Crown & Goose
- Address: 123 S. Central St. Knoxville, TN 37902
- Phone: 865-524-2100
- Hours: Open 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Fridays; noon-2 a.m. Saturdays; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays
KNOXVILLE — British Pub establishments have always been favorites (or favourites) of mine for reasons that aren't easy to pinpoint.
Maybe it's the fact that England produces great rock and roll music. Maybe it's that their beer-based nightlife culture suits my taste buds. Maybe on some level I feel cultured by going to a British pub, even if it's located in the Southeastern United States.
It's probably a mix, but whatever the case, no one had to twist my arm to check out The Crown & Goose in the Old City.
Until a recent Friday night I had never been. I head to the Old City too much and nothing seems to change (for the most part). This isn't a bad thing; I'm just burned out on it right now. But Crown & Goose doesn't really feel like the Old City.
The establishment sports a hint of class while having an old-fashioned feel. In fact, it gives off a more upper-class vibe than the rest of the Old City, but its crowd is virtually the same as anywhere else in town. Whereas The Crown & Goose looks like it could fit in with the Turkey Creek scene, your same avid, 20-something Old City bar-goers (the type not likely to trek out west to Turkey Creek) still attend.
On the other hand, the majority of the crowd was in their 40s through 60s, which is less common for the nearby bars. It's a nightlife melting pot.
One thing drawing me there is its beer garden, a rarity for Knoxville bars. In case you haven't experienced a beer garden (common in European-themed bars), the concept is simple: a bunch of picnic tables in an enclosed area outside of a bar for enjoying a cold beer on a summer evening.
And despite my enthusiasm, my friends and I actually never made it to the garden, as we settled at the bar unintentionally. We weren't disappointed, as we had a steady stream of draft beer slid right to us. Maybe next time.
Crown features two of its own brews that both come from the Smoky Mountain Brewery (though you can't get them at the other SMB establishments). Naturally, my curiosity drove me to try both, regardless of the cost.
They pride their Stout on being a thicker, stronger version of Guinness. That's a tall claim, but after trying it, I can safely say that it makes Guinness taste and feel like tap water. The stout is creamy, thick and packs a powerful punch. It's like a meal in a glass, if that meal made you feel all warm and fuzzy and impaired your judgment. On the other hand, their IPA is weaker, though still decent.
Around 9 p.m. the band set up on the stage in the corner. People seemed to be wrapping up their dinners and more poured in, grabbing seats at the bar and ordering beer. Within a song or two, people were already full-fledged swing dancing, which prompted my interest, so I had to go talk to them.
As it turns out, many people flock to Crown & Goose specifically for dancing. "We know there's music and we can dance," said Mike Scourby, one of the giddy swing-dancers I chatted with during some down time.
Some of the people dancing were members of the Knoxville Swing Dance Association and explained that they like coming to Crown & Goose for that very reason: to dance.
I don't really know what I expected from Crown & Goose, but when I headed to the bar on Friday night I didn't except to see swing dancing. But everyone was having a blast, and unlike at many other bars the crowd and bartenders were talkative and friendly.
Overall, Crown & Goose left me pleasantly surprised.
© 2010, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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