published Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Honest Pint pub seeks to distill Irish taste downtown

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    Staff Photo by Allison Carter/Chattanooga Times Free Press -Work continues on Honest Pint, a new Irish pub located off of Patten Parkway in downtown Chattanooga.

The founders of Chattanooga's The Terminal Brewhouse and Hair of the Dog pub are at it again.

The former location of Parkway Billiards is undergoing a $160,000 transformation with a schedule calling for it to be open by Christmas, according to new tenant Matt Lewis, who said he hopes his third restaurant will be as popular as the first two.

Reopening as the Honest Pint, Lewis plans to transform the storied structure on Patten Parkway into a full-featured Irish Pub, modeled after the ones he visited on a recent tour of Ireland.

The Honest Pint, which will add a splash of color to the block where the first Coca-Cola bottling plant was built, will mark the latest stage in the saga of a building that has served as a nightclub or bar for decades, Lewis said.

From the bright red paint and rough-cut wooden beams outside to the fully-restored chandeliers, wooden floor and paneled ceiling indoors, he's going for authenticity with a modern twist.

Broken wood floors are being mended, a decades-old bar is being restored, and historic touches are being retained.

Along with his partners, Ryan Chilcoat and Geoff Tarr, Lewis has found success in the past by "working off the model of the neighborhood pub," with an environment conducive to "going out for camaraderie, dinner and drinks."

In a nod to the nonsmokers, he added a smoke-free dining area "that will actually be smoke-free, not just a corner where people don't smoke, but everyone's smoke around them is wafting over," he said.

Another key difference with his past projects will be the emphasis on music.

Over the past few weeks, craftsmen have worked to "glorify the stage," which had previously been de-emphasized in previous renovations on the structure.The trio's other key to success has been careful hiring, Chilcoat said.

After all, when the construction workers leave, "the people we hire supply the life to this place," he said.

"I think of it as an organic thing, the people are what make a pub what it is," Chilcoat added.

Two hundred patrons will fill the space, which can be rearranged to accommodate 350 during musical performances.

Trinkets and decorations from Ireland are already on their way across the Atlantic to line the walls at the Honest Pint, Lewis said.

Diners may sample items on the Irish-American fusion menu, Lewis said, at a restaurant designed to "feel like it's been here forever," when renovations are complete around Dec. 25.

Contact Ellis Smith at or 423-757-6315. Follow him on Twitter at

about Ellis Smith...

Ellis Smith joined the Chattanooga Times Free Press in January 2010 as a business reporter. His beat includes the flooring industry, Chattem, Unum, Krystal, the automobile market, real estate and technology. Ellis is from Marietta, Ga., and has a bachelor’s degree in mass communication at the University of West Georgia. He previously worked at UTV-13 News, Carrollton, Ga., as a producer; at the The West Georgian, Carrollton, Ga., as editor; and at the Times-Georgian, Carrollton, ...

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gjuster said...

Can't miss - these guys do a great job

December 14, 2010 at 7:52 a.m.
ohbon said...

This is a great way to bring Ireland with it's Celtic music and foods to us without crossing the pond. Great idea guys, looking forward to it.

December 14, 2010 at 8:42 a.m.
FatTony said...

If smoking in any area is permitted you can count me and all my athletic friends out. Several pub loving drinkers I know never got more than 2 steps into Hair of the Dog before turning and leaving. Would love to try your beers and eat your food but if I have to encounter smoke at any point along the way; I will take my leisure money elsewhere.

December 14, 2010 at 9:58 a.m.
dave said...

It should end up right there with Durty Nellies and several other failed attempts at "theme" bars.

December 14, 2010 at 10:10 a.m.
librul said...

If that's the building where Yesterdays was, few in modern Chattanooga know it was originally the Black YMCA - you know, back in the days of "separate but equal".

December 14, 2010 at 10:26 a.m.
fisher18_80 said...

I agree with FatTony on the smoking issue. Chattanooga needs more nightlife without smoking. Bar and restaurant owners are afraid it will hurt business, but I love going to Nashville, where you can go out, have a great time, dance, imbibe and go home without smelling like an ashtray. A non-smoking bar in Chattanooga would actually be a draw for tons of people.

December 14, 2010 at 11:05 a.m.

As the article clearly stated it's the former location of Parkway Billiards which is at the other end of Patten Parkway (Lindsay Street).

And, I think librul is wrong about the old Yesterday's bulding which is now Mid-Town Music Hall.

I wonder if the name, Honest Pint, refers to another highly-popular brewery restaurant who serves in less than an honest pint-sized glass? Either way. Welcome Honest Pint.

