Travel

Eat and drink your way through old-school ATL

Published On 05/03/2013 Published On 05/03/2013
Still Standing Tour of Atlanta
Ann's Snack Bar
Oakland Cemetery
Underground Atlanta
The Varsity
The Fox Theatre
Georgian Terrace Hotel
Clermont Lounge
Majestic Diner
Plaza Theatre
Manuel's Tavern
Atkins Park
Blind Willie's
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1. The Varsity 61 North Ave NW, Atlanta, GA 30308 (Downtown)

This Atlanta joint notoriously serves a full two miles worth of hot dogs on a daily basis. The downtown eatery, billed as the world's largest drive-in, can accommodate up to 600 cars and 800 patrons at any given time -- which certainly accounts for the abundance of hot dog sales. A team of singing and dancing car hops awaits vehicular customers in the enormous parking lot, and for regulars, there is something of a secret Varsity lingo when it comes to ordering. Established in 1928, the iconic American mainstay has served its famous chili-cheese dogs and fried peach pies to the likes of Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.

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2. Ann's Snack Bar 1615 Memorial Dr, Atlanta, GA 30317 (Kirkwood)

The burgers at Ann's snack bar, some of the best in Atlanta, could qualify the Kirkwood spot as the eighth wonder of the world. The voluptuous, hand-pressed Ghetto Burgers bring chili sauce, bacon, a super-secret seasoning, fat pieces of onion, and fried bacon together in a burger that's admittedly difficult to eat but so worth the mess (you've just gotta dive right into this one). There isn't ample seating, but after a short wait you can sit along the bar and watch it get made right in front of you, which, trust us, will work up an appetite large enough to tackle it on your own.

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3. Underground Atlanta 50 Upper Alabama St #007, Atlanta, GA 30303 (Downtown)

Created from the abandoned viaducts beneath the city, Underground Atlanta offers a host of restaurants, entertainment, and shopping opportunities. Stop by for a guided walking tour, and you might even learn a thing or two while you're there.

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4. Oakland Cemetery 248 Oakland Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30312 (East Atlanta)

So this is totally normal: $15 nets you a two-day pass to this multi-stage concert with 100+ acts doing it live...in Oakland Cemetery. There'll be food from Six Feet Under (really, guys?), Pallookaville, and Hottie Hawg's Smokin' BBQ, plus psychic rea

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5. Georgian Terrace Hotel 659 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta, GA 30308 (Midtown)

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.

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6. Mary Mac's Tea Room 224 Ponce de Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30308 (Midtown)

At Mary Mac's Tea Room, patrons can enjoy a taste of authentic Southern cooking and hospitality. This means heaping plates of staples like fried chicken, braised ox tails, and grilled liver and onions, as well as a number of specialty drinks like the Mint Julep and Georgia Peach. The place is over 70 years old and was officially named “Atlanta’s Dining Room” by the City of Atlanta. Read any online traveler’s guides and you’ll be convinced that there’s no way to visit Atlanta without eating here. There are pencils and paper sheets on your table for you to write your own order, a tradition of MM’s that dates wayyy back (pre-Bieber).

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7. Clermont Lounge 789 Ponce de Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30306 (Poncey Highland)

Virginia Highland's Clermont Lounge is oh-so many things: a dive bar, a live music venue, a frequent karaoke spot, and, perhaps most notably, Atlanta’s oldest strip club. What more could you ask for?

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8. Majestic Diner 1031 Ponce de Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30306 (Midtown)

An Atlanta landmark since 1929, Majestic Diner offers up "food that pleases," including milkshakes, pancakes, hamburgers, waffles, and just about any other comfort food you crave. Bright lights, late hours, and endearing greasy spoon goodness-- what more do you really need?

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9. Plaza Theatre 1049 Ponce De Leon Ave, Atlanta, GA 30306 (Midtown)

Plaza Theatre is the oldest operating cinema in Atlanta, offering screenings of select new releases as well as movies that have been out of theaters for years. It also hosts film festivals, and there are midnight showings of classic movies every Friday night.

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10. Manuel's Tavern 602 N Highland Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307 (Old 4th Ward)

A neighborhood bar since the 50s, Manuel’s Tavern is still buzzing with lunch, dinner, and late night crowds in Poncey-Highland. Its decades-old charm remains, and the iconic tavern continues to draw diners from across the country -- including the likes of Jimmy Carter and, slightly more recently, Barack Obama. The menu features classic American fare like burgers, steaks, Buffalo wings, and an entire section of the menu devoted to hot dogs. And their beer list is sizeable, as well, with 30 beers on tap and twice that in bottles. Stop in for a burger, a beer, and a little slice of Atlanta history.

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11. Atkins Park Restaurant 794 N Highland Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30306 (Virginia Highland)

Atkins Park is Atlanta's oldest continually-running restaurant (it began as a deli in 1922), and the figurative cornerstone of Virginia-Highland. Over the years, it has remained relevant and beloved by Atlantans, with culinary creature comforts that have, and will continue to, stand the test of time (like a bunch of different burgers, mostly). The beer selection on offer beats many of the newer, trendier places in the Va-Hi district. At Atkins Park, family-friendly dining and late-night drinking coexist, which is the mark of a true neighborhood destination.

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12. Blind Willie's 828 N Highland Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30306 (Virginia Highland)

Since opening its doors for service in 1986, this musician-owned ATL blues bar has been all about bringing in older talent for their shows in an environment that was literally hand-built by the owners and their local musician friends. Good thing, 'cause you know their acoustic game will be spot on.

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13. The Fox Theatre 660 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta, GA 30308 (Midtown)

The historic Fox Theatre hosts live entertainment ranging from musicals and live concerts to speaking engagements. Additionally, you can swing by and catch a screening of a movie that's out of theaters.