While the official start of Spring patio season is still a few weeks away, we’re happy to celebrate the winds of change with cocktails. Here’s where to drink now around the metro to make bar hopping a breeze in March.
Tucked inside the Four Seasons hotel lies ultra-hip Bar Margot, named for Margot Tenenbaum, the secretive, chain-smoking sibling from the film The Royal Tenenbaums. Bar Margot offers imbibers a swanky lounge setting with velvet and leather seating and a beverage program curated by drink wizards, Paul Calvert and Greg Best. Start your night with Mercy Street, a clever play on the timeless Old Fashioned using Irish whisky for a bit of kick, dry vermouth to smooth out the rough edges and dry orange curacao to give the cocktail the hint of sweetness for which the OF is known.
Four Seasons Hotel, 75 14th St. NE, Atlanta, 404-881-5913, barmargotatl.com
From the fine folks behind Decatur’s Pinewood Tippling Room, The Mercury serves up a menu full of classic cocktails that would make even super broody Don Draper crack a smile. Located on the second floor of Ponce City Market’s food hall, this ode to Mad Men-era eatery never leaves its patrons thirsty offering 30 wines, 12 beers on tap and 15 different cocktails to pair with that Porterhouse for two. Our choice of tipples? The classically-composed tableside Manhattan for four; because sharing is caring.
Ponce City Market, 675 Ponce De Leon Ave. NE, Atlanta, 404-500-5253, themercuryatl.com
Bread & Butterfly
If you’ve got a case of wanderlust, head over to Bread & Butterfly for a bit of Paris in Atlanta. This euro-style cafe offers French-inspired fare throughout the day, an impressive wine list and a small but mighty cocktail menu full of classic imbibes. While we love all of the cocktails on the menu, which include a Vieux Carre and Corpse Reviver #2, we were impressed with an off-menu classic, the French 75, using Ford’s gin and Champagne. This light and bright tipple is perfect for sipping in the sunroom with a plate of farmer’s cheese and crusty bread in the mid-afternoon or in the glow of soft candlelight in the evening after dining on braised duck.
290 Elizabeth St. NE, Atlanta, 678-515-4536, bread-and-butterfly.com
Branch & Barrel
Avalon’s Branch & Barrel offers its tippling crew classic cocktails with a twist to pair alongside the gastro pub’s meat-heavy fare. Using local, seasonal ingredients doesn’t end in the kitchen but continues at the bar with housemade shrubs and tinctures. We’ve got our mind on the Gin and Juice which uses local favorite, Old Fourth Distillery gin, housemade lemon-ginger shrub as the “juice” and candied ginger to tone down the sour from the shrub and lend a touch of sweetness. We think Snoop Dogg would approve of us sipping this locavore version.
Avalon, 4100 Avalon Blvd., Alpharetta, 678-436-5655, experienceavalon.com/restaurants/branch-barrel
Porch Light Latin Kitchen
Located in the Smyrna Market Village, Porch Light has become a neighborhood favorite. AJC dining critic, Wyatt Williams, recently gave the little latin gem three out of four stars after stumbling upon a packed house on a Tuesday night. Regulars swear by the Tropical Sangria which includes white wine and coconut rum to give the cocktail island flare. Another stand-out on the list is the lime-infused rum and Coke tipple, The Little Lie, which pairs nicely with the cumin-spiced rack of ribs.
300 Village Green Circle SE, #110, Smyrna, 678-309-9858, porchlightlatinkitchen.com
Century House Tavern
Woodstock’s Century House Tavern, located in the Hubbard House built in 1894, stays true to the city’s railroad roots offering up seasonal, tavern-style fare for weary diners. A laid-back cocktail menu includes drinks made with housemade syrups and infused spirits for those wishing to relax after a long day. The Dark & Spicy caught our eye made with house-infused spiced rum, pomegranate liqueur and housemade ginger beer. Like a rum punch for one, the clever use of ginger beer acts as not only the spice but a reagent of sorts to the sweetness of the pomegranate liqueur, transforming this drink to sugar and spice and everything nice.
125 East Main St., Woodstock, 770-693-4552, centuryhousetavern.com