Knoxville’s Underground at the Crown and Goose

Crown and Goose Underground, Old City, Knoxville

Have you ever been in London’s Underground? Have you ever ridden the Tube? I hadn’t until this past summer and we came to depend on it and, finally, to understand it. It’s actually a very simple and reliable subway and we’ve got a bit of it right here in our little city.

Glocester Underground Stop, Kensington, London (our main stop)

Jeffrey Nash brought a bit of London to Knoxville with his Crown and Goose restaurant which opened in February 2008. The business has grown and is now bustling most evenings. I remember parking across the street in the small parking lot at the corner of Summit Hill and Central and having my car be one of a dozen or so. Urban Woman and I met friends Kevin and Melinda there on the most recent First Friday and found that parking lot and the next several behind it packed to capacity. A policeman directed the seemingly impossible traffic. We were thankful to live downtown and to be on foot.

Massive Saxophone at the Crown and Goose Underground

View toward the bar, Crown and Goose Underground, Knoxville

With a little help from our friends and their friends we were seated in the Underground or Speakeasy (I think I’ve heard both) soon enough. We entered through the cute faux telephone booth. Apparently Jeffrey and Pat are pretty careful how many people get seated inside which made the experience much more pleasant than if it had been crowded and commensurately louder.

Excellent Jazz Band, Crown and Goose Underground, Knoxville

 Inside, the design is set to mimic the interior hallways to the Tube, with the tiles and arches and perfectly inset diagrams of the various lines of the tube. We sate next to the Picadilly Line which runs past Hyde Park and Picadilly Circus. An excellent jazz trio played at the street end and the bar was nestled snuggly on the opposite end. Viewed from one end it really does mimic the London Tube.

View from the bar, Underground, Knoville

The menu is limited to a raw bar and cheese plates. Urban woman, to whom no meat is overcooked, chose the cheese while I went with a sampler platter of fish. I had a drink and she had water, which brings up the cautionary note: It’s expensive. After the food, single drink, taxes and tip, we dropped $70. The band was great. The company was superb and the atomosphere was stellar. I loved the food and our host was gracious. Still, that’s a lot of money to drop for a meal and we couldn’t do it often.

I’d suggest you try it. Maybe split a cheese plate or a fish plate. Certainly go when the jazz is playing if at all possible. It’s a different experience than anywhere else in the city.