The Great Smoky Mountains is the most visited national park every year. Over 11 million people check out the hiking, biking, fishing, and kayaking activities and the local Native American history and culture each year.
But it’s not just the outdoor and historical opportunities that beckon visitors. It’s also a great area for distilleries and breweries. You can practically drink your way through the Great Smoky Mountains. Let’s look at some of the best regional bars!
About the Great Smoky Mountains
The Great Smoky Mountains are home to numerous historic cemeteries, cascading waterfalls, and horseback riding trails. Over 90 historic structures, from churches to schools to mills, are located throughout the 800 square miles of mountains.
According to the National Park Service (NPS), the Great Smoky Mountains “is the most biodiverse park in the National Park system” with over 19,000 documented species. There’s so much to see, do, and experience in this area of the country.
Drink Like the Locals at These Regional Bars
After a day of exploring, it’s nice to sit down and relax. These regional bars are local favorites and places to unwind after an adventurous day. They offer specially crafted local brews as well as traditional mainline favorites.
Let’s look at five of the best options to drink like the locals on your visit to the Great Smoky Mountains.
Smoky Mountain Brewery
Grab a seat on the enclosed deck overlooking Calhoun’s Village. Watch a game or just hang out with your friends. The micro-brewed beer and the scenery make Smoky Mountain Brewery a local hotspot.
Must-Try: Try one of the four seasonal beers that rotate with the seasons. In the fall, try Harvest Fest while watching a football game.
If you’re a dark ale drinker, try the Tuckaleechee Porter, a sweet malt that’s a slightly roasted favorite.
If you’re looking for a more sweet flavor, order the Black Bear Ale with its tootsie roll, nutty, caramel flavor.
Nice to Know: The Brewmaster brews are limited-run, small-batch brews. They only flow on tap for a few weeks at a time. Six flagship beers are always on tap.
Located at The Island, a dining, shopping, and entertainment center, Yee-Haw Brewing is across the street from Ole Smoky Distillery. You can order small plates and pub snacks like a Bavarian soft pretzel or gouda mac and cheese bites.
Must-Try: Try the Blackberry Beret or Night Glow to satisfy your sour taste buds. Or try the Sweet Apple Cider for a different flavor. Pair the Yee-Haw Pale Ale with grilled meat for a nice balance.
Nice to Know: Yee-Haw Brewing offers several different types of beers. Choose a Dunkel, IPA, Kolsch, Winter Porter, and more. And feel free to bring your furry friend. Pets are welcomed on the patios.
Junction 35 Spirits
Every day Junction 35 Spirits offers different samples. Bourbon, moonshine, vodka, gin, and other spirits are served here. Enjoy the experience at the distillery and then head over to the kitchen and bar for dinner.
Must-Try: Take a trip to Bedrock to taste the new Bam Bam Vodka. Sip on a glass of Tennessee Whiskey. Try the apple pie moonshine, vanilla vodka, or caramel whiskey if you’re looking for flavor.
Nice to Know: Junction 35 Spirits is open until 9:00 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday and until 10:00 p.m. from Friday to Saturday. Curious about the name? A junction is a place to gather together, and 35 is the latitude coordinate.
Check out this back door entrance into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The Fox and Parrot Tavern
If you’re looking for an authentic British tavern experience, The Fox and Parrot Tavern is your place. It serves traditional British food and has 28 draft beers and five ciders on tap. You won’t find a Bud Light or Coors served here.
Must-Try: From an Inis & Gunn Lager to a Bombardier, you have plenty of British brews to choose from. Order up a Scotch egg or Welsh rabbit as an appetizer. When you’re ready for an entree, check out the steak and mushroom pie, cornish pasty, or poachers roll.
Nice to Know: The tavern is open until 10:00 p.m. from Fridays to Saturdays, until 8:00 pm from Mondays to Thursdays, and until 6:00 p.m. on Sundays. Most draft beers rotate with very few that are always served.
The Roaming Gnome Pub & Eatery
Known as “The Gnome” among locals, The Roaming Gnome Pub & Eatery has over 75 beers and a variety of spirits to choose from. If you want to watch a game, TVs are in every booth, and three jumbo screens show all the big games.
Must-Try: Grab an appetizer of fried pickles or cheese logs. The Gnome is known for its delicious, juicy burgers, so check out the western burger or Philly burger for your meal. Enjoy a Guinness, Fireball, Irish Wake, or Bud Light as you relax and watch a game.
Nice to Know: The Gnome is open until 2:00 a.m. every day. There are also daily drink specials like $3 drinks and $3.50 Bloody Marys and food specials.
Apple Barn Cider House
With free tastings daily, the Apple Barn Cider House is another local favorite. Although it’s been serving apple cider for years, it recently began serving hard ciders. Hours are 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. from Sundays to Thursdays and 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. from Fridays to Saturdays.
Must-Try: A combination of loganberries and apples, try the Berry Patch. Another local favorite is C’N Red, which blends apples and muscadines. Other flavors include apple raspberry, apple peach, apple cranberry, and apple strawberry.
Nice to Know: Apple Barn Cider House ships its cans to many states. You can order online once you get back home and still enjoy a Great Smoky Mountain taste wherever you live.
Drink Your Way Through the Smoky Mountains
Whether you want a traditional British brew or a hard apple cider, there’s a brewery, tavern, distillery, winery, or pub for you in the Great Smoky Mountains. Yes, this area of the country is well-known for its beautiful landscapes and diverse wildlife. The picturesque overlooks, Native American museums, and historic landmarks beckon travelers year after year.
But don’t bypass the local eateries and regional bars. These locations are just as much a part of the Great Smoky Mountains as the mountains themselves. Enjoy the outdoors during the day and then relax with a brand new brew in hand.
Which bar will you visit first?
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