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Top five for Friday: My favorite affordable wine lists

Some of the wines at Eno by Zaza/credit: AJC

Some of the wines at Eno by Zaza/credit: AJC

I used to cringe at the use of “alternative” on Atlanta’s wine lists – a term once reserved for anything that wasn’t pinot noir or Chardonnay. These days, it’s different. Now the city boasts lists of affordable wines, ripe for sipping. Here are five of my favorites.

Krog Bar ***

112 Krog St., 404-524-1618, Atlanta

The folks who own Rathbun’s have packed a lot of punch (and wine) into 750 square feet – Krog Bar’s space may be tiny, but its wine list flows, with more than 50 selections by the glass and a true tapas menu to go with it. I just wish there were more places to sit. Ahh … who cares when you’re nibbling prosciutto and sipping Tempranillo?

Eno by Zaza **

800 Peachtree St., 404-685-3191, Atlanta

Yes, the new name, prompted by the recent sale from owner Doug Strickland to Hawks player Zaza Pachulia, sounds more like a new designer’s clothing line at Target than a restaurant, but Pachulia has been wise enough to leave the wine list alone for the most part. Strickland spent ten years developing what is probably the city’s best under-$50 selection, and sipping wine at the bar here is an exploration of global tastes, from over 100 by-the-glass selections in French to Italian, to Spain and back again. Ask for a sip, and you shall receive. Nibble on Top Chef contestant Eli Kirshtein’s conceptual “fat kid” cooking while you wile away an evening at the bar.

BookHouse Pub not rated

736 Ponce de Leon Ave., Atlanta, 404-254-1176

I had to include one beer list, and the BookHouse is a hidden gem. Tucked away off Ponce, it’s got the kitschy cuteness of a book nook, with the hipness of a hang out. And the kind of beer list a girl can love:  Lots of Belgian and American craft beers on tap, including Saison Dupont, McChouffe, St. Bernardus Christmas Ale, plus lost of well-chosen offerings in the bottle. But it’s the sweet, sparkly effervescence of Lindemans Framboise Raspberry Lambic that turns my head.

Rosebud ***

1397 North Highland Ave., Atlanta, 404-347-9747

Changing hands didn’t change a thing about chef-owner Ron Eyester’s laid-back approach to casual dining. His emphasis is still local, local local, and the great food bears that mark. His wine list is as easy and affordable as the rest of the menu, designated into price points he calls “cheap,” ($7), “decent,” ($9) and “good” ($14). Dang right. (Look for an all-new review of Rosebud next week.)

Woodfire Grill ***

1782 Cheshire Bridge Road, Atlanta, 404-347-9055

We knew that Top Chef contestant Kevin Gillespie’s high-concept, locally inspired cooking would get him noticed, but who would’ve guessed that co-owner Nicolas Quinones would prove himself such an accomplished sommelier? The restaurant boasts lost of bargains from around the world, with more than 50 bottles less than $50, and a dozen of them are less than $30.

27 comments Add your comment

VoiceOf Reason

September 25th, 2009
12:35 pm

Hey Meredith,

I’m begging for you to review The Shark Bar & Restaurant in East Point. I want to go, but I want to hear your thoughts first.



September 25th, 2009
12:34 pm

Gotta add a vote for Cellar 56 in Buckhead. Small but well thought-out list in 3 price ranges, nice by-the-glass selection, and interesting lesser-known choices.


September 25th, 2009
12:01 pm

D Sherman: Do tell us the name of this awesome place!! And DeeDee: Understood — go to accessAtlanta for all the dining reviews. And I’ll try to make sure the dining guide is large and in charge! Ethan: Thanks for this tip — I need to cehck this place out.


September 25th, 2009
11:58 am

I would like to add the V2 Wine Room at the Vinyeard Wine Market at 2202 Powers Feery Road Atlanta, 30339 Great wines by the glass or by the bottle along with meat and cheese plates at great prices. You can also have food delievered from the surrounding restaurants to have with your wine. The owner Anthony is great and very knowledgeable about all the wines carried. Give it a try sometimes. They also have wine tastings.


September 25th, 2009
11:47 am

Since the format change on-line, I’ve had a difficult time finding food and dining write-ups. I hope the fall dining guide won’t be one of them.

D. Sherman

September 25th, 2009
11:44 am

I just wanted to let you know of a new wine retail shop and TAPAS restaurant that is now in Milton, GA. The ambiance is wonderful, and it’s the perfect spot for a romantic evening meal , or a great place to hang out with friends. It is an exciting, casual environment with fabulous food! Very friendly staff. Every dish was served at the perfect temp and flawlessly presented. They also have over 150 bottles of wine that can be purchased from their retail side, and the coolest enomatic machines where you can sample wine by the sip, half glass or full glass.. Awesome place!!!


September 25th, 2009
10:59 am

Totally agree Jimmy! Excellent choices. Ecco and La Tavola are two of my favorite lists!
And just to be clear, they are Fifth Group restaurants, not Concentrics.


September 25th, 2009
10:41 am

Top Flr and Abattoir are good candidates for this kind of list too. They both have unique selections @ < $30. Concentrics, specifically Ecco and La Tavola have some well priced and good selections too.


September 25th, 2009
10:21 am

Hi Eli! Thanks for asking. We’re doing something a little different this year — an online guide that will include the Restaurant of the Year, my top ten picks, and 10 of my favorite affordable meals. It should arrive on-line the third week of October!! I’ll be teasing more on the blog soon!


September 25th, 2009
10:16 am

hey meridith when does the fall dining guide come out