Liquid Diet 

"Yield to temptation" is the slogan of the Abbot's Cup, the house bar of the Abbey Restaurant, a renovated church-cum-restaurant on the corner of Piedmont and Ponce. But perhaps it should be changed to "Yield to your curiosity." While the Abbey itself -- established in 1968 in another nearby location, then later moved in a land swap to provide for BellSouth and MARTA developments -- has an international reputation among the business convention and, well, prom business, the adjoining Abbot's Cup is one of Atlanta's little-known gems.

Like most precious jewels, however, the Abbot's Cup is not inexpensive. To get a taste of the secular with the sacred, drinks start at $6 each and only rise from there. You're paying for the ambiance more so than the drinks, and both are perfectly composed.

While most people are intimidated by the Abbey's reputation, the Abbot's Cup is pleased to welcome anyone to their business casual cigar-friendly environment. Originally the Methodist Episcopal Church's Sunday school room, the Abbot's Cup resembles a movie set, from the vaulted ceiling to the stained glass to the impressive bulk of the 1907 cash register behind the bar.

Cozy private nooks and public benches line the walls, while behind the scenes, the Abbey's staff bustle amid the 700 wines (including ports and sherries) listed in their thick, leather-bound list. You'll find wines from popular and reasonably priced French and Californians to something like the Screaming Eagle, a $2,500 bottle whose home is a single acre in the Napa Valley. Servers are given extensive training to help with your selection.

If you're not a wine drinker, the Abbot's Cup offers choices from mixed cocktails to virgin daiquiris and from Old-Fashioneds to the newest martini variations. If you're looking to impress and not just intoxicate a date, order one of the Abbey's heavenly desserts and one of the Abbot's Cup signatures, a blended snifter of Frangelica, Kahlua, heavy cream and shaved ice, or chocolate Godiva, cappuccino Godiva, heavy cream and shaved ice. If you play your cards right, your date will be impressed with not only the drink's taste but yours.

The Abbot's Cup, 163 Ponce de Leon Ave. Sun.-Thurs. 5:30-11 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 5:30 p.m.-midnight. 404-876-8532.

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