Best of Atlanta 2023: Drink

Ranger Station

Photograph by Wedig + Laxton

Bar within a Bar: Ranger Station

Hidden inside Ladybird lives a dark and moody cocktail bar with small bites and vinyl blasting from vintage speakers. Each handcrafted drink comes with a factoid about world geography. Did you know Old Faithful’s mists reach 200 feet high? Pay attention and you might learn something! Inman Park

Parisian Night Out: Pigalle by Paris on Ponce

A gilded theater and absinthe-focused speakeasy, Pigalle brings sexy bohemian vibes, cabarets, and burlesque shows to Underground Atlanta. The unique events, themed balls, and captivating performances take nights out to the next level. Downtown

Formula 1 Bar: Dryver Bar

The Yeppa founders are big F1 guys, and it shows—their adjacent and swanky Dryver Bar sports stiff drinks with thematic names (Grand Prix, Paddock Club), designed to kick off an adrenaline-filled evening. Buckhead

Dad’s

Photograph by Martha Williams

New Retro Bar: Dad’s

At this clever little joint located in the former Diesel Filling Station, both the cocktails and the bar food are classics with creative twists. The Manhattan features cherry-cola vermouth, and the “Uncrustaballer” is an almond butter and grape jelly empanada, drizzled with honey. The wood paneling, Christmas Story lamp, and low-slung plaid sofa will take you back to your dad’s—or granddad’s—rec room. Virginia-Highland

Social Scene: Carmel

Restaurateur Tal Baum makes attracting a crowd look easy with this buzzy, coastal-
inspired hot spot in Buckhead Village. Here, groups gather for easy-to-drink cocktails and shareable small plates, while dishing on the latest fashions as trendsetters meander past. Buckhead

Arak Service: Zakia

Lebanese restaurant Zakia, run by Ryan and Jonathan Akly, takes arak service to a luxurious level. The anise-flavored spirit is brought out tableside on a golden cart and mixed to order with ice and water. Enjoy the beverage with multiple courses of meze. Buckhead

Tiny Bar: Whoopsie’s

With only 40 seats and thrift store decor, this understated spot belies its serious credentials. Cocktails are by Tim Faulkner and the menu is by Hudson Rouse, who met while working at Octopus Bar. Opening at 5 p.m. for after-work respite, the spot stays open until midnight, offering classy cocktails, low-intervention wines, and a small number of uncommonly serious comfort dishes, like Rouse’s cafeteria-style snack tray (deviled eggs, pickles, chowchow, pimento cheese, various terrines). Reynoldstown

Housemade Bitters: Talat Market

There is a growing trend for bartenders to create syrups, shrubs, and bitters with flavors of local produce to whip up cocktails with character. Talat Market uses tropical fruits and spices inspired by Thai flavors, like allspice, pineapple, lemongrass, and toasted coconut, to make its house bitters. Adrian Fessenden-Kroll then concocts cocktails to complement the seasonal Thai menu. Summerhill

Modern Mexican Cocktails: Palo Santo

Sure, you can get a margarita nearly anywhere, but not like this. Santiago Gomez’s dark and swanky modern-Mexican restaurant ups the ante with a key lime and citrus cordial. More unique drinks include the popular Sunkissed, with tequila, aperol, watermelon, cilantro, and lime—it’s like a refreshing summer salad in a glass. On Wednesday through Sunday nights, head to the rooftop bar for skyline views and a DJ spinning tunes. Westside

Portuguese Wine Shop: Dom Beijos

Portuguese wines are unique for their bright acidity, savory notes, and ageability. Dom Beijos, run by Melissa Abreu, offers an extensive selection from the region, including Folias de Baco Uivo, Vieira de Sousa ports, and the stellar São João Poço do Lobo Arinto. Specialty olive oils and tinned fish are also available. Kirkwood

Speakeasy: The Forum Cocktail Co

Reserve a seat at this midcentury-modern speakeasy inside the Forum at the Works, where beverages are custom-designed to drinker preferences. Don’t know what you want? With experienced mixologists, you’re in good hands. Westside

The Waiting Room

Photograph by Martha Williams

‘70s Throwback: The Waiting Room

The Bon Ton team turned the former Top Flr space into a 1970s-style lounge with a retro look—think shag sofas and a disco ball—and groovy mood lighting. Expect live music, DJs, and the perfectly balanced drinks Eric Simpkins is known for. Midtown

New Ethically Sourced Tea: Herbs & Kettles

Married physicians with a knack for tea dove into their passion for a good cup of chai. Abe Thomas and Poorvi Chordia source their loose-leaf teas from regions in India including Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Darjeeling, and create flavors like rose cardamom, saffron, vanilla lavender, and caffeine-free butterfly pea flower. Underwood Hills

Wine Pop-Up: Long Snake

Joshua Fryer takes his expertise from 8Arm and applies it to lo-fi wines and a tight small-plate menu of “New Southern” cuisine, popping up at the former Georgia Beer Garden thrice weekly. Sweet Auburn

Bellwood Coffee

Photograph by Martha Williams

Trend: Coffee Culture

With new coffee shops opening all over the metro, getting a perfectly poured latte has never been easier. Roaster Portrait Coffee, founded by Black entrepreneurs, is roasting beans and hosting tastings in the West End. Off the BeltLine’s Southside Trail, Peoples Town Coffee Bar pours a full drink and breakfast menu. Decatur’s neon-dream Opo Coffee offers a place to chill and coffee classes. Dope Coffee brings hip-hop and fresh-roasted beans to Stonecrest. Bellwood Coffee reopened its Riverside flagship in an industrial-chic space, selling its beans and coffee cocktails. Charleston brunch favorite The Daily expanded to a second metro location in Inman Park’s old Proof Bakeshop. Alpharetta roaster Valor opened its pastel, second spot in Dunwoody. And Sessions Stand in Marietta morphed from a walk-up window to an art-filled brasserie and cocktail bar.

See all Best of Atlanta 2023 winners

This article appears in our December 2022 issue.

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