Preservation Pub

Preservation PubPreservation Pub
Preservation PubPreservation Pub
Bar, Eatery

28 Market Sq
Knoxville, Tennessee, 37902-1404
United States

(865) 524-2224 | map

View: Place Reviews | Events
Reviews: 14 | Ratings: 22
Photo of JWoods
4.28/5  rDev +9.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

This bar is one of my favorites, weather providing this bar boasts three floors including the amazing roof top bar. The draft selection offers 25 craft beers, and the bottle selection is easily 200+. Yes it is smokey, but its one of the few places smokers can still go. The second floor is non smoking and the atmosphere is typically more subdued than the boisterous party that is raging down stairs. Not to mention they have the best pizza in town.

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Photo of mbdaniel
2.65/5  rDev -32.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 2.5 | selection: 2.5 | food: 1.5

This place is still there simply because it was the first bar on the renewed Market Square, and it's the only place where smokers can hang out. A small tap selection and a decent, but not outstanding, bottle selection. Always packed with smokers puffing on their cigarettes and blowing it away from where they sit. What could be a nice atmosphere is destroyed by the beer coolers that cast a bright glare of florescent lighting at anyone at the bar. The bartenders do not know beer, and act bored, and can be surly. Unless the above appeals to you, don't bother. Lack of seating; No food.

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Photo of b3shine
3.1/5  rDev -20.7%
vibe: 2 | quality: 2 | service: 4 | selection: 4

My wife and I stopped in for a beer here after reading that Draft Magazine labeled it one of the best beer bars in America. Let's just say that I wouldn't want to hang out with whoever did that review. The atmosphere sucked. Unless hanging out in a smoke-filled, dimly lit (likely to hide the dirtiness) place is your scene. The patrons were equally as bad. Wanna be hipsters and goths were sparsely placed throughout the fairly empty establishment. Unless you're looking to pick up an ugly version of Dita Von Teese, don't waste your time. Their bottle selection was the only silver lining - minimized by their abysmal draft selection. I won't be going back, and suggest you skip over it as well.

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Photo of tedho21
4.14/5  rDev +5.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Outside of the beer selection, this place really deserves 2 separate reviews. On a night when they have live music, the place is a great hangout with about 10 taps and lots and lots of bottles. On a night without live music, it's a place with great beer that is a pretty boring place to hang out in. I've been there in both instances. Overall, I'd still give it high reviews. Lots of crafts and imports both on tap and in bottle and about half the draft selection seems to turnover pretty quickly with the remainder being for the "regulars". Prices are certainly reasonable and for the area the selection really can't be beat. If going, definitely check their website calendar to make sure they have live music as this seems to make or break a visit atmosphere wise.

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Photo of FreeTibet
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Pres. Pub is a wonderful local hangout for anyone in Knoxville, but especially for those who live in and around the downtown area here in Knoxville. It is a short bike ride from all of the outlying downtown neighborhoods, and the beer selection is just ripe and ready to quench your thirst. They carry tons of bottles, and always have a solid 8 or so selections on draft. The service, while at times a bit hectic, is always great! Brian and Jill are great people, as well as excellent conversationalists! The atmosphere is realy cozy, and they have bands almost every night. Great music, good beer and really nice people, along with a solid patio for the warmer days make this a certain stop for any Market Square passer-by!

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Photo of marshane
3.93/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2

We've been going to the pub for the past couple years, and we almost always enjoy ourselves there. Other than having a great selection, the atmosphere is the main reason we keep going back! Its not a small place, but its not too big either... just nice, cozy place to sit and have a few drinks while watching their nightly bands. The beer selection superb! I tried some of my favorite beers for the first time there (Anchor Porter, Chimay, St. Peter's). The prices are somewhat reasonable... until you get into the stronger beers, then you're paying about $7-8 per beer. But, I think thats worth it for a Chimay Tripel. The service is varied depending on the time of the day and the week. On slow days, its not too shabby, on busier days its borderline rediculously understaffed. I wouldn't come here for food, they just have some over-priced snack items (nachos, big pretzels), but theres a few resturaunts next-door that will deliver to the pub.

