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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Best place to dine at the bar

The fried goat cheese with honey and black pepper is the perfect way to start a meal at the bar at Ecco, your pick for best place to eat at the bar in and around Atlanta. Photo: Elissa Eubanks, eeubanks@ajc.com

The fried goat cheese with honey and black pepper is the perfect way to start a meal at the bar at Ecco, your pick for best place to eat at the bar in and around Atlanta. Photo: Elissa Eubanks, eeubanks@ajc.com

YOUR PICKS
1. Ecco
You say, “Ecco with Eric mixing the drinks and some of the best food in town. Grilled Octopus –yum” and “Ecco is Atlanta’s absolute best!”

2. Manuel’s Tavern
3. Brick Store Pub
4. Leon’s Full Service
5. Porter Beer Bar

La Tavola Trattoria is our pick for best place to dine at the bar. One major reason? Knowledgeable and welcoming bartender Alli Royce Soble, who's been behind the bar at the Fifth Group restaurant since it opened in 1999. Photo: Alli Royce Soble

La Tavola Trattoria is our pick for best place to dine at the bar. One major reason? Knowledgeable and welcoming bartender Alli Royce Soble, who's been behind the bar at the Fifth Group restaurant for more than 11 years. Photo: Alli Royce Soble

OUR PICKS

Have a Campari with Alli. It's her favorite. Photo: Allia Royce Soble

Have a Campari with Alli. It's her favorite. Photo: Alli Royce Soble

1. La Tavola Trattoria
The AJC dining team’s specialist in International Cuisine Gene Lee says, “Take a warm neighborhood bar, pair it with delicious Italian food, add the coolest bartender you’ll meet in metro Atlanta and the result is Virginia-Highland’s La Tavola. At this point, I can’t imagine anyone other than Alli running the restaurant’s bar. She is the ultimate professional and has a telepathic ability to pick you out a perfect glass of wine.”

2. Holeman & Finch
3. Empire State South
4. Abattoir
5. Leon’s Full Service

149 comments Add your comment

Lew Mac Daddy

December 19th, 2011
2:46 pm

Pure…preferably Alpharetta.

pubs

December 19th, 2011
3:00 pm

Gotta be The Porter in L5 or, frankly, any good gastropub. Upstairs @ the Brickstore in Decatur is pretty awesome as well…better for beer at least…

StaceyAnnT

December 19th, 2011
3:17 pm

Houstons: Lenox or 75/Paces Ferry. South City Kitchen Vinings. I often dine alone and the staff very friendly and engaging but still give you space to enjoy your meal. BTW great reasonably priced menus.

erin

December 19th, 2011
3:37 pm

Hearth in Sandy Springs

katsrulz

December 19th, 2011
3:46 pm

Flat Iron or The Earl in EAV!? Hands down!

Mary B

December 19th, 2011
4:04 pm

Mary B

December 19th, 2011
4:04 pm

Oh and Flat Iron, forgot them

Ray A.

December 19th, 2011
4:16 pm

I like Nava. But sounds like I need to check out Flat Iron. I’ll check nearbythis.com for a review.

Anne

December 19th, 2011
4:29 pm

Love Davio’s in Phipps – great bar, great food and awesome people watching!

East Atl Foodie

December 19th, 2011
4:38 pm

Graveyard Tavern in EAV has friendly staff and good food.

Bob

December 19th, 2011
4:42 pm

Leons in Decatur. Their food is excellent!!

Weaseal

December 19th, 2011
5:55 pm

We all should have a local favorite with Great & Food & Service-Best of Luck to all the Restaurateurs in 2012 !!!

Bruce

December 19th, 2011
6:33 pm

Swallow at the Hollow. Great bar with the canoe full of beer and the open kitchen behind it. Watch them prepare delicious bbq while enjoying your some of the best food in town with ice cold beer…..what could be better?

Ben T.

December 19th, 2011
11:34 pm

Houstons Lenox, hands down.

