Old Fourth Ward
If live musical performances of the songs from A Charlie Brown Christmas by jazz keyboardist David Ellington on December 14th and 21st aren’t enough, the Ghostbuster-ly named dinnerhouse will have a brunch on December 10th, featuring Christmas mimosas and a puppet show about crooks trying to steal letters to Santa. Then on December 17th there’ll be another brunch with the big red guy himself, and parents can snap free pics of their kids (or themselves) with Santa using their own cameras while enjoying cocktail specials.
Normally called Yebo Beach Haus, the always-summer-themed coastal South African resto-bar will turn into a pop-up ski lodge for the winter, replacing those surfboards hanging from the ceiling rafters with wooden skis, covering all seats with plaid blankets (including the ones outside on the patio near the new fire pits), adding antlers above the turtle shell light fixtures, and bringing a few pine trees inside. There’ll also be new cocktails to match the temporary theme, such as the “Alpine Dreams” made of homemade hot chocolate, green chartreuse, Italian meringue, yebo chocolate and a cookie straw, and the “Southern Edge” with Bain’s Cape Mountain whisky, Amarula cream, mole bitters, coffee and Angostura whipped cream.
Tapa Tapa in Midtown Arts has become an over-the-top Christmas cocktail cabin, with wonderfully ridiculous decor (hanging presents, mistletoe, frosted glass on the windows with an actual peephole scraped out for outdoor voyeurs), and a drink menu with nothing but delicious holiday beverages. Those include beers like the 10% ABV Delirium Noel Belgian dark ale and Santa’s Little Helper imperial stout, along with the “Santa-quila” with cacao nibs, sherry, maple syrup, and black walnut bitters; a mulled wine sour; a snowball-iced old fashioned, plus specialty shots (gingerbread-spiced rye, cinnamon bourbon), and lots of secret drinks you have to specially request from genius bartender Eric Simpkins and his crew of merry mixologists.
Little Five Points
Calling its own month-long makeover "Miracle on Euclid Ave," the L5PCT has put a snow-blowing machine to make nightly powder on its shiny new rooftop patio, and is also pumping out plenty of holiday-only cocktails with names like the “Black Metal Sleigh,” “Happy Sugarplum Punch,” and fishbowls of something called "Little Elf Ho Ho." There’ll also be Bad Santa Happy Hour every weekday at 5pm with free bar snacks and holiday cookies, plus it's taking part in a Krampus Krawl on Dec 10th, and are on the route for the annual L5P SantaCon.
Until President’s Day 2017, you’ll be able to slide around on an ice-skating rink under a heated tent. You and up to 199 other skaters can buy all-day tickets to skate from 8am to midnight on the 40ft-wide, 85ft-long surface of slick. And yes, you can eat and drink everything from cocktails to bottles of Louis M. Martini Sonoma cab right next to the rink, and then step outside to check out the holiday lights around Piedmont Park.
Every Wednesday in December the former Atlanta Grill, which was recently renovated to be just as Ritz-y but less likely to make you nervous you’re going to break something you can’t afford to replace, will host a holiday cocktail workshop every Wednesday in December, plus a Christmas Eve dinner with a sommelier-curated wine pairing, followed up by a Christmas Day brunch.
Linton Hopkins, the chef behind Holeman & Finch, Restaurant Eugene, and Hop's Chicken, has a restaurant in the middle of the Atlanta Botanical Garden. The place is literally lit (like you) through January 7th due to its Garden Lights, Holiday Nights winter wonderland of decorations. Twinkling lights are strung every which way throughout the Garden’s 30 walkable acres, and there’s no better way to warm back up after freezing for holiday romance’s sake than to drink a Manhattan-esque Dewars Scotch mixed with Cherry Heering and Dolin Rouge vermouth.
For the month of December you can call yourself a gift-giver just by drinking. All proceeds from sales of the Edgar’s Proof and Provision cocktail “The Truth” (made with Sotherly’s private label Edgar’s Truth bourbon, and topped with citrus, fig, and Angostura bitters) will go to support military veterans via the Sotherly Foundation. Also don’t forget to stop by Livingston on the opening night of The Nutcracker (across the street at The Fox Theatre) for a special a la carte dinner and silent auction, or just to have the season-appropriate “Madame Ching’s Rum Cocktail” with Shipwreck rum, Hoodoo chicory liqueur, half and half, Scrappy’s chocolate bitters, and a pinch of nutmeg.
