Goodbye Manhattan's

A downtown / Old City favorite closed its doors just as I was reacquainting myself (and liver) with one of the coolest places I’ve known during the time I’ve been in Knoxville. It’s last call for Manhattan’s. The place had a good run. It was a dependable standby for drinks though lean and good years. It was never trendy, obnoxious, or pretentious. It was a smoking bar. They served good food at decent prices. The bartenders were bar veterans and usually drunks who worked their job honorably out of passion and commitment, not as privileged assholes. And they poured a good drink.


Some Thoughts

Things have been quiet around here for a while. Not that we haven’t been doing our share of drinking. Hell, maybe we’ve been boozing even more than usual, thus the lack of posts. Here is a bit of what’s been going on.

Pool drinking – Our friend upgraded his backyard pool to include a tiki bar that has kept things interesting. A pool is always a fun summertime destination. Throw in a HDTV, homemade kegorater, stocked bar/freezer and you’ve got some drinking to do. Wasted days and wasted nights indeed, thank you Freddy Fender.

Heat – if the insufferable heat doesn’t send you to the watering hole I don’t know what will. I mean, damn, it’s been too hot to go patio drinking. But I’ve noticed they’ll serve you indoors all the same. If that doesn’t work for you just load of the fridge with cold beer and sit on your ass drinking. I do it all the time.
NHRA weekend – a few of us loaded up and went to Bristol for the drag races. It was a hell of a motor event that impressed on many levels. More impressive was the sport-drinking we displayed. I won’t cover the entire list, let’s just say several cases of beer and over a gallon of Maker’s and Stoli didn’t make the trip back. Also a few other observations about the race:

  • Bloody bulls and marys are a good way to start any day

  • Lots of moustaches around the race track

  • An alarming amount of male nipple rings on display

  • Lots of rebel flags

  • The campground ice delivery truck was impressive

  • Mrs. Owl made an appearance
  • Drunk breakfast tastes just as good on the road

  • Sometimes you have to make your own shorts in the stands (not us BTW)

World Cup – Eh. We’ve covered this before. None of us are soccer fans. Nil. There has been a small effort to keep up with the USA squad but not much. I’ve personally been able to drink during two of our three games so I feel pretty good about that. The next game is this Saturday afternoon and I’m pretty sure there will be some beer consumed then. Looking forward to facing off against the Black Stars on their own continent.
Edit - Mrs. Owl is fashionably late.


World Cup Fever

Have you heard about it? Apparently Patrick Sullivan's in the Old City didn't get the notice. I'm no soccer fan but I wanted to take in the USA vs. England match to experience the hype and hopefully see an exciting game at the highest level. King Randall The Insufferable and I decided to meet at a bar to watch the game, and naturally we waited until the last minute to choose our venue. The obvious downtown locations, Soccer Taco and Crown & Goose, were standing room only. I was already in the Old City and Sullivan's was open so I pressed my face to the window and saw a mostly empty bar. Great, problem solved.

It was only a few minutes until match time (kickoff?). The small TV behind the bar was tuned to something else and the large TV above wasn't even turned on. The single patron at the bar paid his tab and left. A soccer-seeking couple entered and left immediately, disappointed by the lack of soccer hooligans I suspect. So there I sat alone until KRTI strolled in. We had the game switched on the small TV. Eventually other patrons arrived and some were actual soccer fans there to watch the game, though not very many. The game was put on the big TV, a few more customers came in and the game turned out to be a dud, at least in my opinion. The USA earned a 1-1 draw on a lucky goal that was muffed by the English goal keeper. Overall it was a good time and the lack of soccer enthusiasm at Sullivan's didn't matter that much at all. The best part of the "experience" was a 4 -5 beer head start on the rest of the day.


Sign of the Times

“Icing”. It sounds cool but it isn’t. This isn’t cake decorating or a hockey foul. I’m talking about Smirnoff Ice, so that should be enough to let you know something is seriously wrong. A phenomenon is growing across the country and it may have already infected citizens in our own town – LVL has shown symptoms that cause concern for my own well being. I’d heard about icing before but it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago when the guys at Kissing Suzy Kolber gave us a big taste of what this has become. (Go ahead and read it, I’ll wait)

Yeah, I think Darnell has the right idea, but not everyone is a huge NFL player that can knock the hell out of anybody trying to front an Ice. So here are the rules of engagement, straight from the dedicated Icing website: Bros Icing Bros. (Yes, there is an official website.) Go out in public at your own risk. My strategy is to avoid all frat parties, strip mall bars and anywhere else Smirnoff products are served. You’ve been warned.


Not all smiles und sunshine

Mackey's last post, coupled with a less than impressive trip to a local watering hole, has reminded me how fortunate I have been with the general quality of overall service I receive in this town. I'm not really even talking about places where I'm a regular, or even merely a familiar face for the most part. Just another thirsty hooligan in a new place, off the street like a common mendicant type stuff.

Some places around here fail because it was a bad idea, bad location, bad service, bad management...you name it. We as customers can bitch about a lot of things, and if you actually want the place to improve sometimes we need to speak with management right damn now. Constructive remarks delivered with a rational(and if you worked in the industry-sympathetic) tone can really help.

Recently, I've encountered two separate instances where service was both slow and apathetic. That's a rotten experience that will kill off a return customer pronto. I can overlook a lot of things like mechanical failures(shit happens) or being out of a beer/menu item. Hell, I even expect a small pour from time to time. You can talk with management without delivering a reprimand to the over-worked server or the short-handed kitchen. Many places that have a successful vision in place will welcome the chance to improve...if not, well then those joints aren't long for Knoxville in any case. Wade confidently into their midst and f'em.