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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


September 26th, 2009
9:42 am

As for Rosebud getting 3 stars, I totally disagree. Live in the neighborhood and have been acouple of times since they reinvented themselves as Rosebud. Not only a disappointment, but truly a BAD experience.


September 26th, 2009
8:48 am

Vinocity in Kirkwood


September 26th, 2009
7:52 am

I went to in Manhatten a couple months ago and they presented a special wine list…all Italian…of about 40 wines all at $28 a bottle…I was a kid in a candy store…and they were well selected nice wines. Atlanta needs more of this kind of thing instead of $10 glass plonk and having to spend over $50 to get a OK wine.


September 26th, 2009
1:17 am

I still think Willie Martinez needs to go!


September 25th, 2009
8:25 pm

Spot on for the Bookhouse Pub. Great space, great beer and great food!!


September 25th, 2009
3:28 pm

I was going to mention Sips Restaurant. A friend of mine recommended I check it out and it was fantastic. It’s somewhat small so I’m sure it will get busy as more people find it but the food was second to none in addition to the fun wine selections. I can’t wait to go back!


September 25th, 2009
3:25 pm

Thanks Ziza! I know I won’t be able to get to Shark Bar soon — so thanks for filling us in!!


September 25th, 2009
2:50 pm

voice of reason – i’ve been to the shark bar and i wouldnt be rushing over and i probably won’t go for a good while again. service was pleasant and ok but the menu leaves much to be desired and the food was sub-mediocre. if you hear differently or find differently when you go, post and i’ll go back but right now my opinion is not worth the walk or the drive. there’s better fare at q’s down the skreet.


September 25th, 2009
2:22 pm

LOL oops…sorry (and sorry to Michael Erickson) for the Concentrics/5th group gaffe!

D. Sherman

September 25th, 2009
1:28 pm

NAME OF RESTAURANT IN MILTON Hi Everyone I had sent a comment about the great new restaurant in Milton GA. It’s called Sip!! The Address is 12635 Crabapple Road #120 Milton, GA.