The Absolute Best Bars in Atlanta Right Now

From classic dives to swanky cocktail lounges, this is where you should be drinking in the ATL.

Whether you prefer to cozy up to a glass of Cabernet or share a toast with new friends over an ice cold local beer, the bar scene in Atlanta is brimming with options. Classic cocktails come to life at favorites like Kimball House while new bars, including Jojo’s Beloved and Atrium are stirring up a good time with signature sips and stellar aesthetics. From East to West, and even a little OTP, we’ve got you covered on the best bars across the city.

Atlantucky

Castleberry Hill
$$$$

A lofty brewery owned by the Grammy Award-nominated group Nappy Roots, Atlantucky fits perfectly in the art-centric Castleberry Hill neighborhood. One of the highlights at Atlantucky (aside from the stellar brews, of course) are the vintage beer and liquor commercials that air on TVs throughout the brewery. If you’re patient enough, you might just catch a nostalgia-filled St. Ides commercial featuring Snoop Dogg and the late Tupac Shakur.

The Vibrary

Stone Mountain
$$$$

Suffice it to say that books and booze are a severely underrated combination. Located just a few minutes outside of Atlanta in historic Stone Mountain Village, The Vibrary welcomes visitors to “come for a drink” and “stay for the vibe.” And with a curated selection of books and vegan-friendly charcuterie boards for you to nosh on, it's hard not to cozy up to their bar for a second glass of your new favorite red.

Atrium

Old Fourth Ward
$$$$

On the cocktail menu at Atrium, you’ll find not one, but four punch cocktails. And if you prefer a different libation, you’re sure to find one on Atrium’s extensive cocktail menu, which includes both seasonal cocktails and classics. With its hand-painted tile and gorgeous mural, you’d be remiss if you didn’t start your night at the Atrium bar for at least one cocktail (and maybe a handful of pics for the ‘Gram).

Available for Reservations

Fellaship

Castleberry Hill
$$$$

Founded by NFLer Cam Newton and his brother Cecil Newton Jr., Fellaship is a luxe cigar bar that also prides itself on its selection of equally luxe spirits and cocktails. You’ll find plenty of classic cocktails on the menu at Fellaship, but for a truly extravagant experience you can splurge on a 1-ounce pour of Louis XIII de Remy Martin for $200. If you are planning a visit to Fellaship, be sure to keep your attire business casual and make a reservation ahead of your visit.

Available for Reservations
12 Cocktail Bar
12 Cocktail Bar | Ponce City Market

12 Cocktail Bar

Old Fourth Ward
$$$$

For an elevated cocktail experience in Atlanta, there’s no better place to go than 12 Cocktail Bar. Since it’s located on The Roof at Ponce City Market, it literally towers over most of the bars in the city, and beyond its physical position, 12 Cocktail Bar really does boast expertly crafted mixed drinks from award-winning barmen and women.

Available for Reservations
5 Church
5 Church | Photo by Brandon Amato

5 Church

Midtown
$$$$

The literal writing on the walls at 5Church may be a lot to take in, but the Colony Square mainstay’s cocktails are so exceptionally smooth that you’ll be ordering another drink in no time. The Egress—a light tipple made with Tito's vodka, simple, lemon juice, strawberries, basil—goes great with appetizers like the Sushi Tots or the Baked Oysters, but if you really want to go to church, make sure you order the Holy Water with Bulleit bourbon, sweet tea, lemon juice, blackberries, mint, and blue agave.

Available for Reservations

Cooks & Soldiers

West Midtown
$$$$

Food-wise, Cooks & Soldiers has a lot of outstanding menu options, from traditional Basque plates like the Piperade stew to whole fish entrees like the Pescado à la Parilla. However, don’t let all of that gourmet goodness distract you from the fact that Cooks & Soldiers’ beverage program is a heavyweight in Atlanta’s cocktail scene. Whether you’re dining in for dinner with family or opting to sit at the bar, you have to try C&S’s signature cocktails. If you need a great place to start, definitely go with either the May Oui with vodka, lavender, saler’s, lemon, honey, and cava, or the Baptizing Equelito with Reposado tequila, cappelletti, orgeat, lime, tiki bitters.

