Suttree’s High Gravity Tavern coming to 409 Gay Street!

Matt and Anne outside the future site of Suttree’s High Gravity Tavern

Husband and wife team Matt Pacetti and Anne Ford are ready to announce something that has been in the works for quite some time: They will manage and co-own (with several other investors) Suttree’s High Gravity Tavern at 409 S. Gay Street, which is next door to Downtown Wine. That makes it a short move for Matt who has been a well-informed and welcoming face at Downtown Wine since its inception. Anne, who was featured on this blog recently, will move from her long-term post at Bliss Home.

Plans are still taking shape, but some things are well in focus and preparations are being made for a spot unlike any other downtown. Matt says the name of the tavern will likely be the only tip of the hat to Cormac McCarthy, with the inside being “rustic,” Matt said, “but with lean modern lines.” The bar is being lovingly built by John Phillips, who works at Morelock Music, from boards which had to be removed from the floor to build out the restroom. It promises to be beautiful.

409 Gay Street: Interior space under construction 

As for the beer plans, Matt said, the tavern will serve, “craft beers with a focus on high gravity beers.” Readers of this blog know I’m no expert on hops, so I asked what that meant. It means the beer has a higher alcohol content than other beers and most places in Knoxville are not allowed to serve it as it requires a different license. The emphasis will be on enjoying a quiet brew with friends who appreciate specialty beers. A great block that also includes Yee Haw Wine and Morelock Music has just gotten better.

The bar, in addition to a great variety of specialty beers, will  be fully stocked and also will offer wines, which one might suspect will also  be excellent given Matt’s knowledge and association with Downtown Wine. Helping out with plans for the beer and perhaps serving some of it up will be one of the most knowledgeable people in Knoxville as far as specialty beers go: Ratchet. He has a post up on his blog Ratchet Brews about the plans.

Matt and Anne

Also offered will be light foods and, while the menu is far from set, hummus, cheese plates, meat plates and soups are all possibilities. Smoking will not be allowed inside, but outside may have a spot for those who need to step out for a minute. Up to ninety patrons will be able to enjoy the inside seating and Matt noted that the tavern will include, “as much outdoor seating as possible.”

Plans call for an opening the last weekend of April or soon thereafter, assuming all goes well. Sounds like a great bet for a stop on First Friday in May. And like I said in the previous post about Anne – It’s the people who make a place and these are two of the warmest human beings in the city. Stop by and see for yourself.

The quote in yesterday’s tease blog was, of course, from Suttee by Cormac McCarthy. If you haven’t read it, stop by Union Avenue Books and buy a copy. It’s possibly the best book ever written with Knoxville as a setting. Reading it will give you a spring in your step every time you enter Suttree’s High Gravity Tavern, just to know you won’t have to drink quite like old Sut:

     “Where’s the whiskey?
     Here ye go. Get ye a drink, Bud.
     What is it?
     Early Times. Best little old drink in the world. Get ye a drink, Sut.
     Suttree held it to the light. Small twigs, debris, matter coiled in the oily liquid. He shook it. Smoke rose from the yellow floor of the bottle. Shit almighty, he said.
     Best little old drink in the world, sang out J-Bone. Have a drink, Bud.
     He unthreaded the drink, sniffed, shivered and drank.”