Sasha Petraske's local location of his famous New York bar, DRINKSHOP
, was not immediately embraced by Atlantans; it was dismissed by some as just another hotel bar with high prices. But few of those cynics noted that Eric Simpkins an extraordinary local talent formerly mixing at Trois is tending bar at the NYC import. Simpkins may be soft-spoken, but he's a master at manipulating boutique liquors into artful cocktails that explode on the palate. While the menu is carefully crafted, your best bet is to place yourself in Simpkins' capable hands. He finds out what you're in the mood for, and then creates a progressive experience where each cocktail builds upon the last. The arm garters, ice cubes designed for certain drinks and old-fashioned stemware only make the bar a more unique destination for cocktail enthusiasts craving a little something different. 45 Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd. (inside the W Atlanta downtown). 404-582-5800. www.whotels.com/Atlanta.