Whiskey Cowgirl bar/restaurant planned for Chattanooga's Southside

John Wise grows development to $60 million with apartments, restaurants and bowling alley

Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / A pool is a feature of the outdoor portion of Whiskey Cowgirl. Developer John Wise will be opening a new restaurant and bar, Whiskey Cowgirl, on the Southside. The Times Free Press had at look at the progress on August 5, 2022.

A country music bar and restaurant complete with a swimming pool, mechanical bull and live music is set as the latest addition to downtown Chattanooga's Southside.

Whiskey Cowgirl will take up about 14,000 square feet of space off Broad Street amid a mixed-use district that Chattanooga developer John Wise said Friday will hit $60 million when fully built out.

"I decided to do another concept," Wise said in an interview Friday as workmen readied the bar and eatery that's slated to open in mid-September.

Wise owns a tract of land between Broad and Chestnut streets and bordered by West 20th Street where he already has built a five-story apartment complex, the Southside Social boutique bowling alley and restaurant and renovated a pair of old buildings which have drawn a variety of tenants.

Whiskey Cowgirl will fill the last open space in the two buildings, which also include Gordon Food Service, Pizza Bros, and Haygood Market, Wise said.

Within about 15 months, he said he plans to raise another five-story apartment building holding 140 units with retail on the ground floor.

"Apartments are doing fine," Wise said about the original 158-unit complex on the parcel.

Apartment dwellers in his buildings will be able to use the pool, which will have a swim-up bar, at Whiskey Cowgirl, he said. The developer said he came across the latest concept while visiting Texas and Mexico.

The venue's interior features a variety of murals, including music legends such as Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Hank Williams, and other country-related art work.

Artist Olivia Reckert said in an interview that she has liked working at a construction site.

"I love working on the project - the anticipation of what it's going to look like," she said.

Carson Whittaker, another artist, said the work has been "super challenging."

"It's a really fun challenge with all the elements," she said.

Wise said his wife, Connie, has helped with the interior decorating of the Whiskey Cowgirl. The bar and restaurant will have a large stage for live music four days a week, a VIP site, and a second-story outdoor deck.

Whiskey Cowgirl will serve what he termed "American cuisine" with tables set up indoors around a bar and in front of the stage.

Wise said he'd been talking about doing the Whiskey Cowgirl for at least three years, adding that when he travels, he looks for ideas at a variety of locations.

"It's putting different pieces of different places together," the developer said.

While Wise said he is "all in" on the Southside, he said he favors the proposed new Chattanooga Lookouts ballpark not far away in the South Broad District on the former U.S. Pipe/Wheland Foundry property.

"It will bring people to the Southside," he said.

"It will have the impact of the (Tennessee) aquarium," Wise said of the ballpark. "It will be a long-term focal point."

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.