#50 of 47 Gatlinburg Restaurants

Drafts Sports Bar & Grill

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Drafts Sports Bar & Grill: An Elegant Sports Bar Is a Surprisingly Weird Idea
Local Expert's Rating:
3.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Drafts Sports Bar & Grill seems like a great idea. You can sit in a lovely interior setting or outside by the water, enjoying the serenity of a nearby babbling brook. In execution, it's like using a Ferrari to carpool, though. The entire experience feels incongruous and vaguely unsatisfying.

- The SmokyMountains.com Local Expert Team

River Terrace Resort and Convention Center is a sprawling complex in an idyllic setting. The rooms are on the side of a mountain, providing a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape. A water park is the resort campus’ second selling point, while the best option for food is the on-site sports bar.

The resort’s owners describe Drafts Sports Bar & Grill as a craft burger joint concept combined with an open-space sports bar, and that’s quite true. The restaurant features an elegant ambiance, with tables spaced far apart by sports bar standards. As such, it’s lacking that special camaraderie that transpires between strangers at sports bars. Plus, many of the televisions are tiny. As far as watching sports events go, this eatery is oddly disappointing.

The best idea when eating here is to head to the accompanying deck outside. This area sits beside a lovely lake that runs through the River Terrace complex. Because this center is in the mountains, you won’t want to eat outside on cool days, though. Pay attention to the weather forecasts before you choose where to sit for your meal.

The food at the restaurant is impeccable. The menu is unexpectedly limited, with only six craft burger options, two of which are a plain burger and what anybody else would call a pork sandwich. Still, the burgers’ eclectic components make for countless delicious bites. It’s an upscale environment, and the food matches its surroundings.

The downside is that the service can be lackluster. During our visit, Drafts Sports Bar & Grill seemed understaffed. Also, the servers can apparently be rude. During rush hour, you might not get much attention from your waiter.

Menu Favorites:

This restaurant passes the taste test with flying colors. Your belly will thank you if you order anything here, but the best options are:

  • BBBBLT – The four b’s stand for Big, Bad, Bacon Burger. You want this in your mouth.
  • The Bada Bing – An Italian 8 oz. Angus burger with a flavor any Sopranos cast member would love.
  • The Pig – Here’s some basic math. Ham + Pork + Bacon = Culinary Perfection.

Insider Tip:

  • Because this hotel aims for one-stop shopping, it offers plenty of packages. The goal is to prevent guests from leaving the complex, thereby spending all their money on site. Savvy customers will find online specials that include free meals at Drafts Sports Bar & Grill. For a set price, you can probably get the hotel room, a couple of meals, and water park tickets, a terrific value that makes budget-planning a breeze.