2 New Breweries Opening In Downtown Chattanooga

Thursday, November 1, 2018 - by Gail Perry

Two new breweries in downtown Chattanooga will be opening tap rooms to serve their beer on location and to sell growlers to go. The Naked River Brewing Company, 1701 Reggie White Blvd., was approved for a distributor license at the Oct. 18 City Beer Board meeting so that production could begin and be ready for the opening of the tap room and restaurant on Nov. 1. At the Beer Board meeting on Thursday, the owners were approved for a consumer and carryout beer permit.

The business is in the renovated 140-year-old building adjacent to Finley Stadium and the board was told that it has been carefully restored with a separate space upstairs for large events. In addition to the 5-7 beers on tap, the restaurant will specialize in Texas-style smoked BBQ. With the restaurant being opened on game days, the owners were cautioned to carefully check IDs. The unconventional name, explained Mike Robinson, one of the owners, comes from the recognition of the Tennessee River and for the brewer, who has the nickname of “The Naked Brewer,” because he works in shorts and flip flops.”


Wanderlinger Brewing Co., 1208 King St., also, had previously received a manufacturer’s license. The business was approved for a consumer/carry-out beer permit on Thursday. Up to 12 types of beer will be served in house on tap or for take-out in growlers. The official opening for the tap room with a capacity of around 100 is scheduled for next week.


The Mad Priest Coffee and Cocktails located at 719 Cherry St., will be the second location in Chattanooga for the company. The coffee bar had its grand opening on Oct. 31. This small batch coffee roaster was already selling coffee at 1900 Broad St. The new location’s hours will be to open as a coffee shop at 7 a.m. and at 5 p.m. will become a craft cocktail bar and café serving light food. 


Handle & Bar, 1155 E. Main St., is a bar that will cater to the “outdoor” crowd, said Cody Wallis. He has a second, related clothing business, Hand-Up Glove. Handle & Bar will be open from 3-9 p.m. and is not intended to draw a late-night crowd. Mr. Wallis said it will be a “hang-out for like-minded people" and can seat around 60. Only canned beer and pre-packaged food will be sold.


Mary’s Lounge, 2125 McCallie Ave., has been in business for 18 years and has now been inherited by Mary Shepheard from her mother. The restaurant and lounge was described by board member Christopher Keene, as a nice and popular place. Because of the ownership change, a new beer license was required under the new owner’s name.


Aldi #87 opened two weeks ago at 680 Signal Mountain Road but did not receive a beer license at the last board meeting because no land-line phone number was available. That number has now been assigned. A land line phone is needed because the location of a call can immediately be identified by a dispatcher if an emergency did ever occur. The board unanimously granted a beer license to the grocery store on Thursday. The manager, Brittany Sloan, told the board that wine is also sold and that an ID will be asked for every sale of either beer or wine.


Two special events that will take place in the coming week were approved for special event beer permits. Chattanooga Breakfast Rotary Club will have a fundraiser, Boots, Beer & Blackjack, on Nov. 9. It will benefit both Kids on the Block and Rivermont Elementary School. Bill Reason, representative from the Rotary Club, told the board that at this event last year $17,000 was raised to buy equipment for the playground which is being built in stages. It will be an all-inclusive playground for special needs children and will be handicapped accessible. Installation will begin this week and will replace an outdated playground that the club built years ago.


The event will take place at The Peyton, 3146 Broad St., on Nov. 9 from 6:30-10:30 p.m. and will be for people 21 and up, with IDs being checked at the door.


Sculpture in the Sky will be held at the Sculpture Fields in Montague Park, 1800 Polk St. The free, family-friendly event will be from noon until 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3, with a rain date of Nov. 4. Kite flyers from across the country will be flying large, colorful kites of all kinds. There will be food trucks and a beer tent. EPB will give away free kites and Clumpies will give away free ice cream. Wind for kite flying is predicted to be good, said Anne Rushing, and people can bring their own kites, she said.


A change in state law has been made that will allow two businesses that sell wine or spirits to share outdoor areas such as a patio, said Assistant City Attorney Keith Reisman. This has already been allowed by the Chattanooga Beer Board, and is a good move for consistency, he said. There is a requirement that cups or glasses must be marked to identify which business sold the beer or alcohol.


Members of the Beer Board would like to be consistent in the treatment of infractions of the city’s beer code. In the past, some beer permits have been denied because employees at an establishment had not been given professional training to sell alcohol. It is not mandatory under the current laws, and the board members must use their independent judgment in some cases. The board is considering whether to make professional training a requirement for obtaining a beer license. That change would have to be made by the Chattanooga City Council. Attorney Reisman suggested putting information in the application that professional training is preferred and, if employees have not been properly trained, that may be a basis for the board denying a beer license.


Another suggestion from board member Trevor Atchley is to offer a business with professionally trained employees, a lesser penalty for a first violation.


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