VILLAINS Roadtrip: Knoxville

I had an impromptu trip to Knoxville because my boyfriend's brother needed help taking his dog over to Tennessee, where their mom lives. He quit his job and is leaving on a three month sabbatical to travel the world. We rented a car and drove up from Orlando for about eleven hours, through the night. I didn't actually do any driving but the copiloting was just as hard. I got no rest for the entire trip for fear of being rammed by a sleepy semi, driving about 120 mph, physics was not on our side. 

The Tennessee Theatre 

The Tennessee Theatre 

I get my sense of adventure from my mom, and naturally, when I told her about this trip, she decided to fly down and meet me to explore the city. We wanted to book a lovely hotel in the heart of the city, known as The Oliver, but it was booked for the weekend. We ended up at The Hilton instead which was literally, five minutes walking distance from Market Square in Downtown Knoxville.  

Down the block from The Oliver Hotel, you turn left and there is Market Square, a combo of restaurants, bars, and small shops. I ate at the Oliver Royale, which was packed on Friday night, so we had to eat outside. I normally wouldn't mind but it was chilly and there were two people screaming their political/religious opinions the entire time, so that was fun. The food was good, my mom had the pan roasted arctic char and I had a charcuterie board. 

Next, and probably my favorite part of the night was the Peter Kern Library. This is the gem of Knoxville, even though I thought I was over the whole Speakeasy bar scene, this was totally worth it. 

How to Find the Peter Kern Library Speakeasy: Open 7 days 8am-2am

  • Go to The Oliver Hotel
  • There is an alley to the left of it, if you're facing the hotel
  • In that alley, there is a wall Mural titled "Before I Die..." walk past it 
  • Look for a doorway with a single red light above it 
  • There should be a bouncer dude that checks your I.D. and lets you in
Peter Kern Library 

Peter Kern Library 


The Moonshine Roof Garden: Preservation Pub

The Moonshine Roof Garden: Preservation Pub

I went back to Market Square with my boyfriend the on Sunday and we ate at the Stock and Barrel. It's an ultra laid back burger, bourbon, and beer restaurant. The wait was about twenty minutes, but I was not surprised, this place was packed. The service was amazing and the food was fantastic. I had the Mother Clucker, Chase had the Big Nasty Burger, and we both shared the special, which was an Elk burger. Everything we ate was either very fresh or locally sourced. 

Afterwards, we ventured around Market Square, and I saw the gleam of glittery streamers on the rooftop of the Preservation Pub. The Moonshine Roof Garden was by far the best part, it was a weirdo mix between Disney's Tree of life, steampunk metal sculptures, and Margaritaville. 

We starting heading back home, after our mini adventure, and I stumbled upon the cutest shop. Rala is a curated goods and gifts shop that supports only regional and local artisans. I was able to pick up an adorable card, enamel pin, sticker, and coconut travel candle for my best friend. I really wanted a poster but I couldn't figure out how to get it home, thankfully they have a website. They are also moving to a bigger location, which is awesome to hear because I love supporting the local artist community. 

Stephie Sersea