Good friends, great beer and classic arcade games: What more could you want on a Friday night?
Lovingly known as the Strip's only "barcade," Fort Sanders Yacht Club is a hidden gem of UT nightlife, offering a wide variety of decently priced craft, domestic and import beers, alongside a full wall of 25-cent arcade games and take-and-play board games.
FSYC also features a large flat screen gaming television complete with a Wii, Xbox, original Nintendo and more.
"You can just come here to relax and have a good time," said first-time patron Tyler Vittatoe, a senior in music education. "It isn't too loud, and it's really low key."
FSYC celebrated its sixth year of business this month with new owners and plans for renovation and expansion in the works.
Dillon Luttrell and Jason Elcan acquired ownership of the club this past fall after founder Jon Haas, a former instructor in the School of Architecture and Design, passed away.
"We really like the place. It's been around for a long time," Luttrell said. "It's got a lot of history and we don't want to change that. We just want to open the bar up to campus a little more."
If all goes accordingly, the bar will start a three-month expansion project in March, adding an indoor/outdoor second floor and an open-air third floor.
Spearheading the expansion project, Luttrell and Elcan have recently transformed Fort Sanders Yacht club into a coffee shop during daytime hours.
"We provide fresh, made to order coffee," Luttrell said. "We have French presses, pour overs and an espresso machine."
Open from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. during the week, the coffee shop also offers waffles, breakfast burritos and cereal along with a variety of other menu options.
"We want to be that 'Cheers' bar down the street where everyone wants to come to hang out," Luttrell said.
Although Luttrell had been a patron at FSYC since it opened in early 2008, it wasn't until recently that he learned how it gained its unusual name.
"On the wall, close to the ceiling, you'll notice there is a missing brick," Luttrell said. "When Jon was renovating the place, he found a full can of 1930's 'Yacht Club' beer sitting in that hole, I guess left over from when it was originally constructed. He decided to leave the can there, and it's been called Fort Sanders Yacht Club ever since."
With Jon's passing, Luttrell and Elcan have many great things planned for the future, including giving the bar more advertising exposure and acquiring a liquor license.
"We just want to open up our arms to anyone that wants to come," Luttrell said.
FSYC has a definitive grassroots feel: come by any night of the week and bartender Mike Scott will make you feel right at home. You might even find the owner, Dillon Luttrell there, spinning records or playing his favorite arcade game, NBA Showtime.
"We've seen so many businesses come and go on the Strip over the years," Luttrell said. "We're obviously doing something right."
Every Monday night, the club hosts a raffle for an $80 gift certificate to Cumberland Glassworks. Other specialty nights include Wednesday Hookah Nights, Thursday "Bring Your Own Record" Nights and "Free Music" Fridays.
To find operating hours, upcoming events and specials, check out Fort Sanders Yacht Club on Facebook.