Cheers: 12 Best Bars in Atlanta’s Poncey-Highland Neighborhood
The Poncey-Highland section of Atlanta is a charming area that features cottages dating to the 1920s, the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum and lots of pubs and bars. The ambiance is casual, with flip-flops, shorts and sundresses more the norm than the exception.
Here are our favorite Poncey-Highland bars and pubs. In Virginia-Highland, two of the prime areas for restaurants and bars are at the intersection of North Highland and Virginia avenues, and then further down about half a mile by North Highland and St. Charles avenues.
- Moe’s & Joe’s was started after World War II, and the tavern hasn’t changed much since then. A landmark date was the mid-1950s when Pabst Blue Ribbon was put on tap and it still is – along with other brews. Food includes sliders, burgers and wings but the real star is the old-time atmosphere and, of course, the PBR.
- Next to Moe’s & Joe’s is George’s, which started out as a deli and a bar in 1961 and attracted a crowd of neighborhood regulars, sports fans, politicians and, well, anyone who wanted a cold beer. Founder George Najour once said his establishment was “just a family bar, where most people feel they can come and not be bothered by bums and pests.” And, it’s still true today.
- Across the street from Moe’s & Joe’s and George’s is the Highland Tap Steak Cellar, but you have to look for the sign because the place is actually downstairs. This subterranean spot offers a warm and clubby atmosphere that harks back to the speakeasys of the 1920s. Its martini is among the best in Atlanta.
- Down the street a bit is Limerick Junction, the city’s oldest Irish pub. The pub offers Irish fare, beer and shooters, such as the Irish Quaalude, which consists of Irish whiskey, Bailey’s Irish Creme and Frangelica; and the Irish Kiss, which is Irish whiskey, blue Curacao and orange juice. Limerick Junction also has Irish folk singers and comedians to further your enjoyment.
- A few steps down is Dark Horse Tavern, which is Lyft’s top bar drop-off and that tells you something about this bar and restaurant’s popularity. Dark Horse has a large U-shaped bar, two outdoor patio bars, friendly wait staff and attracts an over-21 crowd. But there’s more to Dark Horse. Also part of the establishment is The Wax Attic, a vinyl listening lounge; 10 High, a downstairs karaoke joint; and, upstairs, The Warren, a membership-only club that is open to the public for Sunday brunch and other events.
- Atkins Park is Atlanta’s oldest continuously licensed tavern, and it’s a popular neighborhood spot for families, weekend brunch or a late night drink. Check out the original bar and enjoy the camaraderie, especially on game days. It doesn’t matter what game, you’ll find a crowd cheering the local team on and being part of the gang.
- Diesel Filling Stations is restaurant/bar that runs a lot of drink and food specials as well as special events such as trivia nights and viewing parties of shows like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones.
- On the other side of Ponce de Leon starts the Poncey side and there’s no better place to start than Manuel’s Tavern. Ever since the 1950s, Manuel’s has been the watering hole for journalists, politicians and neighborhood folks. Jimmy Carter (whose Carter Presidential Library and Museum is close by), has been known to sit and hold court, and President Obama stopped by a few years back. You don’t have to have strong opinions on any topics to enjoy this visit.
- Little Spirit is located in Inman Park and serves up classic cocktails with a few plays named after hip-hop legends. An inspired-decor features deceased rock stars in Bible robes and don’t miss the larger-than-life mural of the late, great Notorious B.I.G. and 2Pac in the back.
- Highland Cigar Bar is a fun journey into cigar culture with weekly events that attract a large local crowd for big games, music, and more.
- Folk Art bills itself as “artful eats for simple folks,” but the drinks are the stars. Folk Art offers craft sodas, wine, spirits, craft beers and Folk Art cocktails, such as the Horse’s Neck, composed of Clyde May’s whiskey, bitters and ginger beer; Devil Went Down to Georgia (bourbon, dark rum, Dry Curacao, cognac and black tea; and What’s Up Doc, that consists of vodka, carrot juice, fresh apple juice and ginger syrup.
- Barcelona Wine Bar opens in the afternoon and closes “late.” There are more than 400 wines available for enjoying, including 40 by the glass, as well as a menu of tapas such as duck egg midgets, hanger steak and crispy cabbage.
Where else are you partying? Find all the best places to grab a drink at our guide to Atlanta bars.
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