Bearden is an eclectic neighborhood west of downtown that is difficult to define. Ask a local where Bearden starts and ends and you might receive conflicting answers. For purposes of our post today, we’re using the parameters of Papermill meeting Kingston Pike on the west end, and Lyons View meeting Kingston Pike on the east end. This post will exclude Sutherland Avenue, simply because we already have an awesome post about that particular street. We’ll follow this post at some point with a post on Sequoyah Hills, so there is definitely some crossover. We won’t even try to rehash this post on Bearden from Knoxville History Project, so check that out first for a lay of the land and come back for what you should see and do in the area. (If you’re really into the history, KHP also just published their latest book specifically on Bearden.)
Doughnuts from Status Dough
Starting this type of post like we have before – breakfast, naturally! We might suggest Holly’s Gourmets Market & Café. Owner Holly Hambright is well-known in Knoxville particularly for excellent catering, so her café is a chance for you to experience her creations without throwing your own shindig. After all, in how many places do you see “Biscuit Bread Pudding” on the menu? If you’re too busy to sit, grab a coffee and doughnut from Status Dough - they serve both cake and yeast style treats so everyone in your crew will be satisfied.
We think some shopping is in order – Bearden has a heavy emphasis on high-end art galleries and interior design. If you’re looking to take home that special something for your humble abode, you’ve come to the right place. To name a few places to peruse, spend some time in the Persian Galleries, Bennett Galleries, The District Gallery & Framery, Todd Richesin Interiors, Laws Interiors, Art Galleria, G&G Interiors and more. If antiques are your jam, head to Bearden Antique Mall and Blair House Antiques.
BEARDEN BEER MARKET
All that shopping sure makes one hungry. And thirsty! Knoxville is the type of place where a mid-afternoon beer is the norm. Stop by Bearden Beer Market for an interesting and huge selection of cans and bottles, and their draft list features many Knoxville faves on tap. You won’t have to go far for some chow either. BBQ – Archer’s and Calhoun’s. Mexican – Soccer Taco and El Mezcal. Sports Bar – Bearden Hill Fieldhouse. Indian – Tandur and Sitar (the former is like the Chipotle of Indian, the latter is more traditional restaurant service). Thai – Surin of Thailand. Sushi – Nama. Don’t forget to head south from Kingston Pike on Northshore for some lemon cookies from Ham ‘n Goodys. Keep in mind some other pubs for later – like Back Door Tavern, Stillhouse Tavern, and Union Place Bar & Grill.
Everly Brothers Park
Get some fresh air and stop by Everly Brothers Park. This pocket park is a tribute to Don and Phil Everly, a pair of boys who went to West High School in the 1950s. They might be best known for “All I Have to Do Is Dream” and toured with Buddy Holly in 1957/58. Their style has influenced the Beatles, The Beach Boys, Simon & Garfunkel, and many more. The pocket park connects to the Bearden Village Greenway at the corner of Kingston Pike and Forest Park Boulevard. You’ll see inlaid quotes and signatures from Paul McCartney, Joan Baez, Graham Nash, Carole King, Brian Wilson, and more.
Koi Fish Mural | art by Curtis Glover Creative
Throwing in a few fun stops on Homberg Drive – The Southern Market has more than 40 mini shops inside, full of jewelry, home décor, gifts, and much more; it’s an iconic Bearden stop! For some retro vibes, visit Nostalgia just down the street. You’re sure to find records, memorabilia from the 1982 World’s Fair, and other kitschy items. If vintage really is your thing, there’s more to be found at Four Seasons Vintage just a bit west on Kingston Pike. Before leaving Homberg Drive, grab a selfie at the above mural. True to the neighborhood, it’s on the side of Jerry’s Artarama.
Beer Flight at Abridged Beer Co.
After you’ve wrapped up the afternoon, we’ve got both drinks and dinner covered at Abridged Beer Co. You are just about guaranteed to be sitting next to mostly locals in this tucked away neighborhood spot. Take a look at their beer menu – it’s got something to suit a wide variety of tastes but isn’t overwhelming. They do some collabs with some other spots on the Ale Trail, so if you’ve got time you can explore many other areas of Knoxville. And we have to mention the food – they have the juiciest burgers, the stickiest maple buttermilk fried chicken sandwiches, and…pot roast nachos.
Dining at Bistro by the Tracks
Start day two with brunch at Bistro by the Tracks for an elegant, relaxing lunch. Hint: they serve cocktails made with Knoxville’s own PostModern Spirits. In memory of yesterday’s mural, we suggest ordering “Revenge of the Goldfish”!
Overlooking Lakeshore Park
Spend the morning at Lakeshore Park. This park is one of the city’s largest and most visited. Originally this area was Cherokee land and was purchased from them by Captain William Lyon in 1809. It was donated to the State of Tennessee in 1874, and in 1886 the state’s first mental health institute was opened here – the East Tennessee Hospital for the Insane. After a few name changes and over a century of caring for patients, the Lakeshore Mental Health Institute closed its doors in 2013. In the meantime, the focus shifted to community-based services, including the use of the land as a public park with space for greenways, baseball fields, playgrounds, and more. Read its history here, and enjoy the 185 acres of green space along the Tennessee River.
Grab lunch at one of the places from the above list. So many choices! Then continue with some shopping with an afternoon full of boutiques. You’ll find higher-end chains like Lululemon, Anthropologie, Kendra Scott, and Madewell all within a stone throw of each other. But there’s way more local to enjoy, too! For men and women of classic style, head to M.S. McClellan. Pop into The DW Designs for soft tees for men and women; Est8te, Elle, and Obligato for upscale trendy pieces; and Fig & Co, Ironic, and the Back Porch Mercantile for Pinterest-worthy décor. Pick up something for stylish kids at Twig or Crenshaw’s. For the outdoors-lovers, swing by 3 Rivers Angler where you can pick up fly fishing goodies or book a guided trip to explore Knoxville’s waterways.
Pouring stations at Drink.
Another nice evening of drinks and dining. Literally, head to Drink.. That double period is not a typo, the name of the establishment is called Drink. and they are a pour-your-own wine bar with a lush atmosphere (yep, next door to Bistro by the Tracks). If floor to ceiling velvet in a dark room with space to mix and mingle or discretely sip your merlot is your vibe, then this is the place for you. How does it work? You’ll provide ID and method of payment to a server. You’ll be given a card to swipe and you can choose from a few different pours per bottle – get just a couple ounces to taste or go for a full glass. For dinner, try Harvest. Their focus is “land, sea, and vine”, so steak and poultry lovers, seafood cravers, and grape connoisseurs will all find something here to enjoy.
There’s more where that came from, but this is a strong head start. We hope we inspired you to visit the Bearden neighborhood! Check out Knoxville’s other neighborhoods here.