Raskolnikov

December 20th, 2011
12:02 am

Roger Dottin

December 20th, 2011
12:06 am

Cajun Crab House on Butner Rd in SW Atlanta

Southern Man

December 20th, 2011
12:23 am

Local Three. No annoying televisions, good bar staff, excellent food and beverage menus, and what’s essentially a community table at the end of the bar. Best place to sit and enjoy an evening while making some new friends.

Dmitri K.

December 20th, 2011
1:19 am

C

December 20th, 2011
1:32 am

Crabapple Tavern in Crabapple/Alpharetta. Great folks, good food and beer selection.

john e lasher

December 20th, 2011
1:51 am

atkins park.incredible chicken fingers not the fakey preformed stuff!!!i think they have an actual chef

Chainshaw

December 20th, 2011
1:56 am

McCrackens in Marietta

Harry

December 20th, 2011
2:59 am

1) Houston’s . . . or 2) Ocean Prime on Piedmont

David

December 20th, 2011
7:09 am

Dantanna’s, hands down

blakpurl

December 20th, 2011
7:11 am

McCormick’s, CNN Location

jomps

December 20th, 2011
7:28 am

KJ

December 20th, 2011
8:05 am

The Porter. Also, a couple of new but really good spots are Wrecking Bar and Hill St Tavern.

Michael from Snellville

December 20th, 2011
8:10 am

Leon’s is good, Square Pub as well, both in Dec. Iberian Pig , not so much.

Jen

December 20th, 2011
8:43 am

Hands down the best place to dine in at the bar would be Monterrey Mexican Restaurant on Holcomb Bridge in Roswell. The bartender Juana is absolutely AMAZING and the food is superbly AUTHENTIC! We visit there at least once a week, sometimes twice, and we have yet to be disappointed.

Rick

December 20th, 2011
8:44 am

Midtown: Ecco – Eric is the best bartender in Atlanta
Decatur: Square Pub – great vibe and conversation at the bar
OTP: Local Republic in Lawrenceville – always a great conversation at the bar and no TV

Ricky

December 20th, 2011
10:02 am

Smokey Bones Lithonia has a nice bar centered in the restaurant, with wall to wall tv’s and a very friendly bar staff. The food is pretty darn good too.

ALTAmom

December 20th, 2011
10:18 am

Applebee’s 2 for $20.

Jeff

December 20th, 2011
10:35 am

Graveyard Tavern in East Atlanta has great food! Leon’s in Decatur is great, but too crowded to sit in the bar to eat.

JK

December 20th, 2011
11:25 am

Wisteria in Inman Park. Hadi is the best.

The Bald Eagle

December 20th, 2011
11:33 am

Iberian Pig has some of the best bartenders in town and great food. Ditto for Holeman and Finch, though it can get a little too cramped. Porter is awesome, too. I my opinion, most restaurant experiences are better at the bar.

Dr Fever

December 20th, 2011
11:41 am

Manuel’s Tavern. Hey Pat, What’s up?

OakhurstDude

December 20th, 2011
12:20 pm

U Joint all the way. Sean and the gals rock it.
If only that mark fella wasn’t such a grump.

Suzy

December 20th, 2011
12:29 pm

Ecco in Midtown

John S

December 20th, 2011
12:46 pm

5 seasons brewing

KKillian

December 20th, 2011
12:50 pm

Seed Kitchen and Bar in Marietta. Jose, Chris and Garn are the bomb! Killer drinks and food is amazing!

Raw Dog

December 20th, 2011
12:52 pm

Hearth in Sandy Springs

Jwest

December 20th, 2011
1:17 pm

Manuel’s Tavern! Always.

Jwest

December 20th, 2011
1:19 pm

The Porter’s pretty good, too. The food’s better there than at Manuel’s–but you really can’t beat the vibe at Manuel’s.

