Today marks one week since Flying Squirrel Bar opened their doors in Chattanooga's Southside neighborhood. I have a feeling it's been quite a week for them. I couldn't resist a bar named Flying Squirrel, so last Saturday I went with friends to check it out. We went for after dinner drinks, and we had a blast.
When we walked up to the Flying Squirrel, the first thing we noticed was all the people milling about. People were coming in from all directions, congregating at The Flying Squirrel. All of the bike racks were full, as were the seats on the outside section of the bar. When I was growing up, this was one of the areas of town where I was
told "lock your doors." The atmosphere has changed though, and it
really felt like a neighborhood.
We took a quick tour of the inside, and there is no other word to describe it other than beautiful...ok maybe classy. It's full of locally hand crafted wood (much of it reclaimed or scrap), and large, modern, glass windows. There are LED pendent lights, and an array of seating options. There is an upstairs lounge with couches and chairs, and the main section downstairs has semi private booths, as well as floating bistro height bars for those who like to stand and mingle. Outside, there are garage style doors that open up to reveal that the bar is actually shaped like U, as well as tables, and a retaining wall that doubles as bench seating. Even the bathrooms are cool, with neat sinks and european style hand dryers.
Our waiter confirmed that the opening weekend had, as we suspected, been nuts, and that the after dinner crowd was actually a lull for them. Our table ordered a mix of craft beers and mixed drinks, and I have to say that I really enjoyed my Watermelon Old Fashioned made with Chattanooga Whiskey. I'll also say that I am not a gin drinker, but the Rare Form (a gin martini with rosemary syrup) was really good.
As the night went on, we saw the crowd shift to a younger dynamic. Being somewhere between 'young professional' and 'older than I actually feel', I liked the wide range of people who were checking out this new neighborhood bar. Everyone seemed laid back, even if you could tell they were ready for a night out. I can see Flying Squirrel as a place I would be comfortable just about any time of day, and I wish there were something like it on my street!
The only thing I can't praise Flying Squirrel for is the food, and that's only because I haven't tried it...yet. (I'll let you know when I do. Word on the street is that the garlic fries are on point.) The staff was knowledgeable and attentive, and the drink menu was comprehensive without being so ambitious that it couldn't be executed well. The atmosphere is great, and it didn't feel like a place that had only been open a few days. Everything is finished and in place, and no one was rushing around trying to get used to the setup. The guys from the Crash Pad do a good job, and The Flying Squirrel is no exception. I definitely encourage you to check it out the next time you're on the Southside!
Flying Squirrel Bar
55 Johnson Street
Chattanooga, Tennessee 37408
Sun: 10:30am-2pm 5pm-1am (limited menu)
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