The verdict on 3 newcomers to Atlanta’s dining scene: Bully Boy, Ink, and LLoyd’s

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Bully Boy Old Fourth Ward
Fried oyster sliders

Photograph by Heidi Geldhauser

Bully Boy
There’s a $32 plate of lobster frites on the menu at Bully Boy, the newest spot in Bob Amick’s Concentrics Restaurants group, and your order could easily start and end there. Located next to Concentrics crown jewel Two Urban Licks—which was “BeltLine-adjacent” long before the term was a glint in urban developers’ eyes—Bully Boy has two executive chefs, Justin Dixon and Michael Bertozzi, the latter of whom it shares with Two. The restaurants also share a flair for the dramatic: sky-high ceilings, oversized arty pendants, booming acoustics. But this operation, from the square footage of its dining room to the number of its menu items, is smaller. There’s a predictable array of reasonably priced small plates—crispy Brussels, crispy calamari, red snapper tartare, yellow fin tuna wraps—that come with typical, Asian-y condiments and accoutrements, but you’ll also find a handful of more inspired offerings: duck bao, rabbit patty melt, clam chowder carbonara. Most of the dishes we tried were tragically flawed: The barbecue Georgia shrimp were downright gummy, and the blue crab and mango salad with a supposed jerk vinaigrette was so flavorless it would underwhelm a two-year-old. But the lobster frites—with tender hunks of tail and claw meat nestled on the half shell and lightly bathed in not-remotely-obnoxious truffle cream—was such a hit it made up for the dishes that preceded it. Almost. 828 Ralph McGill Boulevard, 678-904-5607

Is it ridiculous to sit in a small, dark room and recite your whims to a bartender so that he can make you a custom, $16 cocktail and feed you $18 tinned seafood with crackers? Of course it is, but it’s also fabulous. Ink, which has taken up residence inside 8Arm (where the to-go coffee counter once was), isn’t going to be anyone’s neighborhood bar, but it’s the kind of place that makes this already impossibly cool stretch of Ponce even cooler. Be creative with your drink order: “A summer day, but sour” was met with an Aviation-reminiscent concoction of Old Tom gin, rosemary, lemon, lime, and maraschino liqueur. Order the tinned calamari in ragu, sit back, and let your eyes adjust to the opium den of a room, barely lit by a shimmering art deco chandelier. And don’t skip the gongfu tea service. I can’t say if the GABA tea we ordered actually delivered on its promise to reduce stress and promote sleep; the ensuing languor could’ve been the result of the tea or of the seductive nature of Ink itself. 710 Ponce de Leon Avenue, 470-875-5856

LLoyd's Inman Park Atlanta

Photograph by Sarah Dorio Photography

LLoyd’s is an instant classic—and not just because it cheekily resurrects a Midwestern tavern circa 1983. Yes, there is a vintage Hamm’s Scene-O-Rama lighted motion beer sign, $14 meatloaf with all-you-can-eat mashed potatoes, and waitresses who are practically dressed for Jazzercise, but this Inman Park charmer doesn’t thrive on irony alone. The three nightly blueplate specials—which might include chicken schnitzel with lemon-caper sauce or trout with brown butter and toasted hazelnuts—are as comforting as a shot of Cutty in a snowstorm. The team responsible for Victory Sandwich Bar (and its legendary Whiskey Coke Slushie) has carefully cultivated LLoyd’s vibe, and it might feel contrived if not for the quality of the food and the abundance of fun you’re having. If the ridiculously optimistic soundtrack doesn’t win you over—“Let’s Hear It for the Boy,” “The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades,” “Things Can Only Get Better”—the $5 happy hour martinis, Vespers, and Manhattans will. 900 DeKalb Avenue, 404-228-7227

This article appears in our March 2019 issue.