Nightlife: The Irish Times gets crowds dancing

matt ward/special to knoxville.com
Lindsay Huffman, left, and Wendy Taylor enjoy the music at The Irish Times in Turkey Creek.

matt ward/special to knoxville.com Lindsay Huffman, left, and Wendy Taylor enjoy the music at The Irish Times in Turkey Creek.

The Irish Times Pub & Restaurant

Turkey Creek - Knoxville

Other, Sandwiches

11348 Parkside Drive

865-675-8800

More Details »

Turkey Creek is a relatively massive shopping "district" in West Knoxville. I sometimes feel it is a different city all to its own.

Many folks who patronize this part of town seldom make their way downtown or to Maryville or other neighboring cities. Who could blame them? Turkey Creek has a just about anything you would need — grocery stores, chain retailers, specialty shops, gas stations, car dealerships, a movie theater and much more. It is one of those places in Knoxville I have been to repeatedly, but each time I visit I discover something new.

It was a Saturday evening when I ventured to The Irish Times. I had no idea where it was so my GPS guided the way. After circling through a small labyrinth of businesses that included a Panera Bread, Cru Bistro and Wine Bar and a Bed, Bath & Beyond, I realized I was on the wrong side of Parkside Drive. The Irish Times is on the south side of Parkside in a strip mall just behind the mega-sized Smoky Mountain Brewery and Calhoun's. The green sign is clearly visible.

The parking was quite troublesome because The Irish Times shares a lot with those two larger restaurants, as well as an h.h. gregg and the biggest Party City I have ever seen. Actually it wasn't really "troublesome," it just made me have to walk 30 more seconds to get to the bar's front door than I might have had to. ... Life is so hard.

There were folks gathered outside the front door smoking — always a tip-off that an establishment is non-smoking inside.

A host met me at the front door, standing close to a podium holding menus. To the left past her I could see folks sitting down and eating. To the right I could hear a band and saw a room full of folks gathered around a bar and seated throughout the small, long venue. I made my way to the right, passing the bar and heading to the back of the room where the band was set up. My eye was caught by a digital countdown clock just to the left of the band on the back wall; its bright red numbers were counting down to St. Patrick's Day.

The crowd was of various ages, showing that the bar's target demographic ranges widely from folks in their early 20s to people in their late 60s. A group of ladies danced enthusiastically in front of the band Taboo while the act played various covers, including Stevie Wonder's "Superstition." The women smiled widely and raised their glasses of wine and beer in the air to avoid a mid-boogie beverage collision. A posted entertainment schedule indicates The Irish Times has live bands every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.

The Irish Times seems like a large chain in some respects. However, I was pleased to learn on their website that they are locally owned by Jon and Rachel Ferrie. Like many that relocate to Knoxville, the Ferries came from Florida. And they couldn't have picked a more bustling location than Parkside Drive.

I took a moment to look at the menu since about half of the place was restaurant seating split off mostly from the main room where the bar was located. They serve some standards such as chicken wings, hamburgers and fish and chips. However, they also serve scotch eggs (which are eggs hard boiled then surrounded in sausage and deep fried) and bangers and mash (sausages over mash potatoes covered in gravy). I didn't try the food on this evening, but I plan a future trip when I have a little more time to spend.

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