A Proper Cocktail Travel Guide to Atlanta

A Proper Cocktail Travel Guide to Atlanta

No matter where you land once touching down at the world’s busiest airport, Atlanta’s bar scene is filled with hot spots and places locals return to again and again. The standbys start at Hartsfield Jackson’s concourse E with One Flew South,  twice nominated for a James Beard Award and where cocktail historian Tiffanie “The Drinking Coach” Barriere cut her teeth.

Explore this list of standbys, some old, some new, but all serving up Southern hospitality in the form of cocktails.


Kimball House
What’s Good: Watch bartenders stir up classics as well as forward thinking seasonal sippers in a former train depot.
Worth Noting: One of the largest menus of oysters in the U.S., including bivalves from their own oyster farm called Shiny Dimes.
(303 E. Howard Ave., 404-378-3502)

After you check out Kimball House’s impeccable martini service, check out:

S.O.S. Tiki Bar
Neighborhood: Decatur
What’s Good: The subterranean tiki retreat feels like a holdover from the heyday of the era with all the vessels, flamboyant flames and punchbowls for a group.
Worth Noting: Take a couple of steps upstairs to a ping pong area. Winner buys a round.
(340 Church St., 404-377-9308)

The Deer and the Dove
What’s Good: Seasonal riffs on classics match the approach of the kitchen. The bar team is the kind who listens to your mood, favorite spirit and stirs up a new favorite.
Worth Noting: Best amaro selection in town, that is until they open upcoming Amaro bar Fawn.
(155 Sycamore St., 404-748-4617)

Brick Store Pub
What’s Good: Sure, it is one of the country’s best beer bars, but Brick Store is also solid for classic drinks. A legacy of Atlanta’s best bartenders and brewers earned their stripes behind the many taps.
Worth Noting: The Belgian Beer Bar (upstairs and to the left) has over 120 bottles of Belgian/Belgian style beers and it feels like you are inside a treehouse.
(125 E Court Square, 404-687-0990)

Tortuga y Chango
What’s Good: It’s tiny with no reservations, but like the tacos served here Tortuga y Chango is packed full of traditional Mexican flavor. Cocktails steer toward agave based spirits and barkeeps can school you on flavor profiles of various distillations.
Worth Noting: Best mezcal list in Atlanta. It’s large enough to try a handful of new ones on each visit.
(910 West College Ave., 404-257-6232)

Ticonderoga Club
Neighborhood: Inman Park / Old Fourth Ward
What’s Good: This juggernaut drinking den is probably among the first Atlantans think of when considering the city’s preeminent destinations. How do they manage superior hospitality with comfort like you are in your own home?
Worth Noting: Notable drinkers carry a membership card, with cocktail historian David Wondrich being card #1.
(99 Krog St. NE, 404-458-4534)

After sipping on the house Ticonderoga Cup (which inspired a candle scent from a local company), check out other nearby spots:

Bocca Lupo
Inman Park / Old Fourth Ward
What’s Good: It’s foremost a pasta centric restaurant, but there is synergy with the seasonal bar program. No doubt why the team accepted the 2023 Michelin Guide Exceptional Cocktail Award for drinks like gin-based “What Are You the Police?” made with clarified Greek yogurt.
Worth Noting: Emojis on the menu denote the bartender who created the cocktail.
(753 Edgewood Ave. NE, 404-577-2332)

Little Spirit
Neighborhood: Inman Park / Old Fourth Ward
What’s Good: A bijou of a bar to tuck into for reimagined classics.
Worth Noting: Vibe changes later at night when the music goes up and it’s standing room only.
(299 N. Highland Ave. NE, 404-600-6895)

Burle’s Bar
Neighborhood: Inman Park / Old Fourth Ward
What’s Good: It’s a greenhouse-like oasis with classic drinks that somehow taste better among the lush greenery.
Worth Noting: Located above a bustling plant shop, this is the place to meet fellow plant parents.
(505 N. Angier Ave.)