Nancy

December 20th, 2011
1:22 pm

Sauced in Inman Park, esp. on Wednesdays- $5 specials are fab. Josh at the bar during the week is a doll and takes great care of customers.

tee steve

December 20th, 2011
1:35 pm

WHA…… LOCAL THREE HAS THE COOLEST BAR IN TOWN. HANDS DOWN AND TONS OF BROWN LIQUOR

Hungry Gringo

December 20th, 2011
1:37 pm

Manuel’s, Brickstore, Leon’s, Atkin’s Park, Bone Garden…

Ken P

December 20th, 2011
1:45 pm

It’s brand new, but pretty great – lovin “The Fifth Ivory” on Juniper & 5th in the old Avera location! Amazing food, great drinks, and friendly service. Time it just right, and there is a pretty amazing pianist knocking out some good tunes!~

Delta John

December 20th, 2011
1:55 pm

Joe’s All American Grill in Grayson. A pint of Guinness and 20 lemon pepper wings cannot be beat!

Jim S.

December 20th, 2011
1:57 pm

Wrecking Bar, Dantannas Downtown, and Stats. Get some TVs though Bob.

Ryan

December 20th, 2011
2:01 pm

Woodfire Grill, hands down!

JoeF

December 20th, 2011
2:03 pm

Pure… Hands down… Any of the locations is excellent and they have excellent margarita’s…

doc martin

December 20th, 2011
2:15 pm

Garrisons in Vinings, Vintage Tavern Smyrna Village, Amsterdam Cafe Midtown, Nino’s Cheshire Bridge, Roxx Cheshire Bridge

John Curtis Estes

December 20th, 2011
2:18 pm

OTP gourmet

December 20th, 2011
2:23 pm

Empire State South!

james

December 20th, 2011
2:30 pm

james

December 20th, 2011
2:37 pm

Oh yea, Midway Pub on Flat Shoals in EAV is great, as well as Young Augustine’s on Memorial Drive. Say Hi to Thurmond The Cat while you’re there.

jess

December 20th, 2011
2:39 pm

Steak n Shake, all over

Chickenlips

December 20th, 2011
2:40 pm

The Local Republic in Lawrenceville…great food and great beer!

diamond-e

December 20th, 2011
3:08 pm

Ralph’s tavern at bells ferry and 575

Jeff

December 20th, 2011
3:12 pm

I think everybody has forgotten the clear number one is http://atlantasushibar.com/

DAN

December 20th, 2011
3:16 pm

http://www.thesouthernhaberdasher delivers some outstanding sauces and pepper based marinades.

DAN

December 20th, 2011
3:17 pm

Stephanie Roberts

December 20th, 2011
3:21 pm

Ecco, hands down.

ATLdawg, ya dig?

December 20th, 2011
3:21 pm

I’ll give a little love to SoBu. Paul’s, HF, Georgia Grille. Grindhouse and Woodfire on the east side. Killer bar tops to chill with your girl and actually get to know the bartender.

ATLdawg, ya dig?

December 20th, 2011
3:22 pm

Hands down, a lot of good options. Too many to say “hands down”.

Brian

December 20th, 2011
3:24 pm

I like Midway Pub as well. Any Taco Mac will do also.

shawn

December 20th, 2011
3:27 pm

The Porter in L5P. The draft selection is always awesome and the food is GREAT!

kristen

December 20th, 2011
3:30 pm

Leon’s or Farm Burger.

Donna B

December 20th, 2011
3:41 pm

Serpas or Agave.

Rick

December 20th, 2011
3:41 pm

Taqueria del Sol Decatur. Every Saturday 12 noon without fail

Kiss Me

December 20th, 2011
3:49 pm

The bar at Feast in Decatur is a great place to dine when you’re by yourself and still want a wonderful meal.

