Georgia Bars & Nightlife
303 E Howard Ave., Decatur
Kimball House is the brainchild of four friends who originally worked together at Brick Store Pub and came across old menus from the historic (and, sadly, no longer standing) Kimball House Hotel featuring classic Manhattan cocktails and oysters. That menu—and the deep-dive into old-school dining traditions that ensued—became the inspiration for their own restaurant, which opened a few years ago. While the thorough oyster menu and its thoughtful tasting notes are an important part of the experience here, it’s the specialty cocktail program run by local bartending celebrity Miles Macquarrie that put it on our radar. If you’re lucky enough to stop by when he’s behind the bar, he’ll give you the history behind everything on the menu, including the exhaustive list of absinthes and the subtle differences between them.
The Painted Pin
737 Miami Circle NE, Buckhead
Think of the Painted Pin, which bills itself as “an upscale boutique bar, bowling, and entertainment venue,” as all of the fun and games of a college party, but classed up exponentially. Elegant leather banquettes line twenty full-service bowling lanes, and there’s a lovely courtyard in the back outfitted with bocce courts, shuffleboard tables, ping pong, and Southern skittles (which is easy to learn and fun to play). Needless to say, it’s an awesome place to host a party.
1058 Howell Mill Rd., Home Park
The great thing about this certified dive bar on the West side (which has been open for more than forty years) is that they have live music seven nights a week. They specialize in blues and roots music, and any Atlanta music geek you ask will verify that they get some of the best acts in the city. Try to catch a Wednesday night, when Mudcat is on rotation—front man Danny “Mudcat” Dudeck is an important fixture in the town’s music scene, and worth the trek across town.
Smith’s Olde Bar
1578 Piedmont Ave., Piedmont Heights
This is one of Atlanta’s oldest bars, complete with the neon signs and pool tables in the back. They have a pretty consistent lineup of live music, and it’s reliably rowdy (in a cozy, divey kind of way) on weekend nights. It’s also the place to be if you happen to be in town during an Alabama football game.
470 Flat Shoals Ave., East Atlanta
While they actually have a good menu (including brunch), the Argosy is best known for what’s on tap: More than thirty of the best selections from small craft breweries in Europe and stateside. Accordingly, the enormous, beer-hall-style space is lined with long tables and benches, including a lengthy bar that spans the wall across from a few cozy seating areas. The Skeeball in the back is a major crowd-pleaser.
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