Lost Tavern to Open at 20 Market Square

The Lost Tavern will open within the next few weeks at 20 Market Square. A West family business, it will replace Uncorked which has been closed recently. The new bar will offer classic cocktails, bourbon and wine with a noir theme. Dark wood floors, “dark, romantic rooms of black and white and a splash of red,” along with comfortable booths will be included according to Scott West. You might find lipstick on a glass (not yours and not real :-)), mysterious messages on cocktail napkins and other fun, mysterious noiresque features.

There will be an element of “true crime,” with oversized posters of faux magazine covers referencing sensational and mysterious crimes from Knoxville’s history in the 1950s and older. They’re considering staining the wine bar scarlet, looking for a dark and romantic atmosphere.

“Imagine a dark tavern with pools of warm light with a true crime feel. It’s a perfect complement to our other concepts and cultural focuses.” He noted the wide range of themes from Tommy Trent’s Sports Bar, to Scruffy City Hall, Preservation Pub and Bernadette’s Crystal Ballroom. This will add a very different element.

To lead the effort and to oversee the food and beverage program at all their businesses, the Wests have brought in Steven Manolopoulos. From Montreal, Steven has owned and operated multiple restaurants. His father was also in the business. Steven worked for Buca Di Beppo, opening restaurants for them.

He arrived in Knoxville in 2007 and opened Vinnie and Me in Turkey Creek, closing it when the economy tanked. He opened Willies at Choto Marina and later sold it. He worked at Don Pablo’s in Covington, Kentucky before joining U.S. Foods helping restaurants improve their businesses. He designed the kitchen and interior for Morelli’s in west Knoxville and helped open the restaurant.

Uncorked, 20 Market Square, Knoxville, June 2018

More recently he stepped away from the industry, waiting to see if the right opportunity presented itself. Amanda Lebo introduced him to Scott West and the two agreed to work together. Steven says success in a bar or restaurant is all about the training. “If you can do the training,” everything becomes more flexible. He said he doesn’t want to be tied to the kitchen or the front of the house exclusively and well-trained employees will allow him to flow from one to the other.

Scott said that as they started talking, he considered what was missing from the group of businesses, which will soon include fourteen levels of bars and restaurants. He said they have a lot of people good at their part of the operation, but needed someone who understood the entire structure and could direct them all to keep them working together well. They will also soon increase their focus on events and Steven has a background there that will help them with those efforts.

The two say that the Lost Tavern will have a retro look and music to match. They will look to play pre-rock crooners and big band jazz and may include live jazz or blues some nights. Workers will wear uniforms to match the theme.

Steven is also interested in the food angle and hopes to make an impact on Market Square by offering “some new flavors in food and drink.” He talked about offering octopus at a previous restaurant and indicated the food will not be an after-thought. He says it will be tavern food, but with a unique twist.

The business should open within the next four weeks. A website is coming soon at TheLostTavern.com.

Comments

  1. I think this sounds great. We attended a show on our last cruise focused on prohibition. The idea was that it was the night before alcohol would be outlawed.Costumes were themed around that era, music was jazzy/blues, drink specials were for those of that time (although other drinks were available) and the mood was really fun. The performance had a flapper-burlesque more adult vibe (but not too naughty). I can see this venue kind of having that almost speak easy “feel”, with the true crime theme.

  2. Several years ago I kept telling everyone that we need some rooftop bars in Knoxville. Everyone would just look at me like why? The only one around was the rooftop of Prez Pub that I can think of until Scruffy City opened their enclosed space. Now the Hyatt has a rooftop bar and the new hotel taking the place of the Conley building will have one also. This spring the West’s are going to open a massive rooftop complex on Market Square. I remember years ago when I was a member of Club Leconte how great it was to stand in the bar and be able to look out across the tops of the city from there at night. Kudos to the West’s for their vision and insight and “keeping things scruffy”.

  3. Is it just me, or is the gun murdering the Sunsphere?

  4. Sabrina Straub says

    I’m really turned off by the inclusion of a gun in their logo. Given the horrific level of gun violence in this country, that visual it’s a real turnoff for me.

    • Seriously? It’s just a gun. It’s a cool concept, and I’m excited for it. Especially as much as I love murder mysteries/film noir stuff. I’m actually half British, they’ve basically banned guns in their country, and literally every other show on the BBC networks is a murder mystery. True, most of the murders are stabbings, but plenty of them (you know, since they’re criminals,) are done by guns. Great job West’s! I’m excited for this new concept, and wish you best of luck.

