Best Cocktail Bars in Atlanta: Drink it In
These Atlanta watering holes are the perfect pit stops for drinking in the city as you also drink in scintillating sips.
You’ve touched down in Atlanta for what is sure to be a travel-defining experience. The one-of-a-kind attractions and experiences. The soul-stirring Southern dining. All these things await you, but after you check-in to your accommodations what’s the first thing you need? That’s right, a cocktail. But your hotel bar just won’t do. No, you want a spirited destination. A place to rub elbows with locals over signature sips where the conversation and libations flow with ease. And ATL is overflowing with possibilities. Here are your essential stops for drinking in Atlanta.
9 Mile Station
Perched upon the rooftop of ATL’s popular shopping and entertainment destination, Ponce City Market, 9 Mile Station is all about the experience. Drink in the skyline views and wash them down with classic cocktails, some amplified by the bar’s extensive selection of craft beers. Yes, beer-tails are a thing, and 9 Mile will escort you to cloud 9 with its wildly innovative sips.
Where: 675 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE
Located in Ponce City Market, Atrium provides an eclectic punch of color and decor in addition to modern American cuisine and exquisitely crafted cocktails. The bar scours the globe for inspiration to create unique cocktails such as the Dragon Painter (gin/shochu/Japanese citrus/lime/umami paint) or the Matcha Colada (rum blend/matcha coconut/pineapple/lime). In addition, patrons can find craft beers and zero-proof cocktails.
Where: 675 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE
OK. Now we know we said you’d want to skip the hotel bar upon your arrival, but when you’re staying at the Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta, your first stop should be Bar Margot. The five-star hotel’s luxe cocktail bar is a welcome respite even if you aren’t staying at the hotel. Bar Margot cocktails run the gamut from pristine classics to creatively crafty considerations, all worthy of your palate. And don’t tell anyone, but the off-menu “Missing Digit” cocktail is a “you never know what you’re going to get” adventure into the unknown.
Where: 75 Fourteenth St. NE
Ponce City Market’s beef jerky bastion Biltong Bar is probably the closest you’ll get to experience the South African mainstay in the states. But it takes bold, assertive sips to provide an ample contrast with savory meat medallions, and the cocktails at Biltong certainly play their part. Their niche classics are a deft foil with a plate of cured meats and cheeses and worth the trip down craft cocktail’s memory lane.
Where: 675 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE
Blind Pig Parlour
Embark on a Prohibition-inspired journey while stopping at this Buckhead speakeasy, Blind Pig Parlour. Decked with Victorian-era decor and ambiance, the cocktails only add to this one-of-a-kind experience. Visit during special holidays and seasons for themed pop-ups and drinks where you can enjoy stylish drinks and high-end bar snacks.
Where: 128 East Andrews Drive NW
There are some cocktail bars you just have to experience to “get it,” and Bon Ton is one of those places. You can’t put the Midtown all-year Mardi Gras destination in a box as it slings superb seafood with Vietnamese flair accompanied by flawless French Quarter cocktails. Get caught up in New Orleans classics like the rum-forward BonTon Hurricane, Sazerac and a devout walk down the tiki path in the smoked bourbon mai tai.
Where: 674 Myrtle St. NE
Empire State South
Midtown’s Empire State South is held in high regard as one of Atlanta’s essential farm-to-table experiences, and with that, you need equally inspiring cocktails. From classic martinis and old-fashioneds to spirit-heavy sippers like the Two World Hero (rye, black tea cognac, sweet vermouth, red wine and bitters) and a bevy of party-sustaining punches, ESS meets the call for courageous cocktails.
Where: 999 Peachtree St. NE
Establishment is, well, one of those establishments that doesn’t take itself too seriously. And it’s not because they don’t care, but rather the opposite in that they know what they’re doing when it comes to craft cocktails at a level that just comes easy. The Midtown craft cocktail saloon balances bold cocktails like the bourbon-heavy Bluegrass Bramble (blueberry liqueur) with bright offerings like the Oaxacan on Sunshine (mezcal, creme de violet, Luxardo, lime).
After experiencing all Establishment has to offer, you can venture a couple of feet over to its new addition. This swanky bar expanded to make room for Tight Squeeze. This open-air bar located on the newly expanded patio pays respect to the history of the surrounding area. Enjoy the new vibe and enticing atmosphere with drinks that will be sure to get you tight.
Where: 1197 Peachtree St. NE
The Garden Room
After you’ve popped your antihistamine of choice, swing into Buckhead’s luxe greenhouse, The Garden Room. The lush environs bring the outside in, offering an Instagram-worthy experience in conjunction with polished and playful cocktails like the gin-immersed Polar Solstice, spicy Hot Mess margarita and the vodka-forward, color-changing Send Noods. We don’t make the name, we swear.
Where: 88 West Paces Ferry Road NW
Himitsu, a reservations-only lounge in Atlanta’s bustling and affluent Buckhead neighborhood, prides itself on creating a signature cocktail experience with each visit. Accessible via member-endorsed reservations, it is indeed the city’s best-kept secret and a playground to the likes of celebrities, music artists and tastemakers looking to begin or end an evening on a high note with an ever-changing menu of 10 to 12 meticulously prepared cocktails. It’s all about quality over quantity at this bespoke craft cocktail haven.
