Courtesy of Amer
Food & Drink

The Best Bars in Atlanta Right Now

Updated On 12/11/2017 at 06:00PM EST
Manuel's Tavern

Manuel's Tavern

Old 4th Ward

ATL’s favorite bar to commiserate over politics
The crowd at this recently renovated, famously Democratic, 60-year-old political watering hole may have been on the sadder side of drinking as the Election Night 2016 results came in, but that doesn’t mean Manuel’s won’t survive many local, state, and federal political movements for years to come -- they'll always be ready with a standard, un-fancy cocktail and plenty of Poncey-Highland tradition.

Portraits by Isadora

The Local

Virginia Highland

The gritty, little bar that locals don’t like sharing -- so be cool
One of the diviest of Atlanta’s most-loved longtime dive bars, The Local is where you go when you want to be on “the old Ponce.” Smoking has been disallowed (not everything on “the old Ponce” was good for you), but they still have a great beer selection covering hipster PBR tall-boys to exceptional Belgian beers -- and there’s almost no better place in the city for karaoke and trivia (with your Hungarian exchange student, of course).

Flickr/Thomas Cizauskas

Northside Tavern

Home Park

A beautifully bluesy bar for fun, dirty drinking
In a boxy space that looks almost literally like a hole in the wall, Northside Tavern stands in bluesy, smoky, dirty opposition to every newly developed property along Howell Mill and throughout the greater westside area. The amazingly strong drinks don’t get fancier than two or three ingredients, but that’s only because the booze is basically an accomplice to the live blues and dirty dancing you’ll either participate in, or view from the back corner pool tables.

Noni's

Noni's Bar & Deli

Old 4th Ward

Edgewood’s all-welcoming Italian food and drink staple
There’s dancing, drag, and good drinking to get involved with at the Italian restaurant that some folks don’t even know plates delicious food. That’s only because the beer selection is super-solid, the cocktails were crafty and delicious long before Edgewood and Boulevard became a thing, and when you’re drinking, it’s totally cool to think about your grandmother, since that’s who the owner named the place after.

Bonanza! at Kimball House

Bonanza! at Kimball House

Decatur

The best place in ATL metro for an absinthe drink
Miles Macquarrie and the team at Kimball House turned their private dining room into its own little house of hard-to-get beers, aperitif cocktails, and bivalve fare. If you’ve had one of the liquid creations at KH you don’t need any other reason to give Bonanza a try, but here’s one anyway: the “Sea Glass,” in which honeydew, cucumber, lemon, and Cremant de Loire dry sparkling wine meet Navy-strength gin (like over-55-proof-strong). And yes, there’s plenty more -- find out for yourself.

Georgia Beer Garden

Georgia Beer Garden

Sweet Auburn

If it ain’t Georgian, it ain’t pourin’ (note: it's all Georgian)
The Joystick Gamebar family have finally given us a bar of all-Georgia-born beer -- something we barely knew we could one day have. The space, which used to be home to the Edgewood animal hospital, now has a huge backlight marker board with nothing but rotating taps (starting with such seasonal state-made beers as Wild Heaven NitrOde), and a menu of “package beer” separated into browns/ambers (Jekyll Cooter Brown), fruit beers (Three Taverns Rapturous sour), lots of IPAS (Monday Night Slap Fight, Red Brick Hoplanta, Reformation Atlas, Orpheus The Rites), and more than a few sessionables, stouts, porters, pales, wheats, and wits. Oh, and they have an unquestionably awesome walled-in backyard with wooden lawn chairs patio furniture.

Nine Mile Station

9 Mile Station

Old Fourth Ward

The rooftop bar in Ponce Street Market that comes with a carnival
With the panoramic views from the rooftop of PCM, 9 Mile Station sets an already high atmospheric bar (pun intended), but takes the actual bar part even higher by giving you a beer garden where you can pick your pour from 12 often-rotating craft draft taps, choose from their full assortment of liquors and classically prepared cocktails, or try one of several champagnes and sparkling wines from the “sparkling bar.”

