Forgot to mention in my previous comment -- kudos to Eric for mentioning bars that he can walk to.
One thing that has always confused me is how many Atlantans (and I've lived here for all of my 40-something years) have shown little interest in bars they can walk to instead of drive to.
I honestly can't enjoy a cocktail experience if I know I have to get in a car after I'm done. Do people just accept drinking and driving as inevitable? Because it really isn't. Having a bar you can walk home from is a good thing. I think the whole concept of getting to and from bars on foot should be more a part of our culture in Atlanta than it has been in the past.
PS, I think it's a bit more than coincidence that there is a host of new restaurants opening/preparing to open while at the same time, the residences at Atlantic Station are filling in, condos are being leased/sold at a quicker clip in Midtown, and 2 new high-rise apartment complexes have broken ground...more people = more demand = more services to meet that demand = a city worth spending time in.
I am on the same train as filmstocker with the who can be eating out all the time - BUT if you are single and car-less, and maybe your employer covers your phone bill, it is definitely doable.
I am throwing my nomination in for The Highlander - when I moved here in '09 it was where my wife and I went the first night of unpacking the pod, and have been going ever since.
great bar food, waitresses know our names, and no one, I repeat no one, is an outcast or can feel out of place here - I have seen dirtbags and polo sweater wearing moms and dads at adjacent tables and no one blinks.
the mall thing is one drawback, but I love the 'Henge' aspect of the brick columns at Midtown plaza - and it houses Atlanta's best movie theater
Also as a Midtowner, I wish your Facebook post of this article wasn't "Why do all the restaurants in Midtown suck?" In order to sustain our restaurants (which has been a problem)...and help further development---we need people to give our restaurants a try..For most of the last 2 years here, I have gone out eat at least twice a week--and haven't had to drive anywhere...restaurants like Ecco, TopFlr, Empire State South deserve top billing. For a more bar- like atmosphere, Barrelhouse, Cypress, Marlows, the Highlander, and Vortex. Baraonda has good Italian, Einsteins has a great brunch and an extremely friendly wait-staff. Mu-Lan has a great lunch menu and half-price martinis. Tierra (even though it is closing) has top of the line latin fusion food. Steamhouse Lounge is a great place for crab legs and oysters...and when it is raining Park Tavern has $1 drafts ---and a great patio. Give Midtown some time and hopefully you will find that our "restaurants" don't suck...we just them to stay here.
I've lived here for 16 years, about as local as they get anymore. Great food and bev exists certainly in Atlanta. The state of Midtown reflects very accurately the state of mind for many people in the city, so for the 95% of you that fall in this category, deal with it!
When people want to be bourgeois but cheap, you can't have both, doesn't work that way. The attitude has never changed and that's why Atlanta has such a hard time measuring to the great food cities on a "consistent" basis. Atlanta has "moments", but not a vision that energizes the community 24/7. As long as people expect 5 star quality and service but don't want to pay more than 5 bucks, always an uphill battle. Groupon came along and REALLY dumbed things down...
One disadvantage that really hurts Midtown and other areas is its not walk friendly, too spread out. Density naturally creates a place for community. Too often great concepts are forced to be the lone anchor for an entire city block. Even with deep pockets its hard to make it alone, you need other businesses, working together to create that buzz and vibe people crave.
Kudos to the places that push to change that culture. There is a great core group already mentioned that strive to see top notch food and bev in Atlanta. I have to put in a shout to the Vortex, not Ecco or Escorpion but a consistent atmosphere, good food and a bar staff that will reciprocate good attitudes, try it (the good attitude part)!
I think you definitely missed out on Cypress Pint and Plate. It is the true epitome of a neighborhood bar. It is great for happy hour and late night- great service, cheap drinks, excellend appetizers, consistent wait staff, and excellent events. They cater to the community and most patrons there live and/or work in the neighborhood! Check it out...if you haven't already.
Publik is my place and I always just wait until the Fox shows begin before going there. Once the pre-show crowd clears out, everything is cool. Try the lamb burger -- very good.
Yeah, this central area of Midtown could use some more cool barstaurants (I like that word). Especially ones where the bars aren't filled with TV screens. Something like Holeman & Finch or Sound Table would do well here. But then maybe that's the kind of void both Lawrence and Spence will fill -- we'll see.
If you're ever downtown, I recommend the new Alma Cocina (Fifth Group place). It qualifies as a good barstaurant, I think. The pork cheek arepa is incredible and they have some impressive cocktails.
