Discovering Cherry Street Tavern

Looking for the music scene in Chattanooga? Want to be submerged with the locals? Need somewhere that won’t break the bank? Look no further, Cherry Street Tavern is the place to go.

Cherry Street Tavern has plenty of free shows year-round. If you’re not able to catch a free performance, you’re still likely to find ticketed shows available for under $20.

Location and Accessibility

Located at 719 Cherry Street, Cherry Street Tavern sits at the former location of Mad Priest Coffee, right in the heart of downtown Chattanooga. Its prime location makes it easily accessible, whether you're strolling from nearby restaurants like Community Pie, Attack of the Tatsu, Jack Brown's Beer and Burger Joint, or Universal Joint, or stopping by the neighboring speak-easy style cocktail bar, Unknown Caller, for a pre-show drink. There is a paid parking lot right across the street with ample street parking available as well.

Inclusive Atmosphere and Live Music Experience

At Cherry Street Tavern, age is just a number when it comes to enjoying live music. While the crowd may skew towards the older side, they are certainly anything but boring. Take a recent Friday night, for example, a sprightly gentleman likely in his 60s stole the show by standing on top of his chair and breaking out into dance during the 7th Street Band's performance. In a hilarious display of camaraderie, a fellow concert-goer couldn't resist joining in on the fun and slipped a dollar bill into his shirt (a more PG act than it may sound)!

Venue Layout and Ambiance

Inside the venue, the long and narrow space features first-come, first-served seating, with larger booths at the back and smaller tables lining the front wall. It's a fluid, stand-where-you-can-find-a-spot kind of vibe, with most congregating around the bar to get a good view of the stage up front.

Affordable Food and Drink Options

While you're there, indulge in a variety of low-cost food and drink options, ranging from draft beers to specialty cocktails. The $6 fried pickles and $7 chicken nibs come highly recommended. What truly sets Cherry Street Tavern apart is its dedication to showcasing emerging artists. While it’s typically the bigger names that draw the crowds, it’s the smaller lesser-known bands where you’ll find the true heart of Chattanooga’s music scene.

Community Spirit and Local Talent Found at Cherry Street Tavern

Take the 7th Street Band for example, lead singer Barry Steelman is a criminal court judge and works at the Chattanooga courthouse, as do the rest of his bandmates. Steve Smith, on the guitar, is the public defender. Darren Gibson, Jason Demastus, and Brian Finlay are all assistant district attorneys. They work in the courts together every day and about a year and a half ago they started playing together. Last year, Gibson approached the owners of Cherry Street Tavern with a proposition to play a show. The owners happily agreed and even suggested that they play a show each Friday in February. Ever since the band has been a hit. This was their first experience playing consistent shows, and they are hoping to continue along this path.

Cherry Street embodies the spirit of Chattanooga’s music scene– a melting pot of creativity, talent, and community.

“I think it's [Chattanooga’s music scene] on the rise. I think you see so many world-class artists who are here–whether that be country music, pop music, or rock music. A lot of artists are coming here.”

-Barry Steelman, lead singer, 7th Street Band

So next time you're in Chattanooga, be sure to swing by Cherry Street Tavern for a night of fun and a taste of what the local music scene has to offer.

A 🎶 Note about the author and Visit Chattanooga's partnership with UTC

This blog was written by a student currently in Exploring Chattanooga's Music Scene, a Communication class at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. These students are helping document, define, and share the diverse music scene that can be found in the Scenic City. Find more student-written blogs about local music and venues here.