For those hard days at the office when you deal with a demanding boss and skyrocketing late project costs, a generic national chain of taverns like Moe’s or Chillies, just won’t fill you with that Happy Hour Fervor you need to get to the next stop, home and ready for another day. Maybe that’s why Atlanta offers plenty of wonderfully quaint and down right quirky bars to satisfy any taste. From grand establishments in the perimeter to hole-in-the-walls near down town, Atlanta has a varied bar scene for anyone looking to get a little lifted after a hard day’s work. Here’s a list of my top three Atlanta bars that are local, distinct, and great to visit after work to take the edge off. So visit any of these neighborhood watering holes and take in a sip of pure Atlanta pride.
5 Seasons Brewing at the Prado shopping plaza is anything but your simple local tavern. Their days and operation hours are Monday-Saturday 11am-2am and Sunday 12pm-12am. At a mid cost range, about $25 dollars for a good drink and dinner not including the tip, you can experience one of the joys of Sandy Springs. The parking at the Prado has been a nightmare for the owners of 5 Seasons because of ongoing construction but in the back there is plenty of lot space. There’s a coolness to the tavern that really is a much larger space than many of its kind. The dim track lighting make it ideal for those seeking a little romance, including the off-center seating plan that’s been designed. The staff is knowledgeable about the considerably natural food choices they are serving, and they tend to intimately know the beer list too, which is the most important part when one is unwinding. Their beer list is amazing and they often have more than ten microbrews on tap on any given night. With the help of a new brewmaster, Kevin McNerney from Sweetwater Brewer fame, they’re doing good things at the 5 Seasons, namely by continuing local favorites like the uber-popular Seven sisters and Munich Helles. For more information and for reservations if you plan on coming with the whole office check out www.5seasonsbrewing.com
If you live farther south and not in the mood for subdued conversation and track lightning, but instead you’d rather have a simple, good beer and a good laugh in a fairly upbeat, rambunctious setting, then check out The Vortex Bar and Grill in Lil Five Points. Their days and operation hours are Sunday-Thursday 11am-Midnight and Friday & Saturday 11am-3am. The Vortex’s trademark Skull entrance welcomes you as you pass through its jaws to the hostess’ stand where you can either sit at the bar or in a booth or table. If there are many friends from work in tow, get a table and pull them together. The last thing that the staff from the Vortex does is care if you get a little loud, so let loose and relieve work stress in this inviting neighborhood eatery. The entrées are reasonably priced; you can eat and drink well for less than $20, not including tip. The excellent gourmet burgers are what stand this eatery apart from most. For information check out www.thevortexbarandgrill.com
If neither the finicky fancy of 5 Seasons or the mob-like scene of Vortex get your mouth watering for a good drink, than try something that’s a little mix of both, The Porter, also in Lil 5 points. Monday-Wednesday 11:30am-12:30am, Thursday-Saturday 11:30am-2:30am, and Sunday 11am-12am. This local watering hole is has a unique decor where you feel like you’re in old English ship with nick-knacks everywhere you gaze. Every Thursday is wine night and the kitchen is open until the final drink is served. The huge beer list with literally hundreds of beer choices and quite a bit of good wines is very reasonably priced, some as cheap as $3.00; so you can really try several offerings without spending too much. The food is American cuisine, homey and delicious, not to mention cheap compared to many national chains. With $15.00 you can each and drink and not feel like you were cheated. Parking is available in this artistic, eclectic neighborhood on side streets and in back lots, and your journey can begin with checking out www.theporterbeerbar.com