The Absolute Best Bars in Atlanta Right Now
From upscale bars in Buckhead to the Highlands’ intimate dives, these are the best places to grab a drink.
There are two types of people in this world: restaurant people and bar people. Sure, you can be a little bit of both, but Atlanta’s bar scene has enough going on that you can fully commit to the latter. From classy joints to sip on rare spirits and inventive cocktails to local favorites like Manuel’s Tavern for when you just want to toss back a cheap beer, this city has it all and there are new hotspots opening all the time. So the next time you need to grab a drink or plan a date night, we’ve got it all covered on this list of the best bars in Atlanta right now.
Hampton + Hudson
This quintessential American bar and restaurant is an all-purpose destination for any occasion. Here you can hang out with your significant other, wind down with coworkers, or have a blast with friends. Each Monday, the kitchen releases a new Billyburger paired with a craft beer for only $10, and during happy hour, you can feast on Charred Octopus, Curry Deviled Eggs, and a heaping platter of Nachos Libre for only half the price.
St. Regis Atlanta
The St. Regis Bar is where luminaries gather for cocktails and unforgettable nights. This dimly lit, upscale spot in Buckhead is a dream singles bar—especially during the weekend. Its wood-paneled walls give it an old-school feel with a contemporary twist, and due to the bar’s popularity, its world famous Bloody Mary is always a great conversation starter. The venue is extremely cozy, and the former Wine Room is great for watching games and special events—ideal for a pre-dinner martini or evening nightcap.
Set atop of The Interlock, Rooftop L.O.A is home to three bars: The Grove, a luxurious, garden hangout area; The Pool, the pool area with cozy, rentable cabanas and a poolside bar; and a swanky bar at the on-site restaurant. Spend the afternoon sipping The Pool’s L.O.A. Bitter Lemonade with vodka, Gran Classico, lemonade, and Fever Tree lemon soda or watch the sunset with The Grove’s Garden Gimlet in hand. While the offerings are different across the three venues, all of them have views so good that you’ll immediately plan a return trip.
Fresh is the perfect word to describe BOHO11. Regardless of whether you’re at the Decatur establishment to snack on tinned fish and other seafood from the Cold Bar or enjoy a full dinner, it’s imperative that you also try some of BOHO115’s delightful coastal cocktails. The Fish Camp Punch (cognac, tea infused Giffard peach, rum, lemon, and cane syrup) is a refreshing choice, while the rich Cinteotl (bourbon, artichoke liqueur, chocolate bitters, and housemade chipotle tincture) is likely unlike anything you’ve sipped before. And although the bar downstairs near the entrance is absolutely stunning in its own right, BOHO115’s cocktails hit even harder when you’re overlooking Decatur Square from the window seats upstairs.
Good Word Brewing & Public House
Yes, it’s probably the most OTP bar in this entire guide, but whatever you do, don’t sleep on Good Word Brewing & Public House. In addition to having a solid assortment of beer on tap, this spot has a criminally underrated cocktail menu. The menu is 50-plus drinks strong, and options range from classic drinks like a Paloma or Pisco Sour to the bar’s own creations.
A lofty brewery owned by the Grammy-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. So keep your glass full and hang for awhile, you might just catch a nostalgia-filled St. Ides commercial featuring Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur.
On the cocktail menu at Atrium, you’ll find not one, but four punches. 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 IG).
12 Cocktail Bar
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. But beyond its physical position, 12 Cocktail Bar really does boast expertly crafted takes on classic cocktails and a rotating menu of new creations from award-winning drinkmakers.
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 is a light tipple made with vodka, simple syrup, lemon juice, strawberries, and basil, while the Holy Water is a perfect Sunday choice with bourbon, sweet tea, lemon juice, blackberries, mint, and bleu agave. Appetizers like Sushi Tots and Steamed Prince Edward Island Mussels are also on offer if you plan to stay a while.
Cooks & Soldiers
On the food front, Cooks & Soldiers has an outstanding menu of traditional Basque plates like Piperade Stew and whole fish entrees like the Pescado à la Parilla. However, don’t let all of that gourmet goodness distract you from the heavyweight beverage program. You can’t go wrong, but if you need a great place to start, go with the May Oui with vodka, lavender, Salers aperitif, lemon, honey, and cava, or the Baptizing Esquelito with tequila, cappelletti, orgeat, lime, and tiki bitters.
We may not know Jojo or their beloved, but we do know that this 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, you’ll feel transported to the past in no time. Expect to find drinks made with brightly hued spirits such as Midori and an all-vinyl soundtrack spinning in the background.
ICYMI Atlanta’s hotel restaurants are cool now, and Drawbar in the Bellyard Hotel is no exception. Located within the lobby, this sweet spot features a terrace that looks over 14th street and has a beautiful skyline view. Catch happy hour aka “Recess” Monday through Thursday from 4 to 7 pm 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.
Battle & Brew
A geek’s paradise known for its trivia night, Battle & Brew is a gaming venue meets bar in Sandy Springs. While the dining room is churning out dishes and the arcade games are buzzing, the bar is also home to an outdoor space that’s almost as fun. Known as BNB After Dark, the outdoor space turns up from 7 pm to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays with projectors, outdoor tables, and plenty of drinks and snacks to order.
Sure, Manuel’s Tavern has top-notch bar food and a cool old school vibe, but it’s the space’s history that makes it worth a visit. 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 politicians in its lifetime. Today, a slew of long-time regulars still take up the stools to toss back beers, feed the pinball machines, and spill old stories.
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 the creative concoctions like the Gambler & Gallantries with vodka, cassis, blueberry syrup, and lemon. You’re here to drink, but when hunger hits you can lean on bites like Vegan Portobello and Purple Cabbage Tacos or heartier dishes like Jerk Lamb Pasta.
Another excellent rooftop option, Hotel Clermont offers views of the city and beyond from its heightened drinking space. Kick back on the astroturf in a lawn chair and depending on the season grab a frozen drink or hot toddy.
With caviar service, hearty steaks, and a fully stocked raw bar, Kimball House is much more of a dining destination than a regular ol’ bar. But how could we leave off cocktails crafted by Miles Macquarrie? Make a reservation to indulge in the city’s deepest oyster program, but be sure to pair it with one (or two) of Kimball House’s tipples like the eponymous martini or large-format bottled Old Fashioned.
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, with so many options you might even forget about the drink in your hand. Expect to find lots of beer options, housemade sodas, and fun cocktails and boozy slushies.
St. Julep Rooftop Bar
Located on the ninth floor of the Kimpton Sylvan Hotel, the views rival the drinks at the St. Julep. 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—take some time to spread out and take in the backdrop of the city. The no-fuss drinks include riffs on classic cocktails, locally brewed beer (plus some domestic and international suds), and wine by the glass.