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

Nancy Pelosi will be guest judge on ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars’
Nancy Pelosi will be guest judge on ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars’

She might be more familiar with democracy, but top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi is soon going to show her expertise on a certain kind of monarchy: The California congresswoman is slated to appear as a guest judge on RuPaul’s drag-queen competition show “Drag Race All Stars.” Yep, the former House speaker will be sizing up the runway...
The Goldfish Principle — the power of boundless faith
The Goldfish Principle — the power of boundless faith

My first personal experience with a goldfish took place when our oldest daughter was 4 years old. After months of pleading for a pet, my husband and I finally decided to compromise. A dog was out of the question. Between the demands of career and family, I knew a puppy would not have the quality of life that it deserved in our house. A goldfish would...
5 questions every woman in her 40s should ask her doctor
5 questions every woman in her 40s should ask her doctor

Women who are in their 40s are in many cases reaching a new stage in their lives. Your children may be more independent, and you might have a well-established career. It can also be a time of change, when it's easier to gain weight, and you may start to see the first signs of menopause. Being informed about the changes you may face during your 40s...
Faith calendar

Evening entertainment: Organist David Brensinger will be joined by classical guitarist John Huston; percussionist John Lawless; and Atlanta Symphony musician Ted Gurch, alto saxophone, in an hour-long performance. Free and open to all. 7:30 p.m. Jan. 21. Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church, 805 Mount Vernon Highway, Atlanta. 404-255-4023, holyinnocents...
Chris Pratt loved and nuzzled his sheep. Then he ate him.

The sheep on actor Chris Pratt’s farm had a glorious life on his way to the menu. “He was groomed and shorn, his hooves medicated, de-wormed, no antibiotics necessary,” Pratt, who has filmed movies including “Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2” and “Passengers” in Atlanta, said in a lengthy...
More Stories