. Small twigs, debris, matter coiled in the oily liquid. He shook it. Smoke rose from the yellow floor of the bottle. Shit almighty, he said.
     Best little old drink in the world, sang out J-Bone. Have a drink, Bud.
     He unthreaded the drink, sniffed, shivered and drank."

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At March 19, 2012 at 12:11 AM , Blogger Andrea said...

Yay! Yes, this is what I was hearing rumors about. I am looking forward to seeing what they have to offer.

At March 19, 2012 at 12:39 AM , Blogger Ally Gregory-Moore said...

That is exciting. I am always glad to see new businesses downtown. Since I am a beer type of girl this sounds great.

At March 19, 2012 at 8:47 PM , Blogger Cindy Ellison said...

This is exciting news! I can still remember J-Bone offering this drink to Suttree. Last year at this time, I was reading Suttree while our house was on the market in Dallas. I would read it until I'd see the realtor pull up front with the potential buyers. When they pulled up, my husband and I would dart out the back door to park down the street until we'd see them leave. I'd spend my time reading while we waited. My husband's 89 year old mother recently read Suttree and she shared the book with another friend of hers at her retirement village. It's good to learn of a new business bearing Suttree's name. I can just imagine some creative menu ideas ... fresh watermelon anyone? ;~)

At March 19, 2012 at 10:39 PM , Blogger Knoxville Urban Guy said...

Hey guys, it's been quite a day. Metropulse picked up on the blog, then WATE interviewed Matt, so it's all good for those guys. It sounds like a great place to hang out with friends. Maybe we should have our first Urban Nation gathering there. Nice to hear the book making the rounds, Cindy. Watermelon is an absolutely disgusting idea! I love it. (Read the book if you don't get this :-))

At March 20, 2012 at 11:53 AM , Anonymous Aaron Thompson said...

Matt is awesome, that's great news! Look forward to another spot on Gay Street to help us flesh out the 400 block!


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