Atlanta is a thriving city in the South that is well-known for its varied culture, lengthy history, and vibrant nightlife. In this piece, we extend an invitation for you to discover some of the best drinking holes this famous city has to offer and become fully immersed in its thriving social scene. Atlanta’s cocktail scene offers something for every taste and preference, from sophisticated rooftop lounges with views of the city skyline to classic pubs with a Southern charm. Our guide will take you through the city’s best-kept secrets and well-known gems, whether you’re looking for craft cocktails, live music, or a laid-back vibe.
Leon’s Full Service
Just as the name implies, Leon’s Full Service bar provides you with any drink you desire, whether a simple vodka water lime or a classic old-fashioned. The bar, located in Decatur, resembles a pit stop diner restaurant on the inside with red vinyl booths and wooden tables. You can also grab a seat outside when the weather’s nice for some fresh air after stopping at the bar for a drink. Leon’s Full Service offers a relaxed environment with friendly customer service as you would expect in the southern state. As far as food goes, Leon’s offers modern takes on American cuisines, like hand-cut fries with eight sauce options and scallops bathing in a Calabrian chili-heirloom tomato broth.
Manuel’s Tavern is a neighborhood staple in the Atlanta community. Here, you can find people from all backgrounds getting together over a round or two at the bar. It’s a place that cultivates community as opposed to promoting sales. But, when it comes to sales, Manuel’s Tavern has a lot of drink options to choose from. It is most notable for its craft beers and sandwiches. Writers, blue-collar workers, and even political figures have gathered at Leon’s for a drink and bite to eat over the years and continue to do so.
Living in a historic railway depot in Decatur, the Kimball House clings to that landmark charm with its elegant interior embellishments, including gold accents, marble countertops, globe light fixtures, and original hardwood floors. Matching its historic charm, the Kimball House offers modern takes on classic cocktails, such as the French 75, sazerac, and bottled old-fashioned. You can compliment your cocktail with some caviar, a shrimp cocktail hors d’oeuvres, steak dinner, or one of the many raw bar entree options.
Sister Louisa’s Church of the Living Room and Ping Pong Emporium
Is Sister Louisa’s Church of the Living Room and Ping Pong Emporium a church or a bar? Well, it’s more like a community. The bar is ironically called the church because of its history, although you may still find some religious paraphernalia and Sunday church services there. However, unlike a church, you can expect various wild events at Sister Louisa’s, such as karaoke, ping pong tournaments, drag comedy, and tarot card readings. With so many entertainment options, it’s no surprise Sister Louisa’s is one of the most popular fun bars in Atlanta.
The Ticonderoga Club looks like some kind of old-fashioned haunted bar with mix-matched decor, wood paneling from floor to ceiling, and dim lighting. However, its interior design only adds to its warm, community-cultivating atmosphere. The Ticonderoga Club is a spot you can go to meet up with friends for good food and better drinks or an intimate date between two. The bar here is full service and offers specialty cocktails, like the signature Ticonderoga Cup. However, keep in mind that the Ticonderoga Club requires reservations in advance. So if you want to visit spontaneously, you will need to call to see if they have any last-minute availability.
The Northside Tavern is a dive bar true and through. And, like most dive bars, it offers some of the best drinks and atmosphere compared to upscale dining establishments. On the outside, you’ll notice the community positive murals painted over the decrepit structure. Inside, you’ll find quirky decors, tons of bottles, and a stage where live musicians perform nightly. When it comes time to order, a friendly bartender will greet you and treat you like a part of the beloved community. And, as a full-service bar, you can order any drink you want. If you’re not convinced, Northside Tavern has also been featured in many films, from Anchorman 2 to Stomp the Yard.
