Want a tip on one of the current best-kept lunch destination secrets in the city? After we sampled the wares at Buckhead Bottle Bar this week, Dish had the urge to blow off our afternoon appointments, order an Adult Arnold Palmer and await the thirsty after-work crowd.
The new concept, headed up by A.D. Allushi and Atlanta Hawks restaurateur Zaza Pachulia, is located at 268 East Paces Ferry Road in the old Peachtree Cafe space.
But this is not your mama’s old favorite brunch spot. The entire interior has been gutted and replaced with a sleek, modern but comfortable environment engineered for maximum mingling.
And while Bottle Bar’s main thrust is to satiate the cocktail crowd, the concept also boasts a secret weapon in the kitchen: Executive Chef Ian Winslade, late of Jean-Georges Vongerichen‘s Market and Spice Market concepts inside the W hotels in Buckhead and Midtown respectively.
“Our goal here is to offer really good, simple, locally sourced food,” Winslade told us as we dove head first into a beet salad featuring colorful Georgia-grown candied stripe, golden and baby red varieties topped with a delicate blue cheese-infused mousse.
Added Winslade: “We don’t want to baffle and confuse anyone here with what we’re doing.”
Still, for bar food, Winslade is setting a high creative bar.
For example, one of the first hits on Buckhead Bottle Bar menu? Cornmeal-dusted fresh oysters with a citrus shooter and Jean-Georges inspired crab fritters fused with brie cheese and served with a toasted pecan sauce.
Winslade and co-owner Allushi first met a decade ago when they worked together at Bluepointe.
Wisecracked Winslade: “He leaves me alone in the kitchen which is awesome and I leave him alone out here. It’s a natural fit for us. We’re both very ambitious.”
Other early favorites on the menu include the gnocchi made in-house with goat cheese and gorgeous local heirloom tomatoes and a slurp-worthy bowl of white wine mussels served with french fries.
Oh, and that Adult Arnold Palmer we mentioned earlier? It’s a take on the classic iced tea/lemonade mash up made famous by the golfer. But at Bottle Bar, it arrives suitably spiked with Carolina Sweet Tea-infused vodka.
Bartenders also offer a Bohemian Sidecar, creatively fueled over rocks with Hennessey cognac, Cointreau, absinthe and fresh lime juice.
Buckhead Bottle Bar is open Monday to Friday 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., Saturday 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more info, go to their official website.