After nearly 20 years in the restaurant business, Oswald Morgan gambled his career, finances, and reputation on Kozmo Gastro Pub. After years developing and working in swanky restaurants such as The Globe, Oswald had the notion that a restaurant with the right combination of creative cuisine and vivacious atmosphere could lure adventurous diners through its doors—even if it resided in the suburbs. The hopeful restaurateur worked to make Kozmo in the image of metropolitan eateries, outfitting the dining room with a slick and airy wall of windows and bar-height tables coupled with brushed-aluminum chairs. Perched at their seats, diners can sip from the extensive list of beer and cocktails or share small plates of immaculately presented duck confit or risotto balls as they people-watch and toast their reflections for their impeccable style.
Crowds may initially flock to Jeffrey's Sports Bar and Grill to catch the big game, but the bar gives them plenty of reasons to stay long after the final whistle blows. For starters, there's a full-service bar, a variety of flavored hookahs, and a finger-food-heavy menu of nachos, burgers, New York–style pizza, and wraps. And then there's the entertainment. In addition to classic bar games, such as darts, billiards, beer pong, ping pong, and full-contact peekaboo, Jeffrey's also features poker tournaments several nights a week, as well as live music and karaoke.
Flanked by rustic stone columns and carved lions, 5 Seasons Brewing's entrance looks like the secluded front to a Napa Valley villa, belying its cozy atmosphere and community-focused mission to provide tasty, affordable food and drink. Founded by chef David Larkworthy—son of a pioneering advocate of using organic food in restaurants—Five Seasons Brewing carries its commitment to community to its ingredients, cooking with a cornucopia of regularly shifting local produce from a gaggle of affiliated farms. The menu features such fusion dishes as crispy alligator served with a blackened chili glaze and Remoulade. At tables, guests dig in to home-baked bread, whose warm crust exudes tangy scents from the brewery's spent beer grain.
In the towering tanks that skirt the pub, brewmaster Kevin McNerney creates a kaleidoscopic selection of unique small-batch beers. The cofounder of flagship Georgia brewer SweetWater, McNerney brings two decades of experience to his craft, making refreshing brews such as the Chug Monkey and turning to ancient Belgian traditions to make his crisp, orange-infused witbier.
No strangers to the stage themselves, the board of directors at The Velvet Note built the intimate venue as a musician’s dream of exquisite natural acoustics. On its carefully crafted soundstage sits a 1924 Baldwin Model M baby grand piano, which serves an endless lineup of locally and nationally renowned acts. In between applause and using their index fingers as maestro batons, visitors can occupy their hands with food from The Velvet Note’s menu, featuring lobster cobb salad, black mussels in garlic butter, and all manner of classic southern desserts. Run by musicians for musicians, the club creates an up-close-and-personal environment where performers and fans can actually mingle.
At first, Tin Drum Asia Café's rapid service and bright decor evoke the aromatic street stands of Hong Kong, where founder Steven Chan ate throughout his childhood. The traditional ambiance is no accident—the franchise's name also harks back to a bygone era, when a tin drummer would awaken citizens and regale them with current events as they ate the day’s first meal. The electronic kiosks dotting the café, however, plunk this traditional scene in the middle of a cyberpunk setting. They allow patrons to customize their orders based on taste preferences and nutritional content, accommodating dietary endeavors such as vegetarianism and weight-loss goals.
This merger of technology and urban convention reflects a penchant for edgy ideas that also affects the menu. Items inspired by the culinary techniques of Japan, China, Vietnam, and Thailand share space in the savory catalog, taking the form of street tacos, soups, and mango chicken, a take on the general tso's staple that's sweeter than a syrup-soaked army helmet. Music is the final ingredient that charges the atmosphere. Nation's Restaurant News reports that it typically plays at an energizing 120 beats per minute and was a factor in attracting the café's initial college crowds.
You don't have to travel to Spain or France to taste renowned wines—you simply have to show up at Talk of The Table. This wine-and-cheese boutique corrals more than 275 wines from various regions of the globe and displays them proudly on wooden shelves, in wine racks, and in the livers of wine racks. Twice a week, visitors can belly up to tastings inside the tasting room, savoring Sauvignon Blancs from around the world, Cabernet Sauvignons from Napa Valley, and dry Rieslings from the Finger Lakes in Upstate New York. The boutique pairs these wines with samples of 25 artisan cheeses including aged goat cheese and aged Parmesan.