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The 10 Hottest New Bars in Atlanta

By Christopher Hassiotis
July 7, 2014

If you want a drink, you're in the right city. Whether you're looking for a quiet place to confer with knowledgeable mixologists about a still-under-the-radar Italian liqueur, a rowdy place to throw back some cold ones with friends or just a casual neighborhood joint where the cocktails are great, the drinking scene in Atlanta provides. Where are Atlantans drinking right now? What's hot and new? Read on to find out. 

  • Argosy

    Why It's Hot: Despite its massive interior, this East Atlanta relative newcomer remains packed and bustling on weekends. From the team behind Bookhouse Pub, Argosy makes sure beer and cocktail drinkers alike have plenty of options and also boasts a solid food menu.

    Must-Drink: Argosy regularly rotates its beer taps, but right now Theophan the Recluse Russian Imperial Stout ($6) from local Three Taverns brewery is a great way to bid adieu to the winter.

    Insider Tip: For every two draft beers at Argosy you order Monday through Thursday nights, the kitchen will send out a free personal pizza from the wood-fired oven. (It's not the highest quality, and your servers are likely to seem bothered by your request, but hey…it's hot and filling.)

    470 Flat Shoals Ave.; 404-577-0407

  • Photo by: Alexa Lampasona

    Bar Amalfi

    Why It's Hot: Bright, Italian quaffs like housemade limoncello and Venetian-style bellini, paired with light, beachy bar bites, are the specialties at the sister establishment to Antico Pizza Napoletana and Gio’s Chicken Amalfitano. This breezy Home Park bar in the Piazza San Gennaro mini-complex conjures sunny thoughts of coastal Italy, with striped blue-and-white umbrellas and open-air cabanas draped in flowing linens.

    Must-Drink: It's hot out right now. The limoncello's refreshing, sweet and kinda perfect.

    Insider Tip: Soccer on TV? Italian soccer on TV? This is a great spot to watch the game with an enthusiastic crowd.

    1077 Hemphill Ave. NW; 404-347-3874

  • Elmyriachi

    Why It's Hot: Kirkwood has been begging for a good drinking patio, and they've got it. Enjoy an expanded food menu at this Mexican sister to the Little Five Points burrito dive Elmyr. The tequila drinks are potent, while beyond the burrito you'll find nachos, enchiladas and festive flavors both traditional and border-crossing.

    Must-Drink: Get yourself a margarita. Make that a pitcher of margaritas.

    Insider Tip: The restaurant's still new, figuring out supply amounts balancing the needs of its drinking-smoking clientele and families in the neighborhood looking for stroller spots. Show up early to avoid hassle.

    1950 Hosea L. Williams Dr. NE; 678-705-9902

  • Photo by: Flickr / T. Tseng

    Holeman & Finch

    Why It's Hot: A stalwart of Atlanta drinking, H&F isn't new, but some of what it's doing right now is. That's thanks to new bar lead Sara Justice, whose creative drinks are bringing people back into the spot that sparked the contemporary ATL cocktail scene.

    Must-Drink: Justice's drinks often look to the kitchen for inspiration, and have even featured spirits infused with pancetta and other salty, savory items. Give the menu a search for those (or just ask a barkeep).

    Insider Tip: Nope, no reservations, and tight quarters. Show up with patience and a good attitude — grumpiness gets you nowhere.

    2277 Peachtree Rd. NW; 404-948-1175

  • Photo by: Andrew Thomas Lee

    Kimball House

    Why It's Hot: The oyster happy hour at this Decatur spot has people coming in early and in droves, but the expertly combined cocktails and full classic absinthe service set Kimball House a step above its competitors.

    Must-Drink: The White Lion ($11) combines Kübler absinthe, cherry brandy, Hayman’s Royal Dock gin, Luxardo maraschino liqueur, lemon, vanilla and honey.

    Insider Tip: Kimball House takes no reservations for its bar or its main dining room, so show up with fingers crossed.

    303 E. Howard Ave., Decatur; 404-378-3502

  • Photo by: Sarah Dodge

    The Painted Pin

    Why It's Hot: Aiming for a posh-prep-school-meets-high-end-brewpub vibe, this upscale Buckhead bowling alley and entertainment complex finishes more than just its 20 lanes in shiny wood and clean lines. Beer taps are mere feet away from the balls, while pastimes like bocce, Ping-Pong and Skeeball keep competitors occupied while waiting on fancified versions of snacks and bar food coming out of the full kitchen.

