New Happy Holler nightspot Central Flats & Taps anything but flat

matt ward/special to
Britta Byrne, left, and John Markman enjoy cold beverages and conversation on a recent night at Central Flats & Taps.

matt ward/special to Britta Byrne, left, and John Markman enjoy cold beverages and conversation on a recent night at Central Flats & Taps.

Central Flats & Taps

North Knoxville - Knoxville


1204 Central Avenue


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Knoxville has been making one thing very easy for me recently: finding great new nightlife establishments to review.

This time around I had gone as far as to browse the new business licenses in the last three months in Knox County Public Records to try to find the places that were newly opened to do my column. This time around I found Central Flats & Taps, which I had driven past the other day after a visit to Chicken City on Central (my favorite poultry joint).

I made my plans and scheduled a visit for Saturday, March 24.

Upon arriving at Flats & Taps, I immediately noticed how the crowd seemed to be a few steps ahead of me in discovering this new bar in the Happy Holler neighborhood of Old North Knoxville.

I ponied up to the bar and my gaze fell on a welcome sign for a beer lover, 20 taps of beer. After a lengthy survey of the selection, I came to a pleasing conclusion that our region holds its own when it comes to great beer. From Georgia's Sweetwater Brewery to Asheville's Highland Brewery to Atlanta's Laughing Skull to Knoxville's own Marble City Brewery, there are some great brews in the Southeast. Each of these mentioned had an offering or two ready to be poured by the pint for thirsty bar-goers.

I introduced myself to bartenders Tyler Trovillo and Whitney Mocsari, and ordered up an IPA for my liquid dinner. Tyler greeted me with a smile and we briefly discussed the opening of the business. The bar did not allow smoking inside due to its vast patio (a welcome relief to my dry-clean-only jacket).

It was the elite eight of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. It's one of the only times of year I actually care about sports. The rest of the year I return to my anti-sports nerd world where legitimate questions about sports teams are met with ignorance and indifference.

I sat quietly at the bar acting as if I was frantically typing out notes for the article while keeping one eye finely tuned to the flat screen behind the bar where Ohio State was finishing off Syracuse to my chagrin. You see, as another transplant from the North I often have to hide my allegiance to the Buckeyes to avoid that awkward conversation where people crap all over them for winning against most teams except Florida and tout the pure might of the SEC. Yeah, yeah, back to not caring about sports I usually go.

The bar is in the spot where Veg-O-Rama used to reside next to Relix Variety Theatre on North Central Street. I took a look around the room and marveled at how nice the hardwood floors looked while simultaneously cheering to myself as OSU held on to win. I glanced back down from the TV and a message at the top of the beer fridge caught my eye. It simply said 'Love your good- Lock your@#%! up'. I sorta knew before asking but asked the bartender anyway, she responded that the people that live in the area love their neighborhood but know better than to leave their stuff unlocked. This made perfect sense to me. As with many cities the nice neighborhoods in Knoxville close to downtown are often just blocks from where all the stuff you see on the local news happens.

I chatted with a couple sitting at the bar and they agreed to let me snap a picture of them for this article. John Markham and Britta Byrne were enjoying some conversation and a few drinks. John commented to me that he just so happened to appear in this column a few years ago when one of the writers covered Union Jack's. I said goodbye to the couple and to Tyler and Whitney and promised them a regular return. "Comics like good beer, and you have a lot of it, so don't be surprised if the next time you see me I am with a bunch of comedians," I told them before I headed off into the night.

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Comments » 1

matt.757.8444#1407958 writes:

Great service, great people, great beer, great food... CF&T really is awesome! You've gotta try their flatbreads!

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