Bar, Eatery

1909 Cumberland Ave
Knoxville, Tennessee, 37916-2907
United States

(865) 637-4663 | map

View: Place Reviews | Events
Reviews: 8 | Ratings: 13
Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.39/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

Went here with a co-worker for some dinner and drinks. We went on a Tuesday and all drafts were only $2 each. That is a steal. The draft list is pretty impressive with some regional specialties and local seasonals. Any time one can find a gose on draft is something special. The food was great as well. I had a burger with avocado, egg, bacon, lettuce and tomatoes and it was fantastic. It was overcooked but still delicious. The vibe was pretty cool Indy music and well behaved college students. Probably 30 drafts and all were craft. The beers I had were super fresh and delicious. I will certainly be back here in the future.

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Photo of myelo
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Sunspot on Cumberland recently moved down the street to a new location. This is a big improvement -- much larger with a patio and upstairs bar, easier parking, and best of all, more beer. It's not the funky/grunge little place before but the atmosphere is good, with a fair amount of college kids. Can be a bit loud when crowded.

The food is outstanding, better than the typical pub grub. The emphasis is on vegetarian/vegan but with enough steaks, burgers, chicken and fish for the carnivores.

Beer: 30+ on tap, with some rotation on seasonal selections. They have some standards like Sierra Nevada, Lagunitas, New Belgium and Rogue but an emphasis on regionals: Saw Works (knoxville), Highlands (Asheville), Red Brick and Sweetwater (Atlanta), Yazoo (Nashville), Straight to Ale (Huntsville, AL), and Terrapin (Athens, Ga). There were about 5 high gravity choices I think. Bottles too, which I haven't tried.

Service: good, although can get crowded on some nights. The longest I've waited for a table is 20 min or so. Bartenders seem pretty knowledgeable about the beers.

Price: reasonable with $2 drafts on Tuesday and 1/2 price Thursday nights.

Summary: good beer place and a great place for a meal and beer.

They also have a second location in Ft. Saunders, which I've not tried.

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Photo of rdobens
3.23/5  rDev -20.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 4.25

Sunspot is a chill laid back type of bar. No frosted mugs, so make sure you’re prepared to be drinking fast or you'll end up with warm beer. The food and atmosphere are the best here. The Chips and green salsa seem to go perfect with whatever I decide to drink.

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Photo of sansho
4/5  rDev -1.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

This place doesn't seem to have any reviews in a long time so here we go.

For at least the past year, the best selection of taps in the Downtown/UT Campus area (all walking distance) had been Sunspot and Barleys. And I think Sunspot is vastly superior!

Sunspot is tucked into one of the buildings on the strip (Cumberland Ave) with a very small sign. Many locals don't even know about it even though it's been around for a long time. It stays low key, with not your typical college student coming in even though it is right on campus. Professors and graduate students frequent this establishment.

They have 30 taps with all sorts of craft beers (many regional from TN, NC, GA, VA) with the most normal of their taps being Yuengling and Blue Moon. They will usually have 3-5 taps being high gravity (above 6% in TN since of the law).

The price is pretty reasonable. Most pints being in the 4-4.50 range.

I usually sit at the bar and have awesome service. The few times I have been seated, service was also quite prompt.
It can get a little busy on certain days/nights. All day Tuesday: 2 dollar drafts (except high grav). All day Wednesday: half price bottles of win. Thurs after 9PM: half off all drafts. Sunday night: Trivia.

The food is also what makes this place so appealing. It's on the much nicer side for the price you are paying. Awesome specials every week, an awesome house salsa, and the best side dish ever: sweet potato chips. Get them!!! You won't be disappointed.

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Photo of Yetiman420
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I was in Knoxville for an evening on business and took my colleague on a good beer tour of the Sunspot, Downtown Grill & Brewery, and the Knoxville Cigar Company.

Of the bunch, I enjoyed The Sunspot the most. It's located a modest walk from the central downtown area but there is a free trolly system that connects downtown and the Old City area.