Nazan Yar

December 20th, 2011
3:55 pm

Kevin D

December 20th, 2011
3:56 pm

Exactly where is this bar they call “hands down”? Haven’t been there before. In the meantime, Leon’s is the place for your meal at the bar if you can squeeze in. Great food, atmosphere and bartenders, and you’re almost always going to be sitting next to nice people who are up for a good conversation between bites.

melissa's mom

December 20th, 2011
4:03 pm

Blue Ribbon Grill on LaVista Road in Northlake. The bartenders are awesome, the food is great, and it’s always filled with locals. It’s just like Cheers, where everybody knows your name. If you want to be anonymous, go somewhere else. It’s not a new trendy place but has been there for years. Must be doing something right!

Meghan

December 20th, 2011
4:08 pm

Brickstore and Leons in Decatur for sure.

Jolly Old St Nick

December 20th, 2011
4:19 pm

Dantanna’s Buckhead. Great food, great staff, 3D TVs, and Tuaca.

Sam

December 20th, 2011
4:26 pm

Pozole in VaHi. Jaxon makes some great margs and their tacos are awesome!

Last Word

December 20th, 2011
4:32 pm

L5P: Vortex
Poncey-Hi: Manuel’s
VaHi: Atkins Park or Highland Tap
Lenox: Houston’s
EAV: Flatiron or The E.A.R.L.

Last Word

December 20th, 2011
4:33 pm

Oh yeah, and in Decatur: Brickstore

Last Word

December 20th, 2011
4:34 pm

Ooops, and in Vinings: Padriac’s

Last Word

December 20th, 2011
4:36 pm

Is it 5:00 yet?
I’m gettin’ HAWNGREY!!

Hands down

December 20th, 2011
4:41 pm

You all sound like a bunch of soccer moms and dads from Alpharetta with the “hands down” remarks. You made your nomination….No need to embellish. The editors will figure it out.

Chesty LaRue

December 20th, 2011
4:42 pm

The Wrecking Bar…..Especially since they DON’T have TVs.

Burnt Weenie Sandwich

December 20th, 2011
4:47 pm

The Wrecking Bar……Especially since it does not have TVs. Stay home, or go to Taco Mac if you want TV.

Thinking Man is a fun place.

Brick Store – Sheppard’s Pie

Tank

December 20th, 2011
4:54 pm

Garrisons, Vinings!!!

Monieg1

December 20th, 2011
4:59 pm

Shorty’s and Brockett Pub in Tucker. Also the new Local 7…

Laura

December 20th, 2011
5:03 pm

gojackets!

December 20th, 2011
5:27 pm

Atkins Park & Manuel’s

Jim S.

December 20th, 2011
5:42 pm

Oh well, the Wrecking Bar TV suggestion greeted with snooty disdain…That said, thanks for the life advice your majesty, the apparently aptly named ‘Weenie’;-)

MMMmmmm....Food!

December 20th, 2011
5:49 pm

Leons…..If I can find a spot to sit!

yummmm

December 20th, 2011
6:23 pm

jennifer`

December 20th, 2011
7:22 pm

RL

December 20th, 2011
7:52 pm

LOVE eating at the bar at JCT Kitchen!

Stophe

December 20th, 2011
7:58 pm

The fifth ivory in midtown on Juniper!!!

g

December 20th, 2011
9:48 pm

Interesting this should follow a great weekend when my date and I enjoyed aN evening dining at the bar in Dominic’s in Lawrenceville. Had no reservations and the place was packed with large parties. Sat at the bar. The tender was great, had a Manhatten for the first time in years. It and the food were wonderful. Bartender was attentive without being over bearing or rushing us along. Food was fantastic and the “half orders” were huge and made a great brunch the next morning……

g

December 20th, 2011
9:54 pm

My job tends to land me in different parts of the city and state and always enjoy finding a new spot to try. I’ve always found bellying up to the bar a great way to meet new and interesting folks and at the same time grab something different to taste.

