Restaurants with Great Communal Tables & Bars
Valentine’s Day sucks if you don’t have a date. And this year, Valentine’s Day also happens to be on a Saturday. If you want to go out, but don’t want to deal with a cheesy prix fixe or rose-topped tables, a seat at a communal table or a deep bar is generally a sound, reservation-proof choice. In fact, if you’re single, please grab a seat at that communal table and then tell us what happens @goop #goopinlove and we’ll regram our favorites.
Gunshow924 Garrett St., Glenwood Park | 404.380.1886
If you don’t know what to expect, Gunshow might just be the most surprising dining experience in Atlanta. Here, there’s no such thing as ordering from a menu; plates of food come out of the kitchen as soon as they’re ready, then get carted around to diners, dim-sum style. Rather than stick to a set repertoire, chef/owner Kevin Gillespie and his team get together weekly to brainstorm and divvy up a menu of dishes they’re into at the moment. There’s no affiliation to any one style or cuisine, so you might get braised beef short ribs one day, and Mexican-style peanut-crusted snapper the next. The challenge is not getting attached to any one dish—odds are, you won’t see it again the next time you come back. Also of note: The bustling open kitchen is within eyeshot of almost every table.
Bacchanalia1460 Ellsworth Industrial Blvd., Atlanta | 404.365.0410
Star Provisions is one of our favorite places to shop in Atlanta: There's really good home and kitchen goods, takeout counters (the peanut butter and marshmallow sandwich is a hit), plus all sorts of prepared and packaged foods. Bacchanalia, accessible through the back of the store, is one of Atlanta's best restaurants. It's the perfect solution if you're looking for a sit-down meal: The bar is gigantic and deep, where you can feast on items like crab fritters and celery root ravioli a la carte. Otherwise, it’s a five-course prix-fixe situation.
Makan130 Clairemont Ave., Decatur | 404.996.6504
The menu at this Chinese/Korean hybrid runs the gamut of Asian delicacies. There’s Korean tacos and steamed bao for lunch, ramen and braised mahi mahi for dinner, and a dim sum brunch on the weekends. Ingredients are sourced from local farmers who focus on quality and sustainability. The portions are large enough to encourage sharing and go perfectly with the restaurant’s communal vibe—massive tables, a well-stocked bar, and outdoor picnic tables.
Cooks & Soldiers691 14th St. NW., Knight Park | 404.996.2623
This recent addition to the Atlanta food scene has a beautiful bar area—complete with a killer cocktail menu and wine list—in addition to a more formal dining room. Go here for sharable pintxos (small tapas served on pieces of toast) and meat and fish mains prepared in the traditional Basque coast style over an open-fire grill. As far as desserts go, there’s a marshmallow-topped cake made out of Fruity Pebbles—sugary to say the least, but weirdly compelling.