Urban Bar and Corner Cafe: New Memories at a Old Favorite Spot

Urban Bar and Corner Cafe, Old City, Knoxville, March 2012

During my meanderings last Saturday night I had very little in the way of plans. I’d already eaten a wonderful cheese plate from Just Ripe before I left home, so I wasn’t hungry. I really like Ian Thomas, so I knew I wanted to hear his set at the Market Square St. Patrick’s Day celebration. I really had only one other item on my agenda and that was to walk to the Old City and to the Urban Bar and Corner Cafe to meet Ally the manager and frequent reader and commenter on Stuck Inside of Knoxville.

Ally and revelers at the Urban Bar and Corner Cafe, Old City, March 2012

While I’ve never entered the Urban Bar before this night, I have wonderful memories of the space. It’s on the northwest corner of Central and Jackson in the Old City and it is a great location for watching the local personalities wandering down the street. It also used to be home to Ella Guru’s, which was one of Ashley Capps’ first entertainment ventures. It featured live music for a reasonable price and brought in national entertainers. Sometime back in the late 1980s to early 1990s I saw Odetta (Alex Haley was there that night), Roger McGuinn, Clarence Gatemouth Brown and John Lee Hooker among others. In every case, I got to talk with them after the show.

Urban Bar and Corner Cafe, Old City, March 2012

I’ve intended to revisit the space, but never have gotten around to it. When I realized one of my readers managed the place, that sealed the deal. As I said last week, it really is about the people. I enjoy having “friends” on Facebook and I appreciate readers and especially readers who comment on my blog, but I really enjoy meeting real people in a real place in real time which, as I’ve said before, is what the city is all about to me.

Seating at the Urban Bar and Corner Cafe

Urban Bar and Corner Cafe, Old City, Knoxville

I got to meet Ally and got a sweet hug and found her to be as nice as I had imagined. As a bonus I got to meet her partner, Mandy and a colorful couple agreed to pose with Ally and the doorman (whose name I failed to get), so it was a pretty clean sweep. The various rooms included a bar area, indoor seating and pool tables, which, I believe is different from any other bars downtown.

My favorite part of the place, as I would have guessed, was the patio. With the lights strung all about and the corner view so perfect, it feels like a movie set. The night was a perfect temperature, the crowds were happy and the people watching was excellent. But, as always, it was all about the people. Now I have new friends and I’ll be happy to see them again. I’d encourage you to drop by and see them, as well.

Patio at the Urban Bar and Corner Cafe