AMER

Amer

Inman Park

A place to sophisticatedly soak in your bitter feelings… with bitters and amaris
A '70s-inspired, beverage-first storefront on N Highland, AMER is all about Italian amari and bitters, splitting the drinks menu into four groups (“built,” “sodas,” “stirred,” and “shaken”), and employing an all-star lineup of bartenders from some of Atlanta’s most serious places to get liquor-y. These places include Leon’s Full Service, Victory Sandwich Bar, and Joystick Gamebar. It’s designed as a night-starter, so grab a small crew of bev-revelers and get to drinkin’.

The Mercury

The Mercury

Old Fourth Ward

Where the Jetsons would drink… if the Jetsons drank
You’d almost think this mid-century-themed spot that’s currently the only place to buy drinks on PCM’s second floor is a bit conceited, but then you drink their stuff and realize they deserve to be one level up. Owned by the folks who opened The Pinewood Tippling Room in Decatur, The Mercury puts a glamorous twist on American classics like the Aviation and French 75, prepares drinks for four right next to your table (gin or vodka Martinis, Glenlivet 12yr Rob Roys, etc.) and has a superb wine selection that runs the gamut from the Russian River Valley to France, Napa, Argentina, and Oregon.

Biltong Bar

Biltong Bar

Old Fourth Ward

Amazing mai tais and other masterfully made libations in PCM
We think pretty highly of Sean Gleason who, in an establishment marketed to sell the air-dried, charcuterie-ish, South African version of beef jerky, has created a truly outstanding bar program. Even if you don’t really drink much, you can’t go wrong with cocktails with names like “Absinthe Father” and “Bizarre Love Triangle,”or those with names that are easier to attach to autumn, such as the bourbon/pumpkin/pecan punt e mes “Harvest Moon” which is finished with a dash of fall spices.

Ticonderoga Club

Ticonderoga Club

Inman Park

Bartending overlords tirelessly improving your drinking palate
The two bartending all-stars (Greg Best and Paul Calvert) made TC an instant classic, and part of the reason is because at just over a year in age they’re still kicking ass with season-appropriate drinks like the “Dream Lover,” which includes aged rum, moscatel sherry, Gran Classico, and orange and Angostura bitters. Also try the geniusly balanced “Pencil Shifting,” made with Banyuls fortified dessert wine, espresso liqueur, lime, salt, and Pineau des Charentes French aperitif.

Empire State South

Empire State South

Midtown

Monumental cocktails that raised the bar in Midtown
Hugh Acheson is cool, but as far as reasons for visiting ESS, bar manager Kellie Thorn’s beverages are just as important. Pretty much all the cocktails have an ingredient you either have to Google or you're not sure how it works with other ingredients, but then you try it and say words like, “Hot damn,” although with great class, flair, and sophistication. It’s a particularly good spot to enjoy inventive rum drinks, such as the herbal and bubbly Exile on Martinique, which also has green chartreuse and sparkling wine mixed in, or the sweet and spicy Rum the Jewels, with pineapple rum, ancho, elderflower, and sherry.

Holeman and Finch

Holeman & Finch

Buckhead

The bar that made Buckhead actually bearable
You always want to try every drink on the menu at the not-too-bourgeois Buckhead bar -- and not just because you’ve heard how well they pair with cheeseburgers. It’s intimately sized and welcoming to all, whether you’re wearing a sport coat or an Adidas track suit. They take their time making drinks, whether you order a classic boulevardier or something creative like the Beatrix Kiddo, made with mezcal, pineapple, lime, and yellow chartreuse. And don’t forget to grab a free pen on your way out.

Little Trouble

Little Trouble

West Midtown

Everybody’s favorite Blade Runner-inspired drink spot
Just like the name itself, this place is hard to stay out of. The iconic neon “LT” sign has a life of its own on social media, and you might be surprised by how great the small plates of shishitos, Asian buns, spicy wings, and meats on sticks are. But the drinks are where it gets special, and the music is fantastic. It’s hard to trust the availability of their online menu at any given time, but just ask for a Paper Plane or The Biggest Bird, or whatever they’re doing with bourbon at the moment. Become a regular and they might just pour you a shot of sake when you check in at the bar.

5Church

5Church

Midtown

The place to wage an upscale war on thirst
Since it opened during summer 2016 in the space of old Atlanta lounge/institution Shout!, the Charlotte-born restaurant and bar, with words from the famous Sun Tzu book written all over the walls and ceiling, has made major strides toward becoming a place Atlanta will love for a long, long time. The addition of brilliant lead bartender Keyatta Mincey has stirred things up significantly with her own creations, such as The Art of War, with rye, house-made fig preserve, lemon, Bénédictine, and bitters.

