Zero Zero Wine Bar, 1211 North Central Street, Knoxville, June 2023
Last September Zach and Alexis Hill announced their plans to open an all natural wine bar, Zero/Zero (don’t pronounce the slash!) at 1211 North Central Street, AKA, Happy Holler. While they’d hoped to open in November, the inevitable construction and permitting delays led them to a June opening. After a soft opening last week, they throw the doors open to the public today. The couple co-owns Remedy Coffee along with Toby and Chelsea Koerten. You can read more about their background at the link above.
Over the last several years they’ve researched the world of natural wines and will now bring that passion to the Knoxville market as the first wine bar to offer an exclusively natural selection. The name Zero/Zero was chosen to indicate the fact that no sulphites or yeast has been added to the wine. There are also no pesticides or herbicides used in the growing of the grapes. Alexis said that the extra time they’ve had waiting to open has allowed them to be even more particular about the wines they’ve chosen, and they are “excited about each one.”
Should that sound complicated and a bit highbrow, the couple emphasizes that is not what they are going for. As Zach said in the first interview of their wine choices, “take it very seriously,” but simply want to provide a “good time with a bottle of wine.” You’ll find wines in the bar from all over the world, but they are keen on bringing wines from Georgia (the country) to Knoxville, as this is one of the very oldest known spots where wine was produced, and that wine was unavailable to the rest of the world when Georgia was part of the Soviet Union.
Inside the space you’ll find original flooring that has been made to look beautiful. The front of the bar and the bar-back you may recognize from Tim Warp Tea room (it is located on the other side of the wall from its original location). The bar top was made by local carpenter Kelly Hunter. A rack displays available wines so that you can get a better look to determine which bottle you’d prefer, beyond looking at a name on the list.
It’s a spacious room with an official occupancy of 85. There are cozy tables along one wall with small tables in one front window box and bar seating in the other window and, of course, seating along the main bar. It’s a warm, welcoming environment.
They offer wine-by-the glass which will run between $10 and $16. Most of their bottles run in the forty-dollar range, though they have some for less and some for more. If you want to celebrate an occasion with their best wine, that will set you back about $140. At about five glasses per bottle, they do offer the best value. They offer a small food list including bread from Paysan chef Blake Sallie, which Urban Woman and I ordered. It is served with butter, and we paired it with the cheese and meats from the Bento Box (cheeses, meats, pickles) to great effect.
We also ordered the smoked trout dip (pictured here), which comes with house-made crackers from Paysan. It was phenomenal. The bar offers lower sugar, grape-based, non-alcoholic options (one of which Urban Woman loved at the soft opening), as well as a couple of beers on draft and more by the can. They will always have PBR on tap, and several local beers, but they will also have less-expensive beers from various regions, like Lone Star from Texas. They have unusual beers from around the world, as well, like a beer from Japan and a traditional cider from England. You can find the full menus for wine, beer, food, and alcohol-free drinks here.
They hope to host wine tastings as they get underway, introducing an educational component so that others might enjoy learning about the wines as they have over the last three years. Wine dinners and other possibilities may emerge over the coming months. They need some time to get comfortable in the business before adding new wrinkles.
Alexis put their philosophy simply, “Drink what you like and don’t be a snob.” She said the art, the lighting, and every other choice has been made with comfort and approachability in mind. Zach said of the offerings simply, “I love good wines and I love PBR.”
The hours include Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm, Friday 4:00 to midnight, Saturday 2:00 to midnight, and on Sunday 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm. They are closed on Tuesdays. You can follow them on Instagram and their website. But mostly, just go there. Dressed up on date night? Want a little something after work? Want to explore new wine possibilities? I predict you’ll love it.