Al

December 20th, 2011
11:56 pm

the new Fifth Ivory (formerly Murphy’s Den–or however they were spelling it) has great bar food. Actually…it’s superbe for “bar food.” This piano bar meets public house is a marriage made in heaven…and the studly Aaron behind the bar is nice eye candy…all you need for dessert! :)

Peavine Creek

December 21st, 2011
9:05 am

The Porter in L5 has no serious competition: what other restaurant, forget about bar, often has two foie gras appetizers. Nick’s brilliance as a chef would shine in a much more elegant setting.

cheepfoodie

December 21st, 2011
10:41 am

Cal. Pizza Kitchen,Lenox.Prime,Lenox.Houston”s Lenox.Atkins Park.Manuel<.

M ARCH

December 21st, 2011
11:55 am

Leon’s. Cool shaped bar. Very convivial

M ARCH

December 21st, 2011
11:56 am

Oh, and goes without saying. The food and drink are outstanding

Trey W.

December 21st, 2011
1:11 pm

Seasons 52, Mosiac, and Bricktops..each different

glenn

December 21st, 2011
1:51 pm

dantannas without a doubt and if Joey is still there you are in for a treat.

Glen

December 21st, 2011
4:29 pm

The Bar @ Rathbun’s Steak. Great space.

kevin

December 21st, 2011
6:21 pm

Peavine Creek,

You could not possibly say that The Porter has no serious competition if you’d ever been to Holeman and Finch. While I prefer the more casual, neighborhood vibe of the Porter and like the food very well, Holeman and Finch’s food is superior without question.

Doug

December 21st, 2011
11:40 pm

Sounding like a broken record. But once again it’s di Paolo. A view of the open kitchen and great, friendly service. Can’t be beaten.

Brad

December 22nd, 2011
9:04 am

Blackstone’s in Smyrna. Great neighborhood bar that happens to be a steak place. Kenny and the gang will make you feel like a regular after 5 minutes.

snb

December 22nd, 2011
10:45 am

Adam

December 22nd, 2011
1:04 pm

South City Kitchen Vinings. Wonderful bartenders, great view of the kitchen and confortable seating. Add in their great food and it gets my vote.

cw

December 22nd, 2011
1:05 pm

Taqueria Del Sol – best fish tacos, best quacamole, best iced tea – nice guys/gals serving food to you. And extremely affordable as well.

MIke

December 22nd, 2011
1:09 pm

Ecco (ask Eric for a dusty martini–he makes the best) or La Tavola because of Alli. Enough said.

patti

December 22nd, 2011
1:18 pm

Alma Cocina and funny enough, Rathbun’s. Always perfect, both.

szq

December 22nd, 2011
1:23 pm

It’s new, but Alma Cocina…

koko

December 22nd, 2011
1:40 pm

Mark

December 22nd, 2011
1:46 pm

ECCO with Eric mixing the drinks and some of the best food in town. Grilled Octopus -yum

Jeff

December 22nd, 2011
1:47 pm

Local Republic in Lawrenceville. Always meet someone interesting at the bar. No TV to distract you and the food is excellent.

southern hope

December 22nd, 2011
1:52 pm

this is a newish one but the bar at Alma (new fifth group restaurant) in the 191 Building downtown has great possibilities for 2012….beautiful, warm, cozy.

Jim Brams

December 22nd, 2011
3:04 pm

Bacchanalia. You can have your own intimate private date in the last two stools to the right and the bartender’s service is always as good as any floor server’s!

Sarah

December 22nd, 2011
3:13 pm

Cafe 640 (formerlly Cafe di Sol) in Poncey Highlands. Great service, great bartenders and a Scoutmob deal you can’t beat!

Rory O'Loughlin

December 22nd, 2011
3:17 pm

La Tavola! Great food and Fab tenders, Alli and Kris are the best.

MD

December 22nd, 2011
4:54 pm

The Porter, One Eared Stag, Diesel

Amy D.

December 22nd, 2011
4:56 pm

Shed in Glenwood! Laura, the bartender, will take very good care of you.

