Once a drab shell of hollowed warehouses and industrial artifacts from Atlanta’s manufacturing heyday, the Westside has reemerged in recent years with a live, work, play mantra and a hefty platter of top-tier dining, arts, and nightlife destinations for the city at large. Indie art galleries banded together with the communities and other institutions to establish the Westside Arts District, and large, mixed-use developments such as Atlantic Station and the Westside Provisions District have helped reclaim some of the most derelict expanses. With a growing number of young, ambitious professionals choosing to call the area home, this long-overlooked expanse of western ATL seems primed for yet another chapter of growth and revitalization.
Part of Ford Fry's restaurant empire that Esquire named restaurant of the year in 2012. Although the Optimist has been open for a couple of years, reservations for dinner at this seafood spot can still be hard to come by, but you can eat a full meal at the bar or just make a meal at the oyster bar.
The paneled Southern seafood shack decor works (think wooden booths, long tables, a horseshoe bar). And so does the food. Shrimp, crab cakes, oysters, crab legs, clams, scallops, mussels, catfish and po'boys are all fresh and tasty. All in all, Six Feet Under fills the gap of the disappearing inexpensive seafood shack.
Holeman & Finch Public House has changed the face of Atlanta's dining scene since opening in 2008. From the outset, H&F's cocktail program set off a citywide race to blend obscure spirits into crowd-pleasing tipples. The 10 p.m. off-menu cheeseburger established a widely imitated gold standard. The house charcuterie program, once a unique feature, has inspired a whole league of competitors. The menu is unapologetically meat-centric with an extra focus on offal dishes and Southern-inspired small plates. Even after all these years, H&F's carefully crafted cocktails continue to be destination-worthy on their own.
Easy to miss in a drab strip mall just outside I-285, Hae Woon Dae serves some of Atlanta's most delicious and entertaining Korean cuisine, with bul gogi beef and other meat dishes charcoal-grilled in sunken cauldrons at your own table. The pickled kimchi sides come in so many colors and flavors you're bound to find one you adore.
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.
Eclectic venue for hip-hop, spoken-word poetry, and up-and-coming soul artists. Home to Wednesday night jam sessions featuring a live band and open mic for vocalists to join in. Street parking available.
No sneaker store in town can compete with the 62-year legacy of Walter's Clothing. Being the old man on the block hasn't kept it from staying hip. Try squeezing in on a Saturday and you'll see why. Walls of Adidas, Nike, Fila, Reebok, and Converse have kept customers fresh-to-death for decades. If you can't find your footing here, you're probably lost.
The longest-running African-American comedy club in Atlanta, Uptown Comedy Corner has featured Chris Rock, the Wayans Brothers, Steve Harvey, and Chris Tucker in the more than 20 years it's served Atlanta's Westside.