From champagne cocktails on a revolving 72nd floor to organ karaoke, Atlanta’s bars offer just about everything. Whether you’re craving a hoppy brew or an inventive cocktail, Atlanta delivers. Find our list of the 10 best bars in Atlanta here.
Located on the 73rd floor of the Westin building in downtown Atlanta is the The Sun Dial Bar, a unique place that provides its customers with 360 views alongside Southern hospitality. The bar makes a full rotation every 35 minutes and provides a stunning panorama. Visitors can enjoy the sunset with a Moonshine tea (made from moonshine, sweetened iced tea, peach schnapps, and fresh lemon juice) or a Southern Education (southern corn whiskey, apple pucker, and apple juice) while admiring the Olympic fountains many floors below. To add a bit of glamour, the bar released a champagne cocktail menu with drinks named after historic Atlanta women.
Tucked away behind Muss & Turner’s is Eleanor’s, a speakeasy bursting with wrought iron and fine wines. Technically located just outside of Atlanta, the destination is worth the extra effort. The dark wood décor gives the space a timeless quality that is only heightened by its black walls and atmospheric candlelight. The bar is not visible from the street and as you enter by way of a freezer door, it is hard not to adopt the enigmatic air of a flapper or gangster. The pork skins with jalapeno-infused vinegar are a favourite and are best followed by a Rambeau Flip (made from Drambuie, Rye Whiskey, Caraway Seeds, and raw egg). If you are not a cocktail fan, Eleanor’s has a vast and varied selection of wine.
Located in the basement of the historic Georgian Terrace Hotel is the graceful and cozy Proof and Provision bar. With an ‘emphasis on barrel-aged cocktails, not speakeasy shtick’, Proof and Provision is the bar to visit when you have an occasion to toast. The snack menu is full of classics like hot pretzels and grilled cheese, but don’t be fooled by the simplicity. Each item is crafted with local and carefully chosen ingredients.
If you’re looking for somewhere to relax with some dirty blues, green fried tomatoes, and a clientele who look and act as though they are part of the furniture, Old Vinings Attic Bar hits the spot. The Old Vinings Inn was built in the 1880s as a post office and general store and the feeling of village simplicity lingers to this day. A self professed ‘local’s bar’, the designation ‘local’ seems to apply to anyone who happens to set foot inside. Nowhere else can so quickly feel at home. Sip on a Chattahoochee (made from Jim Beam, St. Germaine, Cock & Bull ginger beer, lemon juice, and bitters) on the patio and be transported to ‘a summer day tubin’ on the hooch.’
Located inside what was once the Decatur railway station, built in 1891, Kimball House is a bar at once timeless and modern. The name is a reference to an ornate hotel built in 1870 that occupied downtown Atlanta until it burned down. The bar features an extensive oyster menu that reads like a wine list, with poetic descriptions ensuring you feel like you’re making a lifestyle choice rather than selecting the family and geography of your shellfish.
Leon’s Full Service is the kind of place you wander into on a bright and sunny Sunday for a bloody Mary and end up drinking margaritas with new friends well into the night. Leon’s is located in a converted gas station, trading gas pumps for gas stoves and car washes with Bee’s Knees (made from bluecoat gin, lemon, and honey). With monthly events like beer and wine festivals, Leon’s is constantly abuzz and the mixologists here don’t even smirk when you put your empty glass down and say, ‘fill her up’.
A self-professed ‘modern watering stop’, H. Harper Station looks like an unassuming brick walled train depot at Atlanta and West rail station. But that all changes once visitors step inside. The drinks menu is titled ‘Libations’ and the entire place has a speakeasy, American diner vibe. As they settle down with a bourbon, H. Harper Station makes every punter feel like a strange mix of Huckleberry and Kerouac, intrepid yet languid.
Located in the heart of Atlanta’s eclectic Little Five Points, Porter Beer Bar is renowned by beer enthusiasts across the country. If you’re looking for a venue to talk about brews the same way some talk about wines, you’ve found your spot. With over 340 beers to choose from and a staff that really knows their stuff, Porter Beer Bar has something for everyone, from a Winter Warmer described as, ‘brown sugar, mellow nutmeg and clove, butter and grape jam’ to a local Sykophantes described as ‘organic Mission figs, dark candy syrup, Rochefort yeast, pleasant tartness balances the sweetness;’ there is enough variety to convert the most exclusive wino.
A neon sign reading, ‘Church (it’s a bar)’ adorns the wall outside this bar while the fire exit states, ‘Every time you exit here Jesus kills a kitten.’ Church organ karaoke is performed in choir robes and Lady Gaga once played Ping-Pong here dressed as a pinup. It’s likely that newcomers to Atlanta have never been to a bar like Sister Louisa’s Church of the Living Room and Ping Pong Emporium. Located in the Historic Old Fourth Ward next to the Martin Luther King Center, Sister Louisa’s Church is self-deprecating while it celebrates the spirited neighborhood it sits within.
Though it’s unassuming from the outside, visitors can nearly taste the history the moment they set foot in Manuel’s Tavern. If it is possible for grease and beer to be romanticized, this is the place for it. Manuel’s Tavern is a self professed, ‘quintessential neighbourhood bar’ and it is hard to argue against this point. Most of Atlanta’s mayors have been regulars here at some point or another and Manuel’s Taver was the bar in which Jimmy Carter announced he was going to run for president. There is something special about a bar with a painting of JFK as its centerpiece and the original owner’s ashes interned on site. There is nowhere better for sharing a pitcher of Hopsecutioner IPA (brewed locally in Athens, Georgia), and reminisce.