Overall, a good alternative to loud sports pubs, and a great place to go and chill out with friends.

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Photo of phishgator
3.99/5  rDev +2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5

TN has some different laws that require higher taxes on stronger brews (over 6.2%), so with saying that I will start my review. I went on a Wednesday night and the place had two wonderful bluegrass bands rockin the house. The place was probably 70-80% full. It reminded me of a college bar for young adults. Their selection was the best in the area. The draw back were the price and the service; there were two servers in the entire place; there were probably 70+ patrons spread out throughout the bar.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.06/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Stopped in here as I made my walk through downtown on the way to the downtown brewery. The place had a really cool rustic kind of feel to it. Great selection of beer, and in hind sight I wish I had a few more here as the beer at the brewery was just average. Had about 6 taps from what I saw, 1 foothills, 1 Catawba, a rogue, a stone and a DFH, very nice. Bottle selection was very impressive and I would say probably close to 100. Prices were very reasonable and the atmosphere was defiantly fun. I would love to stop in here and hang out again one night. The place just seemed great and lively and had a really good selection. Definitely a must stop if you are in the downtown area.

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Photo of FightingEntropy
3.84/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

I was planning to drink here a bit longer--really good extensive beer selection in bottles and several drafts including Stone, Rogue, local beer, plus good standards. Hole in the wall beer bar in the downtown Kville area on the Market Square. Nice pub, but no food except free pizza from a local place they have sent over and all you need to do is add to the tip for the delivery guy.

I had a Highland St. Terese's Pale Ale, which was the best of the Highland beers I had had during the week, and the other Highland brews were very good as well. Went for dinner across the square, and didn't make it back is all--tired. Nothing to do with the bar. I would gladly return.

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Photo of Hollenbeck2
4.41/5  rDev +12.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

This place was great, hot bartender, always a plus, great selection of microbrews in the bottle all placed in a large glass front fridge for easy viewing behind the bar, about 8 beers on tap good mix.

live music was great and a cool mellow crowd although I was there on a sunday night at midnight, but still happening.

I had two pint glasses of a IPA from north carolina and it was on $2.50 per drink great deal and nice people.

I highly recommend as the best selection of beer in knoxville. also try walk down and try the downtown brewery a few clocks away.

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Photo of Graebner
4.04/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Went here after a concert at the Bijou. There happened to be a [free] concert in Market Square that night, so I'm going to assume that this place normally has a higher-class crowd inside, and also that they normally use glass glasses instead of plastic cups for their beer.

Atmosphere was marvelous, they had quotes by various notables about drink, including one of my favorite by Churchill:

Lady Astor: "Sir, if you were my husband, I would poison your drink."
Churchill: "Madam, if you were my wife, I would drink it."

The place is nicely done inside, and is certainly a place I would hang out if I lived in town. Service was pretty good, especially considering the INSANE crowd; I waited only a minute for a beer in hand, which was impressive.

Selection was quite impressive, including Stone and four or five Dogifsh Head offerings, Catawba Firewater on tap (excellent brew), and probly 60-70 others. Will certainly visit again, and you should too.

Didn't see many prices, but my pint of Firewater was $3.50, which is pretty reasonable.

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Photo of veech
3.64/5  rDev -6.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

