Best of Atlanta 2022: Drink

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Best of Atlanta 2022: What to Drink
Zero-proof drinks

Photograph by Martha Williams

Emerging Trend: Zero-proof bottle shops

Lissa Eubanks and Savannah Rainey, two restaurant-industry vets, launched the pop-up Zilch Market in early 2022 to focus on boozeless spirits—like those made by the Chicago-based Ritual, which produces bottles of rum, whiskey, and more whose depth of flavor belies the fact that they don’t have any alcohol in them. Among the places they plan on popping up: the Zero Co., a bottle shop stocking over 300 booze-free spirits, wines, and beers that’s set to open soon in Poncey-Highland. [Editor’s Note: The Zero Co. opened on December 10.]

Place to Drink Rum: Arepa Mia

This Avondale fave, famous for its arepas—stuffed, griddled corn cakes that owner Lis Hernandez learned to make in her native Venezuela—recently revamped both its patio and its drink menu: a fortuitous combo indeed. Now, you can watch the world go by in a capacious outdoor area while sipping on a passionfruit-flavored Guarapita de Parchita, one of a number of options on a largely rum-based cocktail list. Avondale Estates

Rummer-Up: Wylie & Rum

Maybe it’s a sublimated desire to be near the beach, but here’s yet another bar specializing in rum and tropical flavors—in this case, “Floribian” (i.e., Florida-Caribbean) dishes like empanadas and jerk chicken, best washed down with a textbook daiquiri or a glass of rum punch. Reynoldstown

Place to Drink Mezcal: Tortuga y Chango

The team behind El Tesoro conceived this spot first and foremost as a mezcal bar, specializing in the smoky Oaxacan spirit and various tipples that beverage director Orestes Cruz mixes it into—like the Mex Mula, with lime, ginger, and mole bitters. Chef Hugo Suastegui complements the experience with nuanced takes on dishes like agua chile de camarón and chiles rellenos. Decatur

Tea Shop: Brooklyn Tea

Operated by a couple of Spelman grads, this NYC import offers more than 50 loose-leaf teas, vegan breakfast options, playful pastries like a Notorious B.I.G. cookie, and an eclectic schedule of events: Monday yoga, monthly Saturday block parties. It’s not the only cool cafe to open recently in Castleberry: see also Black Coffee ATL, serving “coffee with a shot of culture” just a little ways down the block. Castleberry Hill

To-Go Cocktails: Pielands Sub & Slice

Restaurateur Billy Streck (Nina & Rafi) opened this casual neighborhood pizzeria in late 2021, serving by-the-book (and, if you want, by-the-slice) New York–style pizza and meaty Italian subs—plus classic cocktails (Negronis, Old-Fashioneds) sold in pint bottles out of a refrigerated case, to be consumed on-site and/or taken home for later. Virginia-Highland

Artsy Coffee Drinks: Academy Coffee

. . . and right next door to Pielands, Rachael Pack and Myles Moody opened Kinship Butcher & Sundry (kinship-atl.com), an artisan butcher and grocer that would be the envy of any neighborhood. But that’s just the half. The shop also is home to Academy, where star barista Connan Moody (Myles’s brother) serves some of the most fascinating coffee drinks around: e.g., the PSL Must Die, a latte with olive oil and caramel made from cascara- and grapefruit-infused cognac. Virginia-Highland

Coffee with Something Sweet: Yay! Beignet

Born in Ethiopia, Yay! Beignet proprietor Georgia Drake knows his way around a cup of coffee—and knows that one of the best things you can serve with it is a fluffy, New Orleans–style beignet, available at this Irwin Street Market cafe with dipping sauces including bourbon-praline and butterscotch. It’s perfect fuel for a stroll on the BeltLine. Old Fourth Ward

Best of Atlanta 2022: What to Drink
Juniper Cafe

Photograph by Martha Williams

Zero-Proof Drinks (and More-Than-Zero-Proof Drinks): Juniper Cafe

A crazy amount of stuff is going on at the latest from the team behind Lazy Betty: top-shelf pastries, all-day Vietnamese-ish eats, and a fascinating drink menu from beverage director Will Simpson. There’s the cocktail list, where you might find a gin drink that incorporates ingredients like lemongrass and green tea shochu; there are various Asian spirits—makgeolli, shochu, soju, baijiu—and Japanese beers; and there’s a short menu of bottled housemade sodas, with ingredients like pineapple, chrysanthemum, rhubarb, yuzu, and black pepper. In short, something for everyone, no matter the time of day. Bolton

Korean-Style Bar: Umbrella Bar at Ponce City Market

Modeled after the kind of stall you’d find at a night market in Korea, this new addition to Ponce City Market serves soju slushies and great drinking food—bulgogi tater tots, fried chicken bites, exuberantly unhealthy Korean-style battered and fried hot dogs—plus more substantial options including kimbap, bibimbap, and a Korean Philly cheesesteak (which, come to think of it, also sounds like great drinking food). Old Fourth Ward

Best of Atlanta 2022: What to Drink
Mambo Zombi

Photograph by Ben Rollins

Cozy Hideaway: Mambo Zombi

High above the Edgewood Avenue bustle on the top floor of the Georgia Beer Garden building, this brand-new bar combines a Day of the Dead aesthetic motif (the entrance is shaped like a coffin), extremely chill vibes (dim lighting, comfy furniture, hanging plants), and drinks with tiki and Afro-Caribbean influences mixed by longtime Atlanta bartender Kysha Cyrus. Old Fourth Ward

New Brewery: Atlantucky Brewing

Two members of the rap group Nappy Roots, Fish Scales and Skinny Deville, have pursued second careers in recent years as beermakers, culminating in the opening of this laid-back taproom, where you can find brews like Kentucky Mud chocolate milk stout and Not Just, a New England–style IPA. More than just a place to drink, though, the sprawling space hosts comedy nights, concerts, food pop-ups, and more. Castleberry Hill

Best of Atlanta 2022: What to Drink
Rooftop L.O.A.

Photograph courtesy of Rooftop L.O.A.

Shouting from the Rooftops

From the casual patio atop Grant Park seafood joint Six Feet Under to the frenetic carnival atmosphere crowning Ponce City Market, Atlanta loves a rooftop. (Do we even need to mention the Hotel Clermont?) That may explain why so many swanky new sky-high options have cropped up in recent years. In 2022, the highly anticipated Rooftop L.O.A. opened on the Westside, bringing with it an Instagram-worthy pool, lounge, and restaurant. (It’s located in the Interlock complex, which is also home to Drawbar, whose third-floor terrace is not quite a rooftop experience—but nonetheless provides superlative skyline views.) Not far away, Palo Santo’s roof is decked out with midcentury modern–inspired patio furniture and Japanese-meets-Mexican cocktails and bites. (Not to mention great sunset scenes and DJ-selected beats.) In Buckhead, the colorful St. Julep bar, atop the Kimpton Sylvan, dishes out soft-serve and craft cocktails, while the Rowdy Tiger—part of the Renaissance Atlanta Midtown and inspired by the 1920s speakeasies known as blind tigers—specializes in whiskey drinks and shareable snacks like nachos and flatbreads. —Lia Picard

This article appears in our December 2022 issue.

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