When Atlanta has bad weather, it makes us want to tuck our heads against the wind, and scurry into a cozy bar. We’re thinking of the bars you’d find off a bustling street in San Francisco, or the forgotten alleys of New York City. So settle into a seat, shoulder to shoulder with strangers. By the end of the night, you may have made a few new friends.
“Bantams” are a small variety of chickens and this spot lives up to the size it is named after. Nested in Old Fourth Ward, the dim-lit bar buzzes with neighborhood regulars. A roof is in the works for their new courtyard. The small plates such as tomato tartare and the moonshine cocktail “Beyond Daddy Issues” are surprisingly crafty for a small neighborhood pub.
737 Ralph McGill Blvd. NE, Atlanta. 404-223-1500, http://bantampub.com/
Tucked into its own corner off Krog Street, small plates of Spanish-style tapas are elevated to Kevin Rathbun’s standards. Hunks of meat are carved right behind the counter for the “carni.” Sit atop the high stools at the window “bar” and clink together your glasses of red.
112 Krog St. NE, Atlanta. 404-524-1618, krogbar.com/menu.html
This elegant Virginia-Highland spot fills up as quickly as the hand-rolled pasta fills your stomach. The narrow dining room mimics a traditional Italian trattoria with exposed brick and an open kitchen. Warm yourself with the tagliatelle bolgnese or a spoonful of zuppa di pesce.
992 Virginia Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-873-5430, latavolatrattoria.com/
Hidden behind a bookshelf in Pizzeria Vesuvius is a secret 1920s-themed den. An array of bottles line the brick walled bar, and the sultry atmosphere pairs perfectly with one of their boilermakers and light bites. May we suggest the soufflé with brie, artichoke and spinach and the “Only in Atlanta” with bourbon, Drambuie, salty peach puree and Sweetwater 420.
99 Krog St. NE, Atlanta. 404-458-4534, ticonderogaclub.com