Where to Drink in Atlanta Right Now

Take the edge off.

Feeling hot, hot, hot? Then it’s time to cool down with a drink—booze optional. Atlanta’s bars are on standby and have a barstool with your name on it. There are plenty of recently opened bars to check out, too, offering style in spades. From rooftops to patios here’s where to grab a drink in Atlanta.

12 Cocktail Bar
Photo by Sara Uhn

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. Even its holiday cocktails are divine, so don’t shy away from 12’s Mixmas Menu. If you do, you’ll miss out on standout sips like Sleigh Fuel, which is served hot and made with bourbon, cinnamon, eggnog, and coffee.

Available for Reservations
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
Photo courtesy of Cooks & Soldiers

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
Photo by Denny Dulbert

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.

The plant-filled oasis in the back of Krog Street Market known as Watchman’s is a haven for oyster and tropical drink lovers alike. It’s the younger sister of Kimball House so you know both are on point. When it comes to drinks, the Watchman’s Gimlet with gin, rum, fines herbes, and chartreuse is a boozy but light way to ease into things (or the ranch water, or the tropical gin and tonic). Oysters are discounted Tuesday through Thursday between 5 - 6 pm. The hushpuppies with chili honey butter are never discounted, but did we mention the chili honey butter?

Available for Reservations

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

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 fall-themed cocktails like the Autumns Medley with gin, chamomile, lime, cranberry, maple, and ginger.

There’s a little bit of everything at Suite Food Lounge. There’s a more subdued dining room and bar on the main floor, but head upstairs and you’ll find a Miami-inspired rooftop bar. This is the ideal spot to catch a big sports game or party late into the night with a DJ. Don’t miss its weekly Crablegs & Karaoke happy hour where martinis are just $5.

Available for Reservations

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. 

Biltong Bar

Buckhead

Both locations of Biltong Bar are open for dine-in service. This is the place to go when you’re craving casual South African eats, like the namesake biltong (beef jerky), and an expertly crafted drink. You can’t go wrong with the Unfuck Your Day: a frozen blend of rye, brandy, mint,  absinthe, pineapple, and lime.

Available for Reservations

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 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
Cocktail from the Willow Bar | Courtesy of 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.