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Neighborhood Cocktail Bar Near Stadium Looking to Do Baseball- and Soccer-themed Drink Menus 
Professional baseball and soccer in the new stadium might be a year away. But Elle Nelson, owner of Monkey's Bar a few blocks to the west, is already starting to brainstorm what specialty cocktails she might serve to pair with concerts or sporting events at the stadium.

"We'll have a themed menu for stadium events," she says. "It's not hard to be creative."

Themed nights and tailored novelty drinks (with alcohol or without) are nothing new for Monkey’s Bar, a neighborhood cocktail bar at Central Street and Depot Avenue. For example, the bar had a themed night for The Chicks concert.

Elle Nelson and Monkey

Elle Nelson and Monkey

Nelson says events at the stadium will present many opportunities for her to do fun themed menus, tying into what's going on in the neighborhood and to create enjoyable experiences. She wants to partner with One Knoxville Soccer Club as well as the Knoxville Smokies.

What might future baseball-themed cocktails look like? Nelson offers a sneak preview.

“The humor in me, what I would like, is that the cocktail is ‘History repeats itself.' People are coming back downtown; baseball is back," she says. "The drink will probably be unique to the team colors and include an ice cube from a baseball mold."

There's plenty of history at Monkey's Bar. The brick building dates back to the late 1800s. It was originally a bar that served railroad workers.

Monkey's Bar, Central Street and Depot Avenue

Monkey's Bar, Central Street and Depot Avenue

Monkey's Bar, Central Street and Depot Avenue

Nelson, who grew up in Fountain City, remembers her parents shopping at JCPenney downtown. Her father's accounting office was on Gay Street.

Fast forward several decades, and the center city is teeming anew with retail, restaurants, condos and apartments.

History repeats itself.

The new stadium will do much more than tie together East Knoxville, the Old City and downtown. It will infuse, by one estimate, $480 million in new economic activity. The stadium itself is being built on the site of what had been a long-vacant and dilapidated meatpacking plant.

Nelson appreciates the local history - and how she is now part of it.

Monkey's Bar offers a place for neighborhood people to hang out, make new friends, and enjoy fun cocktails. Monkey, the establishment's namesake and star, is Elle’s Golden Retriever, who loves to greet the people who come in.

Nelson also emphasizes that Monkey's Bar offers many non-alcoholic beverages; “it makes (the bar) more fun and inclusive.” Because of this, anyone can stop by after a game or concert and enjoy a unique drink.

“The stadium will cultivate more energy and bring in more people on our slow days,” Nelson says. "I'm naturally an optimist and a positive thinker. Good people will be coming to support One Knox and the Smokies."

-Reported by University of Tennessee Haslam College of Business student Georgia Drinnon, a senior majoring in marketing

Posted by evreeland On 04 January, 2024 at 5:12 PM