"the Independent is a pretty damn solid dive bar, but it's located in the back end of a huge grocery-store anchored strip center. Can't do it."
Wait, what? It sounds like you're looking for a "dive-themed" bar than a real dive bar.
This all just makes me very glad that I'm close to l5p and Decatur. The only thing good about midtown is that it's a little closer to Buford Highway.
STK is NOT a weekly/routine hangout type of spot. Have you been yet? It is more glitz than substance, with music that pretty much goes against what a hangout should have (jazz, soul, classic rock, funk, blues, etc.) And molecular gastronomy, while fun, does not make for repeated visits or an easy mid-week destination. Molecular gastronomy, with all of the necessary equipment, ingredients and time consuming preparations also tends to float a higher price tag (i.e. WD-50 in NYC). Not to mention, the fad is slowing a bit. Cocktail bar or wine bar would be nice.
Eric, after reading through your "review" I thought this guy has been really working hard to get in where he fits in here in his newly adopted home. The subtext ,the comparison's to Javier's et al, drove the point home for me: you are comparing-prehaps subconciously- Atlanta to your Dallas experience.
Based upon my experiences in both cities, you can't really compare the two because of the differing personalities. Uptown Dallas-Javiers( I consider Knox Henderson Uptown) is populated by the 30k millionaires and the occasional Park Cities thrill seeker. Midtown Atlanta is much more diverse and younger , in part, because of the growing student population.
Now the impending arrival of spots such as The Lawrence and the new bar/lounge at The Georgian Terrace Hotel may inject some of the uptown flavor you seem to crave subliminaly but for now Midtown is what it is.
@ nichojo - That list you provided is precisely why Midtown is such a stale place. They are all essentially the same concept. Beer list + Mediocre (at best) Pub Food + an obscene amount of TV's. It's formulaic and boring. STK is a great new addition, the Lawrence will be killer, The Spence and Lure are also welcome additions. Personally, I'd like to see a few places that are more creative and experimental. I'd say a molecular gastronomy place, but I think Atlanta is far from being able to support something like that. Perhaps a place that isn't even a restaurant, but some cool lounges/cocktail dens/wine bars. Key to getting that type of environment is having a real city, of course...
"I love when I tell folks I live in Midtown, and the cool kids all make that condescending "oh, that's interesting" face"
Wow. It sounds like you hang out with some real douchebags.
I personally wouldn't want to live in Atlanta without being able to walk to PIedmont Park, one of the features that makes in-town living feasible in the first place. Who can afford to eat and drink at a restaurant several times a week (ie as a "hangout") anyway?
Cyprus, Tap, The Nook, Marlows Sunday Brunch, Taco Mac's beer list.
I really do think Cypress Pint and Plate hits on all points for this. Sweetwater IPA for $3 at all times, always an interesting rotation of beers on tap outside of that, good music, comfortable to sit at the bar, good enough cocktails, the fire pit is great for when it is a bit chilly out and the good dishes there are very good. I always get the meatball sliders, they make a good burger, great fish and chips, and all are reasonably priced. The crowd is also a nice mix of the area.
What kind of a-hole looks up this place on CL after they have eaten there once and comments on a review from 2 years ago? Take that chit to Yelp!
This thread REALLY makes me want to venture down from suburbia (my apartment in East Cobb) for some Antico in the very, very near future. My daughter was there Saturday and had a blast. I just wish they would throttle the pizza delivery to match the table space. ie: don't bake the pie when there will be no hope of eating it. I realize that would be somewhat difficult since some are (regrettably) to go, some people are willing to stand just about anywhere, and some of us want to sit down and have a more relaxing experience.
Sounds like Keagan ventured down here from suburbia and expected a full service "buckhead" experience. I am guessing the other 100 people that were there enjoyed themselves as much as we all usually do. Horrible that you had to walk through "one of the many hoods in atlanta." Hope you are feeling nice and secure back in your McMansion in Johns creek.
The overall experience of this place was BAD. No plates. No "tables". No waiters. We got our pizza within 5minutes of ordering and I was astonished to find about 3 pounds of pepperoni, and an amount of cheese equivalent to a Kraft single. When we were seated, the lady sat us at a cart that would normally carry cleaning supplies. After navigating through the crowd of 100 people, we finally found a place to "sit". Best part of the whole experience was leaving. Except that to get to the car, it was a walk through one of the many hoods in downtown atlanta. I wish I had more hands to thumbs this restaurant down.
This was one of the best written reviews I've ever read. I didn't even know the place existed but I'll give it a whirl now. Well done.
Creative Loafing Atlanta
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