Available for Reservations
Jojo’s Beloved
Jojo’s Beloved | Photo by Denny Dulbert

Jojo’s Beloved

Midtown
$$$$

We don’t know who Jojo or their beloved is, but we do know that this recently opened cocktail lounge is the place to go for retro ‘70s and ‘80s vibes. From the music to the color palette of burgundy, pink, and orange. Expect to find drinks made with brightly hued spirits such as Midori. Disco attire not required but encouraged (by us). 

Available for Reservations

Drawbar

West Midtown
$$$$

ICYMI Atlanta’s hotel restaurants are cool now, and Drawbar in the Bellyard Hotel is no exception. It’s located within the lobby, but the sweet spot is the terrace which looks over 14th street and has a beautiful skyline view. Catch happy hour aka “Recess” from 4 - 7 pm, Monday through Thursday, for discounted drinks and snacks, and make your next football watch party more memorable by pulling up to one of Drawbar’s special Tailgate Menu dates.

Available for Reservations

Sometimes you want to go where nobody knows your name and Lloyd’s hopes (or doesn’t hope) to be that place for you. It’s retro, but not necessarily sexy. Instead you’ll find lighting fixtures reminiscent of a Ruby Tuesday (before the remodels) and plenty of wood paneling. What we’re saying is it’s an excellent spot to post-up, drink a $5 martini (between 5 - 7 pm) and eat some pizza and pesto pillows.

Battle & Brew

Sandy Springs
$$$$

A geek’s paradise known for its trivia night, Battle & Brew is a gaming meets bar venue in Sandy Springs. The dining room is open for business, as are the arcade games, but it’s also created an outdoor space that’s almost as fun. Known as BNB After Dark, the space is accessible 7pm to midnight Friday and Saturday. There are projectors and outdoor tables and plenty of drinks and snacks to order.

Available for Reservations

The Third Door

Marietta
$$$$

Set in a former 1920s gas station, this new retro bar in historic Marietta offers plenty of outdoor seating. Pull up and sip one of its signature cocktails like the Bolo Break with bourbon, amaro, lemon, blood orange, black tea, and grapefruit bitters.

Eleanor's

Smyrna
$$$$

Muss & Turner’s is great for lunchtime sandwiches, but at night, head through the walk-in door in the back of the restaurant and you’ll be treated to a speakeasy surprise at Eleanor’s. The intimate bar features cocktails like the Brown Thrasher made with bourbon, smoked apple shrub, cynar, lemon, and maple syrup. 

You can sit inside or on a shaded patio at this former gas station. Leon’s is the sibling to Brickstore Pub but the cocktails are seasonally driven and expertly crafted. Give the Three of a Perfect Pair a whirl if you want something on the spicier side (eight-year Jamaican rum, cognac, spiced pear, chai, P.X. sherry, lime, bitters, spices). If you’re feeling snacky, order up some stuffed peppadew peppers and house-made ricotta served with grilled sourdough.

The tropical vibes are strong here. Whether you sit on the patio or the dining room, you’ll forget all your troubles after you’ve had one or two of their strong tiki drinks. 

Manuel's Tavern

Poncey-Highland
$$$$

Sure, Manuel’s Tavern has delicious bar food and a cool old school bar vibe, but it’s the bar’s history that makes it so interesting. The original owner of the bar, Manuel Maloof, was known as the Godfather of Georgia Democratic politics and the tavern has played host to many political events and politicians in its lifetime

Parlor

Castleberry Hill
$$$$

Parlor is chic and inviting with teal mid-century-modern sofas, vibrant art, and a bathroom where you’ll want to snap a selfie. Sip one of their creative concoctions like the Gambler & Gallantries with Grey Goose Vodka, cassis, blueberry syrup, lemon. One-of-a-kind bites like vegan portobello and purple cabbage tacos and jerk lamb pasta are also available.

