My South: Brat Packer Andrew McCarthy on Atlanta

The actor, director, and author shares his favorite spots around the city, from Midtown to Virginia-Highland

Illustration by Colleen O'Hara

As told to Allison Entrekin

I spent six months in Atlanta filming The Resident. I had never really been to Atlanta before. I stayed in Virginia-Highland, a neighborhood I found both intimate and cosmopolitan at the same time. My favorite restaurant, Farm Burger, is there. When I discovered that, I was like: I’ve found my spot. My custom order was a double patty with cheddar cheese, pickles, onions, and tomato on a lettuce wrap. No one recognized me there—unless you count being recognized as ‘the guy who keeps coming here day after day.’ One day I wandered over to the only presidential library I’ve ever been to: the Carter Center. It was fantastic. I learned how much drive Jimmy Carter had. When he lost the presidency, he could have just folded up and gone home. He didn’t, and the second chapter of his life was incredible. He said, ‘This is what we need to do’ and he did it. I really admire him. I used to walk the BeltLine to Ponce City Market—there’s a real buzz in there—and also to the Oceanaire in Midtown. It’s a nice, white-tablecloth restaurant, and they serve beautiful fish. I usually ordered the halibut or the Chilean sea bass. Another place I went to all the time in Atlanta was the Polar Lounge, which is a cryobar. Describing it sounds horrific, like a torture chamber. There’s this upright tube you get in and while you’re standing there, they pump you full of unbelievably cold air with dry ice and whatnot. It’s great for your circulation and metabolism, and it really wakes you up! I’ve done it many places around the country, but that was a particularly nice spot. I find Atlanta distinctly itself. It’s very Southern, but I found it to be a really young town. I appreciate how vibrant it is.


Andrew McCarthy is an author, director, and actor who shot to fame in the 1980s as a member of the Brat Pack. On May 9, he released his latest travel memoir: Walking with Sam.

This article appears in the Winter 2024 issue of Southbound.