Mad for Manhattans 

My very first Manhattan was ordered on a lark. Someone had it listed on a collection of cocktails at a local club. All I knew about the drink was that it was my grandfather's libation of choice when dining at his country club.

While my first sip sent a bourbon-laden shudder through my body, the ensuing taste of sweet vermouth and the hint of bitters smoothed out the flavors.

Now, just ordering the drink transports me to an idealized 1940s in which classiness reigns and sophistication is de rigueur. Just one reason why, on my recent visit to scope out the bar stylings of Buckhead's venerable Bone's, my mind instantly wandered to the bracing beverage.

Perhaps it was the masculinity of the bar. Laden with dark wood and burgundy leather seating, the environment was all wrong for the standard-issue Cosmopolitans and sour apple faux-tinis that our bartender suggested. Served in a martini glass (though you can, like my grandfather, get it on the rocks, which cools and further mellows the bourbon's intensity), the Manhattan glistened in tones of deep amber that matched the color of the tables and bar.

Or perhaps it was the vintage feel of the place that made me choose such a cocktail. Like a Manhattan, the over-25-year-old Bone's transports visitors with its vaguely yellowing caricatures of baseball players and other notable figures, and the thick draperies like those your grandma couldn't have been without. The scene could be straight out of L.A. Confidential.


Bone's, 3130 Piedmont Road. 404-237-2663.

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