Honest Pint pub seeks to distill Irish taste downtown

Honest Pint pub seeks to distill Irish taste downtown

December 14th, 2010 by Ellis Smith in Business

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 esmith@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6315. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ellisthered.