PJ

December 22nd, 2011
5:06 pm

New York Prime – great bartenders, awesome lounge singer, serious people-watching entertainment & fantastic food. Steak & stone crabs anyone?

Julie

December 22nd, 2011
7:26 pm

Ecco or Holeman & Finch!!

Hotchpi

December 22nd, 2011
7:26 pm

One-Eared Stag! Always interesting and always delicious.

pig out

December 22nd, 2011
9:43 pm

Manuels tavern

meghan

December 22nd, 2011
10:50 pm

Ecco is Atlanta’s absolute best!

Natalie

December 23rd, 2011
12:25 am

Love Davio’s – really great food, atmosphere and service, and always great people to converse with at the bar!

Baltisraul

December 23rd, 2011
3:13 pm

pq

December 23rd, 2011
6:57 pm

Marlow’s Merchants Walk Marietta sitting on the outside patio bar looking back into the restaurant and full view of TV’s.

ROD

December 23rd, 2011
7:44 pm

McCrackens in Marietta

Bill

December 24th, 2011
1:57 am

Great topic! Probably will be a 1000-way tie for first place.

Bill

December 24th, 2011
2:09 am

Stephanie

December 24th, 2011
12:36 pm

Maggiano’s Perimeter Their Buy One Take One Home CANNOT be beat…you can eat for a week off of that!!

DLink

December 24th, 2011
3:11 pm

Taco Mac for the late-nighters! Grill’s open until 2:30 a.m. and wide selection of lesser known beers. Go for the hot wings.

Lindz

December 24th, 2011
6:17 pm

FMFats

December 24th, 2011
8:06 pm

The Shed at Glenwood is our go to joint and we love hanging at the bar with Laura. The Winter Margarita is pretty fine, Slider Night is killer, and the $2.50 draft Genny Creams help keep the tab down.

Decatur dude

December 24th, 2011
9:56 pm

My favorite bar to dine is at Raging Burrito & Taco. Friendly bartenders, beef brisket tacos and a great draft selection.

Drew

December 25th, 2011
2:56 pm

Another vote for the far end of the bar at Local Three. Quiet, best food and drinks in Atlanta, great spot worthy of this award.

FAstFooodie

December 25th, 2011
6:17 pm

At the Waffle House babeeee!

Dee

December 25th, 2011
7:47 pm

FRONT PAGE NEWS – THA BOMB!!

JAZZ

December 25th, 2011
7:50 pm

Cajun Crabhouse – Atlanta off Butner Road

Delicious12

December 25th, 2011
10:29 pm

Locos Grill and Pub on North Druid Hills and Briarcliff. Excellent Food, Even better service. The price is excellent for a Grill Restaurant. They have a full sports bar, excellent Servers, Friendly Bartenders and Top of the line management. I eat there all the time with my family and they even deliver very fast. The food is absolutely delicious. Best Restaurant in Atlanta!!

David G

December 25th, 2011
10:46 pm

Are you kidding? Manuel’s Tavern is the best. Great variety of food, excellent beer choices, and JFK to remind you of Camelot, back when the government worked.

crispo jones

December 25th, 2011
10:52 pm

Leon’s Full Service is fantastic.

Rt

December 25th, 2011
11:09 pm

Wisteria, no one even in second place. And jk is right, hadi is the best

Larry J

December 25th, 2011
11:46 pm

ROXX is the absolute best! The wait staff are always courteous and attentive, the food is great, and the Proprietor (Dean) is always there to speak to the patrons making sure everyone has an enjoyable meal.

Dave

December 26th, 2011
1:02 am

Manuel’s Tavern

T

December 26th, 2011
3:38 am

Black Diamond Grill in Cumming…best wings in ATL!

Jessica Collazo

December 26th, 2011
5:24 pm

Definitely Buckhead Bottle Bar! They have great food, drinks, DJ’s, and a sexy atmosphere!