Ranger Station
Neighborhood: Old Fourth Ward
What’s Good: Think of this upstairs, wood paneled, cozy cabin of a bar as the park ranger’s station of refuge from the busy hikers and bikers along the Beltline.
Worth Noting: Highly conceptualized cocktails to match the small food program. Read the lengthy drink descriptions that read like fun points of interest in the form of liquid.
(684 John Wesley Dobbs Ave. NE, 470-788-8466)

What’s Good: Just serious enough to serve excellent cocktails and food, but also effortlessly simple with a cool vibe that compels you to be a regular.
Worth Noting: Get a Cafeteria tray of snack to go with Tim Faulkner’s classic cocktails.
(1 Moreland Ave. SE)

Check out nearby:

El Malo
What’s Good: In the shadowy and sexy environs, this is a place to see and be seen.
Worth Noting: An Instagrammer’s dream where the drinks are just as grand, especially the plush Serpent Room.
(777 Memorial Dr. SE, 404-941-7935)

Dead End Drinks
Neighborhood: Kirkwood
What’s Good: Andy Minchow is cocktail royalty who pays homage to the classics in this cozy spot worth taking the dead end turn.
Worth Noting: It may not be on the menu but the Chester Copperpot—yeah, that’s a Goonie’s reference—is a beloved drink of regulars.
(130 Arizona Ave., 678-974-8380)

El Tesoro
What’s Good: The vibe alone can take away your troubles. It’s a seemingly endless patio with tables full of expert tacos, margaritas and guac. The drink menu is an accompanying powerhouse of cervezas, aforementioned margaritas in all sorts of flavor styles as well as a formidable coffee program. The cocktail program crafted by veterans of the Atlanta bar scene is built upon classics but with genius layers of flavor they somehow can execute swiftly.
Worth Noting: Now serving in West End as well.
(1374 Arkwright Place, SE, 470-440-5502)

Tittle tattle on the street holds that Summerhill has a conspiracy themed bar called Redacted Basement Drink Parlour and we encourage you to try to find it. Meanwhile, check out nearby:

Little Bear
Neighborhood: Summerhill
What’s Good: To go along with a dealer’s choice style 4-course meal called “Just f*ck me up, fam,” the drinks here are as inspired by the seasons and creativity as the ever changing menu.
Worth Noting: Your drink may include “painstaking gathered honeysuckle” or a garnish of “pretentious flowers” and we love it!
(71 Georgia Ave. SE, 404-500-5396)

Talat Market
What’s Good: The drink menu at Talat Market is 100% on par with ever-changing traditional Thai menu driven by local produce. Thai techniques make their way into clever concoctions. Any juice in your drink was squeezed fresh, including coconut milk from a coconut press in the kitchen.
Worth Noting: Start an evening with a snack sized “mini-tini” with your preferred spirit.
(112 Ormond St., 404-257-6255)

The Blind Pig Parlour Bar
What’s Good: This evolving pop-up takes its cocktails and over the top theme seriously. Truly a magical escape whether during spooky season or summertime escape to Capri.
Worth Noting: Enter the speakeasy through the green door behind a Mexican restaurant.
(128 E. Andrews Dr. NW, 404-848-9100)

The Righteous Room
Neighborhood: Poncey-Highland
What’s Good: It’s a dive bar that serves an excellent veggie burger. To sum it up,  reliable for a good time, jukebox included.
Worth Noting: A High Life never tasted any better than here, but bartenders can also be trusted with a martini or margarita order.
(1051 Ponce De Leon Ave., NE, 404-874-0939)

Tiny Lou’s /Hotel Clermont
Neighborhood: Poncey-Highland
What’s Good: There’s a little something for everyone at Hotel Clermont—a dark and sexy lobby bar with attentive service from a skilled bartender, living room vibes as the lobby bar continues in a brighter space, a chic French scene for cocktails and nibbles at Tiny Lou’s downstairs, and a rooftop bar with 360 degree views of the city to pair with frozen cocktails.
Worth Noting: The Hotel’s basement is home to the Clermont Lounge, Atlanta’s oldest strip club and a right of passage for Atlantan night life. Their cocktails in plastic cups are as decent as the dancing ladies.
(789 Ponce De Leon Ave., 470-485-0485)

