The top bars you should know in Atlanta, according to us.Less
The unmarked silver door to Dryver is hidden in the back of Yeppa and Co. in Buckhead. Inside, things go from 0-to-100 when you’re immediately immersed in their moody, red-hued Formula 1-meets-Tron theme. Drinks sit on top of tire tread coasters, racing stripes line the floor, and neon signs in the odd shapes of F1 courses cover the ceiling. We don’t know much about F1 other than Max Verstappen (which we did have to Google), but we do know a lot about alcohol.
In O4W, on the patio of Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall sits an easy-to-miss wooden staircase that leads to Ranger Station. Your eyes aren't failing you. This speakeasy is f*cking dark inside (seriously bring your glasses and maybe a flashlight), and yes, it's giving mountain lodge circa 1970. The fun and cozy decor puts us in an exploratory mood to break away from our go-to cocktails and try items like the fresh gin-based Thunderbolt or vodka-heavy Old Faithful.
Dad's in Virginia Highland has a large patio that's always bumping with a crowd, who sips on everything from Appletinis to Old Fashioneds. But in a rare reversal, we actually prefer being inside because the man cave digs feature funky red bulb lighting above the bar, a working jukebox full of generic rock songs, and movies like Kindergarten Cop projected on the walls. It’s also worth a visit to the bathrooms to peruse the wall of famous dudes from sitcoms and movies.
If a member of the Addams family ever designed a bar, we think it would look something like the interior of Mambo Zombi. Located on Edgewood, above Georgia Beer Garden, this bar is full of skull decor, loosely inspired by the Day of the Dead. And you enter through a neon-lit coffin. Their original cocktail creations are mainly rum-based tropical drinks, and you can indulge your (presumably) inner pyro with the Monkey Screwed, a banana-infused rum that’s lit on fire before being served.
If you want to feel like a VIP, head to Jojo’s Beloved at Colony Square for a cocktail. You’ll need a reservation to get in, but if they’re not busy the host will make one for you when you arrive. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time, from the oval bar accented with plush purple bar stools and booths lining the outside of the room to the record player decor, low lighting, and the ’70s classics and deep cuts playing in the background.
Remember when you went to the mall and spent all your money playing arcade games while your mom shopped? You can bring that feeling full circle at Joystick, where you can spend all your money playing arcade games while you drink. The divey bar in Edgewood has cheap beer, well drinks, and a ton of old school arcade games that will make you feel nostalgic for simpler days. If you’re looking for a group game, there’s another room with Jenga, foosball, and board games.
My Sisters Room, better known as MSR, is one of only a handful of lesbian bars left in the U.S. (last time we checked it was less than 25), a queer-friendly space to grab a drink or get your groove on out on the dance floor. Although their address changes frequently, MSR is always somewhere in Midtown, and they’ve always got something going on. Karaoke, dance parties, drag shows, and comedy nights are just a few of the events you’ll see on their calendar.
Johnny’s Hideaway in Buckhead is a bar classic that attracts just about everyone from wild partying types to empty nesters exploring their newfound freedom. Their DJ (who has been with them for more than twenty years) keeps the energy high on the dance floor, which makes it a good option for a birthday or friends’ night out.
On the second floor of Ponce City Market, you’ll hear the music bumping before you see the flashing lights spelling out Bar Vegan on the back wall. From the mega-successful Slutty Vegan chain, Bar Vegan serves all the classic drinks like margaritas, mojitos, and sidecars. But we’d recommend going for one of their signature cocktails like the Dias Punch or Marta Express—so good you’ll forget there’s any alcohol in them, so watch yourself.
There are a lot of rooftop spots in Atlanta, but if you’re looking for one where you can actually meet people and avoid corporate cliques on team outings, head to Hotel Clermont in the Poncey Highlands. It’s a little more difficult to get into than their lobby bar or the one downstairs in Tiny Lou’s, so get here earlier to avoid the crowds. Even if you do have to wait, you’ll be glad you stuck around when you finally see the awesome view.