Fancy-pants bars not your thing? Try these 5 friendly winners


Not long ago, I decided to check out a Buckhead bar that’s the epitome of fashion. But, before I could get in, I had to email the joint for a secret code to let me in the door.

Not my thang. I’m much happier at my new neighborhood Kroger on Glenwood Avenue. It has a nifty wine and craft-beer bar with a relaxed mood and a three-drink maximum. (That’s right: Kroger doesn’t endorse drunk shopping.)

Luckily, Atlanta has a number of establishments with a friendly, laid-back vibe; good drinks; and dependable grub. Here are some faves:

Mac McGee. This authentic Irish pub on Decatur Square is one of the best spots in town for sipping whiskey. The bar offers rotating whiskey flights of three 1-ounce pours for $15, a great way to do a mix-and-match taste test of Scotch, bourbon and Irish whiskey. I’m crazy about the Sazeracs here, and, if you are feeling peckish, the house-smoked corn-beef hash, topped with a fried egg, is excellent.

111 Sycamore St., Decatur. 404-377-8055, macmcgees.com.

Ration & Dram. This Arizona Avenue spot has a terrific drink program. Wave of Mutilation, made with tequila, pineapple and lime, manages to taste both tropical and autumnal, thanks to a splash of spicy pimento dram. In Bed With Harvey combines pisco with aged Antiguan rum, Gran Classico bitters and lemon. On the classic side, the bar's Brian Stanger makes a kick-butt Sazerac.

130 Arizona Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 678-974-8380, rationanddram.com.

Mason Tavern. Check out this Decatur newbie for killer burgers and a promising list of craft cocktails. Its Always the Bubbly One (gin, St. Germaine, lime and simple) is a sprightly spin on the ginny T, while Su Tan Borracho is a double-whammy Texas margarita makeover of tequila and mezcal, sweetened with Grand Marnier and agave and perked up with cilantro and a sriracha-salt rim.

1371 Clairmont Road, Decatur. 404-963-2322, masontavernatl.com.

Porter Beer Bar. With its monster beer list (more than 800), solid cocktails and better-than-average pub grub, this pioneering Little Five Points gastropub remains a perennial fave. Wash down those bacon hush puppies and pull-apart pretzels with a Prohibition cocktail (essentially a super-potent Manhattan) or a Wild Heaven Wise Blood. If you’re overwhelmed by the multi-page beer menu, keep in mind the clipboard flips from light to dark.

1156 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-223-0393, theporterbeerbar.com.

Manuel’s Tavern. For many Atlantans, this 60-year-old Poncey-Highland spot is as familiar as their own living room. After an extensive seven-month renovation, Manuel’s is back, with 41 brews on tap (vs. the 26 of yon). While there are plenty of craft options, a $2.50 pint of draft PBR and a bowl of Brunswick stew make for an honest, dependable and democratic pairing.

602 N. Highland Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-525-3447, manuelstavern.com.

MORE:

The faces defining Atlanta's dining scene

The places defining Atlanta's dining scene

The dishes defining Atlanta's dining scene

The drinks defining Atlanta's restaurant scene


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Living

The night John McCain killed the GOP's health care fight
The night John McCain killed the GOP's health care fight

WASHINGTON — It was the most dramatic night in the United States Senate in recent history. Just ask the senators who witnessed it.  A seven-year quest to undo the Affordable Care Act collapsed — at least for now — as Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., kept his colleagues and the press corps in suspense over a little more...
“Detroit” is a horror movie. Racism is the monster.

It’s safe and easy to hate the lunatic cop who drives much of the action (and the violence) in “Detroit,” which opens in wide release Aug. 4 but is now playing in advance in Atlanta, exclusively at Regal Atlantic Station. With his eyebrows fixed at a sinister arch and every word out of his mouth a rabid bark, the character...
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau makes cover of Rolling Stone
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau makes cover of Rolling Stone

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau graced the cover of Rolling Stone this week, and the pop culture magazine put forth a provocative question in its headline: “Why Can’t He Be Our President?” >> Read more trending news Trudeau is pictured with his sleeves rolled up and his jacket slung over his shoulder.  The prime...
Disney legend, visionary Marty Sklar dies at 83
Disney legend, visionary Marty Sklar dies at 83

Disney Imagineer Martin A. “Marty” Sklar, who helped craft the vision that produced Walt Disney World and Epcot, died Thursday, the Walt Disney Company announced in a blog post. He was 83. >> Read more trending news Sklar worked at Disney for 54 years and "was instrumental” in helping Walt Disney create and expand his vision...
The Killers announce new album, tour dates including Duluth
The Killers announce new album, tour dates including Duluth

The Killers are back! Photo: Anton Corbijn BY MELISSA RUGGIERI/AJC Music Scene   Last fall, The Killers captivated with their headlining set at Music Midtown . Now, with a new album arriving Sept. 22, the guys are returning to the road and will perform at Infinite Energy Arena in Duluth ...
More Stories