Friday, July 10, 2009

knoxville happy hour: sapphire

Friday is upon is, it's been a long work week, and it's a beautiful day. Sounds like a recipe for happy hour.

By and large, Knoxville bars and restaurants offer amazing happy hour specials. We've got plenty of places that boast half-off wine nights, half priced appetizers and other cheap treats. And in the Twitter age, many local spots have been taking their promotions to the web, offering special deals and tips to their online followers. With this in mind, I hope to feature some great happy hour spots with some semi-regularity on this blog.

Like I said, I've had a very long week. I've got a friend coming to visit for the weekend, and I think I'll take her to one of my most favorite happy hour spots: Sapphire. Located at 428 South Gay Street (next to Downtown Grill and Brewery), Sapphire is known as downtown Knoxville's modern bar and restaurant.

Modern is a good word. Possibly, so is trendy. I suppose Sapphire is slightly upscale, though its standard prices certainly aren't astronomical; and you wouldn't feel out of place in jeans. I might describe it as a scene, or a place that people would want to go to see and be seen. But I don't mean that in a bad way. Sapphire is a really fun, clean, aesthetically pleasing place. It's definitely got a vibe. On weekend nights after say 9pm, it tends to be a little loud and crowded for my taste, but it is the perfect place for a relaxed, low key, delicious happy hour.

If it's nice out like it is today, I always try to get there early to snag one of the 4 or 5 patio tables. I love people watching on Gay Street, and there's always something going on around the 400 block. If those tables are already taken, the bar tables are just as comfortable.

The goods:

I don't have a complete list of Sapphire's happy hour deals, but here's what I do know. Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 (I believe), you can get 5 dollar mojitos and 5 dollar liquor drinks. House wines (decent labels, too) are on special and so are the beers. It's either every day or at least one day a week that all martinis are 5 dollars as well. Appetizers (minus a few select items) are half priced and so are all the maki sushi rolls. Somewhere along the way, Sapphire has developed a really good sushi menu. The eel, cream cheese and seaweed salad Garden Snake, which is not offered at happy hour price, is my favorite roll and still worth it at 8 dollars. And there are plenty of great, half-priced maki rolls to choose from.

I have never ordered off the dinner menu at Sapphire, but the entrees look like the sort of unique dishes that any foodie would love.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good dive bar and a relaxed time with friends, but I also love Sapphire's happy hour because it's well attended but never overly crowded. I'm almost always guaranteed to run into someone I know, and I can get a good chilled vodka martini for 5 bucks. Where a few years ago I would have described the service as tedious, something has changed more recently and the servers are friendly, knowledgeable and attentive. Now I'm just waiting for the day that my sweetheart will purchase me the Sapphire Martini: Bombay Sapphire garnished with a 2.25 carat sapphire. That one's not priced for happy hour.


B said...

I hadn't been there in a long time, but i just went there last night (thurs) after work to meet some friends and got a $5 margarita. it was really good.

I saw that too on the menu- $350 for the bombay sapphire! I'd love to know how often that gets purchased.

Robert said...

well ... i'll surely be next door on the patio. so maybe you could pass a martini over the divider, but vodka? seriously?

Discordia said...

Must say I love the atmosphere of the place, but their pricing is not marketed for my lifestyle...

The Modern Gal said...

Em, you know drinking is bad for you, right? :)

Anonymous said...

The Happy Hour is Mon-Sat 4-7pm:

• $5 Classic Mojito
• $5 Well Vodka/Gin Martinis
• $4 Premium Well drinks
• $3 House Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon
• $3 House Sparkling Wine
• $2.50 Premium Import Draft
• $2 Domestic Bottle
• 50% Off Appetizers

Daily Drink Specials -|- 4pm – 3am
• Monday – Happy Hour ALL NIGHT
• Tuesday – 50% OFF bottles of wine under $50
• Wednesday - $5 Signature Martinis
• Thursday - $5 Signature Mojitos

Live Jazz Mon-Wed EVERY WEEK with no charge (the only place in downtown that has a jazz scene)

Sunday Brunch starts next Sunday from 11am-3pm every week.