Sapphire on Gay Street

Sapphire, Knoxville, February 2013

Sapphire, Knoxville, February 2013

I’ve probably mentioned Sapphire before, but I’ve never really focused on it that I recall. I know I’ve taken photographs there, though I may not have identified the place in the background. One of my first downtown meetings was to plan “Dancing in the Streets” with Knox Heritage and we met on a Sunday to organize the event. It was there a good while back that I met Kristin Kendall and talked to her about her art. The conversation with Buzz Goss and Jeffrey Nash that I wrote about last week happened there.

Salad at Sapphire, Knoxville, February 2013

Salad at Sapphire, Knoxville, February 2013

Salad at Sapphire, Knoxville, February 2013

Salad at Sapphire, Knoxville, February 2013

More recently, when these photographs were taken, City People met there for drinks and a meal. I had the salad pictured above and it was excellent, though the wedge salad my friend Don got looked excellent, as well. I’ve had the cheese plate before and really enjoyed it, and since the beginning of the year their entire menu has been re-vamped. The food is locally sourced when possible and the meat is grass-fed.

Sapphire, Knoxville, February 2013

Sapphire, Knoxville, February 2013

Of course, they are better known for their cocktails and wines. They feature an excellent wine selection, offering twenty different wines by the glass. Nightly specials include things like half-off wine bottles on Sunday night and $5 classic cocktails on Wednesday night. I recommend the Sazerac.* They are perhaps best known for their martinis with which Knoxville’s perennial “Best Bartender,” Amy, is always experimenting.

Sapphire, Knoxville, February 2013

Sapphire, Knoxville, February 2013

As with a number of restaurants downtown, they offer brunch on Sunday and that’s part of what prompted this post. This weekend they are holding the DreamMakers’ Sunday Funday Brunch from 12:00 to 3:00. In addition to an excellent meal, and the promise of the best Bloody Mary’s in town, raffles will be held for a host of items with proceeds benefiting Alzheimer’s Tennessee. It’s a great chance to sample some excellent food, aid a cause that is close to my heart and maybe win some very cool prizes.

Black Lillies

Just for good measure, I’ll suggest that you hear some great music downtown this weekend. Friday night I’d strongly suggest you hear Katy Free at Remedy Coffee from 7:00 to 9:00. She’ll be joined by Wendel Werner and there’s not going to be a better mellow jazzy combination than that. Saturday night the nod has to go to the Black Lillies CD release party for Runaway Freeway Blues at the Tennessee Theatre. The music starts at 8:00 with opening artist Langhorne Slim who is awesome in his own right.

 

*The Sazerac is a local New Orleans variation of an old-fashioned cognac or whiskey cocktail, named for the Sazerac de Forge et Fils brand of cognac that was its original prime ingredient. The drink is some combination of cognac or rye whiskeyabsinthe or Herbsaint, and Peychaud’s Bitters; it is distinguished by its preparation method.[2] It is sometimes referred to as the oldest known American cocktail,[3] with origins in pre–Civil War New Orleans, though there are much earlier published instances of the word cocktail.

Comments

  1. The Sazerac…You go, UrbanGuy. That’s not for the faint of heart. Voted in 2008 by the state legislature as the Official Cocktail of the City of New Orleans and traced back to the Creole Antoine Peychaud himself. One of these could put you in a New Orleans warm breeze, porch swing mindset. Two could make you wanna learn to play the saxophone, and three could likely make you impervious to voodoo. You buy. I’ll bring the beads.

  2. Not sure if Buzz told you, but he and his then-wife Cherie were the original architects for Sapphire.

  3. I love to go there for drinks. Would love to go for brunch, as well, but there is one problem. Alan and I generally go somewhere downtown for Sunday brunch each week and we would love Sapphire to be an option. But, darn it, if they are going to call it “brunch,” they need to open before noon to serve it, which they do not do. As far as I’m concerned, any meal that you can’t get before noon, is “lunch.” Let me know if they ever decide to open earlier and we will be there.

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

      It’s up to them what they want to offer, when and what to call it, but I, like you, think of brunch as mid-morning into early afternoon, not starting at noon. That said, I had a wonderful brunch at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans over Christmas and it started at noon (though their reservation hours stated earlier).

  4. Certainly, we understand the mindset of our brunch being more like lunch. For our small staff, we are literally busy until 2:30 a.m. on Saturday nights and as a result it makes life very inconvenient for the staff that ends up working. While we close at 3:00 am., there are plenty of nights where our staff doesn’t leave until as late as 5:00 am..

    We actually started at 11am back in 2008 when we first opened for brunch and it stayed that way for about a year. We found that we rarely ever had guests before noon, and as such, decided we’d move it up an hour. Granted, our food business has always been a challenge as we try to convince the public of our food identity. Such is the nature of a high-volume cocktail bar, lounge, nightclub at night, and a restaurant by day.

  5. As I said, let me know if you decide to open earlier.

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