Video games and booze; what more could you want from a bar? The Joystick Gamebar offers a full-service bar with handcrafted cocktails and delicious boozy slushies of your choosing. You can enjoy your drink and play a few rounds of games from the bar’s expansive vintage and retro video game collection. The Joystick Gamebar takes on a slightly nerdy, retro vibe and mixes it with a simple, modern design. The interior features splashes of ultraviolet light, artistic murals, bar seating, and lounging areas for tabletop gameplay. It’s a great place to get a drink in Atlanta with friends and have a little friendly competition at the same time.
Hotel Clermont Atlanta, An Original by Oliver Hotels
Mixing modern charm with vintage aesthetics, the Hotel Clermont Atlanta offers two bars in one location. The first is their rooftop bar and lounge, where you can get picturesque views of the Atlanta skyline and neighborhoods surrounding the Poncey-Highland area. In the fall, you can expect Hot Toddies to accompany you on the roof’s astroturf, while, in the summer, you can sip on Frosé. Either way, you can always get a bite to eat up there from the hotel’s main restaurant, Tiny Lou’s. The bar takes on a dark literature aesthetic in the lobby with velvet bar chairs, dim lighting, deep paint colors, and gold accents. You can curl up in the corner with a drink from the full-service bar and work on your latest novel because that’s the kind of atmosphere the lobby bar gives off.
S.O.S. Tiki Bar
Finding an authentic tiki bar, complete with the classic tiki-shaped glasses, palm frond-decorated interior, isn’t as common as it appears in movies and T.V., but the S.O.S. Tiki Bar encapsulates all of that and more. The bar, located just outside of Atlanta in Decatur, is renowned for its signature rum cocktails and decorative drink presentations. You can even purchase one of their tiki glasses. Stepping into S.O.S. Tiki Bar is like transporting yourself to a tropical getaway, complete with island-esque decorations and bright colored lights lining the bar area. Plush banquette seating and bar stools welcome you to sit and stay for a while in one of the most fun bars in Atlanta.
Bar Margot, located in Atlanta’s Midtown neighborhood, looks like a scene out of a Wes Anderson film with its pale hues, rounded booths, and character-rich interior finishes. Its round features facilitate conversation, making it an ideal location to gather with friends for a few drinks. As for drinks, the bar offers wine, beer, champagne, and cocktails alongside its other complete service offerings. If you don’t want the night to end up like any other night out at the bar, you can swing by Bar Margot for their Missing Digit Mixology Classes. Each month, the bar brings in a master mixologist to teach people like you how to craft the perfect cocktail.
Wrecking Bar Brewpub
What was once a Victorian home, church, and dance studio is now the Wrecking Ball Brewpub, a staple in the community and a great place to grab a beer. The Wrecking Ball Brewpub, unlike the name suggests, maintains its Victorian-style decor inside and out, with towering white columns welcoming guests inside. Guests can also sit outside at the large patio area for fresh air while drinking one of the many beer or whiskey options from the long beverage menu. Their beer list includes classic I.P.A.s and Pilsners but contains some experimental options for the beer enthusiast too.
Stumble into Blind Willie’s for live music every Wednesday through Sunday. Blind Willie’s doesn’t put on any old music, no. Instead, Blind Willie’s is known for its signature blues music and accompanying soul food cuisine, including gumbo, cajun wings, and jambalaya. If you’re looking for an upscale, handcrafted cocktail from a renowned mixologist, Blind Willie’s probably isn’t the place for you. Rather, Blind Willie’s offers beer, hard cider, wine, and non-alcoholic drinks. However, you shouldn’t pass it over because it doesn’t provide fancy beverages. Instead, it would be best if you went for the community feel, good vibes, and better music.
Euclid Avenue Yacht Club
Despite the name, the Euclid Avenue Yacht Club is not a fancy, posh club on the water with a khakis and polo dress code. Instead, it’s a homey dive bar decked out in nautical decor and wood accents. It’s long since earned a reputation as an iconic spot in Little Five Points after 33-years of operation. The bar most recently changed ownership but still serves up its signature rotating slushie cocktails and has its same quirky decor that guests love. Plus, there’s no membership for this yacht club.