The Sunspot had all of the best of the regions micros on tap - Sweetwater, Highland, and Cottonwood. The problem is, all of these breweries make "B" beers as rated on BA. I can't blame the bar for that. They no longer had Duck Rabbit when I was there.

On Tuesday it was $2 pint nights so I didn't feel bad only drinking 75% of some of these pints. We had the roasted red bell pepper humus which was excellent.

The sign on entrance said they were open 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM which seems really early for a college bar/restaurant.

If I find myself in town again, I'll be sure to stop here for beer and dinner.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

Now this was really a neat little place. After driving by it like three times, we finally decided to get out of the car and walk this one. It is tucked right in the middle of a strip mall right on Cumberland by Stefano’s, but is nearly invisible from the street due to cars and trees. Nice little place with lots of tables all around. The menu was excellent, nice selection of some upper end style food ,but not terribly expensive at all. The pasta was excellent as was the chicken. The beer selection again was great, they had maybe 30 taps I would guess, and the bottle selection was excellent ranging from many locals and imports. I would definitely stop by this place again, in fact the next time I am in town I will have to stop by there, it was just that good. Better then pretty much any of the other college geared restaurants on the strip for selection hands down.

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Photo of wcdoyle
3.7/5  rDev -9.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

I have a soft spot in my heart for the Sunspot. The food is solid and vegetarian friendly (although they do have the occasional kitchen hiccup that can lead to mediocre food). And while it's owned by the ever-growing local "family of restaurants" know as Aubrey's, this hasn't influenced the character of the place (and Aubreys overall does a solid job anyway). The Sunspot is still the Sunspot.

Evey place has it's downside, but let me hit the highlights first:
* Approximately 30 taps w/o a macro in sight (Good mix of "big name" micros like Rogue and regionals like Duck Rabbit),
* The chips and salsa provided to bar patrons includes salsa verde, a nice touch.
* A great small bar feel. (The restaurant side is the same way. Even when it's busy, it feels local/small town casual.)
* Solid bar staff that remember what you're drinking*and* know what they're serving.
*Great vegetarian-friendly menu selections.

Here's the downside:
* On my most recent visit, it was clear that better care is needed in the draft selection (one of the beers I sampled had an off taste that I'd ascribe to poor storage)
* Better happy hour pricing. Currently, Sunspot only offers Tu/Th beer happy hours, which I think is $1 off, but it would be nice to see this extended through the work week.
* Service on the bar side can be slow--even when moderately busy.

Overall, however, it's great that the Sunspot is still chugging along and that they haven't felt the need to cater to the BMC beer masses.

FINAL NOTE: With football season approaching, I wanted to add that Sunspot would be a great choice for BAs who' are in town on game days. It's VERY close to the stadium and offers a better selection than most places on the Cumberland Strip.

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Photo of veech
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

This place is a standout among the college geared restaurants that line the Cumberland Avenue strip at the University of Tennessee. It's not strictly a vegetarian place, but is very vegetarian friendly. It's hard to go wrong with a Jamaican jerk chicken sandwich(Bob Marley), the rattlesnake pasta, or the Sunday Brunch breakfast burrito. They have outstanding salsa verde as well. To wash all this down is a pretty impressive selection of brews. They keep 30+ taps pouring out Rogue, Highland, Olde Hickory, Catawba Valley, and several other craft brewers products with a bias toward southern breweries. Some quality examples that they offer among their 30 or bottles are Stone Arrogant Bastard, Ruination IPA, and Corsendonk. The separate bar area was a coffee shop before they knocked out the wall and absorbed it several years ago which really expanded their seating capacity. Cool place with a good beer selection and great food make this an excellent locale. Another plus is that they usually have some earthy but attractive college aged waitresses to add to the atmosphere. Whether you find yourself in K-town for gameday or otherwise pay the folks at the Sunspot a visit. You'll find it a haven from the Bud light swilling throngs of yokels that pack the tents that gorge the strip on gamedays.

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Sunspot in Knoxville, TN
Place rating: 4.07 out of 5 with 13 ratings