Highland Tap
Neighborhood: Virginia Highland
What’s Good: Perfect martinis, great cuts of beef and a great juke box make this underground hangout a flawless space to hideout.
Worth Noting: It’s been a drink den since 1989 and we wouldn’t change a thing.(1026 N. Highland Ave., NE, 404-875-3673)

Midcity Café
Neighborhood: Midtown
What’s Good: If you like watching your barkeep finesse a drink with precision and profession focus, this is the place to geek out. Sleek vibes and stunningly crafted cocktails.
Worth Noting: Often, the smooth and refreshing music matches your cocktail.
(850 W. Peachtree St. NW, @midcity.atl)

The Waiting Room
Neighborhood: Midtown
What’s Good: Sexy disco vibes and live music paired with cheeky takes on classic cocktails
Worth Noting: Large format cocktails for a group under the daze of a glittering disco ball.
(674 Myrtle St. NE, 404-996-6177)

Bar Margot
Neighborhood: Midtown
What’s Good: It may be in a hotel, but it’s not your average hotel bar. It’s posh, but comfy with expertly crafted cocktails.
Worth Noting: Gin Margot, an upscale gin and tonic is a great choice, but sipping Champagne feels fitting here too.
(75 14th St. NE, 404-881-5913)

Jo Jo’s Beloved
Neighborhood: Midtown
What’s Good: It’s got cathedral height ceilings, a vinyl soundtrack, red velvet walls, a pink marble bar and elevated cocktails to match the maximalism.
Worth Noting: It’s 70’s glam and a fun place to dress the part.
(1197 Peachtree St. NE, 404-230-9455)

Euclid Avenue Yacht Club
Neighborhood: Little Five Points
What’s Good: The dive bar you can always count on for a perfect pour, a sturdy drink and one of the best burgers in town.
Worth Noting: Its unfussy and absolutely essential on any list of food and drink in Atlanta, membership not required.
(1136 Euclid Ave., NE, 678-973-0427)

Wrecking Bar
Little Five Points
What’s Good: There’s cozy and then there is sidling up to a bar in an exposed stone cellar for well-made classics.
Worth Noting: Go for a flight to try a few of the many excellent craft beers.
(292 Moreland Ave., NE, 404-221-2600)

Neighborhood: East Atlanta
What’s Good: It’s easy to find the perfect niche to hang under the exposed beams, wooden walls and multiple levels of Argosy.
Worth Noting: Dozens of taps, clever cocktails and a tasty menu of wood fired dishes with plenty of snacks.
(470 Flat Shoals Ave., SE, 404-577-0407)

Octopus Bar
Neighborhood: East Atlanta
What’s Good: You will probably run into a favorite chef or bartender at this late night haunt.
Worth Noting: Inventive cocktails to pair with wee hours snacking.
(560 Gresham Ave., SE, 404-627-9911)

Besides a bustling art and antique scene, Chamblee has a distillery that is destination worthy.

Distillery of Modern Art
What’s Good: They take craft distilling seriously at DOMA and this extends to the bar program. The seasonally inspired menu of classics leaning drinks features only DOMA made spirits and that’s a plus. Bartenders know these well and how to pair herbs and juices to bring out the best.
Worth Noting: Tour the 15,000 square foot former warehouse featuring galleries of local modern art. The copper stills are worthy of being called “art” too.
(2197 Irvindale Way, 404-482-2663)

What’s Good: Drinks such as the French Dispatch mixing up Sazerac Rye, grapefruit juice, honey, lemon, Herbsaint and Peychaud’s bitters over a locally made King Cube will wow you.
Worth Noting: Sitting on the patio as the train rolls by tastes mighty fine with Southbound Manhattan in hand. Try to get their secret recipe for us, please.
(5394 peachtree Rd., 678-580-5579)

Sign Up For Some Good Libations

1 of 3