On the long portion of Cumberland Avenue known as "the Strip," rambunctious, drunk crowds are not a surprising sight.
But when it's football season and the Vols are playing on their home turf, the Strip can be an entirely different beast. The sidewalk is packed with not only the customary students but also an array of out-of-towners of all shapes and sizes.
Some are old alumni coming back to relive their glory days, some bring their whole family with children and strollers in tow, some walk around with a beer in hand and not a care in the world, and some are just fans from out-of-state coming to support their team in a strange new land.
It's no secret that when it's football time in Tennessee, the Strip is brimming over with new patrons.
But what happens on the other side of the bar?
For Neil Reynolds, kitchen manager at the Half Barrel, a game day is no typical Saturday.
"You've got to be prepared for it," said Reynolds. "Not just in the days leading up to it. Making sure you're rested up and ready to go. I worked eleven and a half hours (during the Florida game), and it started earlier..."
For the Florida game, Half Barrel opened at 10:30 a.m. and reached capacity within an hour. Reynolds estimated that the crowds maintained their size at least until 1 a.m. Reynolds said that it eventually got to the point where they would only let one person in when someone left.
Fortunately, Reynolds said that security is seldom a major issue for the Half Barrel.
"We definitely have more security for game days," said Reynolds. "But I'd say the biggest issues are the people that will be a problem no matter where they're at, whether they happen to be here or somewhere else on the Strip on a Saturday game day."
Both the fans of the Vols and their opponents are relatively behaved, Reynolds said. From his observations, the only really bad fans are the ones from the big rival SEC teams.
"Georgia, Florida and LSU are the worst to deal with," said Reynolds. "Georgia, every year we have to play them here.Thank God this year it's not here with us. They are always just the worst, most obnoxious to deal with."
While the large crowds seldom bring any extra trouble security-wise, prepping for the sales of alcohol and food can be a challenge.
"For food, you prep for a week's worth of sales in one day," said Reynolds. "So whatever you do for a week normally, it's what you're going to do for a game day."
Saturday game days aren't the only time food sales increase. Reynolds said that even the Fridays before game days can be chaotic.
"You're trying to prep the week leading up to (the game)," Reynolds said with a laugh, "so you're really trying to prep hard on Friday, and you end up selling so much stuff on Friday, that you come in Saturday and still have more to do."
But it wasn't food prep or violence that has surprised Reynolds the most about game days, but rather, an act of love.
"I had to break up two people having sex in the bathroom one time," Reynolds said, laughing. "That was definitely the craziest thing I've seen on a game day."
The Half Barrel isn't the only part of the Strip where game days can be crazy. For William Bowling, sophomore in mathematics, and Lillian Schaeffer, junior in studio art, serving at the Goal Post Tavern on a home game day also has its share of craziness.
"A girl was so drunk, she passed out on the floor face-first and knocked her front tooth out," Schaeffer said. "There was blood everywhere."
Bowling's experience occurred during the Florida game earlier this season.
"This dude," Bowling explained, "he goes to UT, he's not even a Florida fan, and he's standing up on a chair doing the (Gator) chomp in people's faces. And someone pulled the chair out from under him."
At the Goal Post Tavern, the concern on game day isn't so much a matter of keeping an eye on the crowd or food supply, but rather making sure that there's plenty of alcohol in stock.
"That's probably the biggest thing," said Bowling. "Making sure our kegs are the way they should be."
Starting as early as the night before each game day, the Tavern's employees make sure their cooler trailer in the back is fully stocked with kegs. They even open an additional bar to keep up with the increased demand.
But keeping the crowds at bay is still a concern. Bowling himself makes sure that no one gets out of hand, and has to escort those that do off the property.
"They've got me in the back," Bowling said. "If a fight ever happens, it's my job to get between it and stop it. And if anybody needs (to be) kicked out, it's my job to get them out. Whether they want to go or not, they've got to go."
Bowling said that Goal Post Tavern also brings in an extra doorman and an off-duty cop as a security guard to help keep the larger crowd under control if need be.
Down the road at Sunspot, extra security is also brought in, but J.T. Baker, a Sunspot bar manager, doesn't think too much of it, given that Sunspot's clientele is usually there for food more so than alcohol.
"We don't have that big of a problem here as other people on the Strip do," Baker said. "But there's always that possibility. We do get a different crowd on game days than we do any other day of the week."
Baker said that Sunspot does hire two additional doormen to keep a watch on the game day crowds, although he said their job is not just to throw out the more rambunctious customers, but also to intervene and calm down situations before they get out of hand.
"In general, on game days the IQ does drop dramatically," Baker said. "Especially with the more alcohol consumed, the more it drops. It's almost like babysitting. You have to be proactive more so than reactive."
For Baker and the Sunspot employees, getting ready for game day is a matter of physical and mental preparedness.
"Stretch, because you're going to do a lot of running and you're going to be sore the next day," Baker said. "You're just going to have to deal with people who aren't our normal clientele. So that's a little bit of a challenge because normally we don't get that rowdy bunch, so it's more of 'be patient.'" And like the Half Barrel, Baker said that Sunspot fully expects to sell much more food and drink on a game day.
"You plan on doubling your business or more. We pretty much triple our business (compared to) a normal Saturday," Baker said.
Baker said that it's a matter of not only getting a larger lunch crowd and dinner crowd, but also customers being at Sunspot even in the normal lull in between and after.
"It's just all day that day," said Baker. "From the minute you open to the minute you close. You have to push people out of here at three o'clock."
But for the Fort Sanders Yacht Club, a mixture of both bar and arcade which is technically on 17th Street and notCumberland Avenue, things remain busy but relatively calm.
"We had one guy try to do a flip off one of the (arcades) but that's about it. We don't really get the main rush," Barkley Ellis, a bartender, said.
Game days are still much more active than any other weekend for the Yacht Club. Ellis said that from opening doors at noon until closing them at 3:30 a.m., the crowd is a constant, steady flow.
"It's very, very busy," Ellis said shaking his head. "We had three bartenders working (on a game day), taking shifts. Giving each other breaks. It's constant, just constant."
"It fun, don't get me wrong," Ellis said. "But that's a lot of people."