This is a place that I used to frequent a lot when I first moved to town in 2001. It was kind of an undiscovered gem at the time. The waitresses and bartenders were all female, very attractive, and beer savvy. The beer selection was the best in town, and the live music was varied and generally damn good. The place just had a really cool vibe at the time. It is housed in an historic downtown locale that is very narrow and long with high ceilings and an eclectic decor. The walls were adorned with multiple oversized posters of famous beer quotes from everyone from Plato to Homer Simpson. They had a beer passport that applied toward their bottled selections. If you drank all of their bottles you had your name inscribed on a plaque that commemorated you as a "Beer God". Very nice touch that encouraged variety to ones drinking. Greg the manager was a very cool guy who made sure that things ran at a high level. If I were to rate it between 2001-2003 it would have been 5's across the board. All that being said, things have since taken a major down turn.
Around late 2003 the clientele started to shift to more hipster/yuppie with a a major influx of UT students. It became overcrowded and the attractiveness and quality of the bartenders/waitresses sharply declined. Greg left to open the Beer Sellar on the UT strip which didn't last long. After Greg's departure, the owner's wife took over management duties and a major drop off in quality occurred. Rumors abounded about rampant drug use by the management. Those rumors were confirmed when the owners of the pub were indicted on federal drug trafficing charges in 2006. I had long since stopped frequenting there by this time. My last visit there was probably 6 mos ago and it paled in comparison to its fomer incarnation. A shame really because it was the one place that initially spurred on the downtown renewal that has continued in Knoxville. It remains open and I suppose the IRS is reaping the profits to cover unpaid back taxes. I haven't visited since the scandal, but am curious about the atmosphere now. I might return soon and file a subsequent beerfly report.

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Photo of CaskofFlyingDog
3.86/5  rDev -1.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5

I'd been here once but just for a few minutes. I always wanted to go back and just enjoy it. So after hearing some trouble happening where we were thinking they might get closed down we had to make it top priority to go to this excellent drinkin' hole.

We went on a Weds. night at 8:40 so we enjoyed the happy hour til 9. When it hits 9 the lights automatically turn down and really showcase the colorful lights they have like the asian star lamps. Really made me think about taking my woman there with me next time. The place is beyond cozy and elegant. You can't help but feel relaxed. They do though however play alot of music which from all i've gathered is stuff like Americana. I'm not sure how crazy I am about this music but i know i love the place and the beer. I had a Sam Adams Summer Ale then a Stella just out of curiosity. It was a 2.50 for the Sam Adams because it was still happy hour. Our bartender wasn't ignoring us but wasn't extremely friendly just doing her job. That's fine but it doesn't help add to anything. (She took her lunch break at 9 though.) Selection is ridiculous. They have 7 or 8 taps dedicated to a few APA's, stella, blue moon, Sam Adams, bass, and guinness. That's not terribly impressive itself but they have tons of imports, micros, and strong ales. I didn't see it but they usually have Dog-Fish Head. Food is unapplicable but they do have free pizza 5:30 to 6:30 from the tomato head I believe. The prices are just reasonable. I was about to get a belgian but it was 6.50- that might be normal and all but I'm not loaded. Overall it's a neat ass place.

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Photo of KroMagnon
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

First off, the place doesn't have a kitchen - food that is available is brought in from elsewhere, so the "food" part is kind of hard to call. However, that being said, there is a great gourmet pizza place a few doors down that will deliver their pies to the Pub (see so I went with a "good" on that part of the review.

The Pub is in Market Square, a downtown area undergoing something of a renaissance. This is both a plus and a minus, because parking isn't as convenient as you may like (you have to walk a block or two) but hey, you're in the city. Also, the Pub donates a portion of its profits to local preseration efforts. The atmosphere is exceptional: the wooden interior makes you instantly feel at home. Its worn enough to feel real - heck it IS real- and posters hang on the wall with famous quotes from local figures and international drinkers (my favorites are V-Roys "Cold beer hello" and Winston Churchill and Lady Astor's exchange). The Pub is very intimate (OK, its small) but that isn't a drawback at all. There is usually a very diverse crowd there too especially just after work which makes for great people-watching.

But the beer selection is superb. There are not as many taps as a bigger place dedicated to good beer would have, but the Preservation Pub holds their own and more with a lot of great "big beers" available (DFH, Einbecker, Corsendonk, etc) and a diverse selection of draft and bottled beers as well (Highland, Left Coast, and many others). Knoxville's beer situation is much better than 5 years ago but not many places carry the entire line, which is something this place is dedicated to doing. About the biggest turn-off I have on the place is the storage of bottled beers under flourescent lights, but that's common.

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Preservation Pub in Knoxville, TN
Place rating: 3.91 out of 5 with 22 ratings