Marlow's Tavern 

PUBLIC HOUSE: Most taverns have that worn-in feel from years of drunken revelry, but Marlow's Tavern -- a chain with locations all over metro Atlanta -- aims for spruced-up décor with a laid-back vibe. Contemporary touches such as clusters of black-and-white photos in glossy black frames, modern light fixtures, and discretely placed plasma televisions create a posh feel.

LIBATIONS: Beers -- ubiquitous brands, regional microbrews and imports -- abound. Since it's a tavern, the wine selection is small. But the long list of signature and classic cocktails, including a Dirty Vodka Martini available in "filthy," is the thing to order here. Look for the seasonal hot drink menu (made with and without alcohol), with choices such as Marlow's Nip -- Caribou coffee spiked with brandy, Kahlua and chocolate liquor.

RAISING THE BAR: The menu holds many familiar pub grub dishes with a slightly upscale twist. Filling starters such as crunchy kettle chips topped with blue cheese, scallions, bacon and tomatoes are perfect for sharing with friends.

-- Jennifer Zyman

Marlow's Tavern, 950 W. Peachtree St., Suite 215, 404-815-0323; and other metro Atlanta locations. www.marlowstavern.com. Sun.-Wed., 11:30 a.m.-midnight; Thurs.-Sat., 11:30 a.m.-2 a.m.

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