1. Venkman's740 Ralph McGill Blvd NE, Atlanta
2. Yebo Beach Haus111 West Paces Ferry Rd NW, Atlanta
3. Little 5 Corner Tavern1174 Euclid Ave SE, Atlanta
4. Park Tavern500 10th St NE, Atlanta
5. AG181 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta
6. The Cafe at Linton's in the Garden1345 Piedmont Ave NE, Atlanta
7. Georgian Terrace Hotel659 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta
Creative comfort food and live music unite under one roof at Venkman's, the brainchild of Chef Nick Melvin and musicians Nick Niespodziani and Peter Olson (of the comedic cover band Yacht Rock Revue). Housed inside a former soda bottling plant in the Old Fourth Ward, Venkman's serves Southern-leaning salads, hot sandwiches, and sides, plus craft beer and cocktails.
Need an escape? You won't even know you're in Buckhead at this coastal-inspired white building with a vine-draped floating trellis and South African fare. Nosh on cold small plates like steak carpaccio with dijon and fried capers, or hot ones like ostrich sliders or a peri-peri chicken skillet. You can also upgrade to larger (but still shareable) options like lamb chop lollipops, a platter of prawn, beef filet, and white wine linguini and clams.
Carpetbaggers have been both feared and revered in American history, but perhaps none as much as The Carpetbagger at Little 5 Corner Tavern, which isn't an opportunistic person but a blue cheese-stuffed burger that's battered in PBR, deep-fried, then dipped in Buffalo sauce. If it sounds like it'll give you a heart attack, well, it might, but so will the alternative. The Tavernator takes a half-pound patty and tops it with ham, turkey, bacon, Cheddar, pepper jack, caramelized onions, BBQ sauce... and a fried egg. It's a mouthful, but it's why you're here.
Park Tavern is a culinary oasis in Piedmont Park, offering both shelter from the sun (or rain) and a roster of American comfort dishes like house-ground burgers, fish tacos, and chicken fingers. For something (somewhat) lighter, opt for the house specialty sushi rolls; the Emperor Roll is made with Alaskan king crab, crispy shiitake mushrooms, avocado, wagyu beef, teriyaki sauce, and scallions. If you can find it in you post food coma, take a walk around the Piedmont grounds to take in some fresh city air.
The Ritz-Carlton's AG combines the modern steakhouse with Southern charm in a swanky, second-floor space. This is no ordinary, all-day hotel restaurant: instead of a standard stack of buttermilk pancakes at breakfast, there are griddled hoecakes with bacon peach compote, while at lunch, menu a BLT is replaced with a pork belly, kale, and fried green tomato sandwich. Dinner is all about cuts of steak and their sides, like okra & tomato or creamed corn with bacon & jalapeño. Perhaps the most Southern addition to AG's menu is the seven types of speciality ice featured in the cocktail program.
Located on the grounds of the Atlanta Botanical Garden, Linton's is a refined New American eatery that's well worth the price of admission. Run by Gina and Linton Hopkins of ATL restaurant fame -- they head up Restaurant Eugene, Holeman and Finch, and Hop’s Chicken -- this classy spot serves up seasonal dishes and features a rooftop bar that overlooks the Atlanta skyline. Gaze from behind wide transparent windows or out in the open air -- while sipping a cocktail, a flute of Cava, or a pint of Creature Comforts Tropicalia IPA.
The Georgian Terrace Hotel in Midtown is home to both the Livingston Restaurant & Bar and Edgar’s Proof and Provision, satisfying both your eating and drinking desires. The Livingston -- named for 19th-century politician Livingston Mims -- serves up creative New American cuisine in a sleek and stylish setting. Edgar’s Proof and Provision, meanwhile, specializes in craft cocktails that span the spirit spectrum from brandy and mezcal to rum and vodka. The food program at Edgar’s certainly holds its own, with snacks and sandwiches on offer.