Restaurant Scene: Downtown Chattanooga’s Honest Pint serves up its last pint

No more tater tots deep fried in duck fat. No more drag queen bingo on Wednesdays, or chandeliers. No more Jack Daniel statue or inflatable Guinness toucans. No more "suitcases" of buffalo wings or $5 pitchers of Pint Punch. No more cheering from the balcony as a drunkard butchers Pat Benatar's "Love Is A Battlefield" and, sadly, no more corn doggy dogs.

For $4.7 million, Nashville-based Evelyn Capital Group snagged the building and, along with it, all these aforementioned things, plus countless memories — both great and gross. By the time you read this, the Honest Pint will be gone.

Right before I walked through those double doors for the first time, I noticed a plaque that reads: "There are no strangers here, only friends we have yet to meet."

Not to sound mushy, but The Honest Pint did feel like one of those places.

Irish pubs fancy themselves as safe havens for folks to partake in wholesome debauchery. Where you might meet the person who's going to end up catching the garter at your wedding one day. Where the server not only knows your name, but also your mother's maiden name. Where the bartender remembers that you're a Pisces, and the line cook already knows you want extra Dijon Merlot Vinny for your chicken fried salad.

It's hard to replicate this "Irish pub" theme, especially when the building and its stone facade and fire engine red windows look like it was snatched from a street in Dublin and dropped onto Patten Parkway.

"I just hope they turn it into something cool and not more condos that people can't afford," is what the bartender told me as she waited for the foam of my pilsner to settle.

Another longtime patron echoed the bartender's hopes. He'd swung by for one last pint and to buy one of the Honest Pint's T-shirts, just to have proof that he'd been there, just in case the developers turn it into something he didn't recognize. Paul Roach, a server, mentioned that he'd like to see the place remain a music venue.

Will there be a sequel to The Honest Pint somewhere else? In one of those vacant buildings on M.L. King Boulevard? In a shopping plaza on Gunbarrel Road? Will The Honest Pint be gutted out and turned into lofts for Telsa drivers and turmeric cortado sippers? Will the new owners lease the building to somebody who wants to bring Kenny Roger Roasters back to Chattanooga? Those are questions that we still don't have answers to.

As I was leaving, Kindora, Zowie and The Vanguard, and the "Eurotrash meets Southern class" band, SoCro were setting up their equipment to give The Honest Pint faithful a soundtrack to indulge in shenanigans, one last time.

Contact Andre James at 423-757-6327 or ajames@timesfreepress.com.

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