Bar Mercado

Bar Mercado

Inman Park

Sophisticated Spanish drinking in Krog Street Market
The Castellucci Hospitality Group, who’ve given us Cooks & Soldiers, Double Zero, and other great bars and diners, figured we didn’t drink enough Spanish wine in ATL, and they were right. Since opening a few months ago in Krog, this vibrant, brightly colored bar (inspired by Madrid food markets) has become an instant Eastside favorite. They’ve got 22 reasonably priced wines by the glass (from $5 red to $14 sherry), the notorious Spanish mixture of Tempranillo and Coca-Cola, and funky cocktails that range from sangria to rum punch.

The Consulate Atlanta

The Consulate

Midtown

A gorgeous global bar for when you wanna escape ATL but can’t
It’s hard to exaggerate the sheer flyness of this plush drinking establishment. The brick walls, beautiful art, purple velvet upholstery, and great music selection blend just as well as mixologist Michael Jones’ cocktail craftwork. Even the drink menu is a play on globetrotting: Try the “Resident” section’s Old Fashioned, which is reimagined with peach, mint, and citrus oil, or get Brazilian with the cachaça-based Hapi, which also includes Madeira and a collard green shrub that somehow makes perfect sense.  They’ve also got a worldly collection of beers, with representation from China, England, France, Germany (of course), India, Kenya, Spain, Turkey, and other countries you need to visit when you stop spending all your travel money on cocktails.

Bonton ATL

Bon Ton

Midtown

New Orleans and Vietnam had drinks together and then made a bar baby
You’ve gotta love Bon Ton just for the silliness of its website, but even if you don’t have their outstanding Vietnamese-Creole food, you’d be crazy not to try one of partner -- and long-respected ATL bartender -- Eric Simpkins’ drinks. He’s put together offerings like tapped Sazeracs, drinks that sound crazy but taste/feel great like the Hanoi Hurrah (rum, brandy, orange, cinnamon, and Vietnamese coffee), a frozen Pimm’s Cup, “Beer and a Shorty” combos like Tokyo Black Porter and Fernet Branca Menta, and a ton of tapped, canned, and bottled beers, including a few 750 milliliters. They also have an amazing red neon sign against one of the gray concrete walls that simply says “Fancy Service.” It’s a great place to have good times without rolling to Louisiana.

8ARM

8ARM

Poncey-Highland

A tiki party across from Ponce City Market
Inside the restaurant 8ARM, you’ll find a minimalist, white-walled and wood-tabled den with delicious food by the plate. Outside, next to a covered patio, you’ll find fruity, boozy tropical drinks under tiny umbrellas, coming from a bar built into a renovated shipping container, which is covered with weird murals and funky lighting. This spot is also the site of a weekly jam hosted by DJ Ree de la Vega called Chaka Khan Hacienda. You're still in Atlanta after all.

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The Most Fun Places to Watch the FIFA World Cup in Atlanta

Published On 06/08/2018
L et’s get this out of the way: It sucks that the US team didn’t qualify for this year’s FIFA World Cup. But let’s not dwell so much on the negative; this year it’s in Russia -- and who the hell wants to be in Russia right now? Don’t answer that.
But seriously, it’s not a bad thing that you’ll be here in Atlanta, the greatest city the world has ever known, to watch your favorite foreign futbol clubs play. ATL is now a serious soccer town, with a phenomenal MLS soccer team in Atlanta United FC and rabid fans (shout-out to Footie Mob!). Hell, we’re even an official candidate city for hosting a World Cup semifinal match eight years from now!! I know -- that’s 2026. Look, don’t dwell on the negative; get out of the house and get to the places on the list below to join other World Cup fans for some rowdy and raucous soccer-watching. The action begins on June 14, and the group stage runs through the 28, with games kicking off at 8am. We’ll also be updating this list with new events, parties, and places to drink as they come. Wanna help? Throw your favorite bar in the comments.
The Brewhouse Cafe

The Brewhouse Cafe

Little Five Points

Best for: Die-hard soccer fans
Nobody out-soccer-pubs the divey TBC. The website has a soccer section with schedules of upcoming matches, and there’s memorabilia adorning every nook and cranny of this futbol bar, from ceiling-hung team banners to jerseys... literally everywhere. Located on Moreland at the main corner of L5P, this is where pretty much all soccer fans are going to see at least one match, since they always serve traditional breakfast for matches. This is a known hangout for Arsenal FC (Premier League) fans. Arrive early!

