Oskie's is in Farragut, southwest of Turkey Creek off of Kingston Pike. I originally found the place because I was looking for a place that acted as the "Ohio State" bar for Knoxville so my wife and I could go watch the Ohio State/Michigan game. I could care less about sports besides maybe Final Four basketball. My wife, however, puts her jersey on and screams at the TV like a banshee just about every Saturday in the fall.
I had done a Google search some time ago and found Oskie's to be not only the hangout for OSU fans, but for Steelers fans as well — both teams my wife is into. We ended up having a baby a year ago, so that put a damper on our beer and wings Saturday afternoons pretty quickly. (Like many in the area, my wife and I are transplants. We moved to the South the same reason many Northerners do, to avoid being overtaxed and to get away from the freezing weather. I can't say for more than two days in the last six years have I desired to see snow on the ground.)
I arrived at Oskie's and parked slightly away from the building. The parking lot is rather large as it also accommodates a host of other businesses in the West End Shopping Center. The band playing that night, The Reigns Band, was making rocking cover after rocking cover rain down on me like a tidal wave from a flashback tsunami. Lots of guitar-heavy stuff was going on just inside the front doors of Oskie's.
When patrons enter, the bar is directly in front of them and up a small staircase. All the seats along the bar have an elevated view, making it easy to check out the bands. The Reigns Band was set up in the corner of the room to my right, and to my left was a seating area that resembled a dentist office in 1989. What I loved about it, though, was that even though the furniture had a more retro look to it, it was in great shape and provided a neat little "waiting room" area for people to sit, have a smoke and wait for a pool table to come open. Further in were three pool tables going all the way to the back of the room, and this entire section was walled off from the rest of the bar, providing a little buffer from the band but not so much that one couldn't enjoy both a game of pool and some live entertainment.
As I made my way through the bar, The Reign Band broke into "Devil Went Down to Georgia." Minutes into the song the guitar player started randomly playing the guitar line to Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O' Mine" then broke back into "Devil Went Down to Georgia" again. It was odd seeing an act play that song without a fiddle player in the band, but it wouldn't be the first time I had seen it.
After I got seated at the bar, I chatted with the bartender, Rick Vance. Rick was quick to extend his hand and greet me with a smile.
Beyond him my gaze landed firmly on a plastic bag taped to the cooler door with a rubber hose leading from it in homage to a local fraternity member's freshman "adventure" that made national news this past fall. I found out later Rick was a musician himself playing in the band Kitty Wampus and also appearing locally as a reggae DJ. Rasta Rick — ya, mon.
Rick then brought out a plate of deep-fried fantasy that included two egg rolls, a handle of fist-size onion rings, a couple of jalapeno poppers, two soft pretzels, some hush puppies, a socket set, two copies of Hulk Hogan's latest book and four dipping sauces. OK, the socket set and Hogan books were just my way of saying, it was a lot of food. On a recent (slow down on the fried food Mr. Fat Fatty Fatso) diet I had been trying to avoid such treats. However, I have always found it the epitome of rudeness to turn down food offered to you by someone truly proud of it. Maybe that's just my inner fat man talking.
I did find out that the bar is not exactly a Buckeye bar or Steelers bar, but a place where plenty of sports fans and music lovers come to have a good time and get some great food. So check it out when you have a chance.
Oskie's Sports Bar & Grill
155 W End Ave
Knoxville, TN 37934
Hours: 11am-3am 7 days a week
Smoking Inside: Yes
Live Entertainment: Yes
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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