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Reflecting on 2021

As Downtown Knoxville rings in the New Year, we're reflecting on all the wonderful things 2021 brought. Read on to see some of the highlights worth celebrating, from new restaurants to retail stores plus more.


If you missed any of these new businesses, make sure you add them to your list to visit in 2022.


New Restaurants & Bars


🌺 Vida opened in the historic Holston Building. It's a Pan-Latin restaurant with a menu full of flavor, amazing cocktails, and exquisite décor!


🗝️ The Vault is a swanky cocktail lounge – an upscale addition to Downtown Knoxville’s nightlife! This underground bar is located in the vault of the former Holston Bank.


🔥 Wicked Chicken is bringing the heat to the 100 Block of Gay Street with Knoxville's version of Nashville hot chicken, plus an assortment of southern sides and cocktails.


🎏 Koyo is an elevated Japanese "Chef's Choice" dining experience on Clinch Ave. They were OpenTable's Diner’s Choice Winner of 2021.


🍝 Osteria Stella brings Europe to Jackson Ave with the tastes of Northern Italian cuisine. House-made bread, pasta, unique dishes, and an extensive wine selection.


🍸 Brother Wolf is Osteria Stella’s counterpart right next door. This side of the curtain is the perfect relaxing atmosphere for long drinks and long conversations.


🌮 Babalu came back with a new and re-imagined restaurant. Their famous guacamole, fresh margaritas, and fresh Latin-inspired cuisine are better than ever.


🔮 Bernadette's made it's long-awaited debut early in 2021. The fabulous crystal-themed bar is filled with amethysts, rubies, a gem-encrusted rooftop garden, and handcrafted cocktails.


⚜️ Fat Tuesday came from Bourbon Street to Gay Street, and serves up rotating flavors of frozen daquiris, as well as appetizing small bites.


🍛 Fai Thai filled a hole in Downtown Knoxville's international cuisine by bringing authentic Thai food to Gay Street. Fai's motto: serving what her grandma made.


🍵 Hello Tea House brings boba tea, fresh fruit tea, cheese foam tea, coffee, crepes, and more to Downtown employees, locals, and visitors.




New Retail Stores


🛵 Java Racer sells imported retro mopeds in colors like sea foam, pink, and orange. The showroom on West Jackson Ave has a stellar drive-out ready selection to choose from.


🚲 Two Bikes is a local non-profit organization in the Old City. For each bike sold, they donate a bike to someone in need!


🖼️ A husband-and-wife duo opened Christopher Robin Arts, a studio-gallery stacked full of their photography and paintings in the Phoenix Building.


🛍️ Fruit Jar Alley's Market Square location has everything – jewelry, clothing, kid's items, seasonal décor, and more – and it exceeds our expectations of what a boutique can be!


🍿 Proper Popcorn popped into Market Square with their famous flavors, like classic Kettle, Tzatziki, and Pizza! This popcorn makes a great gift and party snack.


🍭 Rocket Fizz is a vintage candy store bringing sweet treats to Market Square with 2,000+ candies and 500 types of soda, with whacky flavors like pickle juice!




Other New Businesses


💇 Marble City Salon opened on Main Street with all the glitz and glamor you would expect in the beautifully restored Medical Arts Building. Hair, color, makeup, and nails.


💆 Ojas Beauty on Union Ave is a holistic spa and wellness studio offering custom facials, lash and brow services, private yoga classes, and organic skincare products.


🦷 Ethan Long, DDS – a general dentistry practice – is now operating on Gay Street using the latest technology and techniques.


🦷 Marble City Dentistry & Facial Esthetics provide state-of the-art dentistry and facial rejuvenation services out of the First Horizon Plaza.


🤳 Selfish Knoxville is helping you elevate your Instagram game with interactive photo booths, mural walls, illuminated wings, bubble machines, and more!


💇 Tree of Life is Market Square's newest salon and spa boasting all-natural hair, massage, and nail services.


🍋 Sugar Coated will leave you looking radiant with hair removal and spray tanning using only all-natural ingredients.


💙 Doctor Jane Health & Wellness is an expert on nutraceuticals and top-shelf CBD located in the Old City, specializing in all-natural products for immune system function, detoxification, and more.



We love seeing Downtown Knoxville grow and the central business district was a very busy place! If we've missed something, please let us know!


Your Favorite Photos


Finally, let's wrap up our look back on 2021 with your most-liked photos from Instagram. As you click through, you’ll recognize many of the amazing photographers that capture the vibe of our downtown perfectly.




Thanks to all who made 2021 a little brighter. #LoveDowntownKnox