Wild Wing Cafe
The holidays are a mess in the busy shopping havens of Knoxville — especially in West Knoxville from exit 373 to exit 380, where you can find many a mad shopper, sometimes literally tossing packages and rummaging through sales bins in search of that special something for their special someone.
I have promoted events at bars and nightclubs in the past, and it fascinates me what effect the holiday shopping season has on turnouts. So this seems like a good time to write about a Black Friday night out to Wild Wing Cafe.
Not often does a bar have its own lake. But the Wild Wing Cafe does, lying just west of the Turkey Creek shopping district amidst a bevy of hotels. This section of town has a lot of food offerings in a relatively small area. Two dozen restaurants and bars are located within two miles of Wild Wing Cafe, in fact. Yet this establishment stands out by offering live music.
I arrived and circled the large, winding parking lot that surrounds the small lake that is nestled up against Wild Wing Cafe. I parked on the back side of the lot just to take a moment to admire how the moon was reflecting on the water around the fountain in the middle of the lake.
A sign up front featured the beers that were on special and entertainment that was on the stage for the evening. Drunk with Guns was on stage. This made me recall back to why I originally chose this bar to cover on this particular night. Who wouldn’t want to see a band called Drunk with Guns?
I was somewhat disappointed not to see staggering musicians with some type of fake and/or real guns propped up around the stage. Nevertheless, they were shredding through some classic cover tunes, and the crowd seemed to be enjoying it.
The bar is huge, as many in the Wild Wing Cafe chain are, and there’s a good amount of seats off to both the right and left from the main entrance — seating separate from the rest of the seating, which could be suitable for private parties and events. Nearby is an exit to a large patio area that overlooks the lake. Hundreds of people could easily fit in this place, with little crowding. (The restrooms are off to the left, just past these seating areas.)
I made my way toward the bar, which is located on the back left half of the venue. Forty seats wrap around it and a series of booths, and the stage is off the back right hand side of the bar. Between the bar and the stage is a dance floor plus ample additionally seating and tables. Most of the folks in attendance on this night seemed to either be there to watch a sporting event or there having a few cold ones after a crazy day of fighting fellow shoppers for doorbusters.
The air smelled of perfectly cooked wings and the vibe was energetic and fun. The only complaint I had, which was minimal, was that they put the tables and seating too close to the bar seating making a very narrow walkway to the booths beyond the bar if folks were sitting in those seats.
Drunks With Guns was good and the crowd was receptive.
This is yet another instance of how bars located near retail areas can capitalize on being an oasis for thirsty holiday shoppers during the busiest times in the season. Also, I anticipate Wild Wing Cafe will have one of the area’s more swinging New Year’s Eve parties.
So get on down to the bar by the lake for some good food and live music.