Bi-Polar Vortex: Sure Bets for Dining in ATL Weather

By Christopher Hassiotis  |  February 10, 2014

You know the drill, Atlanta - the city's crippled by two inches of snow on a Wednesday, and on a Saturday we have record highs in the 70s. There's a reason so many people tell newcomers "Welcome to Georgia! If you don't like the weather… wait five minutes." So what's a local diner to do with this unpredictable clime? Some places in town have you covered, providing just what you need no matter the weather.

  • Credit: Flickr / sunshineandbeyond

    A Warm Cocktail, A Cold Cocktail?

    If you're going to brave the temps, be they high or low, you're going to need a reliable place with amply stocked shelves and bartenders adept at many a mix. There's no place more suited to the task than Leon's Full Service in Decatur. A hot toddy or hot buttered rum can be had from the varied whiskeys and rums - ask your bartender for advice - or if it's warm(ish) out, any highball drink with something lighter will do nicely.

    131 E. Ponce de Leon Ave., Decatur; 404-687-0500

  • Credit: Barcelona Wine Bar

    A Fireplace, A Patio?

    It's tough to predict the temperature, and even your smartphone doesn't always know best. Should you choose somewhere with an airy outdoor patio? Or should you go for somewhere with a cozy, comforting fireplace? This need not be an either/or scenario - just go to Barcelona Wine Bar in Inman Park, where the fireplace is what gives the patio its charm. (Well, that, and the extensive selection of wine and tapas.)

    240 N. Highland Ave.; 404-589-1010

  • Credit: Taka

    Hearty Comfort Food, Healthy Fresh Fare?

    It's all about balance, whether you're looking for the culinary version of a down jacket or a sundress. Taka has you covered (or uncovered, to extend that shaky metaphor). The cozy Buckhead Japanese eatery serves beautiful, bounteous and eminently slurpable bowls of ramen and plates of yakisoba and slow-cooked short ribs. But if you're looking for something lighter, the sashimi salads on the appetizer menu or the deliberately prepared sushi choices are a sure pick.

    375 Pharr Rd.; 404-869-2802

  • Credit: Octane Coffee

    A Hot Coffee, A Cold Brew?

    Octane Coffee in Grant Park is our top choice for where to go if you need a warm pick-me-up or a frosty pick-me-…down? Whatever. Its daily changing, brewed-to-order, single-origin beans display the breadth of flavors available with coffee, while the seasonal cocktails and impressive draft beers provide the neighborhood with much-needed selection. And that the coffeeshop shares a space with the Little Tart Bakeshop? That's just icing.

    437 Memorial Dr.; 404-815-9886

  • A Hot Spice, A Cold Spice?

    Maybe you're in the mood for some Chinese food, but the weather's up and down. (No maybe about that last part.) Head on over to Gu's Bistro just OTP on Buford Highway. The kitchen serves up some of ATL's best Sichuan food. If it's cold out, order a platter of the Chongqing spicy chicken, a frenzied mix of fried chicken, chili peppers and scallions. Hot out? Opt for the Husband & Wife, a traditional Sichuan dish that's a mix of chilled beef and tripe.

    5750 Buford Hwy NE, Doraville; 770-451-8118

  • Ice Cream When It's Hot, Ice Cream When It's Cold?

    Let's be frank - it's never not ice cream time, no matter the weather. So hit up the Old Fourth Ward standby Jake's Ice Cream and you'll find something appropriate. Wearing that parka? Heat up your insides with a scoop or two of the Hot Sexy Mexican, Jake's signature chocolate ice cream with an extra cayenne kick, or one of Jake's signature Cinnamon Apple Piescreams. In shorts and flip flops? (Yeah, it happens in February in Atlanta.) Opt for something brisk and refreshing like the Honey & Vanilla, or a lime sorbet.

    660 Irwin St. NE; 678-705-7945

  • Beer for the Heat, Beer for the Cold?

    So you're heading to Westside's 5 Seasons Brewing Company for its daily changing beer selection, and no matter the weather, you'll be okay. If it's a bit brisk out (or rainy, or sleety, or snowy) head inside, muscle up to the bar and order a bowl of chef David Larkworthy's beer-cheese soup, a porter or a stout and the "Ploughman's," a hearty platter of house-made bratwurst, three salads, some pungent blue cheese and a sizeable piece of French bread. If it's a warmer day head up to the rooftop patio for a great view of the city, get a lighter wheat beer or pilsner and nibble on some steamed edamame sprinkled with smoked sea salt, or a plate of hand-cut sweet potato fries dusted with a cocoa chili.

    1000 Marietta St. NW; 404-875-3232