Where: 3050 Peachtree Road NW
This spirited cocktail lounge is beloved by many. In the heart of Midtown, JoJo’s Beloved brings a romantic disco vibe to Atlanta. Nestled in the back of Politan Row food hall beyond a yellow sun neon sign, JoJo’s Beloved serves deliciously unique cocktails in a music-inspired setting. Make the perfect transition from work to play with the 9 – 5 cocktail, which is great for coffee lovers. Guests can dance to disco tunes and then refuel with great bites at the Politan Row food hall.
Where: 1197 Peachtree St NE
Ask any ATL cocktail lover for the best place for cocktails and oysters, and they’ll point you to Kimball House. A mainstay “best cocktail bar” listicle (much like this one), the Decatur cocktail destination’s penchant for perfectly prepared sips has garnered global notoriety. Complex meets classic in drinks featuring everything from spiced honey and cola bitters to fresh herbs and yuzu.
Where: 303 East Howard Ave., Decatur
The Lawrence invests in unique and seasonally inspired cocktails to pair with its locally sourced cuisine that blends American flair with Southern influence. A mainstay in Midtown’s craft cocktail scene, The Lawrence delivers an experience of equal parts curated and cultivated by adept mixologists crafting cocktails with ingredients like green tea, cinnamon and rhubarb.
Where: 905 Juniper St. NE
The cocktail stylings of Little Spirit are best summed up like this: It’s as if your drink just spit a dope freestyle and the crowd went, “Ohhhh!” The intimate bar blends old school hip-hop in its music choices and cocktails like the ODB (aged rum, vanilla, tobacco bitters, mezcal) and the state fruit-sanctioned King Peach (bourbon, Aperol, peach, mint, lemon). Shimmy shimmy ya to this cocktail cypher in Inman Park.
Where: 299 North Highland Ave. NE
You can’t have an Atlanta cocktail bar guide without including the Octopus Bar. The after-hours destination is ATL cocktail royalty featuring a moving target of well-crafted signature sips and curated vibes every local must experience.
Where: 560 Gresham Ave. NE
Osha Thai Sushi
Bottomless mimosas don’t just stop with orange juice and champagne at this innovative Thai eatery. Drink from unique glasses as your taste buds awaken to delectable flavors with every sip. Enjoying some of Atlanta’s most creative cocktails is easy at this stunning restaurant when the drinks are paired with delicious Thai food and Japanese sushi. You can enjoy the unique bottomless mimosas with brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 12 – 3 p.m
Where: Northwest, 1820 Peachtree Road No. 1
Parlor Cocktail Den
Intimate with eclectic vibes to boot, Castleberry Hill hidden gem Parlor Cocktail Den delivers on uniting unique individuals around curated cocktails. The space promotes an environment where inspired conversations happen naturally, and drinks like the whiskey/peach old-fashioned Mr. Jones; rum/white tea syrup The Millionaire; and tequila/coconut liqueur La Perla offer a balanced aura to the evening ahead.
Where: 249 A Peters St. SW
Red Phone Booth
Some secrets are just too good to keep to yourself, and Red Phone Booth is one of those experiences. Find your way to the eponymous red phone booth Downtown, enter the highly coveted secret phone number and be transported to a 1920s’ era Prohibition speakeasy complete with aged spirits and cigar service. Highly knowledgeable bar keeps wax poetic on cocktail history as they serve up classic stunners with a flair that defies expectations.
Where: 17 Andrew Young International Blvd. NE
Cozy up to Afro-Caribbean vibes and cuisine at Rock Steady . The Westside restaurant is oozing with chic flair, boasting cocktail offerings that celebrate the rich Caribbean and West African diaspora. Explore rum-centric heavy hitters that’ll have you rocking to reggaeton beats in no time.
Where: 907 Marietta St. NW
S.O.S. Tiki Bar
When it’s time to tiki, heed the call of Decatur’s S.O.S. Tiki Bar. Hawaiian environs take you on an in-state vacation of the senses at this spirited cocktail bar with a focus on lively, rum-forward sips and fresh juices. Experience floral garnishes, flames and the necessary cocktail umbrella in classic beachcomber sips like mai tais, zombies and pain killers.
Where: 340 Church St., Decatur
Part restaurant. Part cocktail haven. Part amazing. Ticonderoga Club is an ATL fave, slinging signature sips in Inman Park at Krog Street Market. The celebrated Ticonderoga Cup, uniting rum, brandy, sherry, lemon and pineapple is a must to understand what the well-deserved hype is about. And, did we mention it’s all available to-go? Oh yeah!
Where: 99 Krog St. NE
For more fun in Atlanta, check our Ultimate Guide to the Best Nightlife Spots in Atlanta for Every Occasion. If you prefer to partake of Atlanta’s arts scene before closing your evening with a cocktail, visit our Arts ATL: Must-See Fall Plays, Performances and Exhibits in Atlanta.
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