The Bookhouse Pub
736 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30306
The Bookhouse Pub is a fan favorite for locals and tourists alike for its innovative takes on classic American fare and cocktails alongside its whimsical decor. You’ll find the walls lined with creative artistry and abstract, Picasso-esque stained glass windows. The space is relaxing and loose for you to enjoy your time without feeling underdressed, rushed, or judged as you might in some high-end Atlanta bars.
How often do you get the chance to explore South African cuisine? Probably not too often. Well, the Biltong Bar offers South African food and booze, making this bar unique and popular in Atlanta. For food, Biltong Bar offers entire plates, small appetizers, pizza, sides, dessert, and the traditional South African beef jerky (Biltong). If you’re going to visit Biltong Bar, you cannot leave without sampling one of their three Biltong options. Then, compliment the jerky with a South African wine or one of the many handcrafted cocktails, like the Dreamsicle Fizz or See You Space Cowboy.
Muss and Turner’s offer excellent lunch and dinner fare, but for guests looking for a little bit more, say, a cocktail or two after hours, guests should turn to Eleanor’s. What is Eleanor’s? It’s a hidden speakeasy within Muss and Turner’s, offering guests a secret bar getaway. Here, guests can sip on signature cocktails at the cozy bar or cushioned booths. And, despite its secrecy, Eleanor’s is an inviting space for friends to gather. It features a full-service bar, warm lighting, and wood accents to cultivate that welcoming atmosphere.
The Chastain – New American Bistro
In the morning, the Chastain features freshly baked pastries from Executive Pastry Chef Christian Castillo and a spot of coffee for those on their way to work. In addition, it offers innovative American fare by night, such as the crown roasted chicken breast entree and tempura okra vegetable side. Of course, The Chastain also offers an extensive wine and beer list alongside cocktails with a southern twist. If you stop in, you might want to try their Nancy’s Creek cocktail, which consists of mint blackberry liqueur, Matusalem rum, lemon, and blueberry.
There’s something about bar’s with rooftop, panoramic views that set them above the rest. The SkyLounge is a prime example. From this rooftop bar, you can see as far as the eye can see, including the entire Atlanta cityscape. When starting out at the view tires you, you can relax in one of the many comfortable seating areas provided at SkyLounge, including comfy couches, high-top seats around tables, and plush armchairs. Why not relax with a drink in hand? The SkyLounge offers various house cocktails, such as the Lavender Collins or SkyLounge Sour. You can also pair your drinks with a selection of small plates, from mixed nuts to chorizo flatbread. Check out other rooftop bars in Atlanta here!
Red Phone Booth
Take a trip back to the 1920s prohibition era at this vintage speakeasy-style bar. The venue is decked out in traditional 1920s decor and has the original hardwood flooring that’s over 100 years old. To heighten the experience, guests must enter the bar through an old-school London phone booth. From there, the Red Phone Booth bar welcomes guests into its dimly lit dining area, bar, and cigar lounge to enjoy creative cocktails and Neapolitan pizzas. However, memberships are required for frequent entry, and the bar has a dress code to follow. That said, the general public can still stop in for a drink or two; they just need to secure the secret phone number from a member for entry.
Why Trust Us?
When it comes to local restaurant recommendations, we pride ourselves on being a reliable and trustworthy resource. Our suggestions are not just based on our personal experiences, ensuring a more authentic and well-rounded perspective, but also on extensive online research. We diligently searched the internet and reviewed 6 credible sites and blogs, including Thrillist.com and Timeout.com.
We compiled all the findings in one location and sorted them by the frequency of mentions to ensure you receive top-notch recommendations. We strive to present you with a curated list of establishments that truly stand out, allowing you to enjoy the best dining experiences possible.
Interested in the sources we consulted? Check out the list of all 6 sites we referenced below this paragraph, offering transparency and an opportunity for our readers to explore further. Our commitment is to deliver trustworthy and unparalleled recommendations, helping you make informed decisions on your culinary journeys.