The Rabbit Hole bar, bistro opens

  • Server Aaliyah Nicely takes care of customers Tina and Mike Targonski of Clinton at The Rabbit Hole bar on Market Street on Saturday night, Sept. 4. - G. Chambers Williams III

  • Owner Sheri Lynn Younkin serves up one of the signature 1 drinks of The Rabbit Hole bar and bistro on Market Street in downtown Clinton. It’s called the White Rabbit, and in- cludes Godiva chocolate liqueur and vodka, among other ingredients. - G. Chambers Williams III

The Rabbit Hole, a new bar, eatery and community gathering spot opened last weekend on Market Street, bringing another after-hours destination to the Historic Downtown Clinton area.

Located next door to E. Claire’s Coffee House, The Rabbit Hole, at 368 Market St., is the creation of Sheri Lynn Younkin, who opened the coffee house in March 2019.

“We’re calling it ‘a swanky bar and bistro,’” she said.

Younkin previously operated an event venue in the same space, called Elizabeth Claire’s Event Center, for about 11 years.

Younkin said The Rabbit Hole will operate mostly separate from the coffee house, and will offer a whole new range of activities besides the full bar and food menu.

There are two side-by-side rooms that will be used for The Rabbit Hole, both just to the west side of E. Claire’s, with a connecting door to the coffee house. But The Rabbit Hole has its own outside entrance, and separate operating hours.

“Besides having live music most nights, we’re looking at doing several other things that downtown Clinton hasn’t seen, such as a dinner theater, murder-mystery dinner nights, karaoke and trivia nights, and even open-mike nights,” Younkin said.

Tuesday nights, for instance, will be dedicated to performances by jazz musicians, she said.

“We will also do some festivals where we will have bands all day on the stage, and we will do other special dinner nights,” she said.

Besides offering a full selection of mixed drinks, wines and beer at the bar, there will be The Rabbit Hole’s two signature drinks – the White Rabbit and the Chocolate Rabbit, which include Godiva chocolate liqueurs, Younkin said.

As for food, there eventually will be a dinner menu with four or five main entrees, “all cooked to order,” Younkin said. That’s in addition to appetizers and desserts.

The Rabbit Hole held its “soft opening” on Thursday evening (Sept. 2), but is planning a grand-opening celebration on Saturday, Sept. 18, she said.

Earlier, Younkin said she opened E. Claire’s Coffee House as the “realization of a dream” she had to bring a coffee shop and restaurant to the downtown area surrounded by Clinton’s famous antique shops.

“The street desperately needed a place for people to gather,” said Younkin, who lives in Oak Ridge.

Now, The Rabbit Hole is adding to that concept.

Just as in the coffee shop next door, The Rabbit Hole’s lounge area has tables and upholstered chairs scattered throughout that make sitting down and having relaxing drinks, food and conversations easy.

The Rabbit Hole’s hours are still being worked out, and will eventually depend on how business goes, Younkin said.

But for now, it’s open from 4 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; on Friday from 2 p.m.; and on Saturday from noon, Younkin said. Closing hours on the weekend nights will depend on the crowd, she added. It will be closed on Sundays.

The Rabbit Hole has its own Facebook page, where news and updates about the bar can be found.