The Midway Pub

The Midway Pub

East Atlanta Village

Best for: Beer geeks who love a bustling atmosphere and bar games
Another no-brainer for anybody that went out for the World Cup around ATL last year. Midway’s a serious sports bar with mad flags representing countries and football clubs around the globe. They’ve also got 130+ beers, “thoughtful” food (the smoked wings are fantastic), darts, and a killer patio just far enough past the central EAV madness of Flat Shoals to create madness of your own. It will get packed here; get here early and grab a beer.

The Brick Store Pub

Decatur

Best for: An incredible beer list and even been food
They’ll have Cup matches playing upstairs and in their Belgian Bar, which is usually lunch-only by reservation, but they’ve dubbed it the “The Brick Store Football Club” for the tourney. You also know Brick Store has lots of beer, including rare stuff you’ll find nowhere else in the world. Not only are they going to have any style of brew you want to try (other than “wack”), but their food is also top-notch, whether you’re going as simple as bourbon-caramel popcorn or will need a blood orange-jus short rib to help cover all that exclusive soccer beer.

Hampton + Hudson Community Bar and Restaurant

Hampton + Hudson Community Bar & Restaurant

Inman Park

Best for: Serious viewing with tons of TVs
H+H is an official pub partner of Atlanta United, so they’re not only used to soccer fandom, they encourage it. Look for H+H to be a central spot for the Cup, as ATL UTD fans have been flocking to the tucked away Inman Quarter hangout since they were playing at Bobby Dodd Stadium. There are too many TVs to miss a single goal, save, or stadium brawl. On top of that, they’ve got a fantastic covered patio out back -- with a solid selection of craft beer -- near a courtyard that’s perfect for gathering your crew and belting out an “A-T-L” chant or two.

Fado Irish Pub & Restaurant

Fado Irish Pub & Restaurant

Buckhead

Best for: Drink specials and free swag
They’re kicking off the Cup with a soccer-themed trivia night; first place gets four tickets to ATL UTD vs Seattle home game on July 15 and a $75 Fado gift card. The $5 cover benefits Soccer in the Streets. And look, you don’t even need a soccer match to be on TV for Fado to be lit, but it gets especially lively when the Cup comes back around. This year they’ll show all games, live, from June 14 to July 15 with food and drink specials, free soccer swag to give away, and will also have the sound from the matches turned up on the TVs to feed the energy -- as you feed yourself beer, fish and chips, and such.

Meehan's Irish Pub

Downtown

Best for: Watching on a big screen
Meehan’s is the official Southeast home of Liverpool Football Club and looks like it’s been there forever, with ornate old school chandeliers, rustic green paint, and imperfectly carved wood beams. However, it’s only been eight years since this charming Peachtree pub arrived -- and soccer fiends flock to watch games on the giant projector screen. Fill up on Guinness-braised shepherd’s pie, bangers & mash, or that classic Irish dish, sriracha honey mustard wings.

The Elder Tree Public House

The Elder Tree

East Atlanta Village

Best for: Early morning games and hardcore fans
Another Irish pub with ravenous ATL UTD fans, The ET’s even got “soccer pub” in its Google description -- it’s that real! The polished, moody interior is great for the grimier sect of futbol fans, and they’re the official away-game viewing party headquarters for the Atlanta Silverbacks, the city’s 20-year-running soccer club. It’s legit. ALSO: They’ve got a private membership that lets you get early Sunday pints (8:30am to noon).

Cabo Cantina Atlanta

Cabo Cantina

Buckhead

Best for: Margaritas, a low-key laid-back vibe, and breakfast burritos.
Cabo allegedly has “Atlanta’s largest tequila selection.” And there’s only one way to find out if it’s true. This Mexican bar and restaurant is opening at 10am for early matches, with 16 TVs ensuring that you won’t have a bad seat when the goal lands and the crowd rises. Specials for the World Cup include $5 Bacardi mojitos, $5 Cazadores margaritas, and $10 scrambled egg and Jack cheese burritos. Bring a 20, and you’re set.