Irish immigrant Patrick Sullivan (1841-1925), came to Knoxville with his family in the 1850s to work on the new railroad. Sullivan, a Union veteran, established his first bar near this spot soon after the Civil War, and built this larger, grander building in 1888. Its conspicuous architecture stood out among the approximately 40 saloons that lined the Central Street "Bowery." Unusual in its era, Sullivan's served both blacks and whites, men and women. It closed when Knoxville voted to ban saloons in 1907, but survived as a cafe and ice-cream parlor run by the Italian Armetta family. The building reopened as a renovated restaurant/saloon in 1988.