    • Hello Sabrina,

      The logo we accidentally sent Alan was an early rendition. The actual logo doesn’t have a gun. Sorry about that!

      The decor of The Lost Tavern will be more “detective mystery” not horror gore. We’ll work with moody lighting, foggy alleys and stuff like that .

    • Lol. Ok. Guns exist. Clearly this business is not for you.

  5. Not sure if this is a good fit for the square. Might be better to concentrate on the concepts that are working and people love to support (Pres Pub and Scruffy City) and find tenants with more interesting concepts for their other spaces. Then again, I’m always happy to see how dedicated the Wests have continued to be to downtown, so I wish them all the best.

    • Hello Ben,
      Appreciate the input. Hopefully it will relieve you to know that the thematic focus of The Lost Tavern will actually be downtown Knoxville mysteries and history, so we hope it will actually be a perfect fit for Historic Market Square.

  6. Kudos to Scott & Bernadette for always evolving and creating new spaces with different vibes. Uncorked was in need of an overhaul. Can’t wait to explore this new business.

  7. George Scott says

    The West dynasty continues its creative drive in Downtown!

  8. I see . . . They finally fessed up to “Closing” with the announcement of an “Opening”. At least the new concept is being marketed as a bar even though “the food will not be an afterthought”. Restaurants have not resulted well for that group. Kudos for sticking to their “Guns” by getting that place up and running again!

    • Hello Jay,
      Although perhaps we are bending the rules a bit, we maintain that we have merely reinvented and livened up the space we’ve operated as Oodles, LLC since 2003. Our wiggle room in this explanation is in the fact that Oodles, LLC remains the bar/ restaurant at 20 Market Square, but to compete in the fierce world of downtown Knoxville’s 100 new restaurants and bars we sometimes feel the need to change to stay relevant (in this case the name, menu and ambience have changed from Oodles to Uncorked and now to The Lost Tavern BUT we’ve still proudly locally owned and operated at 20 Market Square since 2003 😉

  9. Ehh…

    This idea seems both generic and too niche at the same time. Theme restaurants/bars are a novelty and fun for a one-time gig – what’s to keep customers coming back? Good cocktails and bourbon are a dime a dozen downtown.

    This business team also seems to be good at opening restaurants, but not good at keeping them open. I’ll be surprised if it succeeds. Just my opinion.

    • Hello Em,
      Well we certainly hope The Lost Tavern is a good concept that lasts, and since we’ve operated a bar/ restaurant in that location successfully since 2003, we fee pretty confident, but wish us luck anyway.

      Regarding The Lost Tavern being “generic/ niche/ theme/ novelty,” it will relieve you to know that the thematic focus of The Lost Tavern will actually be downtown Knoxville mysteries and history, and as such our use of history with a Knox Noir Decor twist isn’t intended as a gimmick but as part of our “Keep Knoxville Scruffy” mantra (of supporting all things local). As follows, we hope The Lost Tavern will actually be a perfect fit for Historic Market Square.

      Finally, wagree with you that location, concept and marketing are only good for one visit, whereas great service, cocktails and food are what bring folks back.

      Hope to find you sometime soon in The Lost Tavern. I’ll buy you a drink 😉

      • Hi Scott! I am sooooooo excited. I was just wondering, will you allow smoking inside?

        • Hello Phoenix,

          While The Lost Tavern will not allow smoking inside, we do hope to incorporate smoke in the drinks and dishes to enhance the mysterious crime vibe, which will be more gumshoe detective than horror-show gory…

          We’ll have ’40s and ’50s music playing and booths will be returning to the bourbon room to create a more romantic space.

    • EM,

      That’s weird. Earth to Old City, Preservation Pub, and Scruffy City Hall have been opened by this same “business team” and they’ve stayed open and thrived. They’ve also successfully ran a business at 20 Market Square since 2003–yes, the concept has changed a few times in the 16 years it has been operated, but it’s still stayed open. While Market House didn’t pan out, I think they’ve got a fantastic concept with Tommy Trent’s. The jury is still out on that one, but I think their track record clearly shows that they are capable of opening and continuing operating their businesses–I’d say they’re quite successful.

      That’s just my opinion (supported by facts).

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