When you’re traveling through the Smoky Mountains, you still want to know what’s going on in the world of sports. You can and should keep up with live events by visiting a sports bar when you’re in town. One of the most popular ones in Gatlinburg is Puckers Sports Grill, a basic but beloved restaurant.
Puckers Sports Grill isn’t known for its ambiance. The place looks and feels like a dive bar, and you might experience a vague sense of dread as you walk down the stairs to enter it. That’s your survival instinct triggering. Imagine the cheapest bar you ever saw around campus, and you have a good baseline for Puckers.
Despite the inelegant appearance, Puckers Sports Grill has a great local reputation. It combines televised sports with a fun nightlife scene. For a glorified bar, the food is surprisingly good, but the service leaves something to be desired. Our visits pinpointed the service as the worst part of eating here. Prepare for the worst and then feel pleasantly surprised if you have a different experience with your server.
East Tennessee is a sports haven. On football weekends, Puckers Sports Grill is filled to capacity, especially if the Tennessee Volunteers or Titans are playing. Keep an eye on the sports schedule before you visit. Otherwise, you might not get a table until halftime (or later).
The restaurant does host a lot of exciting events. Billiards and darts competitions take place every week, and live bands perform on the weekends. The atmosphere is rowdy for these events, but once you’ve had a couple of drinks, you’ll barely notice. At Puckers Sports Grill, you either give in to herd mentality or have a terrible time.
While the setting isn’t glamorous and the service can be lousy, the food justifies a lot of aggravation. The bar food here, while generally unhealthy, is delicious. The best bets are:
- Puckin Good Chili – This rich chili from a secret recipe gets topped with shredded cheese, green onions, and sour cream.
- Tailgate Sampler – The ultimate noshing appetizer, it has barbecue wings, mozzarella sticks, pretzel sticks, and cheeseburger sliders.
- Stuffed Burger – what you’ve always wanted in a burger: various cheeses stuffed in the middle of the meat!
- Join the VIP List on Puckers Sports Grill’s Facebook page for discounts on food and beverages plus special events announcements.
- If you plan to attend on a weekend, make sure to show up early for the big game. Otherwise, you won’t find seats. The wait for service here is extremely long on major game days. By arriving an hour before kickoff, you should beat the rush.
*Photos and review produced by our on staff journalists who are in no way affiliated with the brand reviewed on this page. Additional images fully licensed with permission by author.