If you’re not a student and can afford to live there, the Emory University/North Druid Hills area provides a kind of middle ground to the landscaped estates of Buckhead and the casual atmosphere of Decatur. Druid Hills features such lovely neighborhoods and large homes, it provided the location for the title character’s mansion in Driving Miss Daisy. Plus, a variety of funky shops and restaurants, conveniently located to Emory’s staff and student body, offer such necessities as inexpensive books and savory falafel.
Through a driveway labyrinth, into a parking deck, up a few flights, into the elevator, down to the lobby, and through some office/condo hallways, there's an obscure wooden door marked "Local Three." Which means you’re never going to find it if you aren’t looking for it. Local Three owners Todd Mussman and Ryan Turner are masters of casual. Dining, even expensive dining — and Local Three is no bargain basement — is casual enough that customers are invited into the kitchen to pick up their own food during brunch. It's clear chef Chris Hall and his partners are unabashedly fat-friendly and meat-centric, so there's a heaviness that pervades. But Hall does get beyond his affection for philistine flavors, and reaches true elegance.
Atlanta's best full-time option for seeing stand-up is an intimate venue tucked away in the back of Midtown's Vortex Bar & Grill. The Laughing Skull Lounge has featured Marc Maron, Kyle Kinane, Maria Bamford, and countless other quality stand-ups.
The cinematic chaos and glamour of Two Urban Licks draws a decibel-shattering crowd eager for rambunctious dining and willing to sit out the long wait just for the youthful exuberance that fills the restaurant. For the best dining experience, stick to the appetizers and small plates. Outdoor bocce courts are located along the Beltline's Eastside Trails.
At One Eared Stag, boldness of flavor wins out above all else. The entire menu is an exercise in boldness, in defying cliché. Chef Robert Phalen comes across as more of a creative force than a perfectionist. But any inconsistency is made up for by the sheer pleasure and originality the food inspires.
Originally a cotton-gin manufacturer, the Goat Farm is a Westside haven for working artists and performance companies, a frequent location for movie shoots (cough cough, Hunger Games, cough cough), and a great live music venue.
The tiny, shacklike entrance reveals an eclectic and loyal late-night crowd. Music at this underground clubber’s club ranges from hip-hop and Brit-pop to downtempo and rare grooves. The dim basement space feels like the most happenin’ speakeasy in town.
The home of Joel Chandler Harris, author of the Uncle Remus tales, has recently undergone a revival shepherded by a descendant of the post-Civil War Atlanta writer. Sessions by master storytellers are the central attraction at the beautiful Victorian house.
The 1840 home of President Theodore Roosevelt's mother, Mittie Bulloch, serves as cultural center with photographs and documents from the Bulloch and Roosevelt families, a Civil War room, history room, and gardens.
This (literally) underground club, located below the Graveyard Tavern in East Atlanta, hosts local and touring indie-rock and hip-hop shows (T.I. and Iggy Azalea once shared the stage here). The aptly named space is also home to old-school dance parties.