KNOXVILLE — When I went to Tin Roof on a recent Friday night I saw three specific things that I feel fully sum up the Tin Roof experience.
As my girlfriend and I flashed our IDs at the door man, read over the drink specials on a chalkboard above his head, and turned the corner into Tin Roof's main room, the rock band on the stage to the left kicked into "The Joker" by Steve Miller Band.
I've heard this song roughly 6 million times more than I care to. If I didn't know better, I'd swear that song has been playing in my general vicinity every moment since my birth. But I never really object to it. It's nothing special, but it's not offensive. It's a safe choice.
The same applies to Tin Roof: it's predictable, with college students dancing to a bar band with slightly above-average talent. It plays it safe, relying on a denominator of cheap drinks.
But like "The Joker," I've experienced that approach more than enough times.
Secondly, I noticed young girls wearing excessively large flannel shirts that hang off their bodies like draperies with practically nonexistent shorts. I've missed this fashion movement, and I also don't understand what it accomplishes.
Finally, I witnessed a young man wandering like a zombie, double-fisting two different brands of beer. So I made a point of watching him. Was he delivering one of the two beers to his friends? Was he holding one while a friend was in the rest room? After 15 minutes I realized neither was the case. He was sipping from both beverages. Miller Lite can in his left hand, Budweiser can in his right hand.
I enjoy putting away beers as much as the next guy, and I enjoy variety. But I've never once double-fisted with two different beers.
To be fair, I don't really know why I haven't. On the Strip, sometimes the lines at the bars get out of control, so I've learned it's often smarter to get two drinks at once. Maybe that's what he was doing.
But that's the kind of place Tin Roof is, apparently: a place where you drink two beers at once, possibly of different brands.
What refreshed me was talking to a group of friends lounging at the back bar. This group, specifically two people named Daniel Benz and Tara Taylor, gave me the rundown.
They explained that Tin Roof is extremely popular among the college crowd, and around midnight the line to get in is usually wrapped around the building. They added they are at the Roaming Gnome "literally every night" and frequently head to Tin Roof after.
Neither is from Knoxville, which lent credence to a rumor I've heard that Tin Roof is popular specifically among those not from here, particularly Nashvillians (like Benz).
One member of their group, Mikey Powell, always sits in the same chair at Tin Roof every time they come, they also pointed out.
I'm glad they understand the importance of being regulars somewhere, and that when you're committed to a bar, everyone's experience is better. Personally, I'd go just about anywhere if I knew the same guy was going to be sitting in the same chair every time. That's charming. That's funny. It makes my day.
So if you're into Steve Miller Band covers, girls with short shorts and awkward tops, or drinking two different beers at once, the Tin Roof experience just might suit you.
© 2011, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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