The Half Barrel still going strong on the Strip

matt ward/special to
Keesha Watts, Kory Robinson, Andrea Wheeler and Rukban Alyami, from left, enjoy a night out at Half Barrel on Cumberland Avenue.

matt ward/special to Keesha Watts, Kory Robinson, Andrea Wheeler and Rukban Alyami, from left, enjoy a night out at Half Barrel on Cumberland Avenue.

Half Barrel

UT/Fort Sanders - Knoxville


American, Sandwiches

1829 Cumberland Ave.


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The Cumberland Avenue Strip is a wonderful place even if you aren’t in college. On any given weekend you can witness a parade of young people who have no idea how to dress weather appropriate. On Friday nights in the spring this means girls in short skirts shivering and walking awkwardly in high heels to the club. Guys, well, they seem to where the same thing all year. Jeans and a polo shirt with some UT logo somewhere on their person. Even the dreadlocked white kids have UT orange poking out from somewhere.

Pollen covered the parked cars along Cumberland like a blanket of dust that normally would indicate they hadn’t been moved in days. In reality, the yellow power likely collected in minutes. I left streaks as I shut my car door and headed up the street to check out The Half Barrel.

The Half Barrel is quite distinctive. On the left side of the building is an oversized wooden barrel that appears to be coming out of the building. When you enter the bar a small stage is off to the side. Further in is a long bar, behind which are around 40 taps of different beers. I came to learn that they are more reasonably priced than most. In this main room is seating for about 40 people along with seating at the bar for another 25 or so (like I said, long bar). Seven flat screen TVs are placed randomly around the bar. They carry both NFL and NHL package to appease the sports nuts. I also found out it was the official Green Bay Packers bar in Knoxville.

On the day I visited, the bar was packed. The mood was fun and customers were loud but not out of control. A few people seemed overly aggressive with their debate about football, but I have noticed that is just how it is when alcohol and sports conversations collide. The crowd was mostly twenty-somethings but they weren’t overly bro-tastic (you know, the flipped-up-collar guys talking exclusively about doing shots and hitting on ladies).

In the back of the bar is another separate section complete with a few more TVs and a second bar. It is a patio setup, giving the bar a little bit of fresh air during the warmer months. I browsed through the menu and found reasonably priced standards like chicken wings, chips and salsa and quesadillas. However, a few interesting items existed including a Blackened Tofu Sandwich and a beans and rice plate covered in blackened tofu. I found out happy hour is 4-8 p.m. with $3 well drinks and Long Island Ice Teas and 35-cent wings.

The Half Barrel stuck in my mind because the little stage near the front door is forever without live entertainment of any kind. I remember asking about this a few years ago and the staff let me know they would have been required to install a new sprinkler system in order to have any type of live entertainment. Thanks a lot Great White. ... So, no live music at Half Barrel.

While there may not be any music, the Half Barrel does house traditional Trivia on Tuesday Nights and Adult Trivia, both of which have Half Barrel gift cards as prizes.


Half Barrel

1829 Cumberland Ave.

Knoxville, TN 37916

Phone: 865-595-4848 Hours:

Open daily 4 p.m.-3 a.m.

Smoking Inside: Yes

Age: 21 and Up

Web Site:


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