Available for Reservations

Nine Mile Station

Old Fourth Ward
$$$$

Head to the rooftop of Ponce City Market for a drink with a side of views. You can hit up Skyline Park first, and then grab a bite at 9 Mile Station, which serves up grilled fare, has craft beers on tap, and features plenty of cocktails to choose from. 

Available for Reservations

Hotel Clermont

Poncey-Highland
$$$$

Another excellent rooftop option, Hotel Clermont offers views of the city and beyond. Kick back on the astroturf and enjoy a tropical-inspired drink. Note that masks are required when moving throughout the building and, once you leave the rooftop, you won’t be allowed back in. 

Ticonderoga Club

Inman Park
$$$$

However you want it, Ticonderoga Club is here for you. As in, you can dine-in and drink your fancy cocktails in the cozy, New England-esque confines where Christmas lights twinkle all year long. But, you can also order Ticon-To-Go and just replicate the experience in your living room. If you do plan to eat there, a reservation is a must.

Little Trouble

West Midtown
$$$$

The edgiest bar can be found on the ground floor of Westside Provisions District -- just look for the neon glow. You can enjoy cocktails and bites from the Mushi Ni pop-up (get the Tokyo fries) in the restaurant or order to go.

Kimball House

Decatur
$$$$

Kimball House is really more of a restaurant than a bar, but how could we leave off cocktails crafted by Miles Macquarrie? The dining room and patio is open for reservations. Make one and indulge in the city’s deepest oyster program paired with one (or two) of Kimball House’s tipples.

Available for Reservations

The Chastain

Chastain Park
$$$$

The Chastain is lovely for dinner…and breakfast…but shouldn’t be looked over as a happy hour spot, either. The expansive patio is an excellent spot to avoid rush hour. You can keep it light with their sangria (Albariño and vermouth) or go for something boozier like the Mare with vodka, sherry, and olive brine. While you’re there, you might as well order some snacks off of the menu — may we suggest some double fermented sourdough bread and crab fritters?

Available for Reservations

Joystick Gamebar

Sweet Auburn
$$$$

You don’t have to be a nerd to appreciate this barcade, but it probably doesn’t hurt. The funky space has plenty of classic arcade games and tabletop gaming, and, oh yeah, cocktails. Expect to find easy-to-sip drinks like the cranberry sage and bourbon coffee boozy slushies.

Bar Margot

Midtown
$$$$

Located in the Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta, Bar Margot is worth a visit for a sophisticated date night. The cocktails highlight fresh ingredients as much as possible, as seen in the Window Seat Spritzer, made with Grey Goose vodka, fiero, mandarin, grapefruit, prosecco, champagne syrup, and bitters. If you stay for dinner, try a couple of their small plates with standouts like the Margot Deviled Eggs or the Crispy Oysters Mushroom Fingers.

Available for Reservations

Bar Vegan

Old Fourth Ward
$$$$

Pinky Cole won bellies over with her vegan burgers at Slutty Vegan, and now she’s looking to capture them again at Bar Vegan. Located in Ponce City Market, Cole’s new concept serves “theatrical” drinks made with fresh juices. She also partnered up with Derrick Hayes of Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks to serve vegan Philly cheesesteaks that are pure indulgence.

Available for Reservations
Willow Bar
St. Julep Rooftop Bar | Kimpton Sylvan Hotel

St. Julep is the Sylvan Hotel’s rooftop bar located on the ninth floor. The deck wraps around the building, so while you can belly up to the bar itself—stylishly decorated with vintage vases and urns in a rainbow palette—you can spread out and take in the backdrop of the city. The drinks are just as refreshing up here with standouts like the Player’s Ball made with rum, raspberry, lime, mint, and club soda.

Lia Picard is a contributor for Thrillist. 
Joshua Robinson is an Atlanta-based contributor for Thrillist. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter at @roshrisky.