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Beer Town: The Fred

The Fred C.

The Fred C.

Affectionately dubbed “The Fred,” it’s one of the most exciting new beer bar concepts in Atlanta. It’s a sort of secret, rather exclusive place. Maybe most surprising, it’s hidden away in an underground room at the recently opened Taco Mac at The Prado in Sandy Springs.

The Prado location is pretty impressive itself. The sprawling, contemporary sports bar restaurant boasts some 11,000 sq. ft. inside, with 274 seats (including 50 for private dining), and 49 HD TVs. There’s a 2,200 sq. ft. covered patio, with another 140 seats and 29 more HD TVs. The beer list includes 200 beers in the bottle, 140 on draft, plus a beer engine for pouring cask ales.

But for beer enthusiasts, as well as aficionados of cozy, secluded drinking establishments, The Fred is what sets this Taco Mac apart from any of the other Atlanta-based chain’s outposts.

First of all, the entrance isn’t marked, and can only be approached from a sidewalk below the patio. Pressing a button alerts a door person, who may or may not grant admission. Inside, the square, dimly lit space couldn’t be further from the buzzing scene upstairs. Stone walls, with narrow glass block windows, a striking vaulted ceiling formed from long, thin strips of walnut, and a curving polished walnut bar create an atmosphere akin to a being in a catacomb or a wine cave.

“I think it’s very reminiscent of a speakeasy,” said Taco VP of Marketing Bruce Skala, during a recent preview. “I think it will evolve some sort of cult persona.”

The bar is named after Taco Mac’s beverage director, Fred Crudder, who has done it proud by stocking a boutique selection of beer, wine and spirits.

“I am flattered that my name was chosen as the reference for this cool spot, naturally,” Crudder wrote on his blog (fredsbeerpage.blogspot.com) by way of introduction.

Among the 20 draft beers recently available: St. Bernardus Christmas, Ommegang Adoration, Victory Old Horizontal, Stone Vertical Epic, and Weihenstephaner Vitus. In the bottle: Dogfish Head Palo Santo, Duchesse De Bourgogne, Hitachino XH aged in Shocyu sake barrels, and Mikkeller Warrior IPA, plus “Fred’s Private Stash” of rare stuff. Cocktails include several crossovers from American craft breweries, such as Spruce Cuke, made with Anchor Junipero gin, and Rogue Rye Sazarac, made with Rogue Dead Guy rye whiskey.

The food menu is limited to snacks, but the hardy offerings from executive chef Matt Deckard include five cheese blue crab dip, warm ciabatta with Genoa salami and Swiss cheese, and a bratwurst and caramelized onion egg roll with spicy mustard.

The Fred is only open Wednesday-Sunday nights. And entrance is reserved for members of Taco Mac’s newly updated Brewniversity (formerly the Passport Club), an educational beer drinkers program that awards a credit for each different brew that’s purchased: www.tacomac.com/brewniversity.html). Currently 15 credits are all that’s needed to get in the door. In three months, that will go up to 50 credits.

Taco Mac at The Prado, 5600 Roswell Road , Suite 3, Sandy Springs, 404-941-1503. www.tacomac.com

7 comments Add your comment

David Little

December 16th, 2009
4:04 pm

I’ve got to start coming into town more and getting more Brewniversity points! This place sounds great and a welcome addition to the Prado scene.

Beer Boy

December 17th, 2009
7:52 am

Went there last month and after ending up in Peter Glenn I decided I needed a Taco Mac escort to find the place. I thought we were in the delivery area. Unmarked and very cool.

Steve Farace

December 17th, 2009
10:48 am

Heading to the Fred Friday for the SweetWater Employee Christmas Party. hoping to seeing Johnny Cash, i mean Fred Crudder there as well

kp

December 17th, 2009
12:19 pm

I find the whole idea of a private club rather off-putting. This is not a place I would desire to visit, which is just as well since I would not be able to get in the door.

Bob

December 17th, 2009
1:10 pm

Ah, kp, are you like Woody Allen, who famously said, “I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member.”

[...] Mac is an underground, speakeasy type bar exclusive for Taco Mac Brewniversity members called “The Fred” which is honestly my favorite spot at The [...]

[...] Mac is an underground, speakeasy type bar exclusive for Taco Mac Brewniversity members called “The Fred” which is honestly my favorite spot at The [...]