Back Inn Cafe - Chattanooga, TN

What can I say about the Back Inn Café at the Bluff View Arts District? It has the best sunset view in Chattanooga, the food is delicious, the staff is wonderful, and I love the patio dining on the Bluff. I haven't eaten there in a while for regular dinner though. The reason, I LOVE their wine tastings.

Held the third Thursday of almost every month, these tastings are a terrific value. Usually, you sample 6-8 wines and accompanying them is a plate of chef's samples. This may include a small bite of beef, some fish or chicken, a variety of cheeses, and fruit. At one tasting a few years back, we were even served Sauvignon Blanc popsicles. Too fun! All of it is designed to bring out the flavors of the wine that Michael, your host and the Bluff's sommelier, has chosen. Michael's discussions of the wine are bright and lively. He can get into esoteric details if you ask the questions, but he keeps the mood elevated. To help you in our discovery, he passes out a nifty tasting sheet that he developed when he was in sommelier school. This sheet with its check off and yes/no format guides you through things like color, viscosity, smell and then taste. 

All of this is to be had for $30 plus tax and tip. It's hard to have a 2 hour activity with food and drink for that price! We love going with friends or as a date night. Lots of single folks show up too in an effort to learn more and meet people with similar interests. That's what I did when I first moved to the area!

To give you an idea of the wines served at a Back Inn Café tasting, this is what we had at a recent white wine class. The class was designed to point out some spectacular offerings, and some maybe not so great but they were chosen to give contrast. As usual, Michael had one or two show stoppers. Sometimes he even will pull a bottle out of his collection if it fits the theme!
A few examples.... 

To find out when the Back Inn is having a tasting or other events in the area are occurring, sign up for emails at


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  • 11/2/2011 2:42 PM Dana wrote:
    I endured such a discriminatory experience at Back Inn Café in Chattanooga’s Bluff View Art District that I feel compelled to share with others. My husband and I were very excited to go out for a nice dinner in an upscale establishment for our anniversary. We arrived at our reservation time and were ignored for a few minutes while the hostess made notes in their reservation book. After running upstairs and acting very flustered, she explained that our table was still occupied, and she could seat us in the parlor where a fireplace would be lit for us while we waited. We walked through a restaurant that was at least half empty, and were left waiting, without a lit fireplace for 25 minutes before deciding it was time to leave. The hostess met us on our way out and said that she would rearrange some tables and get us a seat at that time. We were seated, and as she left, a lady who had arrived behind us was being served her dinner! At this time, we decided it was a good idea to leave. As we were leaving, I stopped to speak with the hostess about why we were leaving. I expressed my displeasure at being made to wait half an hour beyond our reservation time for a table when the restaurant was half empty. The manager then began to talk to me. The explanation offered was that each table was reserved, not a time. I said, I could understand that, but do you really keep guests waiting a half hour when your restaurant is half empty? The manager’s reply was, “It’s not like we were trying to not serve you in our establishment.” Actually, that thought had not crossed my mind until he said it, but we are a younger couple (in our early 30’s) with visible tattoos. Suddenly this resonated with me as the real reason for us being pushed around and passed up for our reservation, rather than a careless hostess.
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