A Facebook friend messaged me after I asked for leads on new bars, and her list included Lazy Bones Saloon in East Knox County. I've covered many of the others on her list, so I did a little research and found Lazy Bones.
In Strawberry Plains at the intersection of Strawberry Plains Pike, Asheville Highway and Andrew Johnson Highway, there's a large yellow sign posted that says, "Coldest Beer in U.S.A." The sign has stood in front of the bar for the better part of three decades, including the times it was Joann's Bar & Grill and The Wolf's Den. Roughly six months ago partners Jeff Hicks and Charles Stubblefield purchased the bar, changed its name to Lazy Bones Saloon and reopened for business.
East Knox County is struck with a particular problem: If you aren't at work, there really is not much to do. Lazy Bones Saloon is out to change all that.
I stopped out on a Wednesday night for "Bike Night." When I arrived I was taking a phone call from my wife, and a gentleman from the bar came out to see what I was up to. I later found out his name was Bill Cox and he was just keeping an eye on the parking lot for the sake of their patrons.
I gathered my stuff together and pulled my camera out to snap a picture of the "Coldest Beer in U.S.A." sign. That one made me laugh. Is this the only bar in the U.S.A. that serves completely frozen beers? That, I think, would be the only way to accurately adhere to that marketing.
I got to the door and made my way inside. Thick licks of blues guitar streamed through my ears and cigarette smoke wafted around the room like a back-room poker match. Now folks, don't get turned off by the cigarette smoke. If you go to any bar outside of the city limits anywhere in East Tennessee, you are going run into some smoky spots. It just reminds me of riding along in the truck with my dad when I was little. You know, back when rolling the window down was good enough.
When I got to the bar I met Kim Butcher, who shook my hand and quickly made her way from behind the bar to lead me to the free food they provided for the bikers every Wednesday.
I sat down with my barbecue sandwich and listened to the sweet sounds of Rick Sharp on guitar, complete with drum machine and loop station. He sounded like a full band, and it was quite enjoyable. It very much fit the venue, which I don't often witness.
Behind Rick was a cool-looking old phone booth they have retained.
Rick took a break, so I started chatting with Kim about the bar. She told me about the happy hour that they run every day from 5-8 p.m. Also on Thursdays they have ladies night with drinks specials and a DJ every Friday and Saturday playing Southern rock. When asked if the bar had a theme song what it would be, she quickly responded, "I Love This Bar" by Toby Keith.
I got a very good impression of Lazy Bones Saloon. From the quick response from one of its owners when I messaged him about their entertainment schedule, to how quickly Kim extended her hand to me and welcomed me to the venue. I saw her do this over and over again to others that came in the bar. It takes someone with that type of welcoming personality to keep the regulars coming back and new people coming in.
If you live in East Knox County or just happen to be riding your motorcycle out that way some clear summer evening, stop in to Lazy Bones Saloon for some great tunes from Rick Sharp and a warm greeting from manager Kim Butcher.
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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