In writing this nightlife column for just over a year, I have come to notice something that just seems to come with the territory. Bars and nightclubs throughout East Tennessee are often a quick flash in the pan with little background or history. An eager new entrepreneur opens his or her doors and turns the open sign on, but the business just never comes like they pictured it would. Sometimes the costs of doing business fluctuate dramatically and without much warning. Sometimes that can change your bar from a wall-to-wall, six-day-a-week party, into a small gaggle of regulars who like playing games and having a beer and conversation.
The Pint House has background. As the story goes the Ho brothers, Thuc and Thoai, were regulars of The Spot, a bar run by Gina Truitt (now owner of The Well) and Josh Darling. The Spot succumbed to a similar financial transition as many bars do, and Thuc and Thoai were left without a watering hole. It was September 2006 that they decided to open The Pint House in the very spot where their families ran popular Vietnamese restaurant T. Ho Bistro.
I strolled into The Pint House recently and had a seat at the long bar that faces the door. I took a look at the offerings and noticed only beer was available. This is not a rare occurrence in my nightlife missions. But it was new to The Pint House. The Pint House did serve liquor by the drink until not long ago. However, beer was the beverage and plenty of it was to be had.
I was quickly approached by bartender Keath. She got a water for me and chatted me up briefly when I explained my mission. To look around the place, I could see that the change in beer and liquor to just beer had some impact on just who was at the bar. To me, however, it was perfect. I am a 37-year-old man who has a child at home and a wife who doesn't drink. I am completely down with a bar that I don't constantly have to wipe my drink off myself because I know how to walk in public but not how to defend myself from people who do not know how to walk in public. Not a problem here. Also, no holes punched in the walls. That's a win. Actually, that just sounds like the abbreviated version of a TripAdvisor Review.
"Cheers" is cliche, but sometimes without using a lot of unnecessary words, you can convey your meaning with something recognizable from pop culture, right? So "Cheers" is what I liken The Pint House to. No one said my name in unison when I entered the bar, but I had never stepped foot in there before. On the other hand, no one cast me a foul glance either. The folks there all seemed to know each other, but were welcoming to "outsiders."
So if you are in North Knoxville, head to The Pint House to have a casual conversation and a drink. Tell Keath that Matt sent you.
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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