December 14, 2010 at 11:16 a.m.
appleglass said...

It would be wonderful to get some traditional music at the pub -- from the Folk School of Chattanooga, for instance? Having lived in Boston for many years, I miss going to pubs on cold winter days and hearing traditional, acoustic music sessions. That's what makes a pub authetically Irish.

December 14, 2010 at 12:22 p.m.
VanZant said...

This is wonderful! Chattanooga needs another Irish pub like it needs another Mexican restaurant. How about some originality. What's with the whole Irish pub boom anyway? Most fail within a year for a reason. Why not something different for a change? A German pub maybe, or a Russian style bar? No, those are too easy to make fun of or bad mouth so it's safer to open up something that is cookie cutter in nature. I hope they actually support local music instead of just pretending to because it's the hip thing to do these days. Also, all you bitchy non-smoker give the cool non-smokers a bad name. Haven't you been coddled enough?

December 14, 2010 at 12:44 p.m.
Musicman375 said...

"I wonder if the name, Honest Pint, refers to another highly-popular brewery restaurant who serves in less than an honest pint-sized glass?"

Almost every restaurant and bar in Chattanooga serves their "pint" sized beer in a 12.5 oz. "pint" glass. And their "22 oz." pilsner glasses are actually 17.5 oz. Interesting how they get away with that. I never thought about it until I saw the boxes those glasses were delivered in one day.

If I'm remembering correctly, Red Lobster has an actual pint glass, but it's been a while so that could be wrong.

December 14, 2010 at 1:25 p.m.
mkelley said...

Dave, how was Durty Nelly's failed? It lasted over 10 years.

December 14, 2010 at 4:14 p.m.
valleyrider said...

Fat Tony got it right. Smoking is going out in a fast way, with only the losers still practicing it. At least they are confined to the few spots that allow it, leaving the respectable venues available to those of us who don't practice the habit and don't want to be around the filthy smokers who do. If the Tennessee legislators had any backbone back in the day, every bar and restaurant would be clean, but bribery is still alive and well in politics - it's called lobbying.

December 14, 2010 at 5:54 p.m.
Amos_Ives_Root said...

Smoking is cool!! Everyone here is just jealous.

December 14, 2010 at 7:11 p.m.
NoMyth said...

Sounds good except for one thing others have noted...smoking. Unfortunately Chattanooga is a highly uneducated, insular population, stuck 30 years behind most major cities., i.e., the type of society that smokes a lot. I suggest they change the name to Honest Pint and Butt.

December 14, 2010 at 9:36 p.m.
MountainJoe said...

Legislators should have nothing to do with it. Your property, your rules. You want to open a bar/restaurant and allow smoking, that is completely your business. You won't get my money, but you may get the money of others who wish to smoke or don't mind smoke. Vote with your dollars and let the free market work its magic.

December 16, 2010 at 10:31 p.m.
jjasonfrancis said...

Really I would rather there not be a non-smokers area. A Pub should be the last vestige where a smoker can go have some drinks listen to old worn out music on a jukebox and smoke until at least one lung shrivels and turns black out of pure submission. For those of you who listen to your lungs and whatever other parts you find interesting, stay home, or wonder down any street, accidentally fall into almost and restaurant/bar in this city and be happy there were smoking is not allowed at all. As a smoker, and one that will not stop anytime soon, I will miss the days of foggy smoke filled bars, drunken intelligent banter, the crack of pool balls, and the over listened to worn out old songs of jukebox past.

January 2, 2011 at 1:07 p.m.
fisher18_80 said...

Just like I thought... this is a cool place with good food and nice ambiance. But you leave smelling like an ashtray with burning eyes. Despite being a really big place, the smoke doesn't dissipate well. Someone needs to open a good bar in the old Mix building and make it non-smoking.

January 17, 2011 at 10:18 a.m.
BarManPoet said...

Ok people, time for an education. First, I'm a non-smoker, always have been. Second, I've worked in the service industry 20 years. The point of starting a business is to do what you love and make money doing it. Non-smokers tend to be healthier minded, which means they don't drink as much as smokers. To be honest, not near as much. Also, they're not as laid back as smokers. Which means they aren't always pleasant to serve. And hate to say it, but in general, smokers tip alot better than non-smokers. In other words, who wants to open bar where people don't drink that much, are kinda bitchy, and don't tip very well, thus leaving your staff morale low? To even bother posting something about how horrible smoking bars are really proves my point. Why bother? I'm a non-smoker who has had to listen to other non-smokers complain about this all the time. Get over yourselves.

February 28, 2011 at 3:10 a.m.
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