    Must-Drink: The Painted Pin nods toward classic bowling-centric flick The Big Lebowski with a number of variations on the White Russian.

    Insider Tip: This isn't a bowling alley with a bar, it's a bar with bowling lanes — the Painted Pin doesn't offer league play, and it's 21+ after 7:30 PM.

    737 Miami Circle NE; 404-814-8736

  • Paper Plane

    Why It's Hot: The air of exclusivity at Paper Plane is just a façade. Sure, there's a speakeasy-meets-midcentury vibe going on, but the secret to great cocktails is no secret here: perfectly portioned ingredients, balanced flavors and a cozy atmosphere. 

    Must-Drink: The Decatur spot just revamped its drink menu with a number of cocktails all named after ATL neighborhoods (though no Decatur). The playful Buford Highway ($10) mixes Mexican, Japanese and Italian flavors.

    Insider Tip: Weekends see a busy Paper Plane, but come by on a Tuesday or a Wednesday earlier in the day and a seat at the relatively small bar isn't too tough to find.

    340 Church St., Decatur; 404-377-9308

  • Photo by: Ben Rose

    Polaris

    Why It's Hot: Upon opening in 1967, this rotating blue-domed Downtown icon was among the city's tallest structures. The relaunched space-age spot atop the Hyatt Regency offers the opportunity to snag a seat at sleek tables or lounge on a midcentury couch as the skyline glides by (a full rotation's made every 45 minutes).

    Must-Drink: The frozen peach daiquiri ($9) is a throwback to the Polaris' classic menu, as well as being delicious and refreshing.

    Insider Tip: You can valet at the Regency for convenience, but you'll end up paying upwards of $10 or $15. Better (but tougher) to find street parking so you can order another drink. Best to just take MARTA.

    265 Peachtree St. NE; 404-577-1234

  • Photo by: Ration & Dram

    Ration & Dram

    Why It's Hot: In Kirkwood's once-industrial northern rim, this bi-level neighborhood spot's concrete-and-metal design nods to its trainyard past, but two airy patios with two separate and full bars lighten the industrial landscape. The pub cuisine is mainly modern American, but Asian, Caribbean and South American notes make playful appearances (including at the weekend brunch), while the cocktail menu — owner Andy Minchow is an ATL bar vet — supplies thoughtful and creative sipping.

    Must-Drink: Let your server or bartender know what you like; they're pros at palate pleasing. A number of the best cocktails are versions of classic drinks.

    Insider Tip: Come in for brunch! Daytime drinking at Ration & Dram's a delight.

    30 Arizona Ave.; 678-974-8380

  • Photo by: Andrew Thomas Lee

    St. Cecilia

    Why It's Hot: Sure, the Ford Fry-owned restaurant currently tops best-of lists and is ATL's hottest newcomer. But its luxe bar offers its own scene, a vibrant mix of trendy foodies and Buckhead glitterati looking to be seen.

    Must-Drink: The Gallows Pole ($10) elaborates on the Argentinean Fernet-and-Coke favorite, adding Amaro Braulio, lemon and mint for a bracing yet refreshing drink.

    Insider Tip: Even if you're just there to drink, don't pass up a few options from St. Cecilia's raw bar — an oyster or three go nicely with just about anything you'd drink.

    3455 Peachtree Rd.; 404-554-9995

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Places Mentioned

Kimball House

New American • Decatur

Food25 Decor26 Service23 Cost$44
 
 
 
St. Cecilia

NoneLenox

Food25 Decor26 Service24 Cost$56
 
 
 
Argosy

American • East Atlanta

Food25 Decor26 Service22 Cost$29
 
 
 
Elmyriachi

Mexican • Kirkwood

Food- Decor- Service- CostI
 
 
 
Bar Amalfi

Bar • Home Park

Atmo.- Decor- Service- CostI
 
 
 
The Painted Pin

NoneBuckhead

Atmo.- Decor- Service- CostE
 
 
 
 
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