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Maryville is a nightlife lover's best kept secret | Katherine Whitehead

The Knoxville News-Sentinel logoThe Knoxville News-Sentinel 8/13/2020 Katherine Whitehead, Knoxville News Sentinel

For the past few months, the city of Maryville has been a hot topic around the office. Yes, I indeed have a job outside of hitting up the hottest bars and restaurants around. I work five days a week in a small town about 40 minutes from my South Knoxville apartment.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Two friends sing along to the music at the Garth Brooks virtual concert at the Parkway Drive-In in Maryville on June 28, 2020. The two were part of a large group of friends attending the concert from Halls, Farragut and Powell. © Saul Young/News Sentinel Two friends sing along to the music at the Garth Brooks virtual concert at the Parkway Drive-In in Maryville on June 28, 2020. The two were part of a large group of friends attending the concert from Halls, Farragut and Powell.

My co-workers were surprised to find out about my job writing nightlife columns on the side. And I was surprised when they told me Maryville is a nightlife lover’s best kept secret.

Living just off Sevier Avenue in South Knoxville, I often resort to the convenience of nightlife options within walking, biking or a short driving distance away. But these past two weeks, I branched out and realized my co-workers were spot on.

Brackins Blues Club

If you’re looking for a bar with great food, cheap drinks and real blues, Maryville’s Brackins Blues Club is the place to be. On Broadway Avenue, Brackins is one of the most popular bars in the area and has become a nightlife destination for locals and Maryville College students.

a bottle and a glass of beer on a table: The Pirate Grog is an original cocktail by Alyssa Tuttle, a bartender at Brackins Blues Club in Maryville. © Alyssa Tuttle/Submitted The Pirate Grog is an original cocktail by Alyssa Tuttle, a bartender at Brackins Blues Club in Maryville.

The bar is dark, yet friendly, reminiscent of some of my favorite Knoxville dive bars. Patrons are welcomed by the blaring notes of a saxophone or the beat of a drum ringing through the small, intimate venue. As the music picks up, you can walk from room to room enjoying a beer over darts and pool.

Since we’re in the middle of a pandemic, I felt more comfortable on the back patio after ordering a drink and watching a couple of minutes of “Final Destination 3” on the TV above the bar.

The outdoor area has umbrellas for shade, open picnic tables and cornhole to enjoy with friends and family. If you’re craving a bite to eat, the menu is full of great options you would be surprised came from a bar, including delicious burgers and wings.

Brackins Blues Club is more than just a bar; it’s a communal watering hole for affordable drinks, good food and friendly people.

The Shed Smokehouse and Juke Joint

I first stumbled into The Shed Smokehouse and Juke Joint after a group of friends invited me to attend a Halloween costume contest and Barstool Romeos concert at the venue last fall. The Shed has an outdoor stage within a 16,000-square-foot pavilion. But the concert I attended was more intimate as the rain poured down outside, hosted in a space reminiscent of your friend’s garage-turned-man-cave.

Tucked away on Lamar Alexander Parkway and in a former 84 Lumber building, The Shed Smokehouse is so full of life and music you would think it belonged to Nashville. The Shed offers some of the region’s best house-smoked meats in a unique setting decorated with barn wood, vintage chandeliers, tin siding and a large mural declaring “Live music is good for the soul.”

Famous artists like Blackberry Smoke, Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson and Chris Stapleton have all graced the stage at The Shed.

Although it is next to Smoky Mountain Harley Davidson, the Shed is for more than motorcyclists and music lovers. Foodies can enjoy a large menu of Southern cooking staples like pulled pork with a side of bacon mac 'n cheese and coleslaw.

And if you’re eating, why not order a drink? Beer and cocktails are available to enjoy over live music outside or indoors at the Smokin’ Monkey Lounge.

Christian Academy of Knoxville held its prom at the Capitol Theatre in Maryville on April 13, 2019. © Jessica Tezak/Special to the News Sentinel Christian Academy of Knoxville held its prom at the Capitol Theatre in Maryville on April 13, 2019.

Capitol Theatre

If you’re looking to escape to a galaxy far, far away or save the day with ice cream alongside Indiana Jones, the Capitol Theatre Coffee & Ice Cream Parlor is your place. Stepping into the ice cream shop is like stepping onto the silver screen, as famous movie memorabilia cover the walls and ceiling, with soundtracks from some of your favorite classics filling the air.

On Broadway, Maryville’s famous ice cream parlor acts as the concessions for the adjacent Capitol Theatre, with a cartoonish ice cream cone bench welcoming guests into a world of movie magic. Experiencing this hidden gem is like watching a double feature — first, engulf yourself by seeing how many movies you can identify in the small space as you wait for your order. Then, engulf yourself in the tasty treats.

Although the shop is small, there is plenty to see and plenty of mouthwatering ice cream concoctions worth drooling over. Whether you’re a fan of the Goonie Truffle Shuffle or would rather have the “Ghostbusters”-inspired Ectoplasm slush, there are plenty of treats to satisfy any sweet tooth.

The Capitol Theatre also has outdoor seating to stay safe and socially distanced.

Parkway Drive-In

And if you want to end your night at the movies, head just a few minutes away from downtown Maryville to the Parkway Drive-In Movie Theatre. During the pandemic, it’s truly been one of the only things that has given me some feeling of normalcy as other theaters remain closed. Since it’s summertime, there’s no other way I’d rather watch a flick than under the stars with some of my closest friends.

Parkway Drive-In is a tribute to simpler times, almost acting as a time machine with swinging '50s tunes playing over the airwaves before the movie starts as people wait in line for popcorn and ice cream.

For $5 a car, guests can enjoy a double feature of family-friendly Disney movies and American classics like “Jaws” and “Planes, Trains and Automobiles.” Movies start at dusk, but make sure to get there early. Only 400 spots are available on movie nights, and I recently was the unlucky number 401.

There are two unique ways to enjoy the screenings. Sit inside your car and listen over your car’s radio — just make sure all your lights are off. Or pack your own battery-powered radio, chairs, blankets and bug spray to watch the movies outside.

Parkway Drive-In also is hosting events for those of us who are missing live music. A Garth Brooks concert recently was shown on the big screen, and Casting Crowns will be coming to the theater later this month for a drive-in performance.

This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Maryville is a nightlife lover's best kept secret | Katherine Whitehead

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