Blacksmith’s Bistro is probably best known for its unique blend of Southern and West Coast cuisines. Situated at the foot of Lookout Mountain in St. Elmo, less than 10 minutes from downtown, Blacksmith’s prides itself on offering “quality food at reasonable prices,” which is a modest understatement. But there’s more to their appeal than their appetizing fare.
Don’t let the delightful patio space fool you—the funky, comforting interior quickly clues you into the fact that Blacksmith’s is, in its owner’s words, “not your momma’s bistro.” Eclectic decor adorns the walls and draws your eyes to the rear of the space, where the antique-style bar occupies the majority of the back wall. Beside the bar, a whiskey menu on the wall informs you of the numerous small-batch varieties offered.
The prominence of the whiskey list clues the discerning patron in to one of the hidden highlights of Blacksmith’s—the bar menu. Alongside the wine list you’d expect to accompany their contemporary cuisine, you’ll find a wide range of bottled beers, craft brews on draft, and a slew of specialty cocktails.
These mixed drinks run from the somewhat familiar, like mango or blackberry Ice Picks, to off-the-wall concoctions you won’t find anywhere else. Take for instance The Dirty South, a martini composed of bacon-infused vodka and spiced rum garnished with pickled okra, a cocktail onion and an olive. If that sounds a bit too extreme, The Lookout Mountain might be more up your alley. Jack Daniel’s joins Lemon Chiffon and Devil’s Food Cake flavored vodkas for a sweet treat finished with grenadine.
More unique cocktails and drinks are available than those listed on the menu. Other specialties include the Hawaiian Pizza Martini, a mix of bacon-infused vodka and pineapple juice, and a popular brunch choice, the Rotten Peach Bellini, with fuses bourbon, peach soda and champagne, comparable to a sweeter mimosa.
Regardless of when you visit, there are drink specials to help wet your whistle. On Wednesdays, draft beers are half price (Buffalo wing-style chicken legs are just 50 cents each). Bottles of wine are half-off on Thursdays (also, their delicious sliders are just $1 each). Friday nights bring $5 martinis, and Saturdays offer an all-day happy hour. The brunch crowd on Sundays can take advantage of $5 Bloody Marys and $3 mimosas.
Even if you visit for the drinks instead of the food, you should definitely give the menu a glance. After having a couple of their signature cocktails, my stomach was growling, and I had an order of the Fried Chicken Sliders from their Small Plates section. They were fantastic—a crisp, lightly breaded chicken breast on a soft bun topped with a garlic aioli, a sweet chilli sauce and a dill pickle. The savory and sweet combination was perfect when paired with their bacon-infused vodka drinks.
Before I left, I grabbed a bite of a house-made lemon layer cake, freshly delivered from the kitchen and displayed on the bar to tempt patrons with a sweet tooth. The lemon curd was wonderfully tart and the cake had just enough sugar to offset the sourness of its namesake. It was madly enjoyable, and I was quite tempted to have a second slice, against my better judgement.
Innovative appetizers, decadent burgers, sandwiches of all sorts (including the one and only Chatty Cheese Steak, with pimento cheese), and their “Large Plates” entrees are always more than enough reason to visit Blacksmith’s. The bar menu and lively atmosphere are what put it over the top, and truly make it one of Chattanooga’s “can’t-miss” restaurants.
Blacksmith’s Bistro & Bar
3914 St. Elmo Ave.
Wednesday-Saturday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday Brunch: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.