The Phoenix Pharmacy officially opened their soda fountain last summer on Gay Street in downtown Knoxville and started cranking out old-school charm seven days a week about a month ago in May. The concept is an independently owned old-fashioned pharmacy and soda fountain featuring monstrous sundae concoctions and handspun milkshakes using rich, homemade ice cream. True soda jerks wearing white shirts and aprons can be found behind the bar serving up these delicious treats.
The instant you walk through the door, a wave of nostalgia hits you, then you smell the sweet scent of sugary treats, and you might just cry a few tears of joy that this place is in Knoxville. You will be welcomed with a warm greeting just like you might have been years ago when stopping by your local pharmacy for a few notions and an ice cream treat – as if they already know your name and your regular order. The Phoenix does not miss a beat supplying you with fun, wistful yearnings for a simpler time in the past. Ubiquitous with the old-fashioned theme, every last detail sends you searing back to the 1940s making you giddy like a little kid as you await your near future sugar high. Marble and wood topped tables sit atop original hardwood floors. Even the soda fountain itself is an original Bastian-Blessing dating back from the early 1940s.
The space is not massive, so if you go at a busy time of day you may have to wait a bit for a table. There are several two and four tops by the front windows as well as a small bar with a few seats, there are six stools at the main counter, and a few more small tables near the register.
The menu includes an array of specialty sundaes, shakes and sodas or floats. Every detail at The Phoenix has clearly been lovingly crafted down to the menu itself. These aren’t your average run of the mill sundae flavors. This isn’t the hot fudge mug sundae from your favorite country store. These are the end all be all of sundaes. First of all, they are all massive. One will feed a VERY hungry individual or can be shared by 2-3 people. So when you have a mini stroke over the price of one sundae, remember point number one. Also, secondly, EVERY SINGLE ingredient is made in house with the exception of the cherries and nuts and the few other Tennessee artisanal products they use like Olive & Sinclair chocolate on the Great Smokey Mountain sundae. So again, these are what I’d like to call craft ice creams or craft sundaes. It is artistry at work.
This is the Great Smokey Mountain Sundae. It is the MOST EPIC sundae of all time. I mean, just look at it. A warm chocolate brownie and moist vanilla cake both are swimming in a decadent hot fudge sauce, vanilla bean ice cream, drizzled with warm caramel, topped with fresh whipped cream, Olive & Sinclair’s smoked cocoa nib brittle, and a maraschino cherry.
Like I said, these specialty sundaes are plenty for one VERY hungry person or 2-3 average folks. Two big scoops of decadent, rich vanilla bean ice cream and the piece of brownie and cake make this super filling, but it’s soooo good you just can’t stop eating it. The smokey cocoa nib chocolate pieces are the perfect cherry on top.
Obviously we hated it.
When you are in downtown Knoxville, in the mood for something sweet and some old-fashioned nostalgia, check out The Phoenix.
THE PHOENIX PHARMACY AND SODA FOUNTAIN
418 S. Gay St., Suite 104, 865-